Chrissie Huntley on Glastonbury, music & mental health

Chrissie Huntley on Glastonbury, music & mental health

Chrissie Huntley on Glastonbury, music & mental health

Chrissie Huntley on Glastonbury, music & mental health

With summer just around the corner, there are a number of exciting artists ready to take on the sunshine and push their music to newer audiences. Bristol based soul pop singer-songwriter Chrissie Huntley is one artist we highly recommend to check out this term having just announced details of her next single ‘Senseless’ as well as confirmed to performing at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.

Having featured in our recent neo-soul podcast, we caught up with Chrissie once more as we discuss all things Glastonbury Festival and how the competition experience when down. In addition, we also discuss her work alongside The Pocket Collective, working with her live band and raising awareness of mental health in the industry. Lastly, we chat about her busy summer schedule and upcoming new single (out 25th June).

Hey Chrissie, it’s been a minute! How are things?

Hi! Thanks for having me back, always a pleasure. Things are pretty wonderful at the minute. Exams are over, the sun is shining, and I am so excited about the summer I have ahead of me!

Let’s get the big question out of the way first, you’re performing at Glastonbury Festival! Huge congrats. What are you most looking forward to at the festival next month?

Thanks so much! Still such a surreal thing to hear, it’s truly been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I absolutely can’t wait! I’d say I’m most looking forward to performing with my amazing band. I’m so thrilled to be able to share the experience with them, for some of them it’s their very first time at the festival, so I know it’s going to be a really special experience.

You enter The Pilton Stage Competition for a chance to perform at the festival against musicians from across Europe. How was the experience?

It was a real whirlwind experience, but a great one! I was only asked to come and play the semi-final a week or so before it happened, so getting a win-worthy set ready during exam time was testing, but so much fun! Then, after getting through to the final I knew I had to go bigger, so I tried to pull out all the stops – balloons, glitter, confetti (even choreography!), and obviously getting the music perfect. My band and I add up to eight all together, so there’s a lot of organisation involved!

The competition itself though was such an amazing experience. I met some incredible humans on what was such a lovely and friendly journey. I’ve kept in touch with a number of the bands that competed and will hopefully be going to each other’s gigs in each other’s cities very soon!

You also met the main man himself, Michael Eavis. What was that like?

Haha. If anyone knows me well/saw my Instagram will know how in awe of that man I am. I was completely star struck. I’ve wanted to meet him since I was nine years old. He was such a gentle soul and lovely man, I’m so pleased he was a fan!

There’s been some great momentum with your music in recent weeks. Could you tell us a bit about the build up and why it’s the right time for people to get to know your music?

I’ve been working so hard behind the scenes with my incredible team to get the best music I possibly can out into the world, so I am incredibly excited to be releasing new music this summer, and have been lucky enough to confirm shows and festivals outside of lovely Bristol so I can spread my message of self-love, strength, truth and freedom to the masses!

You’ve also been doing some work alongside The Pocket Collective (formerly The Bristol Sessions). What’s it been like collaborating with them and how has this helped with your current project?

I have! I actually only discovered them a few months ago when I went to their vocal jam at The Social on Stokes Croft. They’re all such incredible musicians, so it was amazing to sing with their live house band for the first time, and they’ve just been so supportive ever since! If it weren’t for their fortnightly session I wouldn’t have met my trumpet and trombone player who are joining me at Glastonbury! I can’t thank them enough for taking me under their wing (especially Ruth!)! I had an amazing time supporting them with my band at Mr Wolfs earlier this month, and I’ll be singing at one of their ‘Pocket Presents’ sessions at The Forge, Bristol, on the 21st June which I’m very excited about!

In addition, you also have a full live band when performing on stage which mixes a number instruments and influences. What’s it been like to work together as a group as well as translating your sound into a live setting?

Its been really incredible. Most of my songs were written before I met my band, and so to hear them be developed into such a powerful sonic experience is really special for me. The band originally was just 5 of us, but as soon as I started listening to bands such as vulfpeck, lake street dive and melt, I knew I wanted a brass section…so I got one! And we haven’t looked back since. They are all truly family to me!

Strength, vulnerability, passion and empathy are words that have been associated with your music. What sort of themes and influences inspire your work?

Ever since I started writing music about 5 years ago, it’s been an outlet for me and so all of my songs have come from a truthful place. Initially this outlet was mainly for when I was feeling sad, which lead to a lot of my slower songs, as well as my venture into mental health awareness. However more recently, I have recognised that I have grown much stronger and happier, so now I write from a truthful place, but rather than reflecting my emotions of the past, for me, my songs are now a celebration of the happier, stronger person I have become!!

Your recent single ‘If Only I Could’ was very beautiful and honest as it raised awareness of mental health. Particularly today where mental health is being discussed in the music industry, what more could we be doing to support and ensure a safe, transparent and comfortable environment for artists to flourish?

I think it’s a hard topic that needn’t be so hard. From my mental health awareness campaign last year ‘Let’s Talk About It’, I met some amazing people that kindly opened up to me about some very tough things that had happened to them in the past. It was such an emotional experience and I’m so honoured to have met the people I may not have done otherwise. What I learned is that it’s important to consider that everyone you meet may well be going through something awful that you know nothing about. ALWAYS try to assume this with anyone you meet! Secondly, I’ve learned just how prevalent mental health issues are in the music industry. However, I’ve also learned that musical communities are one of the strongest support networks I’ve ever come across. I think it’s paramount that we support, listen to, and look after one another and if we can do that through the power of music, isn’t that just the most magical thing in the world?!

With summer now upon us, do you have any other festivals or shows planned that we should keep an eye out for?

I do! I have a show at the Camden Assembly in London on 31st May, and have a few more very exciting festival announcements that I can’t share just yet, but will be very soon. Keep an eye out on my socials!

Lastly, what’s next for Chrissie Huntley in the coming months? Any new releases planned?

I have loads planned for the next few months. My next single ‘Senseless’ is in the final stages of being ready for release so that will be on its way to you very soon! Also, I will be releasing a song of mine through HUBB Records towards the tail-end of summer which I’m very excited for, so keep an eye out for that. And in between all of the above, I have some top secret developments on the way, which will be announced in due course….hehehehe… I feel so mysterious!!

Chrissie Huntley’s new single ‘Senseless’ is out on 25th June. Check out the video of recent single ‘If Only I Could’ above.