For most performers lockdown has kept them away from the thing they love most, standing on stage, staring into the audience eyes as they belt out their catalogue of songs. While that is definitely the case for Welsh singer/songwriter DANIELLE LEWIS, it also gave her a chance to get out into the West Wales countryside and look for inspiration for her forthcoming debut album.
The new single was already fully formed and ready to go, and having listened to it on repeat in our office over the last few days, HELP ME is something very special.
Written on a chilly afternoon in Cardiff in 2019 after Danielle had just returned from a UK tour, gazing out at the January gloom beyond her window she was gripped by what she describes as a “sudden and cathartic moment of journaling”. Falling as naturally into place as the frost that clung to the frozen ground below, the words and music of “Help Me” came from within to capture a mood and moment in intimate detail.
Danielle told us…..
“On reflection of ‘Help Me’, the lyrics shed a light on my inner dialogue at that moment in time, perhaps even another aspect of myself. It’s a reminder of the importance of self love that ultimately starts from within.”
Channelling these humbling spiritual observations through Danielles’ own unearthly vocal, it was obvious that “Help Me” was something with real potential. Reaching out to TJ Roberts, frontman of the eponymously titled Welsh indie/Americana quartet, he added the brittle starkness of his acoustic guitar to crystallize a track of haunting, breathtaking beauty.
“There’s an underlying sense of power and drive from TJ Roberts’ beautiful guitar playing. I felt the track warranted an acoustic and stripped back feel, almost as if it could be recreated time and time again. ‘Help Me’ ended up feeling despairing and enlightening all at the same time.”
Written by Danielle Lewis and produced by Secondson (who also contributes acoustic guitar, bass, drums, synthesizer here), “Help Me” was recorded at Sail Loft Studios in Cardiff. Mixing & Mastering was contributed by Leon West at After Life Studios, with additional engineering by Thomas V Westgård.
Originally hailing from the West coast of Wales, Danielle crafts ethereal folk with saintly voice from another world. Her writing is raw yet unfiltered, with a voice that has a haunting grace and momentous power.
It was on the West Coast of Wales that we put a Zoom call in to Danielle to chat about the single, and her time in lockdown. It really is a pretty remote place she is staying, in fact the broadband connection had difficulty in tracking her down as well as we’d have liked, so apologies for the picture quality occasionally.
We start with a listen to her new single and asked about her time in lockdown……..
Breaking-out with her ‘Live Forever’ EP in 2018, its bold authenticity began to attract attention on a wider scale, including that of Super Furry Animal Cian Ciaran, who even offered to remix its title track. Returning in 2019, the singer grew her reputation with the acclaimed single ‘A Woman Like You‘, an empowering track that expanded into the realms of dream pop and drew warm comparisons to Karen Carpenter.
With her live plans shelved last year, Danielle took the opportunity to release two further tracks: “Life of Worth” and “Flower”, each of which found her delving into new sonic territory.
Planning her debut album for release later this year, expect much more to come from this promising talent, with art direction by the esteemed Mark James Works (Super Furry Animals, Gruff Rhys, Gilles Peterson, Abbey Road Studios).
You can find out more about Danielle right HERE. And you can take a listen to HELP ME below.