I’m always interested in who the artists I follow are working with on their new music, and recently a name I’ve been hearing more and more is Autumn Rowe. Since penning Alexis Jordan’s breakthrough hit Happiness, she’s been snapped up to work with all the exciting new urban-pop talent, including many of the UK’s most exciting new female artists. Cher Lloyd, Tanya Lacey and Rita Ora have all been in the studio with Autumn recently, and she’s likely to be featured heavily in the credits for Estelle’s forthcoming album (which, believe it or not, is only her third!). I managed to get in touch with Autumn and asked for her thoughts on female songwriters, UK artists and of course what it’s like to work with my X Factor fave, Cher Lloyd…
When writing for Alexis Jordan was it your aim to create a distinct sound that would make her stand out from other female r&b singers around at the moment?
Actually it wasn’t. When I sit down to write a song, I focus on the song and emotion I’m feeling as I’m writing it. If it’s a great enough song, I believe it will eventually find a home.
How did the idea come about to sample Deadmau5 in the song Happiness?
Daniel Poku, who is my publisher (Steller Music) gave me the original Brazil track from Deadmau5 and asked me to see what I could do with it. I cut it up with engineer Rudy Jones and focussed on the format of the track first, before I even thought about a song over it. Once I was happy with the format I wrote Happiness. I was in the booth having such a great vibe and I asked Rudy to bring me the top of the track and I did the hmm hmm hmm part, and then stacked the harmonies and it just felt right. The inspiration is African influenced, believe it or not.
As you are an artist yourself, have you ever considered keeping any of the songs you have written for other singers to release yourself?
A lot of the time, I write for myself and those are the songs that come out the best, and I give them away. I did a song with Estelle called Spinning for her new album, and that was initially for myself. I notice when I write from a very personal viewpoint, artists can relate to the songs more easily. Sometimes I fall in love with a record, but the focus at the moment is me as a writer so I’m happy to give my songs away.
Recently you’ve been working with lots of British singers – how do you think the UK music talent compares to that of the US?
Anyone that knows anything about me knows I LOVE THE UK!!!! I love the people, artists, producers, creative energy – just everything. I think UK music is a bit more experimental and the US is a little behind sometimes. I’m attracted to the tracks most people dont want to touch – the less commercial sounding, the better. I love taking a track that you can’t hear on the radio and making it into a hit.
Cher Lloyd was by far my favourite on X Factor this year. Can you give us any gossip on what she’s like to work with?
My girl Cher is amazing. I was her first writer to work with and I have to be honest, she is a natural. It was quite amazing to see her work so quickly in the recording booth. She is very easy to work with and is a true artist. She knows what she wants and who she is, and I love this about her.
What do you think about the fact that it is more often men who write songs for female artists to sing? Are you proud to be representing female songwriters?
There are definitely a lot of male songwriters, but I think the women are holding it down as well. I am very proud to represent women in any way. I think it’s important we work hard and have a voice for other women. Who can say how we feel better than us?
How does the music scene in New York differ from the other US cities such as LA where a lot of mainstream chart music is made?
Well I’m a born and raised New Yorker so I always prefer NY over LA. There are a lot more projects and everyone seems to be working from LA. I’m blessed to be signed to Stargate, who are NY based and to always find projects to do here.
Which other up and coming artists have you worked with recently who you think we should look out for in 2011?
I just wrapped up some sessions with Sony UK artist Tanya Lacey, and I’m also working on this young talent 13 year old Brianna Terhune, and of course myself!