My Music DNA: Rebecca Downes

British singer/songwriter Rebecca Downes has announced the release of her fourth studio album, Stripped Back, via her own label, Mad Hat Records on 9 April 2021.  

A few years ago, Rebecca moved from Wolverhampton to Birmingham where she linked up with co-songwriter Steve Birkett – a partnership that ‘clicked’, to the intense excitement of those around the pair.  With Rebecca’s powerful vocals to the fore as part of a tight 5-piece band, their core genre at the start was the Blues, but they stretched their music in the direction of rock with her third album, More Sinner Than Saint. 

Rebecca Downes new release is Stripped Back

During the pandemic, there has been little opportunity to promote Rebecca’s next full studio album,   which has now been  put on hold, but Rebecca and co-writer Steve Birkett saw an opportunity to use the time to revisit and reimagine some of their most popular tracks released so far.  The result is Stripped Back, a new studio album that includes a fascinating re-working of six tracks from her third album, More Sinner Than Saint and four from her second studio album Believe.

Rebecca says “Once it was clear that gigging was some months away, we spoke and agreed that it was the opportunity to do bring this project forward and get on with it.  Then when the first lockdown eased, we did some duo online gigs and that convinced us even more that there was real scope to present these numbers in a new and exciting way that would appeal to our supporters.  And I’m over the moon that the two new tracks can be released at last.  I have always really loved them, but I couldn’t see how they would ever fit on one of our normal blues/rock albums.”

Ahead of the release of Stripped Back, Rebecca reveals her music influences to Andy Howells.

What was the first song that made an impact on you?

Radio Gaga by Queen.  I absolutely love Freddie Mercury and was heartbroken when he died.

What was the first single you bought?

I didn’t really buy singles – the first song I remember dancing to was Climie Fisher’s Love Changes Everything

What was the first album you owned?

A Little Bit of What You Fancy by The Quireboys.  In recent years I have toured with the Quireboys and, on occasions, sung with them at the end of their shows.

What’s your constant go-to track?

Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me.  Such a brilliant song that I have performed myself in my acoustic shows.

What’s your constant go-to album?

Depeche Mode’s Violator.  My favourite album and still resonates after all this time.

Who’s your latest music discovery?

Brandy Carlile (even though I should have known her before now!)

What’s your own track that best defines you as an artist?

Sailing On A Pool Of Tears.  This was on my second studio album Believe and my favourite version was the re-mix by Rolling Stones/Peter Frampton producer Chris Kimsey that we released on the second edition of that album.

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