Influenced by everything from blues to Nirvana, here we chat to Burberry’s SS16 singer – Rhodes.
Rhodes is no stranger to the limelight, from supporting some gargantuan stars such as Ben Howard, George Ezra and Sam Smith, to sell out shows of his own. Rhodes’ reflective songwriting and deep broody melodies are hauntingly powerful. His unique voice has created a strong fan base and impressed the likes of Annie Mac with “Close Your Eyes” selected as her hot track.
His debut album Wishes, out this September, is littered with previous EPs – “Breathe” and “Turning Back Around” – along with many others and will surely establish Rhodes on the path to fame and glory. Hot off the Burberry catwalk (that’s right), we talk to the man himself.
“Close Your Eyes” is about to be released! What made you decide to write a song about your fear of performing, is it a cathartic experience to be able to vocalise how you’re feeling?
It was quite cathartic and it was good to think back on everything that has happened so far and realise that overcoming my fear of singing and performing was the most life changing thing that has happened to me. The song also talks about being there for one another and I wanted the people close to me to know I am there for them as much as they are there for me.
What else inspires you to write?
I write a lot about friends and family. I’ve had an obsession with love since I was a small kid, not just romantic love but unconditional love. I write about change and insecurity also.
Your dad showed you Robert Johnson and your sister switched you on to Nirvana and Britpop but who has been the most influential person to you who you discovered yourself?
I’ve discovered a lot of music by myself. I remember the first album I bought for myself was parachutes. I still listen to Coldplay a lot, but I stopped at XY. I’ll get in to the newer stuff I’m sure but I go through stages with bands and tend to go back to the things I like rather than follow them chronologically.
You’ve supported so many big names and distinctive voices! What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I think the best price of advice was not to worry too much about what everyone else is thinking and saying and to just be content in your self. The professionalism of some of the huge artists is so inspiring and to have seen all of that first hand at such an early stage in my own career I think was very important. Talking to singers like Hannah from London grammar and Sam Smith I soon realised that we all have insecurities and are perhaps a little afraid of all of this. But at the same time it’s very important to brace it all.
After being in bands over the years, what made you want to go solo?
I wasn’t happy to be playing the bass in a band. I knew I wanted to write and sing and the only this stopping was this irrational fear that if had since I can remember. I wanted to make my family proud and i don’t think they were too impressed with my lifestyle. I needed to make a change and I thought taking my self out of my comfort zone and pushing my self would be the most dramatic shift.
What’s been your favourite release of your own to date?
I like the current singe “Close Your Eyes” because it embodies the theme of my 1st album.
Your debut album is coming so soon! How was the overall writing and recording process? Did it ever begin to feel like hard work?
I don’t know of it was hard work in a negative sense but I definitely felt like I was working hard! If that makes sense!! We were doing 14 hour days most days with no breaks. That was for 6/ 7 months. I spent two years writing demos at home and recording rough versions of them all. I experimented with sounds and producers over the 4 EPs and decided to record the album with James Kenosha who I first began recording with back in 2013. I improvised a lot and tried to capture moments I wanted to keep it organic and I think we achieved it well.
You’ve had so many celeb fans and played the Burberry show but what’s been your most surreal moment as an artist to date?
I think the surreal things don’t feel surreal until after they’ve happened and you’ve had a chance to reflect. Playing the radio 1 live lounge is surreal. It’s so familiar and something I’ve grown up with listen to and then when you’re there standing in the room it genuinely feels like you’re dreaming.
Selling out shows and celeb super-fans, you must have some devoted fans in all the crowds?
There are a few very sweet people who keep coming back and help to spread the word, I’ll be eternally grateful to have that kind of support! It feels surreal.
Is there a reason you started playing, do you have a specific goal in mind that you really want to achieve?
Music has always been a part of me, it’s in my blood and I’ve never imagined or actually been that good at much else! My goal has always just been to be creative and express my self in a true way. There are no milestones other than to keep creating my own thing. Oh, but I’d love to compose for film.