‘Left Me at the Party’ is our track for the summer.
She may only be 23 years old, but Bristol-born Rothwell has been working hard at music since the age of 12 when she wrote her first song. Having caught the attention of pop fans during her support slot on Justin Bieber’s ‘Purpose World Tour’, she has since gone on to play packed out shows at British Summer Time and Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen.
Following the success of previous single ‘Velvet Heart’, she is now back with ultimate pop banger in the form of ‘Left Me at the Party’. Within a matter of days, the track had already surpassed 50,000 streams on Spotify alone. Sound of the summer? Definitely.
We caught up with Rothwell as she tours across the UK as part of the line-up for this year’s Dot2Dot festival to get her take on girl power, the Bristol music scene, and what it’s like to work with Xenomania’s Tim Powell.
So, first things first, can you tell us a bit about your new single ‘Left Me at the Party’.
It’s a sort-of upbeat track about when you go to a party and really fancy someone but then see them go home with someone else. It’s that “fuck’s sake”, where you’re annoyed with yourself for not having had the guts to have said something first.
The track reminds me a lot of Robyn’s ‘Dancing on My Own’ in that it’s this emotional ballad hidden within an electro-pop banger, it’s a great balance. Was that intentional?
Absolutely. It’s such a cool contrast, having such an emotional song surrounded by such upbeat production. It was definitely an intentional aim for this song.
It’s cool having a track that you can dance in the club to and then listen to it at home and realise it has a whole other level to it. You then realise “woah, I’ve been dancing to something quite sad”.
Yeah! I did a gig last night where we played the track acoustically and just on the piano, the track is just so sad – I felt like I was about to cry!
The track was produced by Tim Powell, who was part of Xenomania and is probably most recognised for his work with Girls Aloud. What was it like working with someone who has been part of some of the biggest pop songs ever?
It’s amazing! It’s so fun to be surrounded by someone who’s seen lots and knows exactly what they’re talking about. He’s got a very young approach to music, not that he’s old or anything, which I think is so fun and important. It’s just very inspiring, and he’s got such a nice studio! It’s goals.
How did you go about deciding to go under your surname, Rothwell, as your stage name?
I wanted it to be a bit ambiguous. When you see the name Rothwell, it could be a boy or a girl, I wanted it to be a bit mysterious. It’s also the name of a place near Leeds – fun fact of the day! Not that I’m from anywhere near there or anything.
I guess it helps when you want to appeal to Leeds audiences…
Exactly. I always get tagged in posts online about Rothwell’s music hall and Rothwell’s new music classes!
Moving slightly away from the bustling music scene of Rothwell, who are your musical influences?
Um, it’s a bit of old school, bit of new school. I really love people coming through right now, like Billie Eilish who’s 16, which is really annoying because she’s so talented! Then there’s older singer-songwriter’s like Judie London, Paul Simon, and all that jazz – It’s a bit of a mix. I think I’m very influenced by what I’m listening to and I love discovering new music.
Speaking of discovering new music, you have your very own ‘Girl Power’ playlist on Spotify. Any other female artists that stand out right now, and anyone who you’d love to collab with?
Ooh, so many! You know who I really love? Demi Lovato. Then there’s also obviously Beyonce and Christina Aguilera. She’s just done a song with Demi Lovato. Her ‘Stripped’ album was my anthem, and her voice technically is one of the most amazing things ever, so it’s wicked to see it all coming back!
Can you describe your sound in five words to us?
Oh, god, erm. Fun…. (pausing)… Oh shit! (laughs) Oh god, I should really think of some better words. Hang on, I’m with my band. They’re suggesting fun, sassy, catchy… these are worse than mine! Let’s go with sassy. Sassy times five (laughing).
So, you hail from Bristol. One thing that strikes me about the city is how thriving in music and culture it is. Did this have any impact on your sound and by becoming a musician?
I think it’s definitely had an impact. Bristol is a city, but it also feels like a village in that everyone knows each other. I grew up going to loads of pubs that had loads of music history, doing open mic nights before I could play the guitar. I’d just turn up and sing on the mic, and the poor audiences would be like “how many songs is this girl going to do?’… bless them.
There’s so many young musicians around the city, and there’s lots of art. I’d always walk past three Banksy’s on the way to school every day, so that was cool just being surrounded by creativity. As well as cider and cows.
As you’re playing Dot2Dot Festival this weekend, are there any artists on the line-up that you’re a big fan of?
I really love Mahalia and Pale Waves. Those two are the ones I really want to catch live. There’s also a band called Koala that I really like, so I’d love to see them too!
You recently shared a clip of you performing the Spice Girl’s ‘Say You’ll Be There’. We gotta ask: Favourite Spice Girl and why?
Well, I’m blonde as is Baby Spice and Emma Bunton and I share a birthday together so I pretty much feel like it’s fate. I was always Baby Spice in any rendition and dance routine, she is an inspiration!
— Rothwell (@RothwellMusicUk) May 17, 2018
Lastly, what do you have lined up for the summer? Where can we see you live?
We’ve got lots of festivals this summer, which is very exciting as well as some new music! I’m playing Isle of Wight festival, Latitude, and then I’m heading off to Switzerland for another festival called Blue Balls, so loads of stuff – very busy, but the fun kind of busy!