A new series of short but sweet interviews with up and coming artists and creatives. To start us off is friend and musical collaborator Salwa Azar…
Cat On The Wall: Hello Salwa! Please tell us a little about yourself! When did you start making music?
Salwa Azar: I seem to have always been making music for as long as I can remember. I have some early memories at 4 and 5 sitting down to my mum’s piano, I remember singing nursery rhymes in primary school…loving that.. I think the first song I wrote was when I was about 6 after the 1st year of piano lessons.
COTW: Who or what inspires you?
SA: Beauty, Poignancy, Magic, Colour – those are the things that inspire me. As for people – strong women, strong men. Patti Smith is one of my heroes.
COTW: Your EP ‘For America’ is full of beautiful folk songs. Was there a concept behind the EP? What is your songwriting process?
SA: Thank you! I got the EP together from a collection of old and new recordings, as I was going to America on holiday and wanted something to take with me. It really shows the evolution. I started off recording demos on my iPhone, doing gigs here and there and then working with a producer @bensmusicroom on some higher-quality things. I wanted to show a wide range from the raw to the more layered to the live. No concept, other than throwing something together quickly. It’s become a staple in friend’s car stereos though, thankfully! Mainly, I’ll write lyrics whilst I’m riffing about on the ukulele, or lyrics often come to me on the train or in the car, so I have to make sure I either have my phone or something to write with at all times!
I’m also hoping to work with more people, expand my “band” as it were so I imagine that may change the process too.
COTW: Do you enjoy the live experience? Any upcoming shows?
SA: I live to play live. So much is lost in a recording and on a good day you just can’t beat the exchange of energy. Every live show I play is a measure of your success as an artist. For me, there’s no point in sitting in your room making music if you don’t get out there. I do find it quite stressful though as I can get really nervous even days before a show which can affect my health a bit. If I’m having a bad week health-wise, it can be hard to sing through. I work a full time job too and sometimes depending on what’s happened that day, it’s hard to get into the right headspace to entertain people. But I have my little rituals that get me through as well as the audiences support. My biggest triumph so far has been doing 3 shows in a row to completely unknown audiences and have them all participate in my “audience participation” song Oarsman. That’s been just amazing. Shows are always a bit randomly booked, but I’m really looking forward to March 9th in Cardiff, supporting Laurence Made Me Cry for her wonderful Album Launch Party. It should be so much fun, I cannot wait!
COTW: Finally, what are your plans for the near future?
SA: As for the near future, I plan on really making headway to record my full length album this year. I also want to secure a few more gigs in strange places, I’ve got audiences all over, so I hope to organise a small tour later. Jo (from LMMC) has invited me on tour later this year so that will be amazing. I’ve got some potentially very exciting collaborations on the horizon as I love singing on anything I can. It’s an exciting time and I’m very lucky to have my uke, my friends and fans to go through life with!
Next gig 22nd January at Berties Wine Bar, Wimbledon, London from 9pm.