Hattie Briggs – The Sub Rooms -Stroud 25/1/2018

I had heard about 24 year old Hattie Briggs a long time before I finally got to see her live in Stroud. She was the winner of Fender (Guitars) Undiscovered Artist of the Year in 2017 going on to support Lucy Rose at Bush Hall. Judging by the audience turnout and response to her music, Stroud have taken her to their hearts as a local talent and her  30 minute set supporting Blue Rose Code on a wintry Burns Night  showed why.

Although she cites Eva Cassidy as an inspiration, Briggs actually comes across as reminiscent of a young Joni Mitchell, particularly in her opening songs. Her rearrangement of Cassidy’s version of the classic ‘Autumn Leaves’ proves that the skills involved in  covering a  song take real talent; re-arranging  means so much more than just copying. In addition, Briggs  demonstrates the art of losing herself in a song whilst simultaneously drawing  the listener into it, treating each song with respect and care whether it be a cover or an original. She achieves this through an authentic transmission of emotion, ranging across heartbreak to joy, using subtle and intelligent lyrics in her own songs  such as ‘Just Breathe’ and ‘Early Girl’ supported by her accomplished musicianship on the guitar and piano. ‘Early Girl,’ is a  commissioned song which brings tears to the eyes and although depicting the narrative of a Father’s thoughts and feelings for his premature baby 50 years ago, makes the event feel  just as relevant today. In less capable hands, this intensely personal account could have drowned in sentimentality and despair. Instead, Briggs gets the fragile balance just right.  This song, the first of 5 singles to be released over the year, will be out on 23rd February. A series of mini tours are arranged for late April.

Her success is underpinned by very hard work. I asked her for a few words about her musical project for 2018.

“The project I talked about will be 5 singles released in 2018, each with an accompanying music video or live video. They will be out everywhere online as well as in limited edition double CD/DVD packages including lyric mini-poster/cards. We think the project will be called 5_4:18 and I’m launching the subscriptions/crowd-funding on Monday, just like I did for “12 Months of Madness” last year. People will be able to preorder all five limited editions in advance, or on a monthly basis depending on if there are any left.
The music video for “Early Girl” will be out mid March. The track was premiered on BBC Glos by Dom Cotter on Thursday.”
It surely can’t be long until Hattie Briggs becomes known as an accomplished artist in her own right not as a supporting act but filling places like Bush Hall for herself and taking top billing. 2018 could well be the year.

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