Behind the Scenes: Doll Duncan

Who? A singer songwriter based in London, originally from Wiltshire.

What’s happening? Her upcoming EP ‘Hurricane’ will be released Friday 24th February.

Where to watch? March 8th – Girl: Greatness in Real Life https://www.facebook.com/events/973360002765091/

March 16th – Doll Duncan at the Bedford https://www.facebook.com/events/706892616157279/

How to listen? Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/dollduncan

Her Perfect Sunday: Reading, looking around art galleries and going for an inspirational walk.

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Last Tuesday Lepus sat down to have a chat with Doll Duncan. With a warm smile and sunny demeanour Doll’s enthusiasm for her work was clear from the outset. Her music has been described as ‘avant-garde Indie Pop’. For Doll it is quintessentially pop “the old school kind that’s easy on the ear and has classic structures”. Her style is rooted in a childhood spent listening to chart hits. Doll admits that she “loved bad pop”, her parents were not particularly interested in music, so she was left to absorb all those one hit wonders. However, a little more discussion reveals that Doll is also influenced by some of the greats. The first album she can recall owning was ABBA Gold “I knew it back to front”. A little later Alesha Keys and Fiona Apple made their way onto Doll’s playlist. Doll reflected on how she is “attracted to strong independent female figures”. When listening to Doll’s music it is clear to see how these artists have influenced her style.

Doll started writing music when she was just 9 years old. In the early days she was a classical pianist and wrote a lot of piano ballads. In her late teens she moved away from the classical genre and begun to write in a more popular style. Initially Doll was reluctant to sing, “I was scared, I would write piano songs but in my head there would be a melody line and a vocal line, but no one else would know”. Fortunately for us, Doll pushed through this fear and started to put melodies to her ballads. Her melodies and lyrics are drawn from personal experience. Although there maybe other elements involved “there is always an autobiographical aspect” in her writing. Looking internally Doll observes that she is an artist who uses writing as a form of cathartic expression. Doll’s voice is rich and soulful, a tone that is well suited to the subject matter of her songs.

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Being an artist is a creative process. You have the inspiration, the writing, the tweaking and finally the performing. I asked Doll which aspects of musicianship she enjoys the most; “Writing, I love the satisfaction you gain from finishing a song… I enjoy performing too, it gives you a chance to share you work… it generates a certain validity to your songs”. Doll is a holistic musician enjoying all the different elements, although song writing is something that she “will always come back to”. Born and bred in Wiltshire, Doll shared some of her frustrations about the inevitable restrictions of a rural setting. “I did the pub circuit, which was good at the time, but I don’t think my music really fitted the country pub scene”. Doll admits that it’s not always easy to follow your passion. However, the limitations put on her by her rural upbringing only fuelled her ambition to pursue a career as a musician.

Doll’s EP “Hurricane” will be released on Friday 24th February 2017. Doll wrote he EP when she was in New York, “I had got stuck in a rut… I decided to go back to New York where I lived when I was small in search of something different”. To Doll there is not so much as a concept behind her EP, but a vibe and a feel. When listening to her tracks, Doll hears “New York, its attitude and its sound”. ‘Love Light’ was released as a single from the EP in November 2016. She chose to release the track, as “it’s instantly likeable”. I can certainly vouch for that, it is wonderfully upbeat and catchy. Doll is a strong forward thinking female artist, one whom I expect we will see a lot more over the next few years.