Music Q&A Tori Lamb, Singer-Songwriter Young & Human
Tori Lamb is an up-and-coming singer songwriter from London who’s just finished her second year at University and hoping to make music her full time gig. For more insight into Tori's past, current and future projects, click here: www.torilamb.co.uk, or follow Tori on Twitter: @tori_lamb
How would you define normal?
Normal is a self-defining word. You always think everyone’s normal, until you get to know someone and you realise that...no one is normal! I don’t think being normal exists, if someone described me as normal I’d be offended. We see people being what we think is normal in social situations, but going to an arty university there are some interesting people that are so creative and whacky. I think especially if you’re at uni; it’s a place where everyone is so accepting because it’s an open place where people just kind of go for it.
In your opinion, what is the power of music?
On a smaller scale, the power of music is a great way to change your mood. Even if you’re walking down a street listening to a cool song, you just feel really cool that day. If I can lift people’s moods through music, it’s quite a nice thing to be able to do.
Do you want to be labelled or have no label?
Having no label is kind of a bad idea, but at the same time completely confining yourself to a label, like ‘I only do pop music’ is just as bad. When it comes to labelling, I like when people can say that they listen to this type of music and have a name pop in their head. And when you’re not labelled as anything, it’s hard for people to do that for you. I’d prefer to be labelled - label it is!
Are you working to live or living to work?
I go to uni and have a good time, and I’m exploring a lot different aspects in music and film. I know I want to sing and song write and the style I want to go down, but it’s not the only thing I do, so it’s really important to just enjoy yourself and build experiences. It’s also important to have balance and to try as hard as you can. It is an industry with so much rejection so I’m trying as hard as I can and putting all my energy into it. In the industry, you come across people who are in the same position as you and everyone experiences rejection.
What importance does family have in your life?
Family is obviously very important; in the long run it’s good to have family to tell you the truth but also to stand by you to support you. My parents are really supportive, and they’ve always driven me to all my gigs, even driving for hours for a 10-minute.. Just having someone, even a friend, who can just tell you the truth and stand by you - that’s priceless.
How do you juggle the ‘real world’ and dreams of becoming a singer?
It’s heart breaking to say ‘I’m never going to make it’ because you see these famous singers and think that if you’re not that big, you haven’t made. I don’t think that’s true. I’ve met so many people who are musicians and not many people have heard of them, but they still have a solid fan base and earn their life as musicians. For emerging artists, it’s quite hard to step back and say ‘I don’t have to be that person in order to be successful’. You’ve just got to appreciate the journey you’re on. I’m doing it because I genuinely enjoy it - I’m not doing it to become the most famous person ever.
What do you think about the role of women in the music & media industry?
I was researching the other day about women in music and film, and female composers for film scores. I might have got this wrong but there have only ever been three women who won Oscars for composing music in film. I just can’t believe there isn’t anymore. I feel like it’s improving but there’s always going to be an issue on how women dress and perform, I turned to my friends at a festival recently and I was like ‘they’re not wearing any clothes!’
I think everyone who’s going on stage, boy or girl is going to want to look nice and that’s just about self-confidence. I do think it’s a massive aspect of it because everyone’s standing there judging you and you do feel like what you look like is an important issue. I think there’s a difference between wanting to look nice, and completely sexualising yourself to the point where people aren’t listening to the music anymore and are kind of just looking at you.
What would you recommend to young people who want to get into music?
I would say being able to see all the different aspects of music helps, for example when I started in first year I hadn’t done any production. I took a module in music production and even though I didn’t even think of myself as a person who could do that, now I can. Before I thought ‘I want to be a singer and I want to song write.’ And that was it, whereas now that I’ve learnt different aspects of the industry, it’s given me more hope that I’ll work in music. Before I thought if I’m not a singer and not a really successful singer, I’ll just have to do something else, but now, if it doesn’t work out, I still want to work in other parts of the music industry.
What are your musical influences?
I love hip hop and R&B, but I really like house as well – I went to see AlunaGeorge at Glastonbury recently, and they were great – such a good show. I love Nayo, all of her productions are great; love a bit of Banks, I love her lyrics, every time I listen to her album she really inspires me.
Tell us about the best performance you’ve had so far?
My favourite performance was in the ‘Yard Bird’ in Birmingham, one of the first places I performed when I was 15/16, which was amazing because all my friends couldn’t get in, I felt so cool! It wasn’t huge but I remember the place being absolutely packed. Having a crowd makes the whole show so different. It was the first time people really cheered and asked for more – it was really memorable.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were a teenager?
I would tell myself to listen to my parents a bit more; I did in the end when they told me I should study music rather than busking. I was always like ‘No I’m going to be fine! I’m gonna make it, it’ll be absolutely fine!’ It was definitely the right choice to listen to them and do what I’m doing now.
Have you got any tips for people reading this who might be asking, Am I Normal?
You shouldn’t be scared of what people think of your music, I’m still really worried whenever I show anyone anything, I think ‘oh my god what if they don’t like it?’ even if it’s my best friend. Everyone should stop worrying so much about what other people think. Trust yourself and don’t get so uptight about releasing every little thing. Just put out as much material as possible, and see what happens. Don’t be scared.