London-based singer-songwriter The Naked Eye is making a name for herself in the music industry with her low-fi soundscape and raw lyrics. Her new EP, “Love’s Grave”, addresses many different aspects of a breakup. The EP is influenced by jazz, folk, soul, and hip-hop, giving it a type of sound that deviates from the mainstream. It’s the perfect soundtrack to any life event —from crying over a broken heart to hanging out with your friends, to falling asleep in your bedroom. “Love’s Grave” is sure to become one of your most-played albums on Spotify.
I was lucky enough to have a conversation with the voice and mind behind “Love’s Grave”, also known as The Naked Eye.
Mia Vittimberga: How did you come up with your stage name, ‘The Naked Eye’?
The Naked Eye: I saw it on the tube! I think it was a book that was being advertised. I was looking for a name for the project and thinking about it on my journey. I saw it on a poster, displayed like this –
I knew that was the name! I love the meaning behind it because I feel it describes how I write, trying to be truthful in how I see things. I was buzzing the whole ride home. Once I got back, I called the producer I was working with at the time and told him I had found the name.
You’re part of a collective called ‘Her Songs’. Can you explain what that is, and how it came to be?
Yes, I’m part of ‘Her Songs’ which is an artistic collective of five women. We all met on Instagram (apart from Marie Dahlstrom and me) and were fans of each other’s work. Last summer, we organized a meeting through Facebook to meet in L.A. and create an EP in seven days. We released our debut EP ‘Los Angeles’ last December 2018 and it got nearly half a million streams in the first two months.
That’s super cool! Has social media made an impact on your music?
Social media hasn’t really made an impact on how I create my music. However, it has made an impact on how people listen to it and how I share my projects. It has created an online community and bridge to be in touch with fellow musicians, music enthusiasts, and creatives. It’s also a great way of having a visual mood board to create content that shows your progress. You can post about learning songs on your guitar, the writing process, or finishing pieces. I guess it’s like a portal for people to see moments of your creative life. I have definitely been inspired by watching my fellow artists’ and peers’ creative insights.
When did you start creating music?
I think I wrote my first song at thirteen or fourteen. It wasn’t very good, haha. I can still remember it! It was about being bullied at school. It was almost written as a letter to my friend who I was very hurt by. It was a way of me vomiting out my emotions and making sense of things that felt very overwhelming at the time. I continued writing poems and songs privately for years. When I went to Arts Ed in London at 16, I gained the courage to share my ideas. There I met other creatives and started collaborating.
Who inspired you to make music?
I suppose it’s a mixture of the artists I listen to and my life experiences. Music has always been a huge part of my life. As a child, it was like a sanctuary for me. Growing up, I’d listen to my family’s records of Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, Julie London, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, and many more. The records themselves felt like family! They taught me how to feel and have a safe place to express my creative imagination.
Your EP, ‘Love’s Grave’, is about a breakup. How did it feel to write about that experience? Was writing the EP difficult, therapeutic, or a bit of both?
Definitely a bit of both. I can only write from a personal and honest place. It helps me make sense of my emotions and relationships. It teaches me how to communicate a feeling in my body and get it out. It’s very cathartic but naturally, it brings out a lot. So it can be difficult to confront such truths, in myself and in others. I definitely feel like an emotional nudist in my writing. I try to get to the truth and core of the feeling, which can be deeply uncomfortable. It’s scary to share what feels like an open diary with the world. But that’s the music I relate to the most, and the process allows me to become braver.
Do you ever see yourself dabbling in other careers other than music?
Yes, definitely. I have many interests in the creative arts such as painting, theatre, and film. But mostly, I teach singing privately and in London schools. It’s opened my eyes to how powerful and healing music can be. It raises self-esteem and emotional intelligence, it can even boost communication. This has deepened my interest in therapy and psychology, which is something I’m keen to explore in the future.
What’s been the most surreal moment of your career so far?
Probably the Her Songs week. We met online, and we prepared all the logistics ourselves two months prior to the week. It was all self-initiated. The house we were staying at was so incredible, we were all on a creative high waking up early, staying up late, and making a song every day. It was the highlight of my year. Every day I had to pinch myself to check that it wasn’t a dream. It was surreal, especially everyone’s reaction and support from the live videos and day synopsis, watching everyone’s covers in the week of ‘Holding My Own’.
What’s a piece of advice that you’d give to aspiring musicians?
Firstly, don’t compare yourself to anyone. Everyone is on their own path, journey and lesson. Be true and kind to your own authenticity and light. Secondly, keep reminding yourself of why you love music, what inspired you in the first place to pick up your instrument or sing along with a record and how it gave you that magical and uplifting feeling. Thirdly, surround yourself with positive, creative, talented and driven individuals who inspire. That energy is contagious and so vital!
What’s next for The Naked Eye?
My EP launch gig is on the 23rd of April at Servants Jazz Quarter. I have a Covers Mahogany Session in May. ‘Her Songs’ is having a second recording session in July. I’ve started writing my next EP, and I have some exciting collaborations with other artists coming up soon!
You can stream The Naked Eye’s music below.
Featured Image via The Naked Eye