The week, Coffee House Sessions introduced Southampton University to Lydia Baylis. A 23 year old singer-songwriter, she has just finished recording her debut album A Darker Trace. She became involved in the Coffee House Sessions because ‘it’s a great way of going around the country doing acoustic gigs’. More importantly the focus, is firmly upon sharing music with students, who for Lydia are ‘a very important audience’.
Lydia Baylis takes her inspiration for songwriting not only from personal experience but also from great novelists, such as Virginia Woolf and the Bronte sisters, which in turn add a darker layer to her music. Her first single from her debut album is ‘Life Without You’, which is due for release on 11th November. Writing this single was a therapeutic process:
‘It is a directly confessional, personal song. Others on the album aren’t quite so personal. I came out of a very long relationship and wrote a song about it. Now that I’m about to release it, it’s funny how these things take on a life of their own and I was a bit worried about the person it was about. It’s a part of life. You fall in love, you fall out of love and it’s important that music reflects that’. However, despite these initial worries, for Lydia ‘It was ultimately a cathartic experience and I’m pleased I did it.’
Music is clearly something that is of great importance to Lydia Baylis. She explained, ‘there was a lot of music in my household. My father loves music, so I grew up on a lot of Van Morrison, David Bowie and Lou Reed. I’ve always wanted to sing and be on stage. It was the only option really’. This was apparent throughout her set, as she sang with feeling and conviction. I only wished that she had perhaps more than just a guitar to accompany her, as at times there were moments that could have benefited from the introduction of percussion. Much of her set reminded of Dido in her early days. This was clearly no mistake, as when I asked Lydia who she considers to be her music idol she answered ‘I think probably Dido. I loved her first album. I also like the way that she is very natural and was never a celeb. She is a real musician and I love her voice’.
Lydia Baylis performed an enchanting set but I do feel that the guitar was not enough. For me, her voice would excel against the back drop of a piano and light percussion, sprinkled with a healthy dose of four part harmony. However, The Coffee House Sessions are not meant to be a grandiose affair. The whole point of The Coffee House Sessions is to provide a platform for artists to perform a simple acoustic set.
To find out more about Lydia Baylis and her music then visit her website here. Check her new single ‘Life Without You’, which is due for release on 11th November.