Gig preview: Cara Hammond at 360 Club, Leeds

Hot on the heels of her recent single Waiting, which led to her being acclaimed as BBC Introducing Artist of the Week, Leeds-based singer songwriter Cara Hammond is already planning her next release.

Cara Hammond. Picture: Megan Roe

“It’s basically when you’re out with your friends and either boys or girls just don’t get the message that you’re not interested,” she says of the song No, which is slated to be her next single.

“It’s quite a sassy song but it’s in the process of being recorded at the moment. Hopefully we’ll get it released at the end of May.”

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Originally from Wrexham, North Wales, Hammond has been writing songs from an early age. “It started when I had my first guitar lesson,” she says. “I came home and started writing my first song and I came downstairs and performed it to my mum. She said, ‘It’s good but it needs a bit of work’ and I stormed upstairs in a bit of a strop and crafted this song a bit more. Then I entered the school talent show with it a week later so that spurred me on.”

By 14 she was performing in public, playing the occasional support slot. “By the time I got to 16 or 17 I started finding my own gigs and I’ve gone from there,” she says.

She moved to Leeds to study at the city’s College of Music. She explains: “I really wanted to go to a city that’s a bit more vibrant in terms of music and everything else so that’s why I chose to come to Leeds.”

Hammond feels her song writing has developed substantially in her time in Leeds. “I’m quite an honest writer, I write about what’s happened to me or people around me, that’s always been how I write, but what I write about has definitely changed and how I write it is probably a lot more different because I’m doing a composition course, that’s really honed my craft of writing.”

Since 2012 she has released three EPs. The most recent, Ray, was featured several times by BBC Introducing West Yorkshire; she also played a live session. “Then I got asked to play at the Brudenell Social Club as part of their BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire showcase. It was really fun, I had such a great time, we got to try out some new material as well. Then the tracks got picked up by the national BBC Georgey [Spanswick] tonight and I was BBC Introducing Artist of the Week from February 6 til 10 and I came in on the 9th and did a live session for that as well which was really scary because it was national [radio].”

Hammond cites her song writing inspirations so: “I’ve always really liked Adele, I think her lyrics are quite honest and her melodies are beautiful. Over the past two years I’ve really got into Amy Winehouse. Carole King, in terms of song writing, I think she’s fantastic; Lianne La Havas is another influence for me. Quite a lot of strong women song writers, but then I love Paolo Nutini, he’s great; Ben Howard I think his writing is fantastic as well. There’s a whole array.”

Last autumn she played at the 360 Club at The Library on Woodhouse Lane, Leeds in a double-header with her friend Lauren Rycroft. Tomorrow Hammond returns with her band as headliner. “It’s my second time and I’m so excited,” she says. “It’s probably my first official headline gig.”

After she graduates from Leeds College of Music in the summer, she says: “I’m planning on staying in Leeds and carrying on working the Leeds scene.”

Cara Hammond plays at the 360 Club at The Library, Leeds on Friday March 24, doors 8pm.