Exposure: Dawn Landes
Dawn Landes - Romeo
American singer and songwriter, Dawn Landes is so much more than a pretty face. Sure, she may have a striking, natural beauty, but more importantly, she has quite the knack for crafting quirky pop-folk songs. Her music bears a resemblance to American folk music from the 1960s, yet with a modern twist that can be accredited in part to her residence in Brooklyn, New York. This contrast of urban and rural influences only broaden her appeal. Each song is sung with a purity, charm and with an enviable clarity that sets her apart from her contemporaries. Tracks such as 'Straight Lines' and 'Romeo' provide the perfect soundtrack for an autumn evening walk, or a candlelit night, hiding under covers from the harsh cold of winter. They simply draw you in and hold you close with Landes' irresistable melodies and effortless delivery. I spoke with the woman herself in the run up to her European tour, where she will be gracing us with her live shows in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
What is your earliest memory of writing or performing?
I have a cassette tape of me at age four singing songs I made up while I was sick. My mom and I accidentally harmonising to 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' and little me riffing on themes of valentines and birds and seasons. Performing, I actually started on stage as a ballet dancer. My first performance was probably The Nutcracker as a ginger-snap.
What are your main influences?
Recently, anything that happened in 1968. Music, fashion, movies from 1968 - for some reason that seemed to be an amazing watershed year! The Byrds! Margo Guryan! Tom Wolfe! Muriel Spark! I wish I had been there!
How has your European tour been so far? How do European audiences differ to our transatlantic friends?
It's been great. I've had more experience touring in Europe than I have in the States. I kinda started out touring in France, then the UK, then Spain, then the US. Strange, I know, but that's just how it happened for me. I love European audiences. They're somehow rowdier and more attentive ... like the best people I know.
Have you played in Scotland before? Is there anywhere you haven't played that you would like to?
Yeah, I think this'll be my sixth or seventh time playing in Scotland. I always love watching the landscape change on the drive up. I've never played in Italy before, or Japan. Those would both be fun.
What can we expect from your live show? What sets you apart from other artists on the scene at the moment?
Hmm, well you can expect a big noise and maybe a surprise. I always like to throw a surprise into each tour to mix it up a little. This time I'll be out with my band (The Hounds) and you never know what kind of forcefield we'll be pulling. What sets us apart? Well, we all speak seven languages and are ambidextrous ... and love to play music.
What are your hopes and plans for the future?
I'm just really happy to be doing what I love and getting the opportunity to play music with my friends all over the world. I hope to be able to make music forever, really. Is that something you can plan on? I hope so. Oh, and world peace would be great too. And equality for all, and more Steve Martin comedy albums.
Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, 24 Nov; The Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, 25 Nov