Debuting on the main stage at Reading & Leeds Festival and being joined by Arlo Parks for a special version of Room Service, the BRIT winning, Ivor Novello nominated singer songwriter Holly Humberstone has become one of the most important British female artists of her generation.
Getting ready to release her immaculate debut album Paint My Bedroom Black on 13 October 2023 (Friday 13th!), the record was written with longtime collaborator Rob Milton during pockets of time touring the globe last year. Holly’s time on the road was lonely as well as liberating, with most days watching friends and family through her phone, while living a “Truman Show-like” existence. “I took ages to write it because I wanted to love them all,” says Holly. The 23-year-old reveals Into Your Room, the fourth single to be lifted from Paint My Bedroom Black. The song was written in California, when Rob Milton flew over and the two of them hit up Ethan Gruska (producer for Phoebe Bridgers and Fiona Apple). From Ethan’s small studio outside of LA, they experimented with pawn shop-bought instruments and synths, and wrote Into Your Room in one day. It captures Holly’s guilt from not being present in her new relationship, a track that is dappled in dream alt-pop, and reflects the album’s expansive sonic moments that sound like hurtling down a West Coast Highway: “You’re the centre of this universe/my sorry ass revolves around you”.
The production of Paint My Bedroom Black unfolds into new sonic architecture – the teenage bedroom door opens into swathes of LA and London night buses, with high-octane pop pressure points, neon electronica, and 80s rock runs. The album writhes in the lyrical and sonic duality of an artist propelled into new experiences and shifting identities, and represents her coming of age, growing from an unknown singer at her parent’s piano to one of the most exciting alternative pop stars. The dark and otherworldly space Holly has built and invited fans into, both sonically and visually, has been lucid and visceral, with the camera always on her shoulder, a lens into her chaotic thoughts and deep feelings.
Already nominated for two Ivor Novello’s, winning the BRIT Rising Star in 2022 and coming runner up in BBC Sound Of 2021, Humberstone’s bear-all storytelling is the heart of her craft. The rising star dropped Antichrist and Room Service in June, the double A-Side singles that reflect her introspection and extraversion, two opposing artistic multitudes that inform Holly’s lyricism and sound. “I feel like two different people half the time. My biggest challenge is always to make something I feel I haven’t done before, that reflects new parts of me.” The new parts of Holly appear on Antichrist, an exposing image of her last break-up, a heartbreak ballad of self-loathing, set against propulsive pop: “Am I the Antichrist? How do I sleep at night?”, juxtaposed against delicate Room Service, an ode to locking yourself away from the world. The introduction of these two starkly different tracks act as a revolving door into the visceral duality of Holly Humberstone.