Suffolk-based singer/songwriter Kristin Caswell – known professionally as Caswell – says she writes most when she has “an emotional reaction to something when something is on my conscience.”. This certainly shows in her music. Imagine a more electronic-sounding Kate Bush with shades of Lana Del Rey, led by strong, forward lyricism we do not hear all too often.
Caswell herself does not find it as easy to describe though. “It is kind of hard to put a perspective on it. It is alternative pop – kind of jazzy. A lot of it starts on the piano. I am not an amazing player or anything, but I like to play and it helps me get the sound of a song.”
In October 2017, Caswell released her debut EP, The Shadow Aspect. The EP was long anticipated, due to the fact the singer/songwriter has been writing music ‘since she was 10’. “I used to write on one of those old boxy computers, I would print off the lyrics and take them into school and I would perform them to the class.”.
As a child, she looked up to artists such as the Spice Girls and Madonna; giving her the determination to begin writing and performing. Unlike a lot of kids, that never really went away for me.”. She says the artists who inspire her in the modern day include “Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley and Nina Simone” while one of her favourite albums is Portishead’s Dummy.
“When I was 10 I went into Woolworths – when Woolworths was still a thing – and bought Dummy and just listened to it constantly. Kind of a strange album for a 10-year-old to buy but I loved it.”.
From ages 14-18, Caswell attended the infamous BRIT school in London, where she was able to focus on her talent. “I was actually rejected the first time!” she says about her time at the BRIT school. “I applied again, reauditioned, and got in!’
“Having those opportunities, and peers and teachers,” was a huge help for her first step into the industry, but after graduating, she struggled with “London living costs and working temp jobs”. After the difficult decision to break with her management, Caswell relocated to Suffolk, to live with her parents. so after breaking with her manager, she moved back to Suffolk to live with her parents.
The Shadow Aspect began to take shape after the move. She found inspiration in Suffolk to pen ‘Brother’ – a track which she describes as her “most personal” song – and ‘Dance Sober’, which also features on The Shadow Aspect EP.
Caswell has performed at venues including the famous Ronnie Scott’s in London and will be supporting The Libertines at Mansion On The Moon in September. Regarding her live performances, she says she finds playing to an audience to be “a really organic way to grow your fanbase”, and in five years time she hopes to be travelling with her music across the globe.
“I’ve always wanted to travel, but whenever I have had the money it has always come down to ‘do I use it for travelling or music?’ and it is always my music. I would like to travel with my music and to incorporate that into travelling would be great.”
Caswell’s latest single Everyone Knows is out now and her next, Lie To Me, is released on July 13th. Her website is www.caswellofficial.com and she can be found on Twitter @caswellofficial.
Words: Scott Bates
Photography: Nick Illot