It was just six years ago that the soul songstress Andreya Triana was waiting tables at a sushi restaurant in Brighton. Writing tracks in her spare time, she struggled to pay her rent. However, this September she is will return to the county where her career began to perform on the main stage at Boomerang Festival, a moment that will mean a lot to her.
“It’s always sentimental every time I come back to Sussex because that’s where I wrote my first album,” she reflects of her time living on the coast. “I was working like mad in Brighton when I lived there; I worked in an insurance company, I worked in a sushi restaurant, I worked as an administrator so I was doing loads of temp jobs just to pay the rent. It was a really amazing time in Brighton and I met some amazing people and wrote some great music.”
Born in London, Andreya was a music fiend from day one, shutting herself away in her room writing poetry and songs in her Brixton family home. It’s hard to tell if she has changed much since, with her passion for music as evident today, if not more so, than any other musician I have spoken to.
With dashes of Amy Winehouse and hints of Nina Simone in her voice it is clear to see where her influence lies. “I loved soul music from the start really; Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Billie Holiday and Lauryn Hill were a massive influence on me.”
It is easy to tell listening to her newest album Giants, which was released in May this year, and has ventured some way from her 2010 debut Lost Where I Belong. As well as switching producers during her five-year hiatus, moving away from her previous work which was connected heavily to Bonobo and now linking up with Matt Hales, she has made an effort to develop musically and personally.
“After the first album I just felt like I really wanted to push myself so I hid myself away for a few years and just kept writing, I wrote about 70 songs in that time. Then we just whittled it down to our favourite few so it really was a labour of love but I’ve really pushed myself hard on this album and I’m really glad I did, it was a great process. It was very intense but it’s was worthwhile and it’s good to see what you’re made of when you just really keep going.”
Giants is the culmination of her growth during her time away from the spotlight and is just another step along her colourful path. “I feel like it’s bolder, it’s stronger, it’s deeper lyrically and emotionally, and vocally as well so it feels like it’s a big step on in a way; a bit of an evolution.”
She will be singing tracks off both albums at the West Sussex festival and her performance at Hickstead’s All England Jumping Ground will continue her rise to stardom, which has most recently included slots at Glastonbury and on Jools Holland. “I’m really excited, the line-up looks amazing,” she enthused.
“I really love the energy at a festival, everyone’s up for it and having a good time and as long as there’s music, booze and outdoors it’s always a good vibe.”
Full of energy, Andreya is a creative force in every sense and when she’s not in the studio or writing lyrics, she’s still inspired to create art. “When I’m not singing I’m massively into making stuff; I really love sewing bags, I’m really into African fabric, I’m really into style and fashion as well, I also love art, reading and going to the gym – I’m a bit of a gym bunny.”
A style icon in her own right, Andreya’s African-style dress sense is eye-catching and I made sure to get her tips from her on how to choose your own style. “It’s all about just feeling great in yourself, that is it,” she assured. “Anyone who feels great and is happy in themselves looks amazing to me, that is the most beautiful thing, so just go with what you like and be yourself.”
Having progressed so far in such a short space of time it is tough to see where the finish line will be for the 28-year-old but, for those on the start line, she has some words of advice.
“The main thing is to believe in yourself, to value your time and your talent and also to not be scared to get your hands dirty. It’s very hard work and you have to really be persistent and just keep going. I’m learning all the time and the more I learn, the more I realise there’s so much more I don’t know, so I’m constantly trying to improve myself and push myself.”
Andreya Triana will be performing at Boomerang Festival on 12 September with Simple Minds and for more information visit visit www.boomeranghickstead.com
For more information on Andreya Triana visit www.counterrecords.com/artist/andreya-triana
ANDREYA’S QUICK FIRE QUIZ
Coming to America
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
If you could have one super power what would it be?
What’s your idea of happiness?
Happiness to me is just being still and being content with whatever is happening in life
Singing or listening to music?
Both in equal measures
East or West Sussex?
Favourite Sussex venue?
The Brighton Dome
Probably meeting Samuel L Jackson recently and singing at his charity event
The early days, the very skint times
What motivates you?
I guess it’s my love for music and for life