WPGM Commentary: Neda Bemoans Unrequited Love In Her Hometown On ‘Lewisham High St’

Hey! My name is Neda and I’m an independent artist and songwriter from South London. I make alternative-pop music with jazz and country influences and I’m really excited to be giving you some insight on my second single “Lewisham High St“.

I released this song towards the end of September and it is an ode to both the area I grew up in and the music that influences me. This single will be part of my debut EP that will be out in November 2021.

I was born in Lewisham to Iranian parents. My Mum is a very talented vocalist and sings a lot of classical Persian music. Being surrounded by this as a kid had a huge impact on me and inspired me to practice singing myself. Singing alone however was never enough for me and it was songwriting that made me want to pursue music as a career.

I studied music at a college in London called East London Arts and Music as well as Goldsmiths University and started songwriting when I was seventeen years old. I had my first songwriting lesson at ELAM and from that moment onwards I was instantly drawn to the artform.

The method in which I write songs is usually kept the same. I start with finding a chord progression that I’m fond of on the piano. Then I improvise a melody that usually falls in verse, pre-chorus, chorus form and through doing that lyrics naturally form.

For my latest single “Lewisham High St”, I took the same approach, however, instead of being a perfectionist and constantly refining my songs, I decided to give myself the freedom to write lyrics that came to me instinctively and not doubt them.

Because of this, the process of writing this song became quite an empowering one, as I didn’t let perfectionism get in the way and become a creative barrier for me.

I was listening to a lot of 60s country music when I wrote this song. Artists such as Brenda Lee, Ricky Nelson and Sammi Smith inspired my songwriting at the time of writing this EP.

I wanted to find a way of combining those influences and the area I grew up in. That’s how the lyrical motif of “Lewisham High St” came about. This area has a lot of sentimental value for me as I’ve lived here most of my life and I wanted it to be a part of my first EP.

I recorded this song with a producer called Harri Chambers. We recorded it with my band that consists of drums, bass, keys and guitar. Coming up with the arrangement of this song was quite a collaborative process. I wanted to keep the drums more stripped back and have the guitar, keys and vocals at the centre of the track.

“Lewisham High St” is written in AABA form rather than a standard verse chorus song structure. It consists of three main melodic motifs that are repeated throughout and a middle 8 section. My favourite part of this song is the middle 8.

It creates more variety in the dynamics and we enhanced this by incorporating some distortion on the guitar in the recording process. My guitarist Jacob Wilson experimented with different riffs and guitar parts. This made the middle 8 sound bolder and more distinctive and I’m super proud of the end result.

Both this song and the entirety of my debut EP has a lyrical theme of unrequited love. Throughout my late teens, I suffered from a lack of self esteem and this meant that I would usually gravitate towards people who were emotionally unavailable or people who would disregard me.

After identifying this pattern, I had to spend some time alone and unravel why this was the case and realised I deserved something mutual. Because of this, writing “Lewisham High St” became a cathartic process as I gave myself the opportunity to put all my thoughts onto paper and not run away from them.

I’m releasing this EP independently and have learnt so much in the process. I wanted to take things into my own hands and not wait around for someone else to do it for me.

Don’t get me wrong, it definitely hasn’t been the easiest journey and I was met with some challenges along the way. But I’ve learnt that in life you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there, otherwise you and everything you want will stay stagnant. There’s no such thing as a perfect time to do something, so just go for it.

Watch the video for “Lewisham High St” here!

Words by Neda // Follow her on Twitter + Instagram

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