Aberdeen pop singer songwriter, Zoë Faulkner, moved away from Aberdeen to study music in Perth, and makes a living performing and writing music. She released her debut EP, Voices, just over six months ago in September, and aims to carry on that momentum into this year and beyond.
Zoë, 22, originally from Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, has honed her craft for some time now and has taken on all obstacles associated with trying to make a break in the world of music. A triumph of sorts has seen her likened to that of distinctively voiced global superstar Stevie Nicks, of Fleetwood Mac fame. At least part of her musicality can also be attributed to her singer mother and drummer father.
WPGM: Since putting out your EP in September, what’ve you been up to?
Zoë Faulkner: Since putting out the EP, I performed a lot around Perth and Aberdeen in venues such as; Greyfriars, Cargo Bar, the Green Room, the Black Dog – to name a few. Around Christmas time, I also performed on the Christmas Community Stage to get a bit of exposure around the city of Perth, as well as doing a few more performances.
I was also featured on [Aberdeen community radio] SHMU’s [Station House Media Unit] ‘Band of the Week’ radio show last November, where I was interviewed and then they played my EP.
In December of last year, I decided to record a music video for my single “Voices”, which was recorded at On Red studios in Edinburgh. The video involved myself and four other musicians and we did a live performance style video. I then released this in January 2016 and got some great feedback.
As well as promoting my EP through performances and through social media, I am also in my last year of my Honours Degree at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
WPGM: What does your current music studies at university entail?
Zoë Faulkner: At the moment I’m studying BA Honours in Popular Music. I have three core modules which are: Dissertation, Advanced Recital, and Personal Employability Strategy, as well as two optional modules, Community Project and E-Business. Along with this, I carried out two work placements – one with Limelight Music and one with Quite Great PR, I have also had the opportunity to record in the studios, collaborate with other students, and I organised a seven piece band for my recital performance.
WPGM: Your thoughts on the Stevie Nicks voice comparisons?
Zoë Faulkner: I personally don’t see the resemblance myself, although I’m flattered! She has a fantastic voice and I’m a huge fan of her music and of course Fleetwood Mac.
WPGM: Do you envisage making at least a workable income from performing and writing music in the future?
Zoë Faulkner: That’s the plan! I intend to carry out a tour around Scotland as soon as I’ve finished my studies in May to try and boost my profile. I then would like to write some new material over summer with the aim of recording another EP or album next year. It is important to be realistic, though, as it is a hard business to make money from. Performance is my preferred choice but I also enjoy music business and community work so I’m going to keep my options open.
WPGM: How long have you been playing music, and what was your first instrument?
Zoë Faulkner: I started getting into music more when I was at school so around the age of 12 or 13. My first instrument is my voice, although I play guitar and piano too. I’ve only been performing for around three years (during my time at Aberdeen College) but I’ve been taking this a bit more seriously the last year and a half, when I made the decision to release an EP.
WPGM: Did you do music at secondary school, at all?
Zoë Faulkner: Yes, I studied Standard Grade and Higher Music at school, and had excellent teachers who encouraged me to pursue it further.
WPGM: Can you read music, or, like many musicians, do you predominantly rely on tablature?
Zoë Faulkner: Yes, I can read music, and I think that this is a really important skill for all musicians to learn. Being able to read music really helped me progress quickly when learning to play piano, and helped me a lot with singing as well.
WPGM: Who would be your primary influences?
Zoë Faulkner: There are quite a few. Taylor Swift, Eva Cassidy, Fleetwood Mac, Alanis Morissette, Kate Bush, Carole King, Beth Hart.
I’ve also been influenced heavily by my friends and family, who are passionate about music and have always been supportive.
WPGM: Are there tastes in your music that might surprise fans of your own music?
Zoë Faulkner: Not really, I enjoy most genres of music. I guess my musical tastes are probably a little bit heavier than the music I create myself. I’m definitely a big fan of rock music. I saw Aerosmith about five years ago and it was probably the best gig I’ve ever been too. Quite a fan of Peter Gabriel, as well.
WPGM: If you would collaborate with anyone in the world of music, who would it be?
Zoë Faulkner: Oh, that’s a hard question. My top three would probably be JR Richards, Justin Furstenfeld (from band Blue October) or Taylor Swift, all because of their songwriting abilities.
Voices was released on September 18. You can purchase the five track EP from here.
Words by Andrew Watson