Cristabella May


Brighton ingénue Cristabella May talks about her music

ingénu/e came across Brighton based songstress Cristabella May recently and questioned her about her music.

Cristabella was brought up with music, as a child she listened to Dusty Springfield, Kiki Dee, Crystal Gayle, the Eurythmics and others with her mum; her dad would play her Motown, Hot Chocolate, even Little Richard. She later discovered artists like Aretha Franklin and Etta James for herself.

Christabella May

Christabella May

What about current songwriters? She thinks most highly of Amy Winehouse, whose timing she feels was impeccable. Cristabella says, “If I had to go out on a limb and say whose career I would most love to replicate then I think Adele. She writes great songs, has a great voice and is incredibly successful but she seems to have really stayed true to herself.” She continues, “I’ve been doing my solo thing for a few years now, but I’ve taken it more seriously over the last couple of years. I’m currently writing my next album and I am doing a few other bits and pieces – which you can see on my website. I play the piano although I wouldn’t ever call myself a pianist! I learned to read music in lessons when I was younger but never did very well at practicing, so in the end I just kind of taught myself to play chords in order to accompany myself and write songs.”

Cristabella tells me that nothing inspires a song better than a broken heart or being in love and she’s been lucky enough to have experienced both so has had plenty of material. She does collaborate occasionally but usually finds herself writing at odd hours of the day so solo writing is easier. That said, once she has written a song and taken it to the musicians and producer they do have a big influence on the sound of the finished product. She does have particular musicians and producers she likes to work with. She tells me, “I love James Macmillan, from Quiet Money Studios, as a producer, Tom Walker is an amazing guitarist, MD and songwriter. To be honest, I love all the musicians that played on my album. There are other musicians I know that I would love to record with too and have in my band. I’m very lucky to work with some really amazing musicians and producers. Brighton is a veritable hotbed of talented musicians!”

Cristabella’s goals for her music and her solo career are to keep on writing, recording, performing and to reach as many people as possible with her material. If people like it and buy it then that’s a massive bonus. She concludes, “Music is a lifelong endeavour, so my main goal is to be able to keep on doing what I love doing until I can sing no longer!”

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