Feature: Rachael Dadd – My 5 Biggest Influences

For our latest ‘My 5 Biggest Influences’ feature, we spoke to the sensational Rachael Dadd, who releases her new record Flux on November 8th.

‘My 5 Biggest Influences’ is when we talk to some of our favourite upcoming and established artists, delving into their greatest influences and inspirations, to see how bands, records, tracks, friends & family, hobbies and even environments have impacted on their work and music.

More about the latest record and tour plans below, but first, here are Rachael Dadd’s 5 Biggest Influences…


Leigh woods near my home in Bristol is tucked permanently inside my psyche. Right now the leaves are going yellow and brown and I can see it in my minds eye and smell it too. I get the same thing from where I spend a few months each year in Japan. There I get to see the trees on the mountains bursting into life in spring and hear the cacophony of the subtropical insect and bird world emerging. I read a book called the hidden life of trees that taught me beautiful and mind blowing behaviors of trees, such as sending information and nutrients to one another via their criss-crossing roots. If that doesn’t blow the mind then well, they also communicate with the microscopic mycelium root network. We could learn a thing or two from trees about cooperation. Could be key to our survival!

Martin Read – my A-level music teacher

Martin was a super cool teacher with massive hair that would bounce about with his enthusiastic head bopping. He had a love of things not on the curriculum. He’d have the class set up speakers and swing microphones between them to create feedback patterns, and once persuaded John Tavener to come and do a recital for us at the college, where he shared the piano stool and did a piano duet with him, with a massive grin on his face. He introduced me to Steve Reich and John Cage which has shown me how I can use counter rhythm and place objects on the piano strings to change the sound. He was the first person who got me singing my own songs on stage. He grouped me together with the best musicians on my course and then had us performing during the interval at every jazz band concert. I wish he was still alive for me to say this directly to him: Martin thank you from the very bottom of my heart and soul, for showing me that music is not something prescribed and contained within a set of rules, but something unbound and free.

My musical family tree

Music friends near and far not only inspire me to keep making music, but they also help inform my life choices. Watching Kate [Stables] of This is the Kit raise Mo and keep writing and performing alongside was the reason I felt I could do the same. Watching ICHI my husband making his music from such a playful perspective helps me to experiment playfully. We have started a children’s show called ((( On Pa ))) in which we do many playful things: I play my clarinet into a bowl of water on an overhead projector while he fills his steel drum with water and a golf ball. I think music is born out of the community you are part of. We are not solitary beings. I like to think it’s like the tree roots criss-crossing and sharing. It’s an osmosis.

Strong women in music

I discovered Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos when I was an adolescent 13 year-old and I fell in love with music. I mean deeply in love. From then on I was pretty much glued to the piano. Quickly after that I was introduced to Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush, and then later Bjork and PJ Harvey, and then Diane Cluck and Regina Spektor and then lately it’s Kate Tempest. My musical horizon continues to widen and inform me and entice me more and more and more and more.

My children

When Shuki was born on my kitchen floor, he made me into a mother. Stories on the radio took on such weight that I would often have to turn it off, but ultimately I listened. The weight of responsibility to speak of these things is something I don’t want to turn my back on: refugee parents carrying their refugee children through all those dangers only to be met with hostility at our borders, the rise in white supremacy, the divisions in the fabric of our society. I have lots of hope for a better future because of all the counter cultures like ‘Hope not Hate’ and ‘Extinction Rebellion’ that are springing up. I’ve started teaching music in schools with ICHI who’s Japanese. Kids are so open and non-judgemental. They are the hope we have.

Produced with Marcus Hamblett (Villagers / Laura Marling), new album Flux is a response to external and internal tides: the flow of life up-rooted; a protest against the flow of recent political history and a diary of the flow within the intimate space of home.

Collaborators include multi-instrumentalist Emma Gatrill (Willie Mason / Matthew and the Atlas), drummer Rob Pemberton (Emily Barker / Low Chimes), bassist Jim Barr (Portishead) and vocalists Kate Stables and Rozi Plain (This is The Kit).

The album was preceded by the release of singles ‘Beacon’, ‘Arrows’ and ‘Cut My Roots’. Inspired by Rachael’s own personal experience of our country’s strict visa laws, the latter track is a protest against recent political tides and a general rise in white supremacy. As Rachael says, “I wanted to speak up for our collective liberties. When it came to making the music video I used the context of our oppressive past which, although is no longer in living memory, still echoes all around us today. It is important that each one of us keeps an eye on our collective liberties.”

Take a watch of the brilliant video below…

Flux follows Rachael’s highly acclaimed album We Resonate which came out on Talitres and Sweetdreams Press, and a string of international releases on Broken Sound, Lost Map, Sweetdreams Press and Angel’s Egg.

Living half her time as a travelling musician in Japan, witnessing how other people create things, connecting with other cultures and landscapes; all this is a furnace for Rachael’s innovative song writing, which has seen her gain a reputation as a pioneering and thought provoking artist, unafraid to push the boundaries of folk and pop.

In 2016 her solo ‘Piano & Projection’ show received an Emerging Excellence Award. She has toured this show as well as full band and solo sets across venues and festivals in the UK, Europe, Australia and Asia. Her countless festival performances include End Of the Road, Green Man, Glastonbury, Truck, Farmfest and Wilderness in the UK, as well as Le Festival Les Femmes’ en Mêlent (France), Mandrea Festival (Italy), Woodford (Australia) and Women in (E)Motion (Germany).

Forthcoming tour dates as follows…

28 Jan – Leeds, Hyde Park Book Club
29 Jan – Glasgow, The Glad Cafe
30 Jan – Newcastle, Cobalt Studios
31 Jan – Manchester, Gullivers
01 Feb – Nottingham, Malt Cross
07 Feb – Bristol, Jam Jar
08 Feb – Birmingham, Cuban Embassy
12 Feb – London, The Lexington
13 Feb – Ramsgate, Ramsgate Music Hall
14 Feb – Brighton, The Hope & Ruin
15 Feb – Winchester, The Railway Inn