It’s been a while since the last ‘Musicians on Lockdown’ post, but I feel like this one was worth the wait. Local singer/songwriter, Cara Hammond, chats about lockdown and a #24HourSongWritingChallenge inspired EP.
You’re normally based down in London, but you made the decision to come home to North Wales when Lockdown kicked off? Is it strange leaving the city and coming home?
– Yeah it was strange but more because I was leaving London & my whole life there so quickly to come back home. Like all of us, I didn’t know how long that was going to be for & that was scary. I’m glad I made that decision now because it’s been so so nice being surrounded by nature and being close to my family. It’s definitely de-stressed me in an otherwise stressful situation.
You’ve even been taking inspiration from your fans when writing songs?
– Yeah, since the beginning of lockdown it’s been hard to connect with fans as all of my live gigs and festivals have either been cancelled or postponed. Also for the first few weeks I felt quite anxious about the whole situation & so inspiration for writing could be difficult. However, there’s loads of different features on social media that I hadn’t tried before & realised that now was the time to do it. So I created a post on my Instagram story and using the questions feature, asked people to send me their song ideas. I’d then pick my favourite idea, write a song with it, rehearse it & then less that 24 hours later, perform it in my weekly livestream. Each week I received really great messages either from people who’s ideas I’d picked or other fans who connected with the songs. That’s when the idea for the ‘twenty four hours’ EP came about.
You’ve been making the most of the live features on social media with Open Mic sessions? How did they go?
– Yeah, one thing I really miss is playing a gig with a great lineup of other artists & being able to engage with other musician’s fans. After I spoke on a Malaysian radio show’s Insta (Fly FM) using the split screen feature, I had an idea for an open mic using my Instagram page as the platform. I asked a few of my musician friends, either that I’d met at uni or since moving to London at gigs or in sessions etc. Everyone I asked were really excited for it! It was great for our audiences as it was the closest thing they’d get to a gig for a while and it was so good to just talk to other musicians about their experience of lockdown.
How did you end up in London? You didn’t take the big jump to London straight away, but went to University in Leeds?
– I moved to London in 2018 after studying at Leeds College of Music and doing a bit of travelling. I did look at going Brit School for 6th form but as it’s not a residential, there was no where for me to live, especially at the age of 16. I also looked at uni in London, but I remember looking around Leeds on their open day and it was a really great college, with a mixture of all genres of music. I also fell in love with the city, it’s music scene and student-y vibe was really exciting for me. I’m glad I moved to London when I did as it seems that most of my friends have moved their at the same time & I’m absolutely loving it.
Your move back home for lockdown certainly shows through your latest EP. Stripped back to your voice and your guitar. What was it like writing about a topic chosen by somebody else?
– It was a really great bit of inspiration actually. It really helped me focus, especially since I gave myself a limit of 24 hours, it meant I really had to get my arse into gear. As a songwriter, you’re always writing and/or collaborating. I love writing on my own as it is very personal and I can indulge a little bit. However I love collaborating too, as it’s so fun jamming with another artist and creating a song which you both feel connected to. Luckily I still have been able to collaborate with other musicians/producers at the moment via Zoom.
Music has taken you round the world too? Did you think you’d get to where you are when you started out, because you started quite young?
– Since I was a kid I always loved listening to, singing and performing music. I think I knew it would always be a bit part of my life. I’m happy that I have kept on pursuing it as there’s been so many amazing things that have happened and I’m excited to see what’s next!
I’d love to finish on some rather impressive Spotify stats? Which has lead to a new music video?
– So ‘Good Times’ is my most streamed song on Spotify, with over 300,000 streams, which is absolutely crazy. To celebrate this and it’s 1 year anniversary, I created an alt music video with help from my band and fans. My band (Robert Oates on drums, Kieran Williams on keys, Stefan Knap on bass, Dominic Carmelo on guitar) recorded themselves playing ‘Good Times’ to which I layered it all on top of each other to create the full track. I then asked friends, family and fans on social media to send me some videos of them having their ‘good times’ which I edited into the video. It was such a fun video to create as it felt like I was celebrating with all these people even though we were all apart.
Quick Fire Questions
- If you could have any pet you liked, what would it be? – Been spending lockdown at my boyfriends house and he has a pet dog named Billie. She’s (as in Billie Eilish) the cutest, fluffiest thing and she really cheers you up when you’re having a meh day. I’ve moved in with my parents now so maybe I’ll dognap her.
- Your go-to drink after performing a gig? – Ooooooh a large glass of white wine.
- What you miss most due to Lockdown? – I miss live music sooo much. I had festivals planned for this summer so I’m gutted about those being postponed but at least they’ll be there 2021. Also pubs and holidays.
Follow these links to give ‘twenty four hours’ a listen: