The music industry is overflowing with new talent; mix-tapes and at home produced EPs are being released by the minute so what exactly separates Liv Dawson from other young artists today? Firstly, her debut single ‘Tapestry’ reached number 1 on the UK Viral Chart on Spotify with over 2 million streams, visibly sparking the interest in the 18 year-old singer. Secondly, she toured twice already; strengthening her live performance skills as a support act for Frances and now for HONNE, who explicitly stated they chose her for the job themselves. Opening for the duo, she played The Roundhouse in London, a venue that proved to be crucial in the career development of many artists. Still relatively unknown and shy in conversation, Dawson has an unusual air of confidence about her but not the young, misplaced kind, it seems as if she is calmly confident in what she can achieve.
“I think it’s hard to put people in categories nowadays. I really like that, I think it’s really good.”
Being identified as a promising, up and coming, ‘one to watch’, and every other descriptive that has to do with a young artist being introduced to the scene Dawson says “it’s a huge compliment”, admitting “it’s motivation really, it’s nice for people to feel excited about my music and about me as an artist so it makes me want to, kind of push more to be better and better.” That drive is an admirable quality but also to be expected since she is only at the beginning of her career.
She describes her music as “quite relaxed” and “very versatile in what it can be related to”. The sound of it is reminiscent of Jessie Ware, Banks or Alina Baraz, still leaning on the safe side of pop but also exploring a range of genres – synonymous with contemporary music. Dawson is aware of that: “it’s also quite current, because in Tapestry it has got really classic chords and a trappy beat. That was made over a year ago and that was like when it kind of clicked”. Reflecting on the fact that genre in music is becoming less important and more fluid, she comments: “I think it’s hard to put people in categories nowadays. I really like that; I think it’s really good.”
The freedom to create music without confining oneself to a specific genre can be seen as mitigating the pressure of being a new artist in the industry. In fact, Dawson doesn’t seem preoccupied by that “I just do what I want to do and what I feel like I want to listen to”. If that’s the case, what she wants to listen to is a dreamlike vocal arrangements with distinctly electronic undertones because that’s the recurring theme in all of her three releases so far, ‘Reflection’ being the latest one. It also evokes Frank Ocean who she singles out as her favourite artist, sharing she likes both “his older and his new album. I listen to loads of him”. The singer describes that she would like to have that kind of appeal as “he is really versatile and loads of different people can listen to him”.
“I just do what I want to do and what I feel like I want to listen to”
Touring with Frances and HONNE Dawson definitely started laying the foundations for a similar undertaking as it gave her a chance to introduce her music to a diverse audience. “I think we are similar in ways but we’re also different, so it makes it nice for the audience to watch because it’s just like different acts”, she suggests of her touring experience. Opening for HONNE in the O2 in Birmingham, the audience was welcoming, possibly recognising that the singer is still getting used to bigger crowds. She effortlessly controlled her vocals during her set, her stage presence only falling a little short behind. In any case, at only 18 she is doing exceedingly well, coyly whispering “thank you” before letting HONNE take the stage. Liv Dawson will likely make a name of herself, the time is yet to tell how big.
Liv Dawson’s new single ‘Open Your Eyes’ is out now and she will be doing her first headline show at Omeara, London in February.