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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

UK Sensation Holly Humberstone Releases Debut Album 'Paint My Bedroom Black'

By Stevie Connor.

Now I’m pulling out of your driveway / finally I’m living, not surviving,” Holly Humberstone’s direct and raw lyricism cuts through horizon-breaking guitar lines, “...with the windows down I am reborn.” This title track is a glorious affirmation for the award winning singer and songwriter, opening Paint My Bedroom Black one of the most highly anticipated debut albums of recent times.

Paint My Bedroom Black is Holly’s personal world-building exercise. “My favourite artists create work that magics up an entirely new universe,” says Holly, “That's what I want to do with my debut album and live shows.” Creating a vivid coming-of-age-other-world with her visuals, today Holly also reveals the cinematic official video for “Into Your Room”, set in a swimming pool enjoyed by Holly’s mates, including Scarlett, her best friend who was the inspiration behind the song that finishes every live set with a bang, “Scarlett”. “Into Your Room”, now playlisted at BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2, was written in California, when longtime collaborator and producer Rob Milton flew over and the two of them hit up Ethan Gruska (Phoebe Bridgers, Fiona Apple), who invited them to his small studio outside of LA, where they experimented with pawn shop-bought instruments and synths, finishing the song in one day.

Always inspired by her environment and how that affects her sense of self and identity, from her parent’s Haunted House to flatshares in London with The Walls Are Way To Thin, award winning British singer songwriter Holly Humberstone's highly anticipated debut album Paint My Bedroom Black represents Holly’s coming of age, growing from unknown singer at her parent’s piano to the most exciting alternative pop stars of her generation.

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. From “Kissing In Swimming Pools”, described by The Sunday Times as portraying “empathy, insight and unblinking candour”, the sublime “Superbloodmoon” featuring d4vd, to “Antichrist” and “Room Service”, 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,” they all act as a revolving door into the visceral duality of Holly Humberstone.

Having just played a run of stunning intimate live shows in partnership with independent record stores across the UK, the BRIT and Ivor nominated singer and songwriter announced her biggest UK and European tour to date, headlining 20 venues in Spring 2024, including The Albert Hall in Manchester on 8 March and London’s Eventime Apollo on 13 March 2024. As she gets ready to release her immaculate debut album Paint My Bedroom Black next Friday the 13th, Holly reflects on the process, writing the album 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 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.

With a talent for capturing and characterizing moments that are both uncomfortably intimate and brutally revealing in her songwriting and creative – most of Holly’s 2022 was spent in hotel rooms, stuck between places, watching life from afar rather than being totally present in it. Lacking real connections and missing loved ones, the stirring official video for “Antichrist”, directed by Jean-Charles Chavarin, tells the story of the self-flagellation that comes with hurting someone you love, as you run away from yourself, trying to escape from room to room, until your reflection turns away from you.

Last week, Holly dropped the “Room Service” video, shot in room 627 on a webcam, the same room that Holly invited 80 fans to hear songs for the first time from Paint My Bedroom Black. Inspired by early zoom calls where Holly’s world felt blurry and faraway, the video captures a day in the life of Holly on tour, trying to find normality and home in the mundane, locked away from the world in a hotel room.

Finishing 2022 on a huge high, ending her biggest UK headline tour with 5000 fans singing back favourites “Scarlett” and “Overkill” at O2 Academy Brixton, the physical manifestation of her 242.6M global streams, Holly Humberstone started 2023 with her journal in hand and creative, walled off time, as she locked herself away in Rob Milton’s studio in London, to piece together the pieces of herself she felt like she left on the road, in rooms across the world. Holly has become renowned for painting a picture of a place so viscerally, being rooted in the walls and also people that makes a city liveable, where you can “get drunk with your mates and just forget about work”.

From her family home in “Haunted House” to feeling lost and isolated in her London shared flat with The Walls Are Way To Thin, Paint My Bedroom Black is Holly’s fragmented and dark love letter to friends and lovers, a hideaway from the world when her fans need one.



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