If you haven’t heard of Helen Boulding yet, my guess is, it’s only a matter of time. With her latest album ‘New Red Dress’ featured on Radio 2 as the album of the week and ever growing popularity over the internet, we have a new artist to watch in 2008. Although you would be mistaken to think this is a new musician on the scene, Helen Boulding has been involved within the industry for years now; we caught up with to find out a little more about her and what she had been doing.

R13: First and foremost- How are you? How’s life?
Helen Boulding: Good thank you, I’m buzzing at the mo ‘cos I found out yesterday that I have album of the week at Radio 2 which is fab!

R13: For those of our readers who haven’t heard of Helen Boulding; can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
HB: I’m a singer-songwriter originally from Sheffield and I’m releasing my debut album ‘New Red Dress’ on Feb 11th and a single ‘Copenhagen’ on Feb 4th.

R13: You’ve been a musician from a young age and have known since you were 13 that you want to sing. Is playing and performing music still as exciting for you now as it was when you were younger?
HB: Absolutely, I love it, when I play live it reminds me why I started doing music in the first place. It never gets boring.

R13: Who inspires you musically? Do you draw on this inspiration in your own music?
HB: So many people have inspired me musically I could go on all day, so a few of those are Shawn Colvin/ Fleetwood Mac/ Tim Harding/ Carol King/ Bonnie Raitt/ Joni Mitchell/ James Taylor/ The Carpenters/ Coldplay/ Crowded House/ John Lennon/ Radiohead/ Rita Coolidge… I think your inspirations subconsciously affect you without you knowing about it, if you’re listening to music it’s bound to go into your psyche in some shape or form.

R13: You have collaborated with the likes of Simon Tong, Chris Difford and Rick Wright, how did it come about and what was it like working with some of the best in the business?
HB: Simon I met through youth who produced my record, Chris I met doing a writing trip that he organizes in Devon and Rick I met through Chris. It’s amazing to work with such legendary writers, you learn so much.

R13: You have spent so long writing songs for other artists- what has made you decide to release your songs as a solo artist?
HB: I was always a solo artist, it was the writing for other people that was an accident, that wasn’t planned, but it was a happy accident ‘cos I was able to earn a living doing music whilst developing my own solo project as opposed to getting a job while writing my solo album.

R13: Was it hard writing songs for other artists, knowing that they were your words and feelings?
HB: It’s always great to sing your own songs, as the words mean so much to you, but it’s also very fulfilling hearing someone else sing your song too knowing that you write it, especially if you admire and like the work of that artist/singer.

R13: ‘New Red Dress’ is being released under your own record label ‘Main in Sheffield’ • why have you decided to take that route instead of the more conventional way of getting a record deal?
HB: Because this gave me full creative license and creatively I know exactly what I want to do. So I didn’t need the A’n’R input, also I own my own record too which can ultimately be more financially rewarding too when it’s successful.

R13: Having worked with some amazing people through your career • what has been your highlight to date?
HB: Gosh there’s been a few. Writing with Rick Wright from Pink Floyd and Chris Difford was a biggy, being interviewed by Pete Townsend and performing in front of him was great. Playing Wembley and doing arena tours supporting Bryan Ferry. Getting album of the week on Radio 2, having my album cover shot taken by Bryan Adams. Having hit singles, making an album with Youth, gosh I could go on… I’ve been fortunate to have so many great moments so far!

R13: Which upcoming or already established artists are you a fan of? If you could recommend any artist to our readers who would it be?
HB: Ron Sexsmith, Crowded House, Coldplay, Kings of Leon, The Postal Service… New artist to check out is Jamie Lawson.

R13: What have you got planned for 2008?
HB: I’m releasing the single ‘Copenhagen’ on Feb 4th and my album ‘New Red Dress’ Feb 11th and I hope that it gets as much exposure as poss and that everyone loves it as much as I do. Lots of touring is also on the horizon.

R13: Final question; who do you think would win in a fight to the death between Papa Smurf Bagpuss?
HB: Ooh definitely bagpuss cos he’s got claws and also could sit on him!