ANNOUNCES INTIMATE UK TOUR FOR LATE SUMMER
ACCLAIMED SOLO ALBUM ‘PIECES’ IS OUT NOW
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR ‘WILL YOU WAIT’ HERE;
Over a decade since The Magic Numbers landed in the Top 10 with their double-platinum-selling debut album, Michele Stodart has taken temporary leave of the band she formed with her brother Romeo, to release her acclaimed solo album ‘Pieces’ on One Little Indian Records.
Released four years after her solo debut, ‘Wide-Eyed Crossing’, the nine songs that comprise ‘Pieces’ confirm that, almost by stealth, Michele has turned into an artist whose work bears strong comparison to some of the touchstone songwriters that helped shape her outlook.
“With your first album,” explains Michele, “It’s very much a matter of planting your flag in the ground, assembling the best songs you’ve got, and saying, ‘Here I am.’ With this one though, I could start thinking about something more narrated and focus on the storytelling a bit more.” For Michele, it was a matter of getting tone and texture right. One of the earliest songs to take shape on the record was ‘Something About You’, which set the emotional temperature for much of what followed. It’s impossible to miss the aching intensity in Michele’s delivery, as she tells her younger self that “Life waits for no girl/ Who fears the dance of letting go” over a breathtakingly ornate string arrangement.
The bedrock of Michele’s writing is a reliance on rock-solid melodies that always stop short of outstaying their welcome. Keen to ensure that the tunes earned their place on the record, Michele wrote most of the songs on ‘Pieces’ away from her guitar – only setting them to chord sequences when they refused to leave her head.
Having experienced toxic relationships and intensely loving ones, Michele feels well placed to hold forth on both scenarios. ‘When Is It Over?’ parlays sentiments that will be immediately recognisable to many people who have ended an abusive relationship only to realise that the underlying insecurities which propelled them there in the first place are harder to shake. "I used to seek out darkness, perhaps thinking that I would write better songs as a result of it. But really, you don’t have to seek it. It’s all around us.”
‘Ain't No Woman’ then, is Michele’s take on those classic country songs like ‘Stand by your Man’ or Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. But it takes the opposite point of view, explains Michele. “It’s a song about someone who’s finally standing up for herself and putting her foot down. There’s a strength and determination in it, a self-respect that the character is almost taunting her lover with: “Oh honey, there’s no other woman like yours.”
Then there is the “trade off” to which Michele refers when describing one of the songs on ‘Pieces’ which concern loving relationships: the more precious the love you find, the greater the fear and awareness of the forces that conspire to take it away. ‘Just Anyone Won’t Do’, the song in question, is another example of the increasingly assured narrative voice that Michele is bringing to her songs these days. In this tenderly turned study of loss, we’re reminded that the longer and more loving the relationship is, then the greater the grief that follows it: “There’s a place to the left of you/Still cold and unlaid in/The bed’s all made up,” she sings. Even if she makes it to the chorus in one piece, you may fare less well.
“There was never a plan to start making solo records,” says Michele. “But then something happens. The songs you’ve been writing just for yourself, whilst playing in a completely different band, take on a life of their own. Before you know it, you’re walking onto a stage where there’s just one mic stand, one monitor and no drums. And you’ve no clear recollection of what got you there!”
Michele has also announced an intimate late summer UK live tour, taking in fifteen towns & cities and concluding with a special London show at Hackney Wonderland (on 16 October). Full live dates are as follows;
Aug 31 Exeter Phoenix
Sep 01 Witney Fat Lil’s
Sep 02 Bristol Thunderbolt
Sep 04 Chester Live Rooms
Sep 09 Hartlepool - The Studio
Sep 10 Newcastle Cluny 2
Sep 11 Sheffield - The Greystones
Sep 12 Glasgow Hug And Pint
Sep 13 Edinburgh Sneaky Pete's
Sep 14 Inverness Hootenanny
Sep 15 Aberdeen - The Tunnels
Sep 22 Folkestone Quarterhouse
Sep 26 Birmingham Kitchen Garden Cafe
Sep 27 Brighton Komedia Studio
Oct 16 London - Hackney Wonderland
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