Welcome to the slighty sinister, romantically dark and left field world of singer-songwriter Indiana, who’s making herself known for all the right reasons
Chances are you’re already familiar with singer-songwriter Indiana, who hails from the same place as English folklore’s heroic outlaw, Robin Hood (Nottingham, of course). But if not, then listening to ‘Mess Around’, ‘Smoking Gun’ or ‘Solo Dancing’ (an homage to hitting the dancefloor all on your lonesome), will perfectly introduce you to her slighty sinister, romantically dark and leftfield world.
Discovered by Grammy-nominated composer and songwriter, John Beck – Indiana is one of those artists who makes an instant connection with your emotions, drawing you in to those “we’ve all been there and done that” moments. Her reflective rawness and deep-rooted lyrics fuse perfectly with an inventive R&B meets electro-pop sound which flirts with soulful meanings and stirs the senses to shake your emotions awake – comforting all those unvocalised insecurities that you didn’t even know you had. We met up with the singer to talk Indiana Jones, mood rings and turning her hand to fashion design.
Your real name is Lauren Henson, so where does Indiana come from?
I used to watch Indiana Jones films as a kid with my Dad. I lost him when I was 17 so it’s in memory of him.
What made you take that first singer-songwriter step into the wider world?
I wanted to prove to myself I was able to do something with my life. I was going from dead- end job to dead-end job and I needed more. I have always been into music but I wasn’t aware of my capabilities as an artist.
So who was most influential in encouraging you to pursue your music?
My boyfriend James. He definitely widened my perspective when we got together. He played me stuff I had never heard, my musical taste has always been varied but he got me in to progressive stuff and it really influenced the way I wrote and the sound I was creating.
Some of your lyrics are like a self-therapy session – is there a specific mindset you’re in when writing?
I take pride in my lyrics. I always want them to be intelligent and try not to ever use throw away lines or stuff that’s been said before. I also hate the crap that’s often in the charts today… girl loves boy, boy breaks girls heart. It’s boring. I think of myself as a storyteller and I love immersing myself into a role.
A storyteller that’s fascinated by emotions it seems – do you ever find it difficult to translate them to music?
Sometimes. I can be feeling something and I often play out the music video in my head while I’m in the writing phase so I can see what’s going on. I don’t just want to set the scene though. I want to come at it in such a way that it makes the listener have to think.
So if you were a mood ring – what colour would you be now?
Red, because it can be perceived in two ways. Love or anger. It just depends on what kind of day I’m having.
Was that heady mix of love and anger the catalyst behind your track ‘Solo Dancing’ and its accompanying video?
It’s a song of empowerment, solo dancing can be a metaphor for anything. It’s the power to do whatever it is alone, in need of no one and proud of it.
Have you ever found yourself on the dance floor alone and what song was playing?
If I was ever alone on the dance floor I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t remember what song was playing. I often dance alone at home though, today it was to Outkast and Alanis Morissette.
Your new single ‘Heart On Fire’ is less dark and dramatic than previous songs, with more uptempo synth-pop sensibilities – do you enjoy experimenting with your sound?
Definitely. I love trying out new things in the studio. I often go in with references to something I’ve heard and go from there.
So how do you think you’ve evolved as an artist?
In terms of evolution, not only have I grown as an artist in the last 3 years, I have become a much better version of myself. Music was an outlet, now it’s a passion and it has changed a lot too. I hope it continues to evolve and improve but I do feel I have found my sound and identity as an artist.
You’ve also performed quite a few live shows now including Glastonbury – how do you prepare to go on stage, is there a ritual you go through?
Just warm up and chill out. Enjoy every moment.
And what’s the first thing you do when you come off stage?
Have a beer! I don’t drink before a performance but I like to have a celebratory beer afterwards. I get quite pumped with adrenaline and it chills me out.
Chilling out and craving some peace must be quite hard as your profile continues to rise? How do you take time out?
It does not exist in my life. If I’m not working, I’m at home being a mother of two. No down time for me!
We can see that on your social media accounts – do you enjoy engaging with your fans?
It’s a massive part of what I do. I don’t like posting links to videos and stuff because it looks like I’m selling something – but I like giving people an insight to my life. I am human and people like to connect with stuff other than the music.
And other than the music, you’re also a designer with your own fashion label (Some Kind Of Nature) – how did that happen?
It’s actually my boyfriend’s label but I’m heavily involved in different aspects of developing and designing the range. It’s really starting to grow – over the past 12 months we’ve seen a rise in sales all over the world.
What’s the label’s story – is there a modern muse that fits its signature?
I think they are trying to be a bit edgy, perhaps I fit the role of the modern muse?
And as that modern muse, is your visual style carefully planned or does it just happen?
It definitely just happens. My style has evolved naturally, well actually over time I have reverted to my younger grungier self albeit a more stylish version.
So what’s coming next that we can look forward to?
My debut album is out on 1st September called ‘No Romeo’.
Indiana’s single ‘Heart On Fire’ is due out on August 24th ahead of her debut album ‘No Romeo’ on September 1st. She also plays various Summer festivals including Leeds and Reading. For more info head to indianathegirl.com
Words: Kate Lawson