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Music Interview

Autumn Rowe interview: 'Cher Lloyd is not who people think she is'

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Autumn Rowe
If you've been listening to the radio recently, chances are you've heard an Autumn Rowe track. From Alexis Jordan's 'Good Girl' to 'Happiness' - recently named the 2011's FIFA Women's World Cup official song - Rowe's string of hits looks set to continue; having penned Cher Lloyd's much-talked about debut single 'Swagger Jagger' and Leona Lewis's 'Collide' and Alexandra Burke's new album. With 'Collide' receiving it's first radio airplay last week, we caught up with Rowe to talk about getting to know Leona, fighting back with Cher, and what's next for her own singing career.

Congratulations on having 'Collide' chosen as Leona's new single!
"I'm so happy that it's out. I've been working with Leona for months, working on the sound. I'm just so happy that she's happy and her voice sounds amazing. It's such a fun summer song. For me, when I hear it, I just want people to feel what I felt when I wrote it. I want them to feel love and just feel good."

What can you tell us about writing the track?
"I was already working with her for quite some time. She wasn't involved in [writing] it, but what happened was, I was working with her and we were just about to go to Sweden. I had like three days in New York and I was going to go see her and I wrote the song then. I was inspired by the travelling and everything we've done. I'd never been to Sweden; that's where the line 'When you're in...' [came from]. On that trip I was going to Sweden, Denmark, London and Miami."

What sort of process do you go through when writing for an artist?
"With Leona, first we hung out and got to know each other. I feel that it's very important that we are comfortable and friends, because writing has to be one of the most vulnerable things that you can do. You have to just pour your soul out and have no ego. Once we got in the studio, we started with Jonas Quant and wrote a couple of songs. She was completely open about her life, how she was feeling, where she was right then - she'd just had a birthday the day before we started. It was a perfect time for her in her life. For me, when I turned 25, that's when I really became a woman and it's just a great age - you really know who you are."



You must be excited to hear your song come to life in live performances?
"Oh my god, I'm so excited to sit with my mum and watch her. 'Collide' is my mum's favourite song; out of all the songs I've ever written, my mum was like, 'Oh my god, this song!'. I can't wait.

Is 'Collide' a good indicator of what to expect from Leona's third album?
"Her album is going to be really diverse. The stuff she has done with Emeli Sande is very dark, very UK - it's frickin awesome. Her album is going to be so diverse. It could possibly be her best album yet. She's grown into who she is and has so much input on the album. Every song is her."

You wrote 'Collide' yourself, but has Leona co-written anything with you?
"Yes we wrote a song together in Sweden, but I don't want to give the title!"

You've also worked with Cher Lloyd and co-penned 'Swagger Jagger'. What was it like working with her?
"Cher Lloyd is not who people think she is. I was her first session after the show - after Will.i.am - but I was the first writer she worked with. We wrote Swagger Jagger that same day. I sat her down and said, 'I don't know if you've done this before, but I want you to feel comfortable, I want you tell me what you're going through'. And she told me. People would buy tickets to the show, just to boo her. I said, 'This is insane'. In America, if people want to get at you, what you do instead of hiding is you address it head on - like Eminem did in '8 Mile'.

What do you think of the reaction to 'Swagger Jagger'?
"It's definitely had backlash here, but it's still doing good. But good or bad, people are still talking about her. Artists are starving for attention right now; Cher has it. What really bothers me though, is the comments people make about her. You would never say those things to a 17-year-old's face. You would never say, 'I hope you die'. I don't think it's fair to say it on the internet; people need to stop hiding behind Twitter. If you're not going to say it in real life, you shouldn't say it."



There was also some Twitter drama with Example recently...
"I have spoken to Example. At T4, I went out of my way to really tell him to lay off. She's a young child. I think we've made nice. He went on Twitter and said that everything's fine. I haven't heard anything negative since, and he seemed okay!"

Continuing with The X Factor theme - you're also working with Alexandra Burke. What can you tell us about the material for her second album?
"I want to give Alexandra a really progressive, edgier sound. I definitely see her as a party girl; to me she is the dance singer. She has those huge soulful vocals. In the studio, she is a beast. I've cut the first record on hers that I ever did, which is going to be on her album, but I can't tell you the name - we did that whole song in 45 minutes. She walked in, I was like, 'Nice to meet you, I love you, let's go'. 45 minutes later, the record was done. Boom."

Will one of your tracks be Alexandra's lead single?
"I don't want to say - I never say!"

What's next for yourself as an artist?
"I'm working on a project with Benga now. It's going to be very underground melodic drum and bass. Quite different from the stuff I'm writing. As a writer, I have so much liberty to write anything, so I just want to explore so many ways to my pen. It'll be a whole different sound. Benga is amazing - he did Katy B's 'On A Mission'; he's fabulous. It's really exciting."

Cher Lloyd releases 'Swagger Jagger' on July 31, while Leona Lewis releases 'Collide' on September 4.

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