Studio Life: Kerri Watt

You may have seen Kerri Watt performing at various festivals, including Glastonbury, Celtic Connections and the Cambridge Folk Festival.  You may have heard her on Bob Harris’s BBC Radio 2 show.  You may have seen her supporting popular acts like Curse of Lono.  The Scottish singer-songwriter is certainly building a reputation as an energetic performer with an ear for a catchy melody.  Kerri Watt had a busy 2019 but 2020 looks set to be a real breakthrough year.  AUK caught up with Watt to explore the ‘story’ behind the title track of her upcoming album, ‘Chasing Aeroplanes’, which will be released soon.

‘Chasing Aeroplanes’ is an upbeat and catchy introduction to your music. Can you tell us the ‘story’ behind the song?

I had the title ‘Chasing Aeroplanes’ going round my head for months. It was this idea that I don’t have life all figured out yet, but maybe I don’t have to, and in the meantime I’ll just be out following my dreams. ‘Chasing Aeroplanes’ is really a metaphor for being young and free, taking each day as it comes and figuring it out along the way.

I eventually got around to sitting down at my piano and turning: “In the meantime I’ll chase aeroplanes, and I’ll wonder what it all means, so when I look back on where I’ve been, I can smile and say I’m happy,” into a chorus. I knew what I wanted the verses to say. They were going to talk about how my friends had started getting married and having kids, but I still had so much to achieve before I do all that, but I just couldn’t figure out how to put it into lyrics. So the chorus lived on my laptop for a few months and I kind of forgot about it.

I had a writing session planned a while later with my friend Gregor Philp (Deacon Blue) and thought it would be a good idea to take it to him and see what we could turn it into. I told him the whole concept, he had an interesting perspective as a dad of two who felt like he’d achieved much more since becoming a parent. In a couple of hours we had a song, and a
couple of hours later a strong demo and direction for the production.

I always knew the track was special so when it came to deciding which songs to record for the album, ‘Chasing Aeroplanes’ was top of the list. I spent a month out in Austin, Texas working with Grammy nominated producer Machine and a group of absolutely killer local musicians jamming the tracks and making magic. ‘Chasing Aeroplanes’ came together so naturally and I just love how it turned out. It’s not a million miles from the original demo, just a great progression of the sound. Sheryl Crow and Train were major influences for the track and I also had this En Vogue style backing vocal idea that my brother (also a great singer, songwriter and producer) and I recorded for the post chorus.

I knew the music video concept for this had to be special, so I was excited to dive into that creative process when the opportunity came around. I ended up making ‘Kerri Watt’s band’ – 4 different musicians all played by me. It was a hectic day of costume and wig changes, but I styled all the characters and that was loads of fun, coming up with their different personalities.

The song got a brilliant response when it came out a few months ago and I’ve had the best time travelling around playing it live. It’s a great taster for what’s to come on the full debut album which I’m super excited to get out later this year!

Lyrics:

“Do we all feel this way
When we see those tiny hands
Will there ever be a day when we just know
Do I need to build a palace
Will the grass just grow in time
Can this selfish satellite come in to land
In the meantime I’ll chase aeroplanes
And I’ll wonder what it all means
So when I look back on where I’ve been
I can smile and say I’m happy
I can smile and say I’m happy
I can smile and say…
What will happen to me
Can I carry all that weight
Will I pass the puzzle set by a higher love
Am I just one animal
Caught up in some kind of wild?
Mystic fever running red hot through my blood
In the meantime I’ll chase aeroplanes
And I’ll wonder what it all means
So when I look back on where I’ve been
I can smile and say I’m happy
I can smile and say I’m happy
I can smile and say…
Now I run my own show
And I’m takin time to let go
Making room in my life for the unknown
Cause I wanna bring my roots back
We’ll start our own wolf pack
We could live in a dollhouse of our own
In the meantime I’ll chase aeroplanes
And I’ll wonder what it all means
So when I look back on where I’ve been
I can smile and say I’m happy
I can smile and say I’m happy
I can smile and say I’m happy
I can smile and say…”

Author: Andrew Frolish

From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Lukas Nelson, Midland, Jarrod Dickenson.

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