Earlier this month, Liverpool singer Helen Maw came back with a brand new single; a new track titled Playing With Fire. A really beautiful, emotionally-rich orchestral track; the song opens with a stunning piano instrumental, and with a gentle acoustic melody playing throughout, Helen’s soft yet powerful vocals are placed right at the forefront. Perfect for those fans of artists such as Emeli Sande, Sam Smith, Carole King and Saint Saviour, Helen is currently working on her debut album, which we will hopefully get to hear later this year; so keep an eye out for more new music from the talented singer in the upcoming months. But for more on her newest release, keep on reading for an in-depth chat with Helen where we caught up with her to talk about all things Playing With Fire, her music and journey, and plans for the rest of 2020!
TSU: Tell me a bit about your journey in music so far?
HM: I have always loved singing and playing music since I was little. I have always been a performer and in my teens, I began writing my own music. I studied Music for four years at Liverpool Hope University gaining both a Bachelors and Masters degree. Since finishing my degrees, I have focused on performing around liverpool and beyond as well as writing more songs! Now, after releasing two singles and an EP, I am working on my debut album which I am hoping to release soon!
TSU: Given the current situation, how does it feel to be releasing and creating new music?
HM: It has definitely been a different experience creating and releasing music during lockdown. Like many people, I have struggled sometimes with productivity, especially throughout the early lockdown period. However with my latest EP ‘Everything in Between’, I set myself a challenge to write and record an EP during lockdown featuring some of my songs but stripped back. I recorded and mastered it all from home and released it back in April. I really enjoyed it in the end as it gave me something to focus on and I was quite proud of the result!
TSU: So you’re just about to release your next single, Playing With Fire, which is an incredible track! I’d love to hear more about what inspired you when writing the track, and how you crafted the production.
HM: Thank you! This track is definitely one of the most personal ones I’ve written. It comes from feelings of love and loss, but not necessarily in a romantic sense! I think it is for anyone who has had someone in their life that hasn’t treated them right and it’s taken time to realise that you are not defined by someone else’s opinion of your worth. The middle 8 especially is the real turning point in the song as the lyrics change to a more defiant tone.
The production side of it was really enjoyable! I recorded the song at Whitewood studios in Liverpool and it was a brilliant experience. I had the expert help of Danny who works there and between us, we really brought the song to life! It was great having that creative freedom to try all sorts of different instruments and sounds to achieve the one we wanted!
TSU: How would you say Playing With Fire fits into your wider discography, and the musical direction you’re heading in?
HM: A lot of my music explores emotional experiences of love and loss. This song fits in well with other songs I have written. My aim with my music is to write from the heart and create something that is meaningful which I believe this song is and I want to continue this in my future work.
TSU: Earlier this year, you also released your debut EP, Everything In Between. How did you settle on the title for the EP?
HM: The EP was essentially a collection of four love songs, each exploring a different type and experience of love from heartbreak to defiance. Some of the songs were more contemplative and emotional whereas others were not and had more of a feisty tone to them and so I thought that the songs and the EP represented the ups and downs of love, as well as everything in between.
TSU: With such stunning and mature lyricism; what’s your usual process when it comes to writing lyrics?
HM: When writing my lyrics, I tend to focus on the idea for the song first and then begin to write down themes around it and eventually transform these ideas into phrases. I spend a lot of time finding rhymes for the phrases too. However sometimes the lyrics will just come naturally if I’ve been playing around with chords and riffs. Each song is different and I never try and stick to the same strict method of lyric writing as I like each song to be unique and special in it’s own right!
“The track is a story of having your heart broken but coming to the realisation that you are not defined by other people and they way they mistreat you. This song is one of the most personal songs I have written and I believe that this comes through in the music. My aim with my music is to tell stories of life and relationships and the things that go on around me. I try to make my music relatable to the people who listen to it and I want it to resonate with people.”Helen Maw on Playing With Fire
TSU: Having not released any collabs or features so far, is this something that we can look forward to on future projects?
HM: Yes definitely! With lockdown, it has been harder to make this sort of thing happen but now we are (hopefully) coming out the other side of it, I am looking forward to getting some collaborations together, both performances and hopefully songwriting! I have a lot of musical friends who I am desperate to collaborate with so who knows, maybe 2021 will be the year of collaborations!
TSU: Have you had any go to tracks, or artists, you’ve been listen to while in lockdown and during this crazy time?
HM: Definitely a lot of local music! OMD, The Beatles and the Icicle Works to name a few. I may be biased but you can’t beat some scouse music to cheer you up! There’s so many amazing artists in the city, I could listen to them all day!
TSU: What would you say is the best way to listen to Playing With Fire?
HM: Great question! I think Playing With Fire is definitely a song to listen to while looking out of a car window on a long drive, whilst it’s raining, pretending you’re in your own music video. Or at least that’s how I always listen to it!
TSU: Where do you see yourself heading musically, for the rest of 2020, and over the next year?
HM: Over the rest of the year and into the next, I want to keep writing and recording and hopefully finish my album! I’ve got so many songs that I want to get out there and I think the lockdown period has inspired me to get moving with them and get them finished.
An absolute pleasure to chat to Helen; to find out more about her and her music, and to keep up with all her newest releases, find her on all her social platforms down below!