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Interview: Rumer

8 min read

Rumer first came to prominence when the whispery-voiced singer released her stunning debut album, Seasons of my Soul in 2010. The record delivered a string of singles including early hit Slow and instant comparisons to 70’s singing icon Karen Carpenter were very quickly drawn. Two years after the unveiling of her debut, Rumer followed up with the release of a covers collection titled Boys Don’t Cry before setting off to the States to focus on writing material for her 3rd studio album.

Into Colour was released in November and marks the return of one of music’s finest breakthrough artists of the past decade. A lot has happened to Rumer in the time between Boy’s Don’t Cry and Into Colour and these topics are touched on throughout the new songs featured on the album.

Following the release of Into Colour, we caught up with Rumer to talk about the themes contained within the new collection, the struggles she has encountered over the past couple of years and how she deals with such honest and emotionally drawn songs being revealed to the world. Here is what she had to say…

Brendon Veevers: How are you Rumer and where does our interview find you today?

Rumer: I’m fine, and I am in Herne Hill, SE24.

Rumer Into ColourBV: Your brand new album Into Colour has just been released – Congratulations! How are you feeling now that the album is out?

Rumer: I am delighted for myself as well as all the people who are involved in this project. I think it’s a really good album and so I just hope people like it.

BV: Any plans to celebrate the release? Are there any celebratory rituals that you go through when you release a new album or are you more modest when it comes to album releases?

Rumer: I usually go to a record shop to buy one. But today I couldn’t find a record shop so after walking round for ages I gave up and went to the pub

BV: Firstly, it’s been a couple of years since the release of your sophomore album, Boys Don’t Cry. Aside from putting the new collection together, what have you been up to in-between releases?

Rumer: I had not been well at all, and I was cowering from life. I was stuck, energetically. I went to L.A without knowing anyone, without a drivers license, rented a hippy cottage from air bnb and just started a whole new adventure. I met lots of cool people, made new friends, learned to drive, wrote a album, fell in love. America is a great place to make a fresh start.

BV: What words would you use to describe the new record and what type of an album can  those who haven’t heard it yet, expect?

Rumer: It’s hopeful, it’s heartfelt. Each song has an element of darkness in it, but also a silver lining. I am exploring the wreckage. There is a song about fear and trepidation (Dangerous), a song about desperately not wanting to become cynical after being backstabbed by a friend (You Just Don’t Know People) a defensive song about people telling me how lucky I am. Reach Out is about depression and how you try and connect and reach people when they are in bad place. It’s a dark record but its hopeful. I think its great and it helped me writing it.

BV: Your records are so personal and heartfelt so I can only imagine how it must feel to have such emotional songs revealed to the world. Do you get nervous about this or is it something you just accept and approach light-heartedly?

Rumer: I know that I have to always be honest and to speak honestly always in music. Not everyone can find the words or the voices to express their feelings, and sometimes I can write something or sing something in a way that helps people, and so I always think about that `when I am shy of expressing something personal.

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BV: Dangerous the albums lead single and style-wise it is quite different to your previous singles with an upbeat disco vein running through it. Can you tell us a little bit about the single and is the vibe of the track indicative of what we will hear on Into Colour?

Rumer: It’s the only disco song on the album. The song is about being afraid of getting hurt, and all the emotions that brings, in particular the fear of losing control. I always associate disco with heartbreak somehow so it fitted the theme. The rest of the album is smooth, groovy but chilled out. Its late night music for lovers.

BV: We have seen you perform several times over the past few years and you appear so confident in in your performance and you always have so many fascinating stories to tell the audience at your shows but we read recently that one of the demons you have battled over the years is stage anxiety. How did you overcome this and does it feel more natural for you today?

Rumer: I ran away for two years and sat under a tree in California. I took time off to write and recover, and figure out a lot of stuff. I also was fortunate that in L.A I found a partner in Rob, musically and romantically, so looking over my shoulder and seeing him there at a gig, is very encouraging. I also got a rescue dog called Alfie who has contributed to healing some of the anxiety. He gets me outside every day throwing sticks and balls.

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BV: Listening to and reading about the new songs, there are quite a lot of strong, serious themes and topics being tackled within the Into Colour. Would you say this is correct and when it comes to writing emotionally driven songs, would you say they are drawn from personal experiences or more from an observational standpoint?

Rumer: Mostly they are drawn from personal experience but there are elements of imagination. Baby Come Back To Bed is a made up story, and its from a man’s point of view, but there are elements of my own experience in there.

BV: Are any of the songs on the new record more personal for you than others? Are there any songs that you found quite tough to write and record on an emotional level and if so, why?

Rumer: Obviously Butterfly was hard because it was about a miscarriage, which was very difficult and I wasn’t sure I wanted to put it on the album. It was difficult to find the words. It was the last one I finished, and it went on the album at the 11th hour.

BV: Being an in-demand recording artist can certainly take its toll and you have talked openly about the pressures of dealing with the stresses and pressures of being a recording artist and the importance of taking time out. How are you feeling now as you approach the release of Into Colour and have you made any changes to the routine of releasing a record to avoid these stresses?

Rumer: I have a P.A now who is the wind beneath my wings. You can derail a whole day and a live T.V because you can’t find a flesh coloured strapless bra to go with this particular outfit and your tights have a ladder and you’re in some TV station in Germany in the middle of nowhere. You have your hair and make up done at 5.30am for a Breakfast TV in Chicago before room service opens and then you are forced to eat Cheetos. A lot of the stress is down to operational co ordination. A promo campaign is 100 miles an hour, round the world in a hundred outfits, and each one needs a different bra. You go insane in the end. Its the details that can be so stressful, just having access to food and water sometimes.

Now we travel like a gypsy circus troupe, with everything, even a kettle. I take no chances. No more dry salami sandwiches at Helsinki services stations. We are packed like we are on a Mars space mission.

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BV: You have already achieved an astonishing amount in your career so far from performing at the White House for President Obama; being backed by some of the industry’s most prolific figures including Burt Bacharach and Elton John; you have been nominated for a couple of Brit Awards and you have released 2 widely acclaimed records. What’s been the proudest moment for you over these past few years?

Rumer: This album I am most proud of, because it was a massive achievement after a long battle with stress and mental illness.

BV: What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing or performing? Do you get many opportunities for taking time out?

Rumer: I like rambling, walking in the wind and the rain with the dog. I like cafe society, literally just spending hours siting in Cafes. I like to watch theatre or dance. I really want to see a play actually. I might do that the next opportunity I get.

BV: Aside from the release of Into Colour, are there any other projects or events in the calendar that fans can look forward to?

Rumer: I have started a new production house called Night Owl, which focuses on project development for music and media projects, such as albums, or scripts. It’s basically a company that aims to help fund and develop people’s creative work to a critical point before it moves on to find bushiness and marketing partners. I am working on two projects right now. A band called The Golden Retrievers and a project called The Church of Malcolm.

Rumer’s brand new album Into Colour is out now. Read our review of the album here