By the age of 22, Scottish singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni has played in excess of 600 shows, released a critically acclaimed debut album (Under Mountains), and has developed her unique and graceful voice. Sermanni recently announced the release of a new EP titled Everything Changes, set for release in January. She has also announced her two biggest shows to date, which includes a night at London Union Chapel on February 6th. Ahead of the EP release and tour, A Music Blog, Yea? spoke with Rachel Sermanni about the upcoming EP, fondest touring moments, and almonds.
AMBY: Hello Rachel, how are you and what have you been up to lately?
Rachel Sermanni: Hello. I’m fine. My feet are a bit cold. But it is winter. I am in France. A small town in the North West. Today is the last date to what has basically been a constant string of gigs since…since a long time. Since the summer. I have had a few days off here and there but as of tomorrow, I am free for approximately 3 weeks. Touring has been a lot of fun. I’ve spent a lot of time in Canada. Rose Cousins tour. Gigs with Mo Kenney. Festivals. Then there was a stint more recently in the UK. Then Europe.
AMBY: For all those prospective listeners out there, how would you describe your sound?
Rachel Sermanni: The noise comes from a guitar. And the air from my lungs. I, like many others, am a lady singer songwriter. Hopefully my words and chords provide a twisted perspective. For prospective gig comers. I’m usually on my own. Sometimes I play with a wonderful pianist Jen Austin. A lot of my recordings include fiddles. I have two cd’s that feature a trumpet. Hopefully this has confused all prospective listeners, and they feel inclined to go listen for themselves.
AMBY: Your new EP Everything Changes comes out on January 27th. What’s the significance behind the title?
Rachel Sermanni: It is significant just because it’s true. But in context, it is the name of one of the four songs.
AMBY: The title track, Everything Changes, is stunning. What inspired the song?
Rachel Sermanni: Glad it is being warmly received. I was asked to write this song; to draw from another’s circumstance and situation. However, there are most definitely personal elements within it. It’s personal and universal too. Everything Changes. It’s inescapable for all.
AMBY: You recently announced your two biggest shows to date. What are you most looking forward to regarding the two shows next year?
Rachel Sermanni: I am looking forward to the idea of a New Year. It means a clean slate. New thrust. I hope to try out a few new things in the gigs. They are beautiful spaces. And there will be a grand piano. I should hope for both gigs. So Jen will for sure be joining me. I look forward to experimenting with any band expansion ideas over dec and jan.
AMBY: It’s incredible to think you’ve played over 600 shows across the UK, Europe, North America, and Asia. Congratulations! What are your fondest touring moments?
Rachel Sermanni: Thank you. This year of touring has been the best fun. My first trip to Canada for Folk Alliance marked the beginning of the excitement for me. Making porridge in Pete Roe’s van at various UK service stations. Climbing a beautiful hill in Porta Santa Stefano, Italy, with Jimi as the sun beat down on a deep blue sea. Jamming with Owen Steel and his harmonica up at Dawson City music festival. Where the sun never set. (it will be set now…for a few months) Swimming in the lakes around Waverley, under the mist, with Mo Kenney. Sharing a piano stool with Rose Cousins; sharing her songs. Howling with the wolves. The wolf pack: Jimi Troup (sound wizard and Tour Manager), Jen Austin and I.
AMBY: This is the first new material since your debut LP Under Mountains. Did you try and transition your sound from the album onto the EP?
Rachel Sermanni: I also have The Boatshed Sessions which we released a month or so ago. But yes, this will be more of an official thing. There was no conscious effort to sound different. Simply to furnish the songs with what they need to feel right. I think there is a change though. My voice has even changed.
AMBY: What are your thoughts on Under Mountains now that there’s been a year to reflect on it?
Rachel Sermanni: I am very proud of it still. The messages are still strong.
AMBY: What’s your favourite book of all time?
Rachel Sermanni: Difficult. As a child I was very fond of The Edge Chronicles. A little later I remember being very very affected by Siddartha by Hermann Hesse.
AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?
Rachel Sermanni: Boards of Canada managed a good one.
AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about Rachel Sermanni that nobody knows?
Rachel Sermanni: I thought I was allergic to almonds recently. I was lying to myself.
Thank you Rachel Sermanni, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout