Artist Takeover: Meet China Bowls

The weekly Artist Takeover of our newly signed artists have begun! This consists of a week per artist where exclusive behind the scenes insight into our signed artists will be shared via social media and digital platforms. From live behind the scenes updates of their first Saffron Sessions and first person accounts of their musical influences, these will be exclusives not to miss – follow @SaffronRecords on Twitter and Instagram.

China Bowls playfully uses her vocals to capture you in an aural trance. Coming from a festival background with infectious neo soul jazz vibes, experimental hip‐hop influences and just a hint of gypsy swing, it is often best to expect the unexpected from China Bowls.

I had mostly played by myself up until a year and a half ago but then started playing festivals with a stage called People’s Front Room and met a friend, who’s a drummer, and have been playing with him for quite a while. However, as he lives in Devon we can only do gigs together here and there outside of the festival period but I also play with a Bristol-based bassist. More often than not it’ll be me performing solo, and I really do enjoy doing gigs by myself, but then during summer it’s also nice to play with a band, or whoever is around will play.


Intentionally or not, I find my style is incredibly influenced by what I listen to. After gigs people will say you sound like this or that and it’s usually people you have listened to. And you’ll be like ‘ah, that’s weird because I’ve been listening to them loads recently’. It’s kind of amazing, but sometimes it’s like ‘dammit, I want to sound like me’ but it’s definitely unavoidable. There’s a video of me singing Reach For The Stars when I was seven; like it’s one of those ones you think you remember but it’s probably like a photograph or film to my granddad like ‘oh, look at meeee’ whilst I’m doing the dance and everything.

It’s important for aspiring artists to not give up and keep doing as much as possible. I’m learning to beatbox and saving up for a loop pedal and doodle on everything. It’s really easy to sit in your room by yourself when you’re a singer songwriter and try and produce this amazing work but you have to go out, you have to play and meet other people, and I find that’s what keeps me doing more stuff – productivity brings more productivity.






Photo of doodles China Bowls has done in her diary.

There are so many opportunities to play for free, but it’s like that for anything creative – there’s that expectation that you have to do it forever and ever for free. Which is initially fine because you love it but it does reach the point that in order for you to have time to do it you need to be paid. I guess it’s that balance of there being a way for you to have the time to be creative, or enough time for you to be as creative as you’d like, but also have enough money to live on and progress. It’s all about that balance.

However, when it goes well, it doesn’t even matter if it’s free. When I get a positive response from people that keeps me going and makes it worth it. Collaborations also keep me going; if I hit a wall with writing having a session writing with someone else then reinspires me. Changing up how you’re doing it, or playing a random gig which you don’t expect to be that good, can often surprise you in the best way. I played a really quiet gig the other day, but it was just really nice. There was one guy who was listening very intently and said he loved it after and that alone made that quiet gig worth it.


I’d also love to collaborate with Nai Palm or Lianne La Havas or Kate Tempest and would be amazing to play on The Other stage at Glastonbury as I feel the Pyramid stage is too big, whereas I have seen some incredible people play on The Other stage. Whilst it’s still massive, there’s something about it that feels more chilled. Although I tend to always get into a song then hit myself with a microphone and kind of like bop my nose. Yet the occasional song gets stuck in my head. The other day I was singing Brown Sugar on repeat as I heard it in a shop but I tend to also have a Fat Freddy’s Drop song, like Roadie, stuck in my head often.

Living off of playing music I’ve written, whether that be solo, with other people or in a band, would be my term of musical success. Finding that balance of making enough money to have enough time to do the amount of music you want would be the point I would feel successful. If you’ve made that work and you’re happy with that life you have built for yourself then that’s massive.

To find out more about our newly signed artists check out this

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