If a person’s music benefits from travel and experience, then April Keen should have one heck of an album in her.
The 16-year-old singer-songwriter, who releases her debut EP this weekend in style by playing gigs at HMV and the Blue Room, was born in the Philippines, came to Blackpool, moved to Qatar, before returning to these parts a couple of years ago.
“I guess I have done more travelling than most people my age, but it’s something I’ve loved doing and got a lot out of,” she said.
April didn’t really have any choice in the matter – her father, Bob, is a primary school teacher who taught in many different countries.
“It probably wouldn’t be good for some kids, moving around all the time, but I liked seeing new places, making new friends and experiencing new things,” she explained.
“It broadens your horizons and whether that is reflected in my music I don’t know, but I hope so.”
April has bags of talent for one so young, and has written some great songs.
She is being tipped in many quarters to be the next Little Boots, Karima Francis or Rae Morris, something she’d be more than happy with.
“It inspires me that so many good female singer-songwriters from Blackpool have gone on to good things,” said April, who lives near Bloomfield Road.
“You read about someone like Rae Morris, who is supporting Bombay Bicycle Club, and it does give you hope.
“She’s from Blackpool but she’s managed to make it, so it shows it can be done.”
April has been singing since she was a young child, performing in talent shows. She got a guitar for her 11th birthday, but only began to write songs a couple of years ago, when the family moved from Qatar back to Blackpool.
“When you’re abroad the music scene is a bit limited,” she said. “There’s not much going on and not many songs are played on the radio.
“When I came back to Blackpool the music is in your face, and it really inspired me to start writing songs.
“Pop music used to be my thing – I was a bit of a One Direction fan, and still am if I’m being honest – but I am more into the acoustic sound now.
“I love people like Mumford and Sons and Damien Rice.
“I’ve written about 20 or 30 songs in the last couple of years, a lot of people have said nice things about them, and putting this EP out is another big step forward.”
That EP – Solace – was recorded in Lancaster, and will be available from tomorrow when April plays an in-store gig at HMV on Bank Hey Street, starting at 1.30pm.
She’s playing a full gig and selling the EPs at the Blue Room on Sunday from 8pm onwards.
“I’m really excited about what the reaction will be, and hopefully it will be another step towards what I really want – to make a career in music,” she added.
You can find out more about April and her music at www.aprilkeenmusic.com