Interview with Purple Ferdinand
Name: Purple Ferdinand
Artist: Singer, Songwriter and Tattoo Artist
Location: London, UK.
Written by Bonnie Bulle (BBHollogramz)
Only once in a while, a very rare while, are you lucky enough to watch brilliant artistry unravel right before your eyes. This was my exact experience with my great friend Purple Ferdinand. As a recently signed artist to Sony/ ATV on a publishing deal, her talents as an East London singer/songwriter were kept heavily under the wraps for a large part of our friendship. Until one day I recall here telling me on Facebook chat that she had recorded a video of her singing a song she wrote on her infamous blue ukulele and put it up on her YouTube. Her only concerns were whether to publish the video online for everyone to see her greatest ever kept secret. I now laugh at the memory of my first reaction to the wonder that was her voice as if I had graciously been invited into a labyrinth of austere yet refreshing truth. Her words seemed to tick every box of my deepest thoughts and questions that I was too afraid to ask out aloud. An experience that I’m sure is shared with other individuals who have spent some time listening to Purple’s music. I urged her to post the video and thankfully she did, and the response was crazy.
After that first Youtube video and series of others Purple Ferdinand was flooded with live gigs, features on online live music segments and written about across numerous media platforms around the world. It was clear that she had arrived and was beginning to stamp her mark in the music scene as newcomer with great potential. So it was a no brainer when I decided that it was only right that I shared her work and talent in this issue of the UK Edition.
Purple and I met up for a massive catch up and few drinks with friends and we were able to have a sit down and talk about her work.
Can you please explain your sound for people that haven’t heard your music before?
The only thing that I can kind of say, that would make sense, is it’s like nostalgic folk soul. And it sounds weird but soul obviously because of my voice, folk because of my ukulele and nostalgic because of my lyrics.
What is the motivation behind your music?
Life experience and expression through creativity, without sounding too cliché.
What do you think you write about the most?
Do you think your Tumblr helps you connect with your fans?
When I made my Tumblr it was fully for venting purposes, creative or just general. I don’t have real re-blogs aside from things that are actually connected to my life and I don’t think that there are that many personal Tumblr blogs out there so mine is kind of like an interactive diary. And sometimes people see and can connect with it because I pretty much put my day-to-day life as well as my creative life. In general I get quite a lot of anonymous questions and their about general life just because they know that within my lyrics I have general life in there and because they can feel it they can vibe with it. It’s a lot more intimate than just a general blog.
Could you tell us more about yourself and your personal history in music?
I was born in London; I’m an East Londoner. When I was really young all my family lived together in my grandmother’s house and every night before we would go to bed we used to play music. It could be something like the Ugly Bugs Ball from Disney or it would be Whitney Houston or R.Kelly you just didn’t know what it could be. I remember singing Kylie Minogue at the top of the stairs and saying to my mum, “Mum look I sound just like her!” And because my family is so mixed, it (the music) will go from Country Rock to Soca to Lover’s Rock to Ragga. I had those influences when I was young just because of having a mixed background and a family that were open to so much (music). My mum used to listen to Old School Garage and Jungle and stuff like that, and from then on there were so many open doors of music. I didn’t have a specific thing that I was influenced by it was just everything that made me feel amazing. From the age of 7 my mum send me for flute lessons I then had piano and guitar lessons, they didn’t always stick but they were always something that I would do from a young age and that my mum supported me. When I was 11, we weren’t a really religious family but I would take myself to church because I really wanted to sing in the choir and it wasn’t even like a gospel choir. I t was like we would wear robes and sing hymns with two harmonies, do you know what I mean.
At what point did you decide to take music seriously?
Initially I didn’t think I had the guts or the courage or the strength to do it. I was too deeply rooted in art on its own, tattooing and painting, whatever but then I think I got to the point were I needed something new. So I started writing music and I started singing and playing and it kind of felt like it fitted into place. And because of the support that I had around me and people saw the potential in what I had it kind of went from there so when I hit about 22 people saw that I had got to a kind of age were I wanted to try some new things. I’m going to do something out of my comfort zone and a lot of people say that I look really nervous, awkward and haunted when I sing but they say that that’s the thing that is endearing about me. That I’m not putting on a show I’m just showing you what the words are, and I think it’s the right time for me to do it.
Do you feel like what your doing now is important and in what way do you hope to add or bring to the music sector?
I know that there are a lot of songs that you will listen to and enjoy and you will feel a apart of the vibe because my songs are like dairy entries that people from all different backgrounds can relate to and feel like their experiencing the same things that I am, they don’t feel alone. I did write a lot of my songs when I felt like nobody would understand and as soon as I shared the music I got messages from people saying that they felt the exact same way. It really made me feel like I was helping people.
What have you learnt form another artist recently?
I have a few friends that are musicians like my friend Daley. From start to were he is now he has always just been himself, his music has just always been him and when I hang out with him and I see him perform he has still got the same kind of spirit and that’s one thing I have taken from him and he might not know this but its really good to see him having worked with some amazing people but he is still just himself and that’s something that I have appreciated and something that I will always keep in myself.
Finally could you explain you music to us as if we were deaf?
(LAUGHS) If you were deaf, oh wow, a lot of people say it gives them fuzzy feelings… umm… its made a number of people teary eyed and it kind of makes people feel vulnerable but in a good way. In a way that is both vulnerable but comfortable at the same time, so they are comfortable enough to be open to emotion.