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Interview: 2016 Must-Know - Mabel

Interview: 2016 Must-Know - Mabel

Although the daughter of Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey, Mabel is determined to cut her own path in life - even keeping her songwriting a secret from her parents until she was sixteen.

Now nineteen - and a finalist in the BBC Sound Of 2016 poll - Mabel has been busy in the studio recording new songs. And if latest single, 'My Boy My Town', is anything to go by, it's only a matter of time for this talented songwriter who has been playing piano since she was five and studied production and music theory in Stockholm.

"I'll always be happy with myself and feel like I wrote a great song if I was 100% true to myself and I did the things that I wanted to do and said the things that I wanted to say."

COUP DE MAIN: Having studied music production, could you ever see yourself producing (or writing) music for other artists?
MABEL MCVEY: Maybe later on in life. Right now I'm really enjoying writing for myself, but in general I just love music, so why not write for other people?!

CDM: Lyrically, what's your favourite song that you've written?
MABEL: Hard to say really... I enjoy writing all my songs. 'My Boy My Town' was definitely an important song for me to write. I wrote it about how I felt when I moved back to London and writing the lyrics helped me get a lot of things off my chest.

CDM: What do you hope for people to take away from listening to your music?
MABEL: I try to just tell real stories when I write, and just say things how they are. I hope that when people listen to my music they relate to these stories and that they can somehow make them their own!
CDM: How does your songwriting process work?
MABEL: I'm always writing things down for song ideas. It might be something in a book or something that someone said or just a real situation. So that's where the lyrical ideas come from, but when it comes to the actual music, I start pretty much all my songs by finding chords that I like on the piano. I've played since I was five!

CDM: Do you write your lyrics specifically for the songs, or do you write poems or prose and then evolve them into song-form?
MABEL: I write lyrics specifically for songs, but as I said before, I quite often have lyrical ideas before I start working on the song. I think that melodies have a lot to say too and that you have to make sure that the lyrics aren't overpowering the melodies or visa versa.

CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
MABEL: I'll always be happy with myself and feel like I wrote a great song if I was 100% true to myself and I did the things that I wanted to do and said the things that I wanted to say.

CDM: At what age did you write your very first song ever, and what was it about?
MABEL: I was six and I can't actually remember what it was about... But I definitely used the same method that I use now. I took inspiration from my diary to write the lyrics and found chords that I liked on the piano.

CDM: If you were a country, which song would be your national anthem?
MABEL: 'Run The World (Girls)' by Beyoncé.

CDM: What's on your bucket-list?
MABEL: There's so many places I want to see, so just, travel travel travel.

MABEL's single 'My Boy My Town' is out now - click HERE to purchase it via iTunes.

Watch the 'My Boy My Town' music video below…

P.S. Click HERE to check out more of CDM's 2016 Must-Know artists in CDM Issue #17!

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