My Music DNA: Amy Duncan Discusses Music Inspirations Ahead of New Album, Cocoon

Scottish Singer/Songwriter Amy Duncan plays a livestreamed gig at Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms on November 21, while her new album Cocoon featuring her singles You Know Me and Treasure Hunt is released on November 26 via Filly Records.

15 years on from her debut, eight since her breakthrough after signing to The Blue Nile’s label Linn Records and little over a year since the release of her last album, The Hidden World, Amy is about to embark on a new era of her career.

“I’m not sure why, but I’ve always kept myself quite hidden,” Amy admits. “Making music is easy for me, promoting it is the hard part. Ironically, 2020 was due to be the year that I put myself out there. I got a live agent for the first time and had a tour booked.

The wide pandemic however dictated a career curveball for Amy. Inspired by lockdown restrictions, the aptly titled Cocoon captures contained life in slow motion, mixing memories of childhood with dreams of escape, days drifting by, the spectre of death and nights spent dancing at home with loved ones.

“Early in the pandemic, I was transported back to how I felt as a child,” says Amy. “Partly it was having so much spare time, but also feeling quite fearful of the world. In particular, I was reminded of moving from Glasgow to a small town in Perthshire aged 11 when my whole world completely changed.

For Cocoon, the classically trained folkie whose music features on the Netflix remake of Charmed, fully embraced electronics, switching from her usual acoustic instruments to synths, electric guitar and electric upright bass.

“The positives from it are that I got to make this album, the tour is being re-booked for the spring and I’m no longer nervous about it. Having been stuck at home for so long, I can’t wait to get back on stage. I’m more ready for it than I’ve ever been.”

While preparing for her live performances, Amy took time out to speak to Andy Howells about her music influences.

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

I remember being at my friend’s house when I was about 10 years old. Her big brother had his door slightly open and was blasting Pink Floyd’s The Wall. There was something about the partial glimpse into his room, seeing the edges of his posters and the music I had never heard before. It was like a doorway into another world.

What was the first single you bought?

I think one of the first singles I had was Fleetwood Mac ‘Everywhere’. It is still one of my favourite songs of all-time.

What was the first album you owned?

Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure and King Crimson’s In The Wake of Poseidon. I was 10 and bought these tapes with my pocket money from Lost in Music in Glasgow.

What’s your constant go to track?

There are quite a few, but I’m going to say Let Go by Frou Frou because the lyrics are so motivating and the production so beautiful. Makes me cry every time. I love Imogen Heap, she is such an inspiration.

What’s your constant go to album?

Oh, which one to choose! I’m going to go with PJ Harvey’s Stories from the City Stories From the Sea, because I got the vinyl reissue for my birthday the other day. It is one of my favourite all-time records – every song is incredible and for me it evokes such strong feelings of becoming a Mum and entering a new phase of my life, mixed with the awful confusion of 9/11 which happened around the same time that I first heard the album.

Who’s your latest music discovery?

I’ve recently discovered pianist Hania Rani. It is so great to be blown away by new music that is so real and beautiful. Such an incredible musician.

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

‘Song To Myself’ from my album Cycles of Life (2013). I was really depressed when I wrote it and didn’t have anyone close to help. I had begun writing that day about how sad I was feeling, but then the mother part of me kicked in and took over. It starts off “I will lift you when you have fallen down” and I see it as the voice of my higher self. It felt very powerful and therapeutic to be able to turn things around like that by myself and is something I always try to do through my music.

  • For the latest news on Amy Duncan’s live dates for spring 2022 visit her official website.

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