She may still only be 22, but singer-songwriter Laurel Arnell-Cullen could already claim to be a veteran.
Releasing music to critical acclaim since she was just 17, the singer, originally from Locks Heath but now living in London, is now signed to the ultra-cool Counter Records and is preparing to release her debut album.
But before then, she’s heading out on a UK tour that brings her close to home when she plays at The Edge of The Wedge.
‘I think that Southsea Fest a couple of years ago was one of the last times I played around here,’ she tells The Guide. ‘I’m really excited about coming back. I haven’t been back in ages.’ Since then, Laurel has changed a lot in her musical style.
‘I did used to perform with a band, but it’s just me and my electric guitar and quite gritty sounding. It’s come full circle. I used to have a cellist, keys and drums and no guitars at all, that’s how much it’s changed. I do want to get a band together again though.’
Her most recent release was the Park EP, her first through Counter Records, a subsidiary of Ninja Tune.
‘Definitely the album will be next – that’s what I’m trying to get down and it’s really close to being finished ,
‘It’s all new stuff apart from Life Worth Living and San Francisco which I released as singles last year. I felt like they were important songs to include on the album as they’ve really shaped my vision of what this album is.’
Laurel works alone – writing, performing and producing the songs in the proverbial bedroom studio.
‘It’s all me. That’s probably why it has taken so long to get this far because there’s a lot to do.’
She’s hoping the album will be out later this year, but she admits that her sound has evolved a lot since she began: ‘Even over the last few months I’ve changed.’
And how does she feel about having grown up in public as an artist?
‘Oh it’s horrible, I’m not going to lie, I hate it. Luckily it’s never been too big, it’s not like I was Madonna or anything.
‘It’s nice that people want to write about me, but I never really listen to my old music any more, it’s like looking at old pictures of yourself, and you’re such a different person to who you were, but that’s how I ended up getting here, so it’s part of the picture.
‘At least it’s not the worst music in the world,’ she laughs.
The Edge of The Wedge, Southsea
Monday, February 27