Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FOTP's Exclusive Interview with Abi Phillips

Interview by Fantini Blake

There's a reason why the Daily Mail pinpointed seventeen year old Abi Phillips as one of five talented young actresses destined to become tomorrow's superstars. Best known to the general public as the popular character Liberty Savage on British soap opera Hollyoaks, Abi was discovered after sending in her song "Missing You" to the show's production, who not only used the song but offered her a chance to audition for a role on the soap. Her audition was a success, she got the role and promptly moved to her own place in Liverpool, where scenes for the soap are usually shot. 

Since then Abi has revealed that, simultaneous to her acting, she has been working hard in the studio writing and recording her debut album. Her debut LP is preceded by hot new single "Summer Sunshine" featuring popular UK rapper Fugative, which I blogged about here back in June. The anthemic summer tune's video was shot in Ibiza and debuted on June 21st, with the single's official release date set for July 31st. 

Shortly before Abi and Fugative performed "Summer Sunshine" on T4 On The Beach (the song's first televised performance) I was able to put some questions to her and find out more about her and her music. Check her answers out below! 

Hey Abi ! What’s up? 

Heyyyyyyyy! Just got back from my last/only rehearsal with Harry for T4 on the Beach :) really excited now!

Your debut single is called “Summer Sunshine” and it’s a proper banger! How did that song come about and what was the inspiration for it?

Why thankyou!!!! :) ... well I wrote it with Sam Gray last summer just after I got back from holiday. When I got off the plane back in England the weather was just RUBBISH and raining :/ as per ... so went to do some writing with Sam about how I wanted to go on holiday as soon as I got back :D

Usually with new artists you get some dodgy low budget videos when they first start out but “Summer Sunshine” video is the money!  Shot in Majorca and straight-up hot hot hot!  What was it like flying out to Majorca to shoot and then being on the set of your very own music video? .
aha! Thank you! It was absolutely awesome, and pretty last minute aswell. I only knew I was flying out like a day before, I thought I
 was going to be filming it in Manchester :| .. DEAR LORD! soo I got the call and it was such a good surprise I literally had my bags packed two seconds after… wheyy!  It was so amazing out there, I had such a great team of people around me and the company I was filming with, called Sitcom Soldiers, knew exactly what they were doing. They were all so great and professional - it was an amazing experience! :)

Summer Sunshine” features Fugative, who’s been around for a minute and is generally tipped to be the next big thing in UK rap. What was he like?

I met him for the first time like the night before I did the video, ha! So I was pretty nervous! but there was nothing to be nervous about because he was really friendly and laid back! Got on really well! Great fun, and he's awesome at what he does :)

Do you call him Fugative or Harry? Or something like Fuge, Hazza, Henry? 

I call him Harry at the moment ... I don't think he'd react well to me calling him Henry.. but might do it anyway just to annoy him :) ha! 

You co-wrote “Summer Sunshine” with Sam Gray, who’s also really talented. What was he like to work with?

He is absolutely amazing! Incredibly talented! ... We get on so well he's exactly like me... but the male version! He's like my brother (without the arguments!)... It's so easy to write with him, [it] just comes really naturally.

What can we expect from your first full length LP? Would you be interested in doing some more collaborations?

A mixture of everything really! because I love to dance so I have some really good dance songs in there. I love singing acoustic songs, but I think there will be a bit of everything for everyone in there ;).. Yeah definitely up for doing collaborations! 

In addition to singing you’re also an actress on TV show “Hollyoaks”, which is a pretty huge deal. How did that gig come about and what’s it like living away from home?

Yeah extremely huge! :) Well.... I sent in a song I wrote for the storyline when Steph (Carly Stenson) had cancer which was a really sad song. It got chosen to be played on the programme, long story short I got asked in for an audition for a new character who was also a singer so fitted pretty well! :).. My mom comes everywhere with me, so it's pretty easy, but we leave my dad (Rich) and my sister (Jess) on their own to fend for themselves .. oh well! :D

When did you first decide you wanted to be a singer-actress and how easy was that dream to pursue?

I always wanted to be a singer since the age of five :) I started doing live gigs at the age of 12 and started writing my own songs at the age of 14... it just went up from there! :) 

Is it hard dealing with fame and notoriety at such a young age? Does it become harder to know who to trust?

Well I'm working my way up to that! :) .. I have a few very close mates and a wonderful family who I trust, and that's the way I like it.

What advice would you give to other young girls out there wanting to follow in your footsteps?

My advice is GO FOR IT! Don't hold back, and try and get out there at every given opportunity as that's the only way people are going to hear you! :)

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given and the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

Hmm I've always been told to keep my feet on the ground and take everything in my stride, everybody has knock backs but in this industry you have to be tough and just keep going! not everybody's going to like you, sometimes you just have to accept that :)

Who would you cite as your main musical inspirations?

I come from a musical family, there is literally not one person in my family who doesn't play an instrument so they really inspired me, but I really love Stevie Nicks, Adele, Jessie J, Ellie Goulding .. I also love the Eagles ballads (especially 'Heart of the Matter', which I do a cover of). 

What do you do when you’re not acting, singing or flying off to Majorca to shoot music videos with rap hotties?

Hmmmmmm.... I keep fit alot of the time, because I used to be a chunky monkey when I was about 12, so I have to work hard to keep the weight off. I love running because it's a great time to think, in my spare time I love writing songs and spending time with family and friends :)

What is your personal sense of style and main influences in terms of fashion?

I don't really have one to be honest, I just wear whatever I like and whatever suits me. I like wearing shorts and stuff to show my legs off. There is a length which just doesn't suit me, just above the knee. It makes me look like I have been dressed by my Gran.

What five songs are must-haves on your current personal play-list?

Errm……I love dance songs at the moment because it is the summer and they get me into the party mood. Probably "Dirty Talk" Wynter Gordon, "A-Team" by Ed Sheeran, "Mr Saxobeat", "Changed The Way You Kissed Me" - Example and Lady Gaga "On The Edge" :)

What’s next for Abi Phillips, 2011 and beyond?

Loads and loads of gigs and festivals. The more the better.

Any final words? Thanks to the great team of people I have got around me, and if you want to catch up with me, follow me on twitter @abiphillipsuk

Big thanks to Abi and her management for making this interview happen!

Abi's debut single "Summer Sunshine" feat. Fugative is burning up on UK radio stations now and is already available for download on iTunes. Be sure to follow @AbiPhillipsUK on Twitter and check out the song's awesome music video below - if you like this week's #1 "Glad You Came", you'll love this.

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