Interview: Katy B Loves Dolly Parton
Catching up with Little Red
By Georgina Langford
Katy B, otherwise known as Little Red, Annie Orange, Tangerine Dream or K Bizzle, according to her Instagram. But, after seeing her throw some beautiful shapes on this exclusive shoot for MTV(she said the silver Acne jacket made her feel "like an alien…or like I was from Total Recall"), we'll just call her Katy 'Absolute Dreambabe' B. Of course, there is much more to Katy B than great style and really great hair. Her new album Little Red looks set to showcase the South London star's increasingly impressive voice and her latest single, 'Crying For No Reason,' is a stunningly atmospheric heartbreak anthem - the likes of which we haven't heard since Robyn's 'Dancing On My Own'.
However. Before we delve into the depths of Katy's excellent music, there is a matter that needs to be addressed. Recently, Katy had the sheer audacity to brave covering One Direction's 'Story Of My Life' on a live radio show. How did that go down with the ever-protective Directioners? "I remember seeing the boys perform it on X Factor and thinking 'wow, this is a really great song', so I thought I'd give it a go… but actually the 1D fans were really nice and shared it on their blogs!" Katy laughs. Her favourite member of One Direction is the more unusual choice of Niall Horan, mainly because he tweeted Katy's cover version of their single and she instantly gained "about 50 thousand new followers."
One Direction might be all-powerful, but Katy has been making waves of her own, releasing great single after great single. After writing the official song of the 2012 Olympics with Mark Ronson, Katy went quiet before storming back at the end of last summer with the euphoric 'What Love Is Made Of'. "I'd been listening to a lot of house music," explains Katy, "then we got this bassline and it just made me want to dance. I wanted to write about the feeling of love, what one person can give to you that someone else can't." Following that with '5AM', a song that perfectly captures the feeling of being lost and alone in a packed-out club, and now the equally dark 'Crying For No Reason', it's fair enough that one fan recently asked "Where did the carefree Katy go?" on her Facebook page. The 'Katy On A Mission' days are clearly long gone.
"I understand that," says Katy, "and I'd say that I have got a lot more responsible now then when I was 18. There's still a lot of carefree, happy songs on my album, but so much of my music is inspired by my real experiences and my friends experiences. Songs come from conversations with my friends and family just trying to like, work life out and the obstacles that get in the way of that." One addition to the Little Red tracklisting is Katy's collaboration with Jessie Ware, a song called 'Aaliyah'. Although, contrary to our original hopes, it wasn't directly inspired by the R'n'B icon herself, the late Aaliyah Haughton did end up being Katy's muse for the track.
"How that came about was that the beat I got immediately transported me to a club where everyone was looking hot," recalls Katy, "and then there's this girl, sexily dancing. My boyfriend is the DJ and he's playing for her and I'm watching her dance, so the song developed that jealousy theme. I wanted it to be about a girls name – like 'Jolene' by Dolly Parton but a modern version. To find the right name I looked on my iTunes and of course Aaliyah came up first, so her name became the temporary title, but as the song progressed I was just picturing her in my head and she actually became the character of the song. I wanted the song to have an effortless sex appeal, like her."
Photos: Laura Coulson