A Scottish rock-pop singer-songwriter shaped by a year in California, listening to Michael Jackson records and touring with Marti Pellow
Name: Kerri Watt
Location: London (via Glasgow)
Style: Mixing polished US pop-rock with the blues and a hint of Celtic charm
Look out for: Debut EP Who’s Lovin’ Me Now? out on 25 Hour Convenience Store
On a windy autumn day in London, a young singer-songwriter by the name of Kerri Watt is on her way to Tileyard Studios to do some songwriting. On the way, whilst walking through Kings Cross, she’s rather aptly on the phone to our good selves to discuss our favourite topic and her career to date. As we ‘introduce’ Kerri here, it’s early days for the Scot but the confident, radio-friendly, Celtic-American pop of her debut EP Who’s Loving Me Now was enough for Songwriting to take notice and show interest in her progress.
But before we look forward, we walk Kerri back along memory lane to the start of her story: “My first introduction to music was Michael Jackson. My parents were huge fans and from the age of about 2 years old, I remember watching his Bad VHS on repeat,” she explains. Although those reading shouldn’t expect Kerri to sound anything like the King Of Pop. “It’s not really the style of music I’m writing now. My parents listened to a wide variety of genres so I was exposed to a lot of different music from a young age.” As Kerri grew up her tastes matured, discovering greats like Bob Dylan and The Stones. “I’m just a music lover in every way and I think that comes through in my songwriting. Although sometimes I find it quite tricky because I listen to so much stuff, there are so many influences in there.”
By the age of 16, with a natural love of musical theatre, Kerri started taking her potential career in performing arts seriously, which led her to a music and acting course in California. “I somehow convinced my parents to let me audition for it and got a place in the school, so I ended up studying over there for a year. It was incredible and I made so many friends there.” Fortunately those friends also happened to be talented individuals who became successful musicians, actors and producers in Los Angeles. “I’ve had the opportunity to go back and forth quite a bit and stayed with them and worked on projects with them.” Her year immersed in the US West Coast clearly had a dramatic influence on Kerri’s music, as the warm American rock and country flavours still linger throughout her debut EP.
Returning to the UK, Kerri ended up as an actor touring the UK, which included working with none other than Wet Wet Wet frontman turned solo artist Marti Pellow. However, simply performing someone else’s compositions night after night made her creatively frustrated, until she picked up a guitar backstage and became obsessed with it. “I’d played piano so I wasn’t totally new to playing music, but the guitar came quite naturally to me and, after that tour, I felt that could be my way into music.” So Kerri moved back in with her parents in Glasgow and spent several years simply writing songs, “Everyday I’d work on the guitar, going to open mic nights, writing music and trying different things out.” That was only two years ago, and now Kerri Watt is an assured solo artist in her own right, working daily with various experienced songwriters such as fellow Scot John ‘The Hitman’ McLaughlin and Jud Mahoney, to establish her own sound and forge a career as a performing artist.
As we approach the end of our conversation, Kerri arrives at Tileyard Studios ready for yet another day of songwriting. She’s certainly in good company, judging by her time spent there already – “Chase & Status and Mark Ronson have got studios here and there’s regularly famous people like Mick Jagger walking in. Ella Eyre‘s management is based here as well, so I think she did all her songwriting here.” And we wouldn’t be surprised if Kerri Watt is added to the list of famous names that frequent their establishment in the near future.
Kerri Watt’s debut EP Who’s Lovin’ Me Now? is out now on 25 Hour Convenience Store – the newly re-launched record label from The Libertines drummer Gary Powell. To keep up with Kerri’s career as it continues on its meteoric trajectory, check out her official website – www.kerriwatt.com – and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Talking of social media, you can also check out Kerri on YouTube, but before you do you can watch the video for Who’s Lovin’ Me Now below…