Helen Lawson is a singer-songwriter based in London, UK. She records her gently melancholic songs at home, in studios belonging to friends, and anywhere else that seems quiet enough. Her debut EP, “Crossing the Bridge”, and single 'This Town' are available here.
Helen grew up in a small village in the Midlands, “surrounded by cows, sheep, and rhubarb”. During her formative years sitting at the top of a very large oak tree, she would gaze at city lights on the horizon and knew she would one day go to London. It was a while before she realised the lights belonged to a slightly larger neighbouring village. The big city was a way away yet.
Since completing the EP, Helen has been working on her album with friends in London and Venice, California. She starts off recording guitars, vocals and “other bits and bobs” in her kitchen, then drafts in friends on cellos, clarinets, double bass. “I spend a lot of my recording time trying to deal with the hum of the fridge and the rumble of the boiler. It’s still there on most of the tracks, if you listen closely…”
She didn’t always have the luxury of recording in the kitchen. After one recording session was flooded out, the bass on one track was recorded in a local rehearsal room “in 3-minute gaps between tube trains clattering past the window”. Helen’s recording adventures have in fact been dogged by watery misfortune – sessions in three different locations were halted by flood, and for a while the planned title for the EP was “Causes Floods”.
In 2007 the classical-chill duo AntiAtlas, fronted by Radiohead manager Chris Hufford, asked Helen to write a lyric and melody for one of their instrumental tracks. It was her kitchen-recorded demo vocal that ended up on the track “Broken Doll” - released on the album “Between Voices” on the One Little Indian label. This led to her own recording session at the Radiohead-owned Courtyard Studio, adding final touches to the songs which make up Helen’s “Crossing the Bridge” EP.
The finished EP is a work of gentle power, the warmth of the music tempered by the incisive pathos of the lyrics, delivered in a voice that simultaneously recalls Nico, the Fairport Convention’s Sandy Denny and Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. As legendary songwriter Don Black put it, her songs are "fresh and inventive with some human insights that are deceptively brilliant". Or as Helen herself puts it,: “It feels great to have finished the EP. Now I need to make an album without flooding any more studios…”