It’s a well-trodden path and a highly competitive environment for young bands trying to break out, but for those able to handle the pressure, moving to New York can prove a great launch pad. Tamsin Wilson, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter at the centre of four-piece folk group Wilsen, born in London and raised in Canada, speaks about her own relatively recent move to the Big Apple.
“We’ve been based in New York for a year and a half. The guys and I all met in Boston, where we went to university at the Berklee College of Music, and it was just a natural move to come down to New York, especially to play music. Williamsburg and Bushwick is where we live, really cliché.”
She continues: “There’s so much going on here… so many artists, artist of all forms. It’s pretty amazing actually. At the coffee shops during the day it’s rammed, because everyone is pretty much self-employed. You strike up a conversation with anyone, and they’re doing something quite interesting.”
Despite a comfortable lifestyle in their bohemian neighbourhoods, Wilsen have ventured beyond the bubble. They recently embarked on a tour of the east coast and Canada with acclaimed British trio Daughter, which went well.
“I think we were all quite overwhelmed at people’s attentiveness. I had it in the back of my head that people might be trickling in during our set. We didn’t have high expectations – really, we were just happy to be there. But it was pretty amazing, as from before opening people were right up by the front.”
It comes as little surprise to Clash that Wilsen are gaining such a positive response, as the range in texture on their debut album ‘Sirens’ paints them as an exciting prospect live. On their track ‘Anahita’, they switch between Wilson’s soft vocal and gentle finger picking, evoking the mood of Nick Drake and epic soundscapes in the vein of Arcade Fire.
“We do love some sorts of intensity in the arrangements and in the shapes of songs, and Dan (drums) in particular is fantastic at executing that. He really plays the drums in such a melodic way, and not just a basic rhythm track behind everything. He encourages that in all of us.”
To complement this intensity, Wilson shows a significant range in her vocals – the kind that would undoubtedly bring any room to a standstill. New York’s live scene has a talent that London will just have to wait to uncover.
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What: Folk pop
Where: New York
Get 3 songs: ‘Anahita’, ‘Sirens’, ‘Dusk’
Unique fact: Wilsen managed to get their album recorded for free in a converted-barn studio in Ontario, Canada.
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Words: Cai Trefor
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