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Bow Anderson im Interview: “The more honest you are and specific, the more people relate”

Die aus Schottland stammende und in London lebende Künstlerin Bow Anderson hat im Juli 2023 nach längerer Pause ihre neue Single “Midnights” veröffentlicht, kurz darauf folgend “Dear Body“. In beiden Singles zeigt sie ihr Talent, furchtlos und kompromisslos ehrlich ihre eigenen Gedanken darzulegen und schwierige, persönliche Themen mit einer Nahbarkeit und Offenheit anzusprechen. Im Rahmen des Reeperbahnfestivals durfte ich die Sängerin treffen und mit ihr über ihre neue Musik sprechen.

Bow Anderson im Interview

Johanna (untoldency): Hello, I’m happy to meet you here today.

Bow: Awww, I’m happy to meet you

Johanna: Maybe an easy question for start: You’ve just performed at the N-JOY Reeperbahn Bus and tonight at the Mojo Club in here. Are you happy to be here?

Bow: I’m so excited. I’ve not done many shows this year because I’ve just been busy writing, so I’m buzzing. Yeah, I’m really excited. And the show just there was so fun. It was just an acoustic set, but I just… I love playing live, so I was like, let’s go, I’m having a great time

Johanna: Yeah, I’m looking forward to tonight. I’m coming over.

Bow: Are you? I hope you enjoy it. I hope it’s not bad.

“It’s really cool to feel like you’re part of something and everyone else feels like part of it as well. Like a little group.”

Johanna: Yeah, no, it’s gonna be great. You just said that you’ve been writing much and you’ve recently released a single, “Midnight”. It’s been a year since the last single was released. How was the feedback after releasing after such a time? How were you feeling?

Bow: Yeah, it was like a mixture of feelings because I was so desperate to release. But as it got closer to the release date, I was like “oh, am I actually quite… like anxious?” But no, I’m happy. I love music and I love releasing music. And when you release, you get live shows. So yeah, it’s a mixture of emotions, but I’m buzzing to be releasing again.

And again because I’ve written some of these songs like a while ago and people are like, “when are you releasing it?” And I’m like, ”yeah, soon, soon, I promise, I promise, I’m working on it, I swear”. So now it feels great, feels great.

Johanna: It’s a song about sleepless nights, racing thoughts in your head. Like, do you have any tips on coping with insomnia? How do you cope with sleepless nights?

Bow: I’m still working on it, it’s work in process. And I wrote that because it’s like a therapy to me. It like, helps me feel better. But I try not to look at my phone when I go to sleep and I’m trying to read a book. Um, meditation is meant to help. I’m not very good at it. My brain’s, like on overdrive all the time. But apparently meditation is meant to be good to, like, center your brain.

Yeah, but just like doing stuff that you like I guess, that doesn’t involve sitting on your phone all the time because that makes you stay awake. Anything relaxing, self-care, whatever that is to you. You know what I mean?

Johanna: Any good book recommendations?

Bow: Oh, God, I can’t think… I’m so bad at remembering… oh seven strange. Is it seven strangers? That’s not helpful. I read a lot of books that are just like fiction, that are like thriller, like, oh, what’s going to happen? Are they going to get murdered? Who knows? You’re like, okay, she’s weird. Um, but yeah.

Johanna: No, I read much as well. Mostly fantasy – but I know what you mean.
You just said it’s like writing it’s a little bit of therapy for you. Is it mostly therapy, or do you want to also get your thoughts out there to help other people?

Bow: I definitely write from a place of like therapy for myself. But I also like when other people relate. It’s kind of like a healing process because you’re like, “okay, I’m not the only one that feels like this. You also feel like this.” And the fact that you’re making someone else feel like they’re not the only one is also really nice. Like, I get some stories that people have, like traumas and stuff that people have went through and the things that it helps them with. And it’s quite like, oh, wow. Because you do feel like the only person sometimes with these feelings, but actually we’re all quite… We all have our own unique story, but we’re all quite similar. Really. So yeah, no, it’s really cool to feel like you’re part of something and everyone else feels like part of it as well. Like a little group.

“The more honest you are and specific, the more people relate”

Johanna: I can imagine. But most of your songs are pretty self-aware. You’re singing about doubting yourself or being your own worst enemy. When it comes to releasing music, it’s pretty personal sometimes, maybe even like giving people your journal or something like this. Are you maybe sometimes overthinking your music as well or is it really like you’re writing it and then it’s completely fine?

Bow: You know, I think like since I released a song called 20s, that was definitely a time where prior to that, I’d always really overthought what I was saying and “oh, is that relatable to people?” And then 20s, I was never going to release. It was just kind of like a song that I was like, I just need to use this today because, like, I just need to get this out. And it was just very honest. And then it just… People really resonated with it. And I think that really opened my eyes to being like, the more honest you are and specific, the more people relate. So I just kind of like… It’s really weird because I’m quite a private person, like in terms of I’m not very good at talking to my friends about my feelings. But then as soon as I’m in a studio, it’s… Well, I don’t know what it is, but I’m just like (kind of sings) la la la la la la….

I would just… I will just say everything and anything. And I think honestly, it’s the best way. I think people know when you’re not being honest. I think being honest is probably the best way to write… For me anyway.

Johanna: But is it sometimes like, a letter to your friends, about things you can’t tell them, because you’re like too private about it. And then you have a song for them like, “hey, listen to this to know what I’m feeling”

Bow: I know I have had some people be like, “are you okay?” And I’m like, “yeah, I feel fine.” I’m just using it as my therapy, you know? I think that is my way of like healing and process and things. But it’s funny like my mum’s phoned me before being like, you know, like “you good. Yeah? Because you said in that song that like, you’re not good when this happens.” And I’m like, “yeah mom, it’s fine”. I’m like, “don’t worry, I’m just writing songs and it’s just healing process. I’m fine. Honestly. Sorry.”

“Growing up, like just all these pressures of what you’re meant to look like. It was like all these expectations.”

Johanna: One of your unreleased songs, I’ve seen it on TikTok, “Dear Body” talks about your relationship with your body and the host of the N-JOY Reeperbahn bus also said you had a gymnastics career before.
Most of the times, like, competitive sport can be pretty hard, especially when it comes to body images. And when I first heard “Dear Body” I also thought of that – like competitive sport and body images and issues all that kind of stuff. Do you feel like that career still influences your songwriting?


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Bow: I think, I don’t know… I think that like what I went through in like the toughness of the sport, it’s like it definitely makes you stronger as a person. But I think I wrote “Dear Body” just like I… Growing up, like just all these pressures of what you’re meant to look like. And if you don’t look like that, you need to be on these crazy diet… to be this certain size. And it’s like there wasn’t like, oh, it’s okay. Everyone’s a different body type. It was like all these expectations.

And I think just growing up, it was just something that really stuck with me. Like my mom would like go on these mad diets and she’d show me these books and be like, so this is your protein count. This is your like, sugars. And that was when I wasn’t even a teenager. Like, she wasn’t saying it to me to be like, you should do this. But she was like, oh, I’m going to Weight Watchers, which is like in the UK, like, yeah…

Johanna: Yeah, my mum did that too.

Bow: See what I mean? I mean, so then even from a young age you’re like triggered to be, you know… And then like when I was trampolining and doing gymnastics and dance like you had to wear all these skinny, tight leotards and like, everyone was different body types. And when I was younger, I wasn’t really conscious about it.

But now looking back, there was probably times where me or other people were probably a bit conscious of “oh God, I’ve got to wear like barely anything”. And like, I have friends that are dancers and they’d have to wear these skimpy, skinny leotards or whatever. And it feels so, like insecure, because there’s just so many expectations.

Sorry. I went off on a total rant there about it. But yeah. So I guess like just throughout my years of like dancing and doing trampoline and stuff, like it was always kind of at the back of my mind, I guess. Yeah.

Johanna: Yeah. No, I think that’s also an important topic because I’m sure you’ve heard about, like, I think it was the…. Female finnish beach volleyball team? [Anm. d. Red.: Es war das norwegische Beachvolleyball Team] Where they have to wear this like bikini…..

Bow: Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.

Johanna: And one time all of those wore just like longer shorts and were disqualified because it was too long. Because that’s their uniform. Yeah, and it’s still important because it doesn’t matter what you wear to play beachvolleyball. But it matters much to your mind.

Bow: Oh totally. It has. And I think even at the time if you know, you try and brush it over, it still subconsciously has an effect. I think all these little things as you grow up as a female or as a male or whoever you are like, it definitely has an impact on like how you feel just gradually. Totally. Yeah.

“You’re so fucking selfish”

Johanna: Yeah, totally. When I prepared for this interview, I’ve also watched your music videos. The most recent one was the selfish music video. And in the beginning for the intro, you’re like, just walking your dog – or probably not your dog…

Bow: Yeah. Chilly. He was called Chilly. He was a big dog. Oh, my God, he was strong. I was in big heels. And I was like, they were like, just walk casually. And I was like, yeah, okay. Like getting killed by this dog.

Johanna: So yeah, you’re walking your dog. And you’re just like recording the music, selfish, like as a memo. And that was probably for the music video, but is that also a way you write songs like thinking something and recording it just like that?

Bow: Yeah, definitely. Like, I mean, I write differently every day. Like there’s no… like sometimes I’ll have a concept or I’ll have a title or I’ll have this random weird melody, or I’ll have a bit of everything. Who knows? But yeah, for selfish, I literally was walking down the street and I was like, selfish yourself? And I was like, (starts singing) you’re so fucking selfish, only think of yourself, meh mimi me

And then the rest of the lyrics, I was getting all I had and then I just took it into session. So that’s why we did the vocal recording, because I was like, oh, I actually did do that, but we just couldn’t sync it up. So I had to like, recreate it. Yeah. But yeah, I do have it.


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Johanna: And we’ve been already speaking about outfits and dress codes and all that. In the video it was like very many different outfits, very high fashion. Is that something that matters to you as well, because I feel like you have a very unique style, like you like do dress very sporty.

Bow: Yeah. I love my sports gear. I’m like a tomboy really deep down. But I do like dressing up.I love this.

Johanna: Because I feel like that because it was not the only music video where you were like, all dressed up.

Bow: Yeah, yeah, I think I’ve learnt to. So my creative director, Daisy Dean, she, I’ve worked with her for a long time. And like when I first started with her, I was very like, I just wear jeans, trainers and jumpers. She was like, right, okay. But like over time I’ve just like built this relationship with her and she gets me and I just kind of go, “you know what? Just like have fun with it.” So we’ve just had so much fun creating all these looks with like an amazing team of people. And it’s just, yeah, it’s really cool.

Johanna: And it’s like one time you get to dress up.

Bow: Yeah. You’re like, yeah, okay, I trust that you’re going to make me look good. Yeah. Okay, great. And I’m like, it’s so fun. It’s so fun to do that. Yeah, definitely.

“Don’t chat too much with my granny.”

Johanna: Okay. One last question actually, already, um, our magazine is called untoldency, and in the end we always ask for one untold story. If you’d like to tell us one, which you haven’t especially told in an interview, or maybe in general how you like it, a fun fact, secrets, whatever you’d like.

Bow: Anything I’ve just thought of, like, quite a funny story that happened. I am, you know, the Shard in London.

Johanna: Yeah

Bow: Oh actually, I’ve got a better story. I’ve got a better story. Okay, so my family, there’s a movie called The Lampoons, which is like, basically this family that, like, everything goes wrong. I think it’s an American film.

Anyway, my family call themselves lampoons because everything goes wrong. And my granny is known for chatting like a lot. To the point that we’d been the whole family – like my auntie, my cousin’s brother, like whole family went out, mom and dad – and we missed their flight back to the UK because my granny was like chatting to a neighbor too much. So we like completely missed their flight. But then we couldn’t stay where we were staying because there were other people staying. So we had to go to a motel. We’re all in a motel. My granddad locked himself out the room, put his passports in the lockbox. Forgot the code to the password. My granny was like, didn’t have any clothes because it was all at the apartment. Yeah. So she wore just underwear to sit at the pool. And then the next day, my mum and dad and my brother and me, we flew back, but they missed the second flight because of storms. So basically they didn’t get back for like three days. But the main reason was because my granny was chatting too much to her neighbor that we missed her flight.

Johanna:  Oh no. So what do we learn from that? Don’t chat too much.

Bow: : Don’t chat too much with my granny. You just have to be like la la la la la la… leaving goodbye. But no, that was a situation. Yeah, I don’t know, that just popped random. It just I was like, that happened. That’s quite bad.

Johanna: Yeah. Very random.
And actually, for real this time, one last open question. Because I’d like to just do that at the end of the interview. If you’d like to say something to the readers, what you think is important, they should know about you, about your song, if you have anything left on your heart.

Bow: I mean, I just kind of write, like, uplifting, not sad songs, but honest songs to try and help people feel less alone. Because I think I’m not very good at talking about my feelings to people. And I feel like sometimes if you hear in a song something that really resonates with you, it makes you feel less alone. Like even if you can’t speak to other people, at least you have someone that you’re like, okay, I’m not the only one that feels this way, and it kind of makes… It heals you and it makes you feel less alone. So I love writing music to just make people feel kind of good about themselves, even if it is kind of sad. Yeah, roughly.

Johanna: Yeah. And maybe the song can help them talk.

Bow: I hope so, yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Johanna (untoldency): So, thank you for your time.

Bow: Thank you. Thank you very much.

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