I first met Jay Brown, a.k.a singer, songwriter and musician Amaroun, at the Groucho Club in Soho in early 2017. Since then, she’s been on a roll – releasing a set of stunning singles, selling out her headline Communion show at Archspace in London and booking a European tour supporting Laura Veirs. Her unique blend of indie pop is an ever-evolving mix of sounds, with songs centred on themes of coming out, independence and learning to be comfortable with who you are.
Keen to catch up with her before she performs a run of festivals – including The Great Escape – I quizzed Amaroun on her plans for the year ahead…
You’ve had an amazing run of single releases and played some great shows in the last year – congrats! What’s been the highlight for you so far?
Thank you! The highlight has been my first ever headline show at Archspace earlier this year. Selling it out was a great feeling and the atmosphere in the room is something I want at every show. It was a really exciting moment.
I love your latest single Indecisive. What’s the story behind the song and video?
It’s about my coming out. Realising the denial and fears I had and coming to terms with it all. Turning that fear into strength.
Your music is a really eclectic mix of styles. Who were your biggest influences growing up?
I grew up liking everything from boy bands to metal and everything in between. A few artists in mind are Funeral For A Friend, Erykah Badu, Incubus, Bjork, Feist. Plus lots of gospel and reggae. You’ll get a mix of it all. Every song is different. At the time when I was writing these songs (Bed Bugs, Made A Fire, Fear and Indecisive) I was influenced a lot by Little Dragon, Portishead, Radiohead and Air.
You’re heading off on tour with Laura Veirs in June. Are there any venues you’re particularly looking forward to playing?
Yes and I’m super excited. She’s an artist I respect so much. I cannot wait to play every date but I’ve always wanted to play the Union Chapel.
Do you have any secret tips for touring? What’s your survival kit?
Bring a book. Watch what you eat. Bring a spare guitar, portable charger, notebook and pen, and headphones.
You’re an all-round creative; writing poetry and creating art alongside your music. Is it important for you to have multiple creative outlets?
It is important. It’s fun to express yourself in different ways. I usually paint when I need to chill, write when I get the urge and poetry usually comes when I’m feeling impulsive and anxious. Each one balances me out in different ways.
What’s your plan for the next year? Is there more music on the way?
The plan is to play a lot of shows and develop the live set. I’m recording so will be releasing new music and collaborating with some people I’m really excited about. At the moment I’m working with Charles Watson from Slow Club, SIVU, Francobollo, Adam French and more.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from another woman in the music industry?
I get my advice from my family. I have a very strong family but if we’re talking about the women then I’m lucky enough to get advice from my mum and sisters. My mum’s a successful businesswoman who runs a school and is becoming a lawyer. My sister has been in the music industry as an artist for many years and my other sister is an actor. The core of what we do is to be true to ourselves, persistent, consistent with no expectations and we circulate that advice. We don’t always agree on the same thing but if we’re honest with whatever we do, it’ll shine.
What advice would you give to an aspiring female musician?
I would give them the same advice: be honest, persistent, consistent, have no expectations and enjoy the journey!