By Jess Wilkinson, First Year English and Philosophy
Amidst the chaos of recently selling out her UK tour, Manchester R&B artist Pip Millett took the time to answer some questions on her growing presence in the music industry, from recently signing to Sony Music and the success of her latest EP Motion Sick, to her writing inspirations and influences.
Pip Millett’s rise to R&B sensation already includes two performances for Vevo’s Artists to Watch 2022 series, a COLOURS performance boasting over 4.5 million views, and most recently a run of sold-out shows across the UK – and she hasn’t even released her debut album yet. Millett will be performing at Bristol Exchange on January 10th, the Mancunian’s first time playing in Bristol.
An exciting new voice in contemporary R&B, she contrasts her relaxed vocals with hard-hitting lyrics alongside a minimalist approach to production, echoing influence of soul, boom-bap and hip-hop. Her songs are confessional, often deeply personal stories of her own life that reveal both her inner character and views on the wider world. With such an introspective attitude to her music and it’s delivery, Millett’s show is bound to be unapologetically emotional.
After having her tour postponed three times, Pip is ready to make her return to live music. Having admittedly only done two proper shows before, she can’t say she completely missed live performances during the lockdowns and Covid restrictions. However, she is still excited to be back in front of her fans and is 'looking forward to seeing if anyone knows the lyrics or not!' - the answer to this already appears evident in how high-demanding tickets for her tour have been.
Millet has had more to celebrate elsewhere in her career, recently being signed to Sony Music she explains 'It’s cool. Me and my team had been doing lots of great stuff before singing, and it felt like the natural next step.' Despite these huge successes Millett retains the same air of calm and composure that is present in her music, continuing 'I was at home during lockdown when the offer came through from Sony, probably chilling with my dog!'.
Across her three EPs to date, Pip has confronted an assortment of personal, political, and social issues, demonstrating that she is unafraid to use music to voice her opinions regardless of the subject matter. Often discussed in her music is the reality of racial conflict in the UK, and the circumstances conditioning the black experience. The lead single Running of her latest EP Motion Sick is a prime example of this, Pip’s vocals come through across with a lethargic attitude, the lyrics addressing the tiresome nature of being black and British.
When asked about the importance of writing about herself as a young black woman in the music industry, Pip explains 'I write about my life experiences so it’s not just about being a young black woman in the music industry, but more about being a young black woman in general.' This stance is made clear on other tracks on Motion Sick, such as Hard Life and Braid it Back that tackle themes of love in Millett’s personal life as well as her experiences growing up. 'Sometimes I speak about this, sometimes I don’t - it really depends how I’m feeling regarding what I write about', Pip continues that her music is inspired by her life, and this dictates the direction of what she writes about.
Pip says the work of classic artists has been a huge inspiration for her – Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Joni Mitchell among others cited on her Spotify page – and this is both sonically evident in the live instrumentation she uses and in her intimate lyrical content paired with a soulful writing style. The track Braid it Back previously mentioned features a sample from Otis Redding’s I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, and earlier in 2019 Millett also recorded and released her own version of Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness, Millett explaining 'Otis Redding is a big inspiration. The sample came about because we were looking for cool sounds to play with!'.
Next for Pip is the release of her highly anticipated debut album in 2022, and although not much has been said about what exactly we can expect from Pip there is no doubt it will continue to be as delicately written and emotionally impactful as her previous work. Her previous three EP releases have focused on themes of family, love and race, but Pip seems keen to explore herself and her writing further, and not to get boxed into a certain frame of mind for what she can discuss in her music. 'I write about whatever is going on in my mind so it can be anything! I don’t think about the themes or anything like that in advance – it really depends on what’s happening in my life!'. Regarding her future music and debut album, it seems her fans will have to wait and see what is to come, but if it continues in the same trajectory as Pip’s previous music, expect to see many more confessional and vulnerable R&B tracks on the way.
Pip Millett plays a run of sold-out UK shows in the new year, including a date at Bristol's Exchange on the 10th of January. Her latest EP ‘Motion Sick’ is out now via Dream Wife/Sony Music and she will release her debut album in 2022.
Featured image: Cal McIntyre
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