Class of 2019/20: Brooke Bentham

By Matthew Prudham

As part of Music’s continuing Class of 2019/20 interview series, talks to rising North East star Brooke Bentham about her upcoming debut album, working with ex-The Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones, and her opening slot for Sam Fender this Saturday at Newcastle’s O2 Academy.

Hi Brooke! You’ve been on tour with Sam Fender over the past few weeks, how has that been treating you?

Tour has been fun. I supported Sam on his first UK tour so it’s interesting to see how things have changed for him. 

You open for his Newcastle date on the 7th December. How excited are you to perform for what will surely be a raucous crowd in the Toon?

Newcastle are always the best crowd to play to, obviously. I’m super excited to play the O2 academy, I’ve seen loads of gigs there growing up so it’s gonna be a weird one.

How did you react to selling out Islington’s Lexington?

I was very pleased. It’s nice that I essentially have two homes. London will be a great show, especially after doing so many support shows. It’ll be nice to do my own.

Geoff Ellis, what a ridiculous thing to say that more females need to pick up guitars. He needs to pull his finger out.

Your tone of voice appears to me as a mix between the sultry tones of London Grammar’s Hannah Reid and Lana Del Rey and the poignancy of the xx’s Romy Croft – what inspired you to become a singer?

I’m not so sure really. I started theatre school at 9 and just really enjoyed the singing bit of it. Started singing lessons when I was 15, and my teacher told me to start writing and then I just didn’t really stop.

During the past week, we’ve had a renewed controversy about gender equality on festival lineups with TRNSMT’s lead booker, Geoff Ellis, saying that “More females need to pick up guitars” to achieve equality. How would you respond to this?

You’ve gotta laugh, haven’t you? He needs to pull his finger out. What an absolutely ridiculous thing to say. Disappointed but not surprised. Same thing happened last year. I’m sure it will next year too.

Your debut album, ‘Everyday Nothing’, comes out next year (28th February 2020). What should we expect from your record?

It’s not really like anything I’ve released before. It’s more guitar based, but the lyrics are as existential as they have ever been. You might cry or you might dance.

How has working with Bill Ryder-Jones on the record been?

It’s been good. He is only mildly annoying, but an extremely good guitar player and songwriter.

Brooke Bentham releases her debut album, “Everyday Nothing” on 28th February 2020.

What’s the meaning behind the lead single, “All My Friends are Drunk”? You sing about “having not been wasted in months” and wondering how your friends are always drunk, but also more positively about I also learned how to create homes in places that I go to.

It’s about growing older and growing apart from people. Getting older but realising you still don’t know anything and maybe you never will.

Bill Ryder-Jones is only mildly annoying, but an extremely good guitar player and songwriter to work with.

What should people expect from one of your shows?

Music to cry to.

And finally, what three artists should Durham students be listening to right now?

Sasami, Duster & Hovvdy.

Brooke Bentham releases her debut album, “Everyday Nothing”, on 28th February 2020. It is available to pre-order and pre-save now. Her new single, “All My Friends Are Drunk” is available to buy and stream now. She plays, alongside Sam Fender, Loyle Carner, Declan McKenna and many others, This Is Tomorrow Festival on 26th May 2020. Tickets go on sale on Friday at wwww.thisistomorrow.co.uk.

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