Foxes (real name Louisa Rose Allen), much like the cunning animal that inspired her stage name (which by the way, she impressively out-Googles), is equal parts clever, adaptive and wise, with her music naturally highlighting all of these qualities.
Much more than a pop singer, her powerful voice adapts to any musical challenge with ease, gliding into a variety of genres and winning over listeners all over the globe. Foxes lent her vocal talents to German producer Zedd, for a track “Clarity” that went on to win a Grammy for Best Dance Recording in 2014. Since then her career has rocketed, with the singer celebrating her second album, All I Need, which was released earlier this month.
Getting to know the singer through her music presents a curious challenge; Foxes’ versatility as a singer-songwriter further presents evidence she’s going to be a staple in the music collections of all kinds of listeners, especially charming those who recognize what is possible when pure talent is met with smart production choices.
Perhaps Foxes’ biggest strength as an artist is her ability to fit in regardless of the style of song she’s working on, while also managing to stay true to her roots in pop music. It’s evident Foxes knows how to use her voice extremely well, masterfully knowing when to scale back and when to belt out, all while showcasing complete control.
All I Need is an album with equal parts personality and emotion, with Foxes’ identity shining through. New fans have also been introduced to the singer by way of H&M, the retail chain choosing the 26-year-old to be the face of their H&M Loves Music Fall 2015 campaign. While the singer is enjoying seeing her hard work come to fruition, she has no indication of slowing down now.
We caught up with Foxes just before she sets off on an extensive UK tour to get to know more about how she channels different energy from different places while writing songs and which Hip Hop artists find their way into her headphones.
Have you found it difficult to have your voice heard?
I definitely have found it difficult at times. I started off, a long time ago, doing open mic nights around London and you know, playing to any crowds at all, trying to build a name for myself and trying to get heard. I put a couple of tracks on SoundCloud, which then, somehow, Zedd, who is a German producer, heard them and from there, after doing a song with him, my voice was heard a lot more. The track I did with Zedd was a bit more mainstream, and when it came to my own projects, my own music, it’s less commercial, so it’s not always easy to get heard. I think if anything it’s always a bit of a struggle, constantly trying to build a name for yourself.
In what ways has being from the UK influenced your career? What is the local music scene like where you got your start?
I’m from a place called Southampton and when I moved to London, it felt like such a big city, especially one with so many people that wanted to do the same thing as me. The local music scene in London is very respected. You can go to any open mic night and you’re bound to see some incredible talent. It’s great. A lot of people will get discovered in different parts of London. There’s just so much up-and-coming new music, so many different platforms and so many ways to meet people. It’s really an inspiring place to be making music.
You recorded your latest album in several different places. How did that play a role in your creative process?
It was fun traveling around and making an album. I do think that LA and London and Wales are three completely different places to write music in. There’s something about London I like, because it’s raw and it’s gritty. I definitely noticed a change in the way I’m writing songs when I’m in London, compared to when I’m in L.A. There’s a lot of enthusiasm in L.A., which is good, but sometimes I crave that rawness that London has. I end up writing smoother in L.A. I don’t know if that makes any sense [laughs]. The music I come up with when I’m in L.A. is a lot more clean, more pop, compared to what it would be in London. There’s a much bigger pop scene in L.A. than there is in London, and you have a lot of massive pop writers, so it feels a lot more like a formula. Almost like, it’s very mathematical in L.A. and in the UK, I think it’s a bit less.
Has Hip Hop played a role in inspiring you? If so, in which ways?
I’ve been really inspired by all sorts of music. What’s interesting now is, I think, there’s a lot of genres that get entwined and mixed, and a lot of pop and Hip Hop are really mixed, especially compared to what it used to be. I think they are a lot more linked now. Lyrically, I’ve been inspired by Eminem. I love him, I love Drake. I don’t know what you classify as Hip Hop, specifically, but for me, I see it as a wider playing field with lots of different artists doing different kinds of things and that’s always inspiring.
As a creator, what is your mission in creating, especially in today’s music industry?
Being able to relate to things, and especially when I was younger, music helped me a lot. It’s a powerful thing, if music can help people, if it can give a message that is positive or inspiring to people, that’s a reason to do it. To connect with people as well. It’s an incredible way to connect with people, you know, that you haven’t met. I think that especially is a big part of why I do it.
What would you like to see unfold next for your career in 2016?
I just finished up my album. I just put out my second album, so for me, it’s about touring, touring the world, and getting the music out there as much as possible. I’m doing a big UK tour at the moment and then I’m going to Japan, hopefully America towards the end of the year. Really just touring at the moment and hopefully some collaborations with a few people that I’m really excited about.