Meet: Scotland’s New Shining Star Rianne Downey

With the release of her second EP out now ‘Come What May’, Rianne Downey is rightfully generating some serious interest. We wanted to sit her down and introduce her to the small group of people who may not yet have heard of her.

Give us a potted history of yourself

My name is Rianne Downey. I am a singer/songwriter from Glasgow, living in Liverpool. 

Things kicked off during lockdown when I started to upload covers from my bedroom. Everyone seemed to love them and my following grew from there. The anticipation grew online for my own original music and so I released my first single in February 2021 and from there, things have grown bigger and bigger eg. My debut EP vinyl release selling out in a week. Having my songs played on BBC Radio 1, 2 and 6. Playing up and down the country at IOW Festival, Truck, TRNSMT and SXSW. As well as some amazing support slots – Paolo Nutini, Liam Fray, The Snuts, DMA’s, The Lathums, and The Coral.

In November 2022, I was awarded the Breakthrough Artist of The Year Award at the Scottish Music Awards.

Who inspired you to start making music

My mum always said I could sing before I could speak. When I was younger, I discovered Ska through listening to Amy Winehouse’s covers of The Specials. I was obsessed with the sound & became obsessed with their style & attitude. I became heavily influenced by Skinheads and Mods. I found a collection of my parent’s old CDs which is how I discovered Oasis, and The Stone Roses and from there I became obsessed with the 80s/90s indie movement and who inspired those bands which then opened my eyes to all kinds of amazing musicians throughout the years. I wanted to be able to express myself and have a voice of my own through music. Paolo Nutini was a huge inspiration to me, being from Scotland and writing unbelievable, universal tunes that became the soundtrack to my childhood. It made me want to do my country proud like Paolo, defy the Scottish small town mindset odds and perform for a living. 

And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically

This may be unexpected but if it wasn’t for this artist I know myself and many more musicians of my generation probably wouldn’t have picked up a guitar. Jake Bugg is definitely an unsung hero to me. His first album totally defined my teenage years. That album made folk and country music cool again as well as bringing it into the indie scene we know and love. I think it had a massive hand in kick starting the rise of guitar music again too. He definitely inspired me to pick up a guitar, learn to finger pick and most importantly, to sing and write songs that meant something to myself and other people. That debut album is historic for me & I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Jake Bugg. 

Track – Broken by Jake Bugg 

If you’re trying to explain whom you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say

I always get stuck on this question haha! Listening to and loving all the music that I have throughout my life and taking inspiration from all kinds of music, I’ve come to not really believe in genre. I like it when you can’t pinpoint someone’s sound and thrive off being versatile as I think it leaves room for me to constantly evolve as an artist. I would say it’s a culmination of indie, pop and folk. When making music I mostly find inspo for my sound from the likes of Paolo Nutini, The Cranberries, Arcade Fire and Fleetwood Mac.

Tell us about your new previous single Hard

My new single is called ‘Hard’. “It’s a love song and the first straight up song I’ve released. It’s about trying to make it work out but it’s just not destined to be, though everything’s going to work out, one way or the other, in the end. Sometimes, especially women, can be tricked into thinking they can change the person they’re with to make an imperfect situation perfect but it’s not going to be as simple as that.”

I wrote the song myself and recorded it with John Kettle, mentor to and producer of The Lathums’ earliest recordings, amongst other, emergent artists.  

Where can we get hold of it 

‘Hard’ is available on all streaming platforms. You can find the very cool music video on Youtube too. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for it appearing on vinyl later in the year, along with some other tunes you may or may not have heard yet.

Tell us how you write

I’ve never found a proper routine or strategy for writing a song. I tend to always be switched on and looking for lyrics/inspiration in everyday life. My brain doesn’t switch off. I’m constantly listening to music and singing to myself, hoping that the right melody will come out. I usually just sit down with my guitar and figure out what I want to say or what theme I want the song to have and go from there. I usually need to be in a room myself with no distractions. 

Tell us about your live show What would be your dream gig

My live shows are about to kick off with a bang. It’s sounding and looking massive and the set list is flooded with bangers now. I can’t wait to show everyone what I’ve been working on. My bucket list gigs would be headlining the barras then the hydro. Glastonbury in any capacity and touring Europe and America! I’d also absolutely love to support Paolo Nutini again.

What can we expect from you in the near future

I’m not going anywhere anytime soon! I’ve got a load of songs ready to release to the world and each one is better than the last and I am so excited to show everyone. I head off on a UK Headline tour in March and onto a number of festivals in the summer. I can’t wait for the gigs to just keep coming and getting bigger every time.

Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones/tour bus/stereo

  1. Strangers – The Kinks
  2. Every night – Paul Mccartney
  3. Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon & Garfunkel 
  4. I Just Imagined You – Blossoms
  5. Radio – Paolo Nutini 
  6. Reason To Believe – Karen Dalton
  7. Under The Skin – Flyte
  8. Little Bitch – The Specials 
  9. Bluebird Wine – Emmylou Harris
  10. Devil to Pay – Johnny Cash

Check out Downey’s track Home, below:

Listen to her new single Alright here

Find out more via Downey’s Facebook

UK Tour dates is as follows:

Sat 18 March–Liverpool, Kazimier Stock Room–SOLD OUT

Sun 19 March–Leeds, Oporto

Tue 21 March–London, The Grace

Wed 22 March–Birmingham, Dead Wax

Thu 23 March–Manchester, Deaf Institute

Sat 24 March–Glasgow, King Tuts–SOLD OUT

The remaining tickets can be found via See Tickets and Ticketmaster.

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