After releasing a sublime reworked version of Lorde’s ‘Buzzcut Season’ earlier this year, New York-based singer, songwriter and producer Dominique has been going from strength to strength thanks to the release of her debut single ‘It’s Only You’. We took some time to chat with the promising popstar about her thoughts on the UK music scene, who she’d like to work with next and how she started out making music.
How did you start making music?
I got started writing songs and producing them on GarageBand when I was 15. I was listening to a lot of self-produced acts such as Owl City and PlayRadioPlay! which inspired me to begin making my own electronic music.
Is pop music the genre you feel most at home in?
Definitely! I grew up on pop. Writing a pop song is a much more natural process for me than writing one in a different genre.
The 80s influences in the track are blatant, but what other sounds and artists have inspired you when creating your sound?
I’d say Charli XCX, Marina and the Diamonds, Miike Snow, Owl City, and Oh Land. Anything with a catchy melody line and synth.
What’s the process you go through when creating a track?
Random melodies always pop into my head and I record them into my phone. “It’s Only You” actually began this way, and it wasn’t until like five months after I recorded a quick snippet of the chorus when I heard it and really wrote the song. I also usually produce the track as I’m writing it.
From Madonna to Taylor Swift, there’s been countless songs about New York. Is it really as inspiring as music says it is?
Yeah, it really is. I think being here pushes you to be creative, because you constantly see so much creativity and hard work around you as everyone is trying to get where they want to be. NYC is just this giant hub of talent, and that alone is super inspiring.
You first caught our eye with your gorgeous (and some might even say superior) version of Lorde’s Buzzcut Season – why that song?
Aw, thank you! I don’t know, the second I heard it I knew I wanted to cover it, and spent that whole night practicing and recording it. I literally heard it for the first time that day and fell in love instantly.
In reality, the UK is pretty small in terms of size, so why do you think so many artists dream of ‘making it’ over here?
I feel like mainstream music in the US has to fit a very specific mold, which may make artists feel more restricted in terms of experimenting and creativity. To me, the UK seems more focused on the quality of music rather than the style. You can tell by comparing the music played on the radio in the US to in the UK. Sometimes I feel like a lot of the music on the radio over here sounds the same, whereas in the UK there’s always a good dose of fresh, unique music that sounds amazing. I think artists aspire to ‘make it’ over there because they have more freedom to be original.
You’re a talented singer, songwriter and musician…but is there anything you can’t do?
Stuff that involves hand-eye coordination… Playing any sport growing up was always a disaster!
Ever since Solange’s EP ‘True’ and Sky Ferreira’s ‘Night Time My Time’, I feel as though quality pop music has been making somewhat of a resurgence, especially this year thanks to the likes of Chvrches and La Roux. Do you think pop music will ever get taken as seriously as it deserves?
Definitely. I think that pop started to develop this weird stigma, where it was equated with adolescence and thought to only be enjoyed by people oblivious to music outside the Hot 100. This is finally starting to disappear, which is giving way to a really exciting time for pop music.
If you could have released a song by another artist from the past ten years, what track would it have been and why? (Basically “Oh my god, I wish I would have recorded that!”)
“Nuclear Seasons” by Charli XCX. Still haven’t gotten over this one. I really love the production, and the music is super catchy while it still remains a powerful, emotional song.
What’s the first song that comes up on shuffle on your iPod?
It was a U2 song that I did not intentionally download, so I don’t have to count it, right? Next one was “The Changing Lights” by Broken Bells.
At only 17, Lorde is curating the upcoming Hunger Games film soundtrack and you’re also just 21 yourself. Is it comforting to see both the public and record companies showing respect for such young, developing artists and their craft?
Yeah, it’s really cool. Especially in Lorde’s case, it’d be a sin to disregard her talent because of her age.
If you could work with anyone in the industry right now, who would it be and why – is there anyone that might be considered a bit unexpected?
I’ve always dreamed of working with Ariel Rechtshaid. Every track he touches is gold.
How has the overwhelmingly positive reaction to ‘It’s Only You’ made you feel?
It’s extremely motivating, and I’m so excited to make and put out more music.
Words: Josh Haigh.