Saffron Lawrence

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We found Saffron, earphones in, sipping Bamboo tea in a cosy corner in Edinburgh’s ‘Brew Lab’ coffee shop. “It’s so refreshing!” she calmly informs us as we appear flustered to her table, grabbing a laptop in an attempt to tap down the detailed and funny answers given to our intrigued questioning.

 

If there’s one thing we were certain of within minutes of arriving, it was Saffron’s modesty. A singer, Saffron has recently released the song ‘We Are Stars’ with the Lille based producer Nulabee, drawing on electronic sounds and adding to her portfolio of tracks. Working our way through Saffron’s SoundCloud and YouTube, we found a moving cover of ‘I Look To You’ with 217 246 views (!!!) as well as her own material including ‘Turning Tables’ and ‘Never Too Late’, all with over 1,000 hits.

 

Now studying for a degree in Accountancy at the University of Edinburgh, we managed to catch Saffron for a chat between juggling academics and her song writing.

Saffron! Thanks so much for agreeing to meet with us. The first thing we noticed on your SoundCloud was the difference in sound between your latest track ‘We Are Stars’ and your previous tracks. Is this you developing your style and/or trying something new?

When I write it tends to be a lot more acoustic. I think it’s important to dip my feet into different sounds as I’m still developing and finding my own style. It was fun! I’m not used to hearing my voice in that way.

We noticed that this was your first collab with someone else on your SoundCloud. How did the process of getting it produced work?

Nulabee is actually a talented Lille based producer. The process included quick emails and having to pitch my own ideas to someone else as well as combining it with uni work, it was a great experience.

As a young artist do you enjoy using SoundCloud?

Definitely! People underestimate SoundCloud. It’s such an effective platform for underground artists.

 

Yes we agree! We liked how easily accessible your music (and anyone else’s) was on it. Obviously it was useful in helping produce with Nulabee, but before this did you always write alone?

I’ve been writing and performing since I was 11 years old. I was always a solo act at school, it’s a shame because my secondary school wasn’t very musically orientated. I’ve only really begun mixing my passion with academics at uni, bit of a balancing act. I wrote my first two songs with Jimmy Napes who’s worked with Alicia Keys, Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige and recently got a grammy award. He’s living in America now and we haven’t really kept in touch but he’s become very successful. I guess my affiliation with him as someone big is inspiration in itself and the fact that he believed in me. It’s enough motivation to push me through and he gave me loads of good advice too.

That’s amazing. How did you meet him?

Ah it was so long ago! I think it was through a manager I had at the time and a want to try some stuff out in a studio.

 

We can imagine the first time in a studio for someone who wants to pursue a career in music must be exciting. Can you remember it?

Yes it was FUN! I remember being overwhelmed by the gadgets. As I’ve grown as an artist, there’s no longer this big distinction between the artist and producer – I want to see what they’re doing and how they’re creatively putting something together, how I could perhaps add to that. I’m not exactly hands on but it’s good to be able to have a say.

What’s influenced your song writing?

I’d say experiences of growing up. Some people write a diary, they write down their thoughts – I never really had a diary. I’d write a song to get out how I was feeling. I’ve always been a bit more of an introvert, especially when I was growing up.

I have a musical family, although I wouldn’t say they’re the most talented in the arts (laughs) but they are definitely very sporty. My Grandpa used to play the piano and I’d sing. They’re very supportive.

Do you have moments – more short term moments – or events that influence a specific song?

My most recent song ‘We Are Stars’ was written when I’d just finished exams. I’d been suuuper stressed and had been cooped in the flat. When I was flying home (there’s probably a technical term for this) and we broke through the clouds and I saw the land beneath, for the first time, I felt really emotional. I think it was 3 days after I received the instrumental and I just wanted to write a song that would transport me to a place of liberation, happiness, that moment I felt free. At the time it made sense – sounds kinda weird now! A paradise type vibe. It resonated with me when I got home. The title ‘We Are Stars’ is a metaphor for everyone being special and unique, wherever they’re from. Like the stars in our universe.

 

When we first listened to it, it sounded so fantastic and out of place in dull Edinburgh! It really paints this picture of summer. Do you tend to draw much inspiration from Edinburgh as a place?

The city is so beautiful and gives me so much inspiration. I love to (weather permitting) go to the meadows and sit and write. I’ve met more people through integrating my music with university life and people’s appreciation really inspires me to keep going. There could be 1 person in a 500 person show that will come up to me afterwards but it gives me hope that it will work - there are lots of people in the World.

What do you think of the music scene up here in Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole?

Edinburgh is very creatively based – I think people would sometimes say Glasgow is more but I think for singing and acting Edinburgh’s great. We have the Fringe! More alternative music seems to be prominent and popular in Edinburgh, so I like to think there’s space for me to occupy a lacking pop/soul scene. Fill the void.

Where do you dream of living?

Paris. I love the culture. The mixture of simplicity and luxury. I wouldn’t be able to afford living there now! But that’s a goal and dream.

Which artists do you look up to the most?

Ah that’s so difficult! There are so many. Whitney Houston, Lauren Hill, Elton John, Michael Jackson. But I’d say I pick and choose things from different artists. Like I wish I could have a stage presence like Michael Jackson and mirror his effect on people! And I love Jhene Aiko’s song with Childish Gambino. I listen to Childish Gambino a lot, and I like Beyonce’s new song ‘Shining’. Oh and Ed Sheeran. He’ s great.

As we’re packing up we notice an elegant green and gold notepad perched on the table in front of Saffron.

 

Do you mind us asking what you use that note book for?

Of course not! I write down my ideas and lyrics in a notepad to start with. I also have over 300 voice notes on my phone. It’s a scattered process.

Her beautiful crystal necklace reminded us of the first time we met her at a party here, looking funky in a silk emerald green bomber jacket. With style that’s mirrored in her voice, watch out for this up and coming musician around Edinburgh and beyond.

Check out Saffron’s SoundCloud saffronsinging and make sure to catch her when she’s next performing: details found on her Twitter @saffronsinging.

A musician? if you dabble in it or are considering it as a career please don’t hesitate to contact us for a feature!