Singer-songwriter Patricia Manfield is no stranger. After bursting onto the scene in 2018 with an electronic pop track released under her alias, Hēir, she quickly established herself as an artist to watch out for. But, following the pandemic’s seismic impact on the creative sphere, the artist is aware that she is operating in a new landscape. So, with the help of her brand new EP, allow Hēir to re-introduce herself.
Jenny Arrowsmith caught up with the artist following the announcement of her highly anticipated EP, “Is that all there is?”.
Let’s start with how you got into music as a career. Were your ambitions rooted in your childhood, or did you discover this was an ambition later in life?
My parents are classical musicians, so I think I’ve always looked at music as my only path since I was a child. Growing up my parents were really against me doing music for a while, I guess they wanted to protect me from the tough industry and the instability of it. So I went to university, started out a career in fashion and then took my music project into my own hands when I realised it had been my dream all along.
Your debut EP flawed us in 2020, and your subsequent singles have been so powerful. How does it feel to be releasing new music again? Is there anything you did differently this time around?
I did so many things differently this time around. My first EP came out right when the pandemic hit, so this one feels more like a first to me in a weird way. I never really got to experience what it felt to have an EP out during covid because there was so much tragedy going on and it felt weird to celebrate. I think this time around it’s a more mature project, my sound has evolved a lot. I have to say, it really came out in a flow, session after session. It just came together so beautifully. It feels nostalgic, dreamy, there’s lust, there’s love, anxiety. There’s all of me.
I really love that. Can you talk us through the creative process behind your new EP? What’s your music conveying about this stage of your life?
I’d describe the process as “taking my power back”. There’s a mistake you can make as an artist where you stop listening to yourself and start trying to please everyone around you. I’ve struggled with that. Your songs aren’t supposed to be everybody’s taste, you’re the one who really needs to be in love with what you make. That’s the only thing that will make it authentic. And eventually, somebody will relate to what you have to say.
Much of your music centres around romance, what draws you to writing about love? Do you have a muse for these songs?
I’m a hopeless romantic and heartbreak inspires me the most. When I’m going through heartbreak, I know a good song will come out of it eventually, so I’ve got every ex to thank for that. My friends are also my muses, I am only living one life so there’s only so much I can write about. I love listening to people’s stories – there’s something magical in translating such personal stories into songs. It gives me such interesting inputs.
Sonically, your music embodies futuristic indie pop with a 90s flair. Tell us, where do you find inspiration for your infectious sound?
Portishead, The Cardigans, these have always been big references. In general, I listen to a lot of very different genres which I guess is important for any artist. I grew up with classical music hence why my production can be very cinematic. I’m also a sucker for a good synth, the new EP sits in a late 80s to 90s alt-pop era.