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Her music deals in old fashioned romance in the swooning style of classical literature. But in person Shaefri is anything but a weeping violet, as Anne Sexton discovers.
Anne Sexton, 27 Jun 2012
“I think a lot of romance is bullshit!’ declares Shaefri.
This you wouldn’t have guessed from the songs on the 18-year old singer’s debut EP Venture, all of which deal with relationships of one form or another. In fact you’d be forgiven for thinking that Shaefri was something of a serious-minded romantic, rather like a modern-day Brontë.
“I appreciate romance. I can be quite cynical about it too,” she continues. “I suppose I can be serious and it comes out in my writing. It’s something I normally keep to myself. I am quite sarcastic, in a light-hearted way. I’m vulgar as well. It just comes out – I can’t help it!”
There is certainly no need to do so on HP’s account.
“I find it easy to write sad songs but it is not really a reflection of how I am. I was listening to my EP the other day and thinking, ‘God, you sound really fucking depressed. Live a little!’” she laughs. “I have a lot of songs that weren’t ready when I was recording and they are all a lot more happy and sort of cheeky.”
Cheekiness paid off during a work experience stint at Universal Music after Shaefri forced her home recordings on her boss.
“He got me a day at Metropolis in Chiswick, which is an amazing studio. I recorded two songs, just me on the piano. They asked me back six months later, me and my band, to do proper versions. It was brilliant.”
The London-based singer has Irish roots and was, she tells HP, named after the Sheeffry mountain range in Mayo.
“I’m not convinced it’s a real name!” she laughs. “I dropped my surname for the stage so it’s quite convenient.”
While the EP might be more serious than Shaefri in person, her crystal-clear voice is a delight and the lyrics more mature than those of singers twice her age. The title-track ‘Venture’ opens up with the line, ‘So young, so naïve’. Given her youth I wonder if this is how the singer imagines others see her.
“Yes! That’s the reason I wrote that line. I get a lot of people saying, ‘Oh you’re only 18!’ I find that slightly irritating. Okay, I am. It doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about.”