A lot of musicians talk about the catalyst that made them want to be a star - that famous lightbulb moment where everything finally clicked into place. But for Liverpool’s Pixey, her story involves more twists than most.
Growing up in a tiny town in Lancashire, music was always a pipe dream for Pixey as a child. Surrounded by the legacy of the Liverpudlian greats - “I kind of don’t like ‘Yellow Submarine’ anymore because it’s such a traumatic part of my childhood standing at the front of the school singing it!” - she was raised in a house filled with the sounds of Kate Bush and Björk. “I was obsessed with how they looked and how they moved and they both had such an interesting sonic identity,” she recalls. “I think, growing up, I really wanted [to be] something quite similar to that. And I loved Britney Spears as a child too! Maybe that’s why I have a blonde hair complex?!”
Despite always wanting to pursue music herself, Pixey didn’t think that it was an attainable career and instead decided to study English at university. But halfway through her course something happened that would change that thought process and ultimately push her to take the risk.
“I remember being so ill and I thought I was going to die,” she explains of the systemic viral infection she contracted during her studies. “My parents were actually taken into ‘The Room’, and they were told that they couldn’t promise I’d make it through the night because I was really sick. I knew I was really sick and there were a lot of doctors fussing around me and I had wires coming out of everywhere, but all I remember thinking was, ‘Oh, I never did that music thing did I?’.”
Eventually making a full recovery and leaving the hospital - “When I first ate a banana it was the best thing, and I hate bananas as well!” - Pixey’s near-miss fuelled the fire to give her dream a proper go. “It was the biggest epiphany of my entire life,” she smiles. “I don’t wanna be a teacher, I don’t wanna be anything like that. I wanna do music, that’s what I wanna do. So I remember getting my laptop and I downloaded Ableton on it and learnt how to produce and play the guitar and that’s where it all started.”
“I never thought I’d get this far and this is just the first step, so it’s really exciting to just be able to even think about what’s next."
Releasing her fuzzy debut track ‘Young’ back in 2019, though the singer was certain of her path, things weren’t as immediately smooth as she’d hoped. “I had a few problems getting off my feet and with the first label I was signed to,” she recalls. “I kind of didn’t do anything for two years and I really thought it was over. I felt so confused about everything, I was dipping in and out of jobs, mainly waitressing, and I had that second epiphany where I was like, I NEED to do this. I spent two years writing and nobody was listening; I was putting out stuff and nobody cared. That’s testing in itself. It was probably equally as testing as my illness, because it’s one thing getting better from something physical, but when you’re putting out so much of yourself sonically and emotionally and nobody’s responding to it, that can be really hard.”
Eventually grabbing the attention of tastemakers Chess Club Records, since then Pixey has gone from strength to strength. Signed last year, she spent the time during the first lockdown finessing her production skills and honing the trademarks she wants to be known for. “The whole writing process for me started with production alongside it, because I couldn’t play guitar so I was literally doing one note and chopping them up to make them sound like I could play!” she laughs. “Somebody asked me to play live, and this was way early on, and I was like, ‘Ummmm, no?’. I think it’s such an advantage to have that knowledge of the technical side of music because it’s such an expressive side. For me, I wanted to pick something straight from my head and hear that back. That, to me, is equally as rewarding as writing a song on the guitar.”
Now with new EP ‘Free To Live In Colour’, Pixey is ready to reveal the sonic world she’s been creating. “I wanted to make a record that explored every side of being able to create what you want to create, and do what you wanna do, and not let anything stand in your way,” she gleams. “But I also wanted something that you could forget about all that stuff and just dance to as well!
“I never thought I’d get this far and this is just the first step, so it’s really exciting to just be able to even think about what’s next,” she nods. “I had so many years of everything being so complicated, it’s nice to just make stuff that is completely uncomplicated, and I can give that to people and give them the escape that I wanted back then.”
As featured in the March 2021 issue of DIY, out now.