FOCUS: Louise Hudson

With a glittering abundance of lyrical flair and sonic influences that span the length and breadth of the globe, Nottingham indie estrella Louise Hudson is amongst the cities brightest new talents. Though the Nottingham alumna has been forced to swap open-mic’s for bedroom jam sessions amidst the pandemic, she expounds her teeming enthusiasm and future aspirations in an interview for The Mic’s beloved FOCUS feature.

Louise Hudson, a name that is perhaps familiar to Pepper Rocks and open-mic night attendees, is a recently discovered talent in the Nottingham music scene. Hudson’s music is spontaneously varied. Still in the process of finding her sound, she often explores a range of different styles in production and execution, all of which fall into the broad genre of indie dream-pop – Hudson herself admits that [her] music taste is so broad and often [her] own music will reflect that.

One constancy reveals itself in the vulnerability and emotion of her lyricism – concerned with subjects of self-representation, reflection (quite literally in Hall of Mirrors) and introspection, her music, no matter what corner of dream pop it finds itself in, is always accompanied by a personal sense of exposure, of nakedness. Having been rewarded for such by a seemingly universal interest in her music, Hudson moves forward and into interviews with the likes of BBC Introducing and Lefuturewave – Hudson is an exciting prospect, an artist full of promise and, clearly, we aren’t the only ones who think so.

Taking off with debut single, Denial – a shining indie ballad with a dream-pop Clairo meets Phoebe Bridgers hue – Hudson established herself within her genre as someone who is aware of its tropes and as someone who is able to meet and subvert them as and when she feels necessary. The single is airy and soft in its approach to the genre-typical subjects of pain, healing, and a unilaterally frustrating relationship with the self. Hudson says, I just sort of came up with this single that I thought was relatable and personal to me, and good enough to put out, so I put it out.

It is this overwhelming sense of the ‘personal’ in Hudson’s music that provokes emotion in her listeners, and indeed, in herself: she says that the composition of her music has served as a really good outlet this year […] it’s such a productive way of understanding [her] own emotional state – it’s quite cathartic in that sense too. It is as though Hudson and her listeners, through sound, are pulled into this state of shared vulnerability and emotion, and, at least with regard to that which is sympathetic in her music, Hudson’s voice is responsible for the direction in which such emotion, alive as it is, moves.

I’m trying to find my own voice in that sense. What do I do to make my voice sound more indie? Start smoking again?

Residing in another, perhaps opposite corner of dream-pop, Hudson’s second single, Hall of Mirrors muses on similar topics of self-representation. This, the second date between listener and Hudson, is immediately different in almost every aspect of its instrumentation: it’s a more enjoyable and natural listen – our first encounter was a slow, sensual, perhaps drunken, conversation over dinner. This, on the other hand, is a more relaxed meeting – more loose but simultaneously more intimate – here we get a deeper understanding of the artist sat proverbially across from us.

From the strike of the first chord, something which is unavoidable and prominent is the juxtaposition between the up-tempo instrumentation and the solemnly blue lyricism. A poignant disgust for the self is to be found in lyrics such as I wish I could disappear, but I’m trapped in a hall of mirrors. Set against what is, at least tonally, a relatively upbeat collection of sounds, such lyricism is effective in establishing a perverse and almost concealed sense of self-hatred, something which speaks volumes to those who suffer with such a mentality in silence. If on Denial the listener is taken through the traditional abstractions of dream-pop, Hall of Mirrors sees Hudson reveal an ability to construct fever dreams, intense and colourful bouts of sadness that survive in her lyricism.

Her own comments on the creation of Hall of Mirrors are perhaps telling of such: With the recent song I was listening to a lot of up-tempo music, things I used to listen to when I was in my emo phase – there’s such a revival of that at the moment in artists like Beabadoobee and Soccer Mommy for example – that’s the sound I really like. It’s tough because I don’t want to follow the crowd, I want to make my own sound, my own style, articulate my own emotion. Perpetually excited about, and, in turn, disappointed by the unfulfilled prospect of a revival of the local live music scene, Hudson is restless in her continued station at the head of the microphone in her bedroom.

Hudson was a regular performer at Pepper Rocks’ weekly open mic nights and, having only been able to perform her own material a handful of times, is audibly animated at the prospect of performing for the Nottingham crowd again, this time with a greater collection of music at her disposal. The opportunity to play live shows is also a chance for Hudson to continue experimenting with her individual sound, not just in terms of live instrumentation, but with regard to her voice. Having been trained in musical theatre from a young age, Hudson admits that performing live can prove challenging – I’m trying to find my own voice in that sense. What do I do to make my voice sound more indie? Start smoking again?

‘This is a voice made for music; an artist it would be foolish to let slip under the radar.’

Alumnus of the University of Nottingham, Hudson offers herself as yet another example of excellent musicians from the (ex) student population and in turn provides evidence for the enticing and edifying nature of the Nottingham music scene. Moving forward, Hudson hopes to begin working on a broader, more complete body of work and, with the possibility of an EP in the near future, she makes her commitment to music clear and effortless. This is a voice made for music; an artist it would be foolish to let slip under the radar.

Written by: Matthew Andrews

Edited by: Olivia Stock