“Ah, circle time”, Billie Marten laughs as she sits down on stage and joins an audience whose legs were crossed around the edges of Headrow House’s fairy light-covered event space.
It was a far cry from the busy Fresher’s shopping event taking place across town, as the calm room gathers around a petite Billie Marten. She begins singing ‘Live’, and we hear one of the running themes in Marten’s songs- a desire to escape, likely echoing the ideals of other 17 year olds, like herself. She sings out “I wanna stay out all night, say hello to the dawn” and somehow, without moving her mouth much, Marten’s longing lyrics fill the room.
An unpresuming Billie Marten harmoniously sings through six tracks from her debut album Writing of Blues and Yellows. She sits carefully on her chair in a rugby sweatshirt and docs, but at the same time is clearly extremely excited about the record’s release, only four days ago. “Thank you so much to Crash Records for selling my album, which is a thing,” she gushes.
In the middle of the set Billie strums her newest single ‘Lionhearted’, and professes: “what would life be like with a lionheart inside? Instead of mine,” but it’s difficult to see the quiet girl she alludes to being as she captivates a diverse audience in both age and gender, and as her microphone squeals, she calmly continues on. If anything Billie’s emotionally honest lyrics are the definition of being lionhearted, in an age where we prefer to hide our feelings behind social media. Or perhaps it’s the thrill of having her new album out that makes her brave today as she thanks the audience again for buying her record: “I can’t believe I’m saying that, that’s what it’s about though isn’t it?”
Lynsey Rose Kay