I have had writer’s block in more than one sense when writing music, poetry, and blogs – the lot! After all, finding 30 minutes to sit and write can sometimes be tricky. But after Ace from Skunk Anansie asked me to write a blog for ACM, it got me working on the written word again.
I have worn many hats this last month. At one time or another I have been an artist, a singer, a teacher, a record label, a manager, a mentor, and I have worked in marketing, PR, publishing, and even as a yogi.
I went to Latvia last summer, ostensibly to have a break, see some friends and write some new music. Instead, Fly Away Bird and Pop were produced. I booked another four days and two more songs came alive. It was incredible watching masters of music and sound come together and work together like a well-oiled machine. This also gave me some frustration, as in the past I have always been super-involved with how I want things to be played. Fortunately, from the moment I explained what I loved and what I saw and heard from this EP I was able to trust and let them get on with it. It was hard, but as a self-proclaimed control freak I accepted this was a lesson of letting go and trusting my friends to help me, and be true to what I wanted. The moments when they got stuck (admittedly seldom!) they opened up to me and it felt great to be a part of the process even more. It was fun finding a box of batteries to use as percussion or galloping with tap shoes on my hands and feet!
So when you are relying on friendship, spare time and limited funds you have to be prepared to wait patiently. This is a fact when you are your own label and rely on the funds of a teaching and job in a function band. In this case it took eight months after the songs were recorded for them to be mixed. Only then can you start thinking about videos, remixes, and of course, singles.
Out of the four songs I chose the track Fly Away Bird to be the single. I decided I wanted an acoustic version and a remix. The band Princess Slayer provided a beautifully dark drum and bass remix. It is really quite heavenly. I also recorded an acoustic version of Fly Away Bird with guitarist and friend, Connor McDonald at Clive Cherry’s studio. I wanted to do a live full take with us both in the room and to keep the imperfections to give it a raw, authentic feel.
After all the songs were recorded and mixed, I was lucky enough to get the incredible Tim Young to master this EP in an artist masterclass at Metropolis studios which Ace ran. I was the featured artist hanging with the students and chatting about my music and wonderful and varied career post-ACM.
More about Erika Footman
Erika Footman is a DIY artist (ERIKA) releasing her records on her own label, iMMa Sounds. About to set sail on her fourth release, she is currently in the middle of a Pledge Music Campaign, raising money to release her EP and go on her second European headline tour.
As well as being an artist in her own right, Erika has also worked with a number of established and legendary artists. She has performed as a backing singer for MIKA on worldwide tours between 2009 to 2012. Erika also performed alongside Skunk Anansie on their 2014 tour, in addition to providing backing vocals and keys for the band’s acoustic album. Erika also raps and sings with hip-hop/metal pioneers Senser throughout the UK and Europe, and she has recently recorded guest vocals on 2 tracks with #1 UK artists, Bastille and Ella Eyre. Alongside these ventures, Erika also teaches at ACM on the Artist Development course and holds regular workshops and masterclasses about performance, being a DIY artist and vocal technique.