Meet Caitlyn Scarlett. She’s the self-taught guitarist and pianist Caitlyn whose signature sound has got us seriously obsessed. We caught up with her to chat musical inspirations, fave gigs and dream collaborations…
Tell us about yourself…
I’ve just turned 21, originally from Bray but I left to go to college in London and have been bouncing around the city since 17. My music started out as poetry, I had one teacher in year 5 who was convinced I’d grow up to be an author, so she entered my work into poetry competitions and I won nationally and had material published at 10. Around 12 I started combining my passion for singing with the poems and they became lyrics. I haven’t really looked back since. I have a few different sounds and a few different personalities in the studio, it all depends on what I’m going through or what I feel like needs saying.
What 5 travel essentials can’t you live without on tour?
1. A jumbo sized bottle of ketchup, I carry a bottle everywhere I go to avoid having to miss a meal without it. I admit I have a problem.
2. My jewellery, I don’t feel like myself without my nose ring in and chunky stuff on every knuckle.
3. A big box of Ibuprofen, severe headaches and migraines run in my family and they can render me bed bound unless I catch ‘em early.
4. Headphones, because travelling without them is actual torture whether you’re a musician or not.
5. My knee length DMs. Since age 12 I’ve had this pair of original black knee-length lace up Doctor Martens, from when they were still orthopaedic shoes. So they’re super comfortable and I honestly live in them. They have the power to make me feel badass whenever I need, so lucky for me my feet haven’t grown. I’ve requested to be buried in them, should tragedy strike.
Your videos are amazing, what’s the inspiration?
Thanks! I’m always heavily involved in the making of every video so that the vibe and aesthetic will be coherent with my sound and personality. Any inspiration usually comes from the subject matter of the song, the location we have to work with and the message/metaphor the visuals are intended to convey.
How would you describe your aesthetic and how does it inspire your music?
My aesthetic is a part of of my overall persona, which makes it intrinsically linked to the music. Moody, gender fluid with a hint of glam I guess? Usually autumnal colours with heavy accessorising. Some days I’ll step out of the house head to toe in thrifted mens clothes, paisley shirt, trousers, bomber jacket or blazer and boots. Other days I’ll pair fishnets with some sort of embroidered witchlike dress, my hair in pigtails and a childlike novelty backpack. I like really pairing things inappropriately, whether thats mixing gender assigned pieces, combining vintage/retro eras with modern, or accessorising something overtly sexual with a 90’s childhood memorabilia. I try to represent my interests, values and inspirations through fashion, so that whenever I leave the house I feel like I’m portraying a sense of self to the world.
Who’s the coolest person you’ve met so far?
Eddy Atlantis, we’ve created some amazing material together and I really believe as a musician he’s one to watch this year.
Where can we see you perform next?
The first performance that comes to mind is with a little something with BBC introducing, I can’t confirm air time yet, so keep your ears peeled for that.
What’s the best gig you have ever played?
After my debut EP I performed a sold out gig at PROUD in Camden. That was a pretty dope night, the performance was a lot of fun and my nearest and dearest were all there. A crowd that size was a first for me and the rush was massive.
What’s on the agenda for the rest of 2017?
I have so much material I want to release, like soooooo much! So expect music. There’s also a video in the pipeline as we speak, a collaboration set to release soon and of course live stuff.
Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
I’d really like to work with Labrinth. I’ve been a massive fan since before he really boomed, I think he’s a genius and of course.. a Londoner. I think there’s a certain mentality and vibe to UK musicians that I’m always going to feel more drawn to, but Lab is a big one for me. When I first started recording I use to work in the same studio complex as him, a place called The Chocolate Factory. I would low-key leave the door open during sessions hoping he’d hear the music.
Why do you think the relationship between fashion and music is so strong?
I think individual style is the driving force in any creative process, and every artist is looking to make a statement and express themselves to the rest of society, as well as surround themselves with what inspires them. In everyday life, fashion is the way to do that.
What’s your favourite music video?
This is an easy one, my favourite ever music video is Photoshop Handsome by Everything Everything. BUT, only the original 2008 version. After a change of line up they did a new video, but I literally live for the first one. It’s gutting because it kind of got swept under the carpet but I recommend finding it on Youtube, that is my kinda video.
What gets you hyped for a gig?
A quick word with Mr Jack Daniels and some reassurance from loved ones usually get me going. I can get stupidly nervous before going on, it’s awful. I always love it in the end, but it’s much easier for me to conjure confidence and motivation in a studio with only musicians around, than it is in front of a crowd of strangers.
Who did you listen to growing up?
I had the most eclectic upbringing ever. My grandad was a Teddy Boy in Berkshire when he was young, but he’s convinced he belongs in America’s deep South. Visits to his house were always an education in Country, Blues, Folk and early Rock & Roll. He helped me start my now flourishing vinyl collection. Artists like Charlie Daniels, Joni Mitchell, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Muddy Waters, Jonny Cash and Cat Stevens are still big favourites of mine. I get my love of all things 80’s from my Dad, car journeys were always times for New Romantic karaoke. Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, Spandau Ballet, Human League, Soft Cell, Dead or Alive, Adam and the Ants, all regular spins. My Mom kept me on a healthy diet of strong females, Kate Bush, Eryka Badu, Bjork, Alicia Keys, Stevie Nicks and Amy Winehouse to name a few.
Then my brother and I went through phases together, growing up and discovering new things. We would share CDs between us such as Demon Days -Gorillaz, Modern Times -Bob Dylan, Curtain Call -Eminem, Nevermind -Nirvana. I think I could go on forever on this subject, haha.
Who’s your biggest musical inspiration?
Thats such a hard one. My overall idol is Bob Dylan, to me he is god,
But if I could look at anyone’s career and say “I’ll take that one” I think I’d probably pick Lady Gaga. I like everything that she’s about as both an artist and a person and I get the impression that she really calls the shots on her own career. I respect how she keeps everyone thoroughly entertained whilst staying true to her own values and conquering new forms of creative expression.
What’s your guilty pleasure, most played track?
I’m not sure if I have one to be really guilty for, I’ll listen to anything if it’s good. I suppose one thing I can think of is this track that Avril Lavigne dropped a few years back, it was called Hello Kitty. I remember when it came out, people got so fired up about how awful they thought it was, how she’d totally lost touch, some even called the video racist. I don’t know about all that, but I thought it was genius bubblegum satire.
I can’t lie, I played that catchy weirdness to death.
Last album you listened to all the way through?
Blond by Frank Ocean.. Of course.
What track gives you goose bumps?
In my time of Dyin’ by Bob Dylan. It’s an old folk song which has been passed around and reinterpreted for years on end. But his version is supercharged with genius. Minimalistic twangy guitar, combined with the most gritty and passionate vocal ever, it gets the hairs on the back of my neck every single time.
What’s your spirit animal?
Probably something that roamed the earth around 65 million years ago.
What emoji best describes you?
The upside down smiley face, I think it has a ‘I literally have no idea what is happening or what I’m supposed to do next, but I’m that’s cool’ look to it.
Who are you currently stalking on Instagram?
I recently discovered and am loving @xanthousbae ..would 1%00 raid her wardrobe
What makes you laugh?
Memes and viral videos (as long as they aren’t the godawful staged or acted ones)
What’s your secret addiction?
Daily vlogs, I’m a complete YouTube junkie.
Who’s your celebrity wannabe wife?
Kate Moennig, always.
What would be your superhero power?
I’d like to fly. I know it’s a pretty basic choice but I was reeeaaally into Peter Pan as a kid, and that dream just lives on.
What was the first thing you did this morning?
My partner and I had.. a long and meaningful life chat…
Tell us something weird about yourself…
I used to be really afraid of feet and being barefoot, I would wear up to 6 pairs of socks every day and wore shoes that were sizes too big to accommodate it. I had to get help in the end. I still feel a bit weird about feet sometimes, but engage in normal footwear nonetheless.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Justice’s new album, anything by Kehlani. Rex Orange County, Hey Voilet, Princess Nokia, Melanie Martinez, Kali Uchis, Mac Miller, those are a few on my recently played list.
What’s your song to get you ready for a party?
Sweatpants- Childish Gambino
What has been your favourite place you’ve travelled to?
South Africa, where my mom grew up.
If you were a Spice Girl which one would you be?
Ginger Spice aaalllll daaayyy loonnggg.
What do you love about Missguided?
I love knowing that I can go on the website and within 5 minutes see a million things I want. Also, the way the menu tabs are laid out with options to ‘shop by trend’ is great because I don’t have to trawl through pages of items that are never going to appeal to me. I can be lead straight to collections and looks I know I’m going to love.
What item of clothing can’t you live without?
Well I’ve already mentioned my trusty black boots, so I will say my black velvet dress-coat. It’s vintage, it’s magnificent, I feel like I’m in a Bronte novel when I wear it, it’s ripped in places because it’s old and I wear it so much.
What items do you make sure you pack on your travels?
Charger, toothbrush, facewipes, one of my favourite books, polaroid refills, numerous hat options, ketchup, my Triceratops backpack, the usual.
Who is your style icon and why?
I don’t actually have one if I’m completely honest, I see stuff I like all the time but I cannot name one person who’s style I have constantly yearned.
Where do you look for fashion inspiration?
Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube lookbooks are all really useful when I’m looking at my clothes and I can’t see an outfit. I’ll find something I like the look of online, then create a version of it with my own clothes and mess around with that a bit until things feel right.
What best describes your style?
A lesbian Wednesday Addams trapped in a 1960’s LA motel..
What’s your favourite fashion trend this season and why?
Crushed velvet has been crowd favourite from what I can tell, massive yes to that.
If you could steal anyone’s wardrobe who’s would it be?
Can I cheat and just steal a bit from Vivienne Westwood, a bit from Iris Arpel and a bit from Michele Lamy? Those would be spot on.
You can only wear one outfit for the rest of the year, what is it?
My Doctor Martens, distressed grey jeans, embroidered tudor-style tunic top from Save The Queen, velvet dresscoat, all my rings and this grey corduroy flat cap that I call my ‘chimney sweep hat’.
Which city has the best fashion?
London, obviously! This city’s got deep roots in fashion and even the politics surrounding it, the birth of ‘the teenager’ brought us the miniskirt, the birth of punk rock brought us tartan and safety pins.. Plus we have a bit of everything here culturally, and because of the weather, you can’t be lazy and run around in skimpy ideas straight off of a mannequin. People are creative with mixing roots, patterns, lengths and layering for an overall finish. Striking the perfect balance between style and substance is a kind of innovation you can only understand if you’re from a cold country. Preempting what the ensemble becomes when you’re hot in your mates living room and have to lose a few layers, or when you’re outside waiting for the bus and it’s pouring down. Should I wear tights with this dress? Is this necklace going to get tangled as hell every time I take this jumper off? Having to plan your outfits this way really develops your versatility and understanding of style and how to make clothes not only look but feel good. Here in London we have it down to a fine art.
Wanna know more? Follow Caitlyn on Insta @caitlynscarlett
…and listen to her tracks on Soundcloud:
Shop her style: