Hackney-born Cocknbullkid makes music that’s unconventional, roughly hewn and beautifully honest.
Cocknbullkid is ready to change the face of British pop. She’s proved she can do the Cockney charisma of Lily, the dark menace of M.I.A., the smoky soulfulness of Leona, and there’s more to come. Her debut album was released in March and with slots at Reading, Leeds and Bestival, it seems that after five years simmering away on the underground, this one-woman powerhouse is just about ready to explode.
You’ve had a lot of very favourable comparisons: Kelis, M.I.A., Neneh Cherry. What sets Cocknbullkid’s sound apart from the crowd? I’ve always been lyric-driven. Most people listen to the sonics of a track then have the lyrics dawn on them but I’ve always been a lyricist. I wrote loads of short stories, poems and awful scripts when I was younger because I simply enjoy putting words together. If I wasn’t a singer I’d be a novelist or a travel writer.
Your producer Mark Anthony Tieku said your early stuff sounded like it was made with your elbows. Was that fair? I’d go as far as to say it was a compliment. I don’t play any instruments and back then I had no idea what you could and couldn’t do sonically. I was all over the place. But I think that’s a good thing, it allowed me to creatively spew and have the producers clean it up.
How did you find the process of making the album? Lots of ups and downs and so many learning curves. I’ve learnt more writing this album than in all my scholastic years. At times I felt frustrated that it took so long but I’ve been lucky enough to be able to write things, live with them, discover they’re wrong, then discard them. If you don’t have time, then you don’t have that luxury.
What does the future hold? Hopefully a few albums, I will be around for as long as people want me. I will always remain creative but Cocknbullkid will eventually run out of things to say. I like pop stars who come back in different incarnations. If it’s not working, switch it up and say it another way.
Cocknbullkid plays Leeds Festival on August 26th, Reading Festival on August 28th, and Bestival on September 10th.
Text: Oscar Quine