Billie Marten bursts into colour at Bestival

Billie Marten
Billie Marten
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It’s been a big year already for singer-songwriter Billie Marten, but you know you’ve hit the big time when you’re performing between The Chuckle Brothers and Dick and Dom.

‘It was a very strange experience,’ laughs Billie as she recalls playing at this year’s Camp Bestival.

‘I didn’t really know the whole premise of it – it’s a miniature Bestival and it’s family-friendly and full of children’s entertainers.

‘I was outside waiting to do the gig and sat between the Chuckle Brothers and Dick and Dom, and that’s when it clicked – this isn’t a normal festival.’

The 17-year-old will be in slightly more adult-friendly company when she plays in Bestival’s Big Top on Saturday.

‘I’ve never been to Bestival, but I’m really excited. I’m going to stay the whole weekend as well so I can catch the music this time.

‘It’s often really hard to see the music you want at festivals as you come in and soundcheck, play your set and then you go, so this will be nice.’

Billie started the year by making it on to the BBC’s prestigious Sound of 2016 shortlist.

‘It seems like a lifetime ago,’ she recalls. ‘It was mental. It was still all very new to me. When people said they wanted to come in and chat to me, I was like ‘‘why do they want to talk to me? I’ve got nothing to say’’.

‘It was shocking, but hugely nice of them to do that for me.’

She was also invited to play a show at The Globe Theatre in London as part of its Wonder Women series and the annual music jamboree, SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Billie, who began playing guitar aged eight, first came to the public’s attention when videos of her playing covers on Youtube started gaining thousands of views. She released her debut single Ribbon, shortly before her 15th birthday.

Later this month, on the 23rd she releases her debut album Writing of Blues and Yellows, an impressively mature collection which belies her youth.

And she reveals how the album got its name: ‘It’s a bit of a strange one, I was stuck in a rut for months and nothing was coming to me

‘I was thinking about what the album looked like to me, and what I would think if I picked it up. When I listen to songs they all have different colours, it’s like that synaesthesia, I guess I’m a synaesthete.

‘To me it’s actually blues, yellows, greens and oranges, but I thought that was too long, so it’s just blues and yellows.’

Bestival, Isle of Wight

Saturday, September 10