Sink to Swim with Singer/Songwriter Erin K

With a growing audience of over 3 million streams on Spotify, following the fruitful collaboration on 2019s I Need Sound, the American-born London-resident musician has continued her work with co-producer Kristofer Harris (Belle & Sebastian, Ghostpoet) and recorded new album Sink to Swim at his Squarehead Studios in Kent.

Erin’s narrative-driven songs are as forthright and personal as they are engaging and the candid nature of her often fearlessly self-deprecating lyrics make repeated listens of the timeless songs rewarding. None more so than Keep Her.  “This song illustrates the circumstances of a girl who is bound to her relationship with a controlling partner”, Erin says. “It is written almost in the form of an encouraging letter to the dominant party, offering advice on how to “keep her by [his] side so she can’t let go”. As the verses unfold, the extent to which this girl is broken and bound are poetically revealed.

This subject matter is intensely personal to Erin who “found myself in similar relationship dynamics in the past. It’s disturbing how reality can be so drastically altered in this way.

The song evolved considerably from its original form to the final studio recording. “Musically, it was interesting to witness the evolution of this song, originating as something very sombre and heavy. The arrangement is lighter now, serving as a nice contrast to the subject matter”.

The video for Keep Her was made in an unconventional way using cutting edge gaming technology.  Director Dylan Copeland explains, “Using camera trackers designed for gaming, and a hardware compositor designed for broadcast, we projected Erin and her guitar from our studio in London to a bench in a virtual clearing in a virtual forest in an Unreal Engine”.

Combined with traditional motion graphics, layered animations originating from Erin’s own illustrations and live performance, the result is beautiful and engaging and reflects the spirit of her signature combination of irony,  candour and wit. 

With sessions for BBC 6 Music, Radio 1 airplay and major commercial syncs for Google and LG her left-field songwriting is gradually reaching the wider audience that it deserves.

Erin K is touring with her band through Italy in March with UK & European dates to be announced. Her new album Sink to Swim will be released in June.

When did you develop your love and passion for music? 

I grew up in in Texas with a lot of exposure to a range of music spanning from Country to Classical, Motown to Grunge. I remember playing vinyls in the living room from my father’s collection on repeat, such as the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplanes, Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, Loretta Lynne, Roy Orbison and various Doo Wop artists from the 50s. It’s difficult to say when my passion for music started but these were definitely some early influences. I also attended a choir in Houston called the Houston Children’s Chorus which definitely led to a passion for harmonies and vocal layerings.

Who would you tribute as your musical influences?

It’s impossible to pick! I love so many artists. The very first week I began creating my own music and playing guitar I was heavily into the Moldy Peaches and Laura Marling. I was also listening to a lot of Nico, of the Velvet Underground. I think these artists had a big impact on my initial writing.

If you could use four words to describe your musical style, what would they be and why? 

Heartfelt- My songs are lyrically driven and shoot straight from the heart.

Hopeful – There seems to be an ongoing theme of reaching or dreaming towards some place better.

Bizarre – Past subjects have included, infected gums, eating shit, molly peanuts, dolphin sex to name a few. Enough said.

Goodbye – There seems to be a high ratio of goodbyes to hellos as themes in my music. Clearly I’m not one to stand still.

Take us through your creative process, how did such a diverse album come about? 

Every song is different but when I first started writing, I would lead with a subject matter and approach the creative process very analytically and with a set intention. Now, as my guitar playing has progressed and I have more freedom, I tend to lead with a melody and find the meaning of the song after meditating on it for some time. Some of the songs are written in a single day and others take years to finish. In the latest album, Sink to Swim, I have a song called Breathe, which I’d been playing with the same guitar rift for ages, not knowing what it would become. One day it just wrote itself.

This album came out of a lot of different situations and experiences, some painful, others very funny. Maybe to some the songs have a very clear overarching style, but I try not to think too much of how a previous song sounded or was created when moving onto the next. This gives Sink to Swim its diversity I suppose. 

You are gearing up for your tour, what can your fans expect at your show?

We did it! And the tour was wonderful! I hadn’t played since 2020 and wasn’t sure as to what to expect. I had just assembled the current band months before Covid took hold so we had to hold off some time before seeing the project to the stage. It was a breeze to play with Gigi, Henrik and Massi, they are so talented! Music is still something I struggle with during live shows due to performance anxiety but I can honestly say this band put me at ease and the Italian audiences were a dream to play to, as always. We are planning a return tour later this year to celebrate the album release. I can’t wait!

What is next for you musically?

I have a number of songs that have a Country Western vibe to them and have been talking to a producer in LA about this. Perhaps a Country-western EP is on the cards for next year! Also looking to play in other parts of Europe such as the Netherlands, Germany and France. We have a UK record launch planned for June 28th at the Slaughtered Lamb. It’s free! Please come!”

What advice do you have for the next generation of artists? 

Probably the same advice most would give. Stay true to your inner child style and remember why you started playing music in the first place. It’s easy to lose this along the way in any artistic field, but especially one that depends so much on outer criticism.

What is your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles? 

She is driven and confident and listens to her gut!

Watch Here:

Jakia Cheatham - Myles

CEO/Founder of Pretty Women Hustle Magazine

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