Why Manchester is the new creative epicentre of neo-soul and hip-hop
At a time when Instagram pages are supposed to be a window into a musician’s soul, Sipprell – South London singer/songwriter, instrumentalist and self-proclaimed “normal girl” – wants her music to make the biggest impression. “I just want people to listen to my music and not show too much interest in me. I’m not a pop star, I’m never going to be a pop star, so all I have is my music to represent me,” she says.
Sipprell initially attempted to draw people’s attention toward her music with 2015 debut EP ‘The Letter D’ – a blend of electronic R&B and acoustic soul. 2017 saw her single ‘Trust Issues’ arrive before prepping listeners for what was to come with tracks ‘Personal’ and ‘From Afar’ in 2018, taken from her second EP ‘I Could Be Loved’, unveiled recently.
Raised by a mother who was a singer, Sipprell’s siblings also shared her gravitation toward music. “I always knew as a young child that I wanted to be a singer, I just didn’t really know how,” she explained. “I’ve got tapes from when I was four of me singing. I went to a church choir when I was six, so I knew I liked it then but I guess it was when I started performing live – that’s when I knew I wanted to do it.” Sipprell recalls being a “loud and confident kid” who used her home as a stage, which meant that performing felt instantly natural to her.
The creative process is deeply personal for Sipprell: “It’s something I feel like I have to do,” she insists. “I do get motivated by the way people react to my music and the fact it can bring joy to other people but first and foremost it’s just a creative outlet and something I enjoy. It can make me feel like I’ve accomplished something.”
Unsurprisingly, Sipprell is hoping her latest offering ‘I Could Be Loved’ will live long in the memory of listeners. “It’s definitely evolved into being more instrument-led. I wanted to write songs that could standalone on guitar so I can perform them acoustically, whereas ‘The Letter D’ was much more reliant on the production. I think the subject matters are deeper and the music has matured in some ways.”
Sipprell’s audience appear to have recognised the growth. “[The response has] been amazing so far, just based on the personal messages I’ve had,” she says. “I wasn’t sure how people would react to the last two tracks (‘Better’ and ‘I Could Be Loved’) because they’re not your typical radio tracks. I felt like they’re the kind of songs on the EP that take a bit of time to get to know. I was hoping people would love them as much as I love them and it seems like people are really appreciating and connecting to them so that’s great. It just makes it feel like it’s worth being stressed because it can be stressful getting [an EP] together and getting it out.”
The stress she refers to surrounds the process of completing and releasing ‘I Could Be Loved’, which took around a year in total. With the writing of the songs being considered “the easy part” by Sipprell, it was that process that caused the most anxiety. “I’m a perfectionist, so it was quite a learning curve for me just going through the stress of trying to finish the project. I’ve realised now that I don’t ever want to be in that place again where I get so obsessed with trying to make something perfect – you have to let go at some stage.” The outcome was an EP of five tracks that are full of uncompromising emotion and her own delicate vocal delivery. This is supplemented by production across the project by Ragz Originale, Alaistair O’Donnell, Benji Flow, Marie Dahlstrøm & Chloe Martini, who all assist Sipprell in executing her musical vision.
“On this project, in particular, [I was looking for producers] who could complement my sound rather than me feeling like I had to change to fit someone else’s,” she reveals. “Marie [Dahlstrøm] really complemented the songs I’d written on guitar already, so it made me feel like it was still me. It was really helpful having Marie from the beginning of the EP, she helped me loads. Chloe [Martini] did an incredible job with ‘I Could Be Loved’. Working with two women for the majority of this EP was really refreshing for me and they’re good friends of mine. And, obviously, you just want to work with talented people who you feel understand what you want to achieve.”
All producers involved brought different ingredients to the table: “A lot of people do very well sticking to one sound – they can get recognised for that one sound – but, for me, it hasn’t worked out like that,” she admits. “I’m in a nice space at the moment where I can do what I want to do and be free creatively. It can restrict you in a good way if you have a sound that you stick to but I don’t really think like that. I think my next project could sound different to this project.”
And when the conversation requires a look toward the future, Sipprell makes it clear that her next project is already in her thoughts. “I’m making music at the moment. I want to make an album next time because I’ve done two smaller projects. [The process is] not going to be too different because, even with my EPs, I’ve treated them like short albums. Every song – I’d be happy with any of those were on my album.”
Now switching her attention to performing her music live, she’s secured a slot supporting PJ Morton at The Jazz Cafè, which follows a previous appearance at the venue supporting Roy Ayers in July, which she describes as “really fun”. Despite a growing list of achievements in her career so far, Sipprell remains intent on keeping the emphasis on her music. “I just want to make music that I can look back on in years and be proud of. That’s what makes me feel fulfilled in my life.”
Listen to the ‘I Could Be Loved’ EP:
Sipprell’s debut headline show will take place on November 19th at The Waiting Room, London.