Esmé Patterson hails from Denver, Colorado and has been wowing audiences across the US with her concept album released in 2015, Woman to Woman which was written from the perspective of female characters in famous songs then in 2016 she has shown a more upbeat and positive outlook with original 60’s pop, country and indie blend of music on album, We Were Wild.
Currently touring around the UK as support to Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, GIGsoup’s Kieron Keen managed to have a chat about how the tour is going so far, her latest album and her love for crumpets.
How are you enjoying the UK so far? I hear you’re a massive fan of crumpets.
[Laughs] I’d never had a crumpet in my life but my tour manager was like “You gotta eat some crumpets!” and they were so good! It’s like what we have in America which we call an English muffin so it’s like a shitty version and the ones here are so much better. I did have an interesting thing at the merch table on the first night when a guy was adamant that because I was America I should like KISS so when I told him I wasn’t a fan he got so mad [Laughs] but that was just a bit of fun and everyone has been really sweet and kind to us.
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Is there anything in America that you can only get over there that you’re missing while you’re touring here?
Oh yeah man! Hot sauce, we’ve been looking for hot sauce everywhere as well as this brand of cigarettes, I hear they’re like gold dust over here. There is some stuff that we miss about home but we’ll go back at some point [Laughs] there’s also some shit that I don’t miss back home too.
I guess with everything that’s going on at the moment in America, you’ve picked the right time to visit over here.
I feel bad actually because I would be at standing rock and standing there with everybody to help defend the water and I feel kind of guilty being away when everyone is needed to basically stand there and there’s some other stuff I wanna get home for but it is nice to get perspective and I hope that everyone gets the chance to go to somewhere that’s very different to where they live and experience it, the UK isn’t that different I guess but it’s a really refreshing change of perspective.
How did you end up on this tour of the UK with Frank Turner?
He’s on the same label, Xtra Mile and I played a couple of shows with him a few years ago and he asked me to sing on his record (Positive Songs for Negative People) on the song Silent Key and then they asked if we’d come out on tour for the release of it.
Will we get to see you back in the UK as a headline act some time soon?
Yeah we hope so, we’ve got a tour back in the US in February and March but we’re hoping to come back out here in the summer for a festival or something. We’ve never actually been to festival over here but we’ve seen videos and they all seem really cool.
For people who may not be familiar, I know you started your career as part of Paper Bird which was more of an indie folk group. You’ve obviously branched out on your own now but was this always the goal for you, to be a solo artist?
It wasn’t an intentional process, I was pretty committed to that band and was working hard on it but I’m just constantly writing songs and they were starting to stack up and there were a few that I thought were good but the band didn’t want or didn’t seem right for whatever reason so once the stack got high enough, I started to record my own albums but really for me I just wanted the songs to be recorded at all then it started gathering momentum and people seemed to enjoy it. The time came and I struck out on my own and I’m so glad to have left that group, my sister is my hero and I respect her a lot but the music in general that they were making was not exciting to me so I was kind of glad to go my own way but they’re still doing it and I wish them all the best.
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After listening to your latest album We Were Wild and I felt there was a more positive and upbeat outlook, was that something you were trying to put across?
Well I was going through a rough personal time I was just digging down deep to try to find anchors of peace and hope for my own self and I think that’s a cool thing that art does and I think a lot of artists are very empathetic and sensitive to these feeling spaces and bring back information and then present it to everybody. The songs I felt, were gifts for me in particular times and there’s definitely a lot of that on this record where I’m trying to heal myself and give other people the tools to heal themselves too.
Something which I think is important to mention is the fact that Frank has also invited Safe Gigs For Women on tour with you guys to raise awareness for their campaign.
Yeah I think it’s important for people who it may not affect to step forward and people who do face this would appreciate it a lot to have people step up and the amount of awareness they’ve been able to raise just in these crowds is really great and my guitar player, Laura Hopkins and I both live in Portland and our community are trying to work on things like this, making sure that music venues are safe places for women so I think it’s really important and it’s something that’s easy enough to start with by just raising awareness and let everyone know that we need everybody’s eyes to look out for each other so it’s really cool they’re at these shows and the woman who started it, Tracey (Wise) is so rad and the work they’re doing is really really wonderful.