Following on from a string of deep and captivating offerings over the last few years, as well as supporting the likes of Macy Gray, Jessie Ware, Beirut, Daughter, Cass McCombs, Toploader and Archive, Athens-based singer and songwriter Irene Skylakaki now returns with her latest swoon 'Sutherland Avenue'.
Lifted from her forthcoming new album 'Souvenir', 'Sutherland Avenue' marks her fourth new release of the year and a seminal one at that. Filled with a bright and warming atmosphere, subtle piano keys, and her own seductive vocals at the helm, this new release looks to sooth and entice in equal measure.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with her to find out more about her background and what has inspired her most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
The guitar! I’m still in love with it – not great at it – but definitely in love!
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
People and relationships. I think this has always been the ‘root’ for me. I usually write autobiographically but through the filters of my imagination. Imagination is again a very personal element so even though it might be appealing you cannot really hide behind it.
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
I went through a few phases. I was a big fan of Avril Lavigne at some point, I then became obsessed with the Killers, then the Strokes…
What inspires you to make music?
I find songwriting soothing to the soul. At times I get a bit lazy or fed up with writing but I can’t last long without writing music. It’s a form of mental nourishment for me. I guess this process and the way it functions in my life is an inspiration to me.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
I really love the music of the Japanese House and Bon Iver. But sometimes I just want to listen to an album of Norah Jones or Madeleine Peyroux. There are Steely Dan days and Nick Drake days and definitely Leonard Cohen months on a yearly basis for me.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
All of them.
What has been the most unusual moment in your career so far?
When I released my first song ever called ‘In the Light’ there was a massive response to it in Greece. I had the impression that that would happen whenever I release music. Eight years later I just see it as an unusual moment - fun but unusual!
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
I’d really love to open for Jay-Jay Johanson. We’ve worked together recently in my track ‘Souvenir’ and apart from an incredible artist he’s also a wonderful person, so him!
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
I find most things interesting to an extent. So I could have done anything averagely. My heart is in music, so even if I’m average or below average in music, my heart’s in it. So it makes it worthwhile…
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
A few years ago I was lucky enough to open for a well-established greek artist called Pavlos Pavlidis in London. The gig was packed and I was opening solo with my guitar. Before going to the stage I was trembling and feeling ill so Pavlos reminded me that sometimes you push a door that’s not opening, only because it opens from within. I played the gig mostly with my eyes shut. It was very liberating.
Irene Skylakaki's new single 'Sutherland Avenue' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.