- Words Josephine Amstad
Notion gets to know Dirty Hit's latest sign, Bonnie Kemplay, following the release of her brand new single "Was it obvious?"
With a guitarist and painter as parents, Bonnie Kemplay grew up surrounded by creativity in her hometown of Edinburgh. After her brother encouraged her to join the community music club at eleven years old, Bonnie went on to study Jazz Guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music. Hailed as the UK’s answer to Clairo, Bonnie Kemplay is Dirty Hit’s latest star to join their impressive, world-renowned roster.
Following the release of her debut single under the label “19” which grappled with coming of age under the shadow of uncertainty, Bonnie shares her latest release “Was it obvious?”. Intimately lending insight into Bonnie’s world, “Was it obvious?” succinctly captures those feelings of fatigue that come when a friendship starts to weigh you down. Forgoing the cinematic soundscape of her previous single “19”, Bonnie showcases her range, opting for a more stripped-down production on “Was it obvious?”, echoing the diary-like vulnerability she touches on with her lyrics.
Speaking on the track, Bonnie explains: ‘”Was it obvious?” is about a friendship that was no longer working and I didn’t know why. It was like a very precarious Jenga tower that needed someone to remove that stubborn block for it to collapse, and then to build it up again. Instead, I think I just swept the whole thing into a bin.’
Last year, Bonnie beat over 10,000 entries to win the title of the UK’s top emerging artist and was invited to perform at the Radio 1 Live Lounge, sharing a legacy with huge stars such as Miley Cyrus, Harry Styles and Stormzy. Cementing her status as a glittering new name on the bedroom pop stage, Bonnie has already racked up a million streams with her self-titled ‘indie sadcore’.
Bonnie Kemplay chats to Notion about her favourite pizza toppings, what she’s obsessed with right now and what’s next.
What’s your pizza topping?
Olives. Preferably black olives on a pizza. Green in any other context are my favourite. Olives are everything.
What’s your daily routine?
At the moment, I’m a lady of leisure. On a productive day I would wake up at 9ish, eat some granola and read. Make an iced oat latte (iced all year round, it just tastes better). Journal, write, draw. Go for a walk with a podcast or album on. Meet a friend for coffee. Do my physio exercises. Practice guitar, song-write, produce. Make a nice dinner and call it a day.
Favourite song at the moment?
‘Big Exit’ PJ Harvey. I only discovered her music very recently. She’s so cool. I can feel an obsession brewing.
What is the most pivotal relationship in your life right now?
I don’t think just one comes to mind. I’d say the friendships I have with fellow musicians/artists feel really important to me. I feel lucky to be friends with such a diverse range of musicians, from drummers to producers to songwriters etc. I’ve learned a lot from them.
If you could revive one fashion trend, which would it be?
Those netted black chokers that all the goths used to wear. Maybe they still do? They became mainstream for a second, in school at least. Chokers are cool. I want to bring them back if they’re not already back.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Interrupting. People who interrupt lots need to have a day off. Also whistling, what a horrible noise. Stop that.
What are you currently obsessed with?
Itsu veg gyoza, chocolate orange, PJ Harvey’s albums ‘To Bring You My Love’ and ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’, MUNA’s new album (self-titled).
What has been your biggest pinch-me moment so far?
My zoom with Clara Amfo when she revealed that I had won the BBC introducing Live Lounge competition. It was so cool to have a panel of musicians and radio one hosts believe in my song and trust me to play a set in the Live Lounge. I think that was the first domino to fall and create a chain reaction of other cool music things to follow. Signing to Dirty Hit a few months later was also a big pinch-me moment.
Finish the sentence: I feel happiest when…
I feel happiest when I’m discovering a new exciting album for the first time.
Biggest goal for 2022?
Overcome my RSI and start shredding guitar again. Also produce an OTT hyper-pop hit.