Bristol-born singer-songwriter Lauren Aquilina is making a welcome return to Live at Leeds for the second year in a row. Although still only 19, Aquilina is not an artist one should underestimate.
Signed to Island Records, she recently became her own manager, and as I speak to her on a sunny April afternoon over the phone, she is currently entering the train station, off on another one of her frequent adventures.
“I’ve only been managing myself for a few months, but just because of unforeseen circumstances”, begins Aquilina. “I am actually looking to get a manager. It’s been kind of liberating that for the first time in my career I’ve had full transparency of what’s going on. My relationship with everyone I work with; my label, my publisher and my booking agents have just got so much better, which I’m so thankful for. It’s been tough, I have to admit it’s been a challenge. The other day, I was doing my own tour budget spreadsheet, and I had no idea what I was doing – it’s been a really good learning experience.”
Aquilina is billed as one of Live at Leeds’ headline acts this year, probably in no small part thanks to her packed-out performance, at the 2014 event. “It was good, I was playing in the bigger venue, the O2 Academy, which is kind of scary, but I didn’t really expect it to be as full as it was. I’m excited about this year because I’m bringing my band, which I didn’t get to do last year so that’s going to be fun. I’m going to try and see as many of my friends as possible and show support.”
As she dashes across Bristol station, she explains why she makes a point of meeting her fans after shows. “It’s probably the most important part of it for me, actually, it’s just because when I started out as an artist, I said to myself ‘when I’m a fan of these artists, what do I want as a fan?’. It’s nice for me to have that personal connection with people. Because I come from an internet background, there’s nothing like being able to know their name.”
After several successful EPs, Aquilina assures me that her highly-anticipated debut album is on the way. “I’m doing it now. I’m having curveball after curveball thrown at me, at the moment, but it is happening. At this point it’s probably about half done, but I imagine that it will probably come out in the first half of next year, which is later than I would have planned, but just because of everything that’s gone on it’s important to me that I make sure it’s perfect, rather than rushing something just for the sake of it coming out this year.”
Lauren Aquilina is scheduled to play at Leeds College of Music on May 2 at 9.30pm. For further details visit http://www.liveatleeds.com/artists/lauren-aquilina/