"Immersive, ethereal, subaqueous, bass."
These four words that Kelly Lee Owens gives you when you ask her to describer her music in five words or less. Any more than that, she feels she runs the risk of "sounding totally pretentious." But what she does sound like is assured, direct and self-aware (and not in a pejorative sense), especially for someone just two EPs into her career.
Now, we could take the liberty of giving the abandoned fifth word into the palms of a fan, we'd say 'escapist' - a word so weighted, a state that artists strive to achieve their entire careers. What's brilliant about Owens' potential though, is that while the story that leads us to her at this moment in her career is one firmly in the beaten track, it's no less inextricable from what her music exudes so effortlessly.
"I lived in Manchester for a couple of years where I discovered people on the same weirdo wavelength as me." Cosmopolitan cities tend to do that to a small town Welsh girl. At 12, she discovered a love for music, under the dutiful guide on an uncle, who "being the only person in my immediate family who was musically active - he had been in bands all his life - indirectly introduced me to Kate Bush".
She continues: "one day I remember hanging out in his old room at my nan's house and discovering a newspaper cut-out stuck to the wall. it was hidden at the back of his old bookcase. I remember thinking 'who is THAT!' she was mysteriously beautiful... from then on I discovered her music."
But then, perhaps it's not too surprising that Kelly was drawn towards something from the past. A cratedigger, she eventually wound her way to the Pure Groove record shop, where she hung out with Ghost Culture and Daniel Avery. So there you have it: a sound somewhere between Kate Bush, record shop digging and those four vital words: "immersive, ethereal, subaqueous, bass."
Words: Michelle Kambasha
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Catch Kelly Lee Owens supporting HONNE at Oval Space, London tonight (October 21st).