“Making the music I really like to listen to is the most important thing to me” — Bryde on self-empowerment and going solo

Indie rock artist Bryde is excited to share her own brand of poetic lyrics and female empowerment at Omeara on the final night of her tour tonight.

Bryde is the solo project of Welsh singer and songwriter Sarah Howells, whose past musical incarnations have included the indie folk band Paper Aeroplanes and providing the vocals behind several trance music hits.

It is, however, through Bryde and her debut EP “Like An Island”, an intensely personal and uncompromising collection of tracks that Howell believes she has found her own voice as an artist.

Howells said: “Since starting Bryde and going solo what I’ve realised is that making the music I really like to listen to is the most important thing to me.

“I think that’s where we all shine the most, when we’re doing the music, the art, the job that really speaks to us rather than trying to pigeonhole ourselves into anything else.”

The empowerment of the very act of going solo was something that informed a lot of “Like An Island,” a record dealing with themes of psychology, human interaction and relationships, romantic or otherwise.

“It’s really personal. I want it to reach anybody that has had the experiences I’ve had.

“It’s resilience, defiance and independence, those kind of things are really important to me as a feminist,” said Howells.

Howells released her debut under female-centric independent label Seahorse Music, something she initially decided to set up in order to help some friends of hers break into the industry.

The decision to only feature female-centric acts wasn’t initially deliberate, but Howells is her potential impact as a woman in the industry.

“There is a lot of female musicians now getting lots of attention, despite the fact that festival billings are still not really showcasing enough female talent,” said Howells.

She added: “I felt that just to do something small in the music industry as a woman, it’s just nice to challenge biases and people’s perceptions of who runs stuff.”

Howells grew up listening to Tori Amos, the National Radiohead and Laura Veirs, and said her ideal collaboration would have been with the late Jeff Buckley.

On some of the current artists she admires, she said: “I actually thought Ariana Grande was really cool when she did that massive concert in aid of the victims of the bombing in Manchester.

“But people like Patti Smith and PJ Harvey I think they have real interesting outlooks on political stuff, I like the way that they present themselves, as really strong women.”

She feels that things are slowly changing for women in music, through the work of prominent female musicians, the #MeToo movement and a general cultural shift.

Howells said: “I think that’s the way things have to go to change.

“In the past, we could be more competitive with each other and not supportive.

I feel that supporting each other, being happy for each other and passing on knowledge and opportunity is how we grow and how we get equality.”

During her stint in trance music Howells toured the world, often performing in front of thousands of people, but she still still prefers the intimacy of interacting with a smaller audience.

On her favourite aspect of performing, Howells said: “I love singing, the interaction with the audience, the way they are all experiencing something as it happens in a room that you can’t go back and do again in the same way.

“It’s never really the same twice.”

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