INTERVIEW: Charlotte Gunn
Mimi Webb’s meteoric rise is set to reach its latest peak with her debut album Amelia, which is chasing a Top 3 finish.
Here, Music Week meets the star to talk identity, TikTok and representation…
Your album uses your first name as its title. Do you ever feel a conflict between Amelia and Mimi Webb, the pop star?
“Amelia is the countryside girl from Canterbury and Mimi Webb is the pop star who travels the world and does all these things that I always dreamt of. When I was 16, I decided I wanted to change my name to Mimi Webb, that was when I really knew what I wanted to do and was in music college, which was the right environment for getting started. To put both names together has been so fun and the album is the journey of both those people, of growing up in this crazy industry and learning more about myself. I’m at a point now where I know what makes me happy and a lot of things I do as Amelia keep me going as Mimi.”
There’s a real vulnerability and relatability to your music. What’s the secret to crafting something personal that so many people can relate to?
“I love to play my songs to my friends and family – I do a lot of things like that on TikTok – just to see if they’ll get the idea of what the song’s about. The amazing thing is that people take their own perceptions and thoughts on a song and then relate it to themselves and whatever they’re going through. I like to keep the stories open for people to be able to do that as well.”
TikTok has been key in your story. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from it?
“It really helped me build my fanbase and kickstart me in the industry to the point where it then translated into streams. Before I joined TikTok, I did three years of learning what the industry was about and building my brand behind closed doors, so I knew where I wanted to go. But there are a lot of artists who post a song, then a week later they’re signing these crazy deals. And it can be scary, because then a few months later you’re expected to put out an album. That’s why I’m so grateful I did so much prep and learning about the industry, so that when I’m in those conversations, I can do what’s best.”
You’ve previously described yourself as “gobby”. To what extent do you think being able to speak up for yourself has helped achieve your goals?
“Oh, massively. As a female artist, [it’s important] to be able to stand up for yourself and speak your mind, vocalise what you want to be and how you want to come across. At the start, you compare yourself to other artists and I’d always be like, ‘Oh, can I do that?’ If I hadn’t learned not to do that early on, I probably would have freaked out. I signed my deal when I was 18 and the first three years were just grafting in the studio and getting the music and brand ideas together. I really learned to stand up for myself when I felt like I needed to, and that’s so important. That’s something that comes across on the album, too. Amelia has had to really back herself up and point out what I would have been as an artist [without that], and also how I want to come across as a person.”
You were among the nominees at the BRITs, and some of the shortlists came under fire for a lack of representation of women. Where do you stand on the issue?
“I don’t have all the answers as to what the BRITs should or shouldn’t be doing, but I do know that there are loads of amazing women, and while we’re not in the Artist Of The Year category, we are represented across the whole of the awards. For me, I was just so grateful to be nominated. It’s something I have been so excited about for so many years and something that I’ve always dreamt of. So to be able to tick it off this year is incredible. I love manifesting and mind boards and all of that stuff and a No.1 album and a No.1 single are also on mine for this year, as well as just really pushing my music in America. I’m just so excited for it all.”