If you haven’t noticed yet, a lot of great music has come out of Goldsmiths, and continues to do so. From Malcolm McLaren and Graham Coxon, to Katy B and James Blake, the University of London location seems focal to the south of the city’s flourishing and ever-shifting music scene.
Twenty-two-year-old Annie Eve is another of its alumni and, more importantly, her music is exceptionally beautiful. She’s a female who plays guitar, but don’t mention the dreaded ‘S’ word – or even two of them.
“If you see a guy with a guitar, you call him a guitarist,” Annie says to Clash, “but if you see a girl with one, she gets called a ‘singer-songwriter’.” It’s a label she finds frustrating. “I don’t like the immediate image you get, and you just think of somebody on a guitar strumming away with nothing more to give. I usually say I play ‘folky’ rock, but that’s just because I don’t really know [how to describe myself].”
Her sound is very clearly anchored in folk, but she’s right: there’s more to it than that. Combining a crystalline Regina Spektor-like voice with hauntingly intimate lyricism, her songs blend youthful romanticism with heart-breaking world-weariness. On ‘Southern’, she sings: “And his head resting on my chest / Heavy breaths / I knew your kind”. Just how personal is a song like that?
“That song is pretty much autobiographical,” she says. And what about turning everything into music? “I guess I find somewhere peaceful, and just experiment with ideas that have accumulated in my head. I always make notes and spend a lot of time just jamming.”
Annie’s been writing music since she was 14, after her brother introduced her to “the general icons”. “I was always really drawn to lyrical songs,” she reveals, “like Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan. I loved that they were all simple but really wordy and I also love Delta blues music – it’s profound and simple, and all about repetition.”
Before we part ways, we get back onto the subject of Goldsmiths. “I think being free, living down there and being completely in an environment that encouraged us all to be different… It definitely affected me. Everyone’s misfits, but in the best way, and it doesn’t even matter.”
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WHAT: Personal storytelling over catchy, folk melodies
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Southern’(video above), ‘Shuffle’, ‘Bodyweight’
FACT: She’s completely obsessed with the Patti Smith novel Just Kids.
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Words: Daisy Jones
Photo: Lorenzo Dalbosco
Fashion: Lola Chatterton