Lotte Mullan
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Lotte Mullan

Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


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Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


“I have to be a full-time musician, because I’m a really bad waitress!”

With that conviction, 22 year old Lotte Mullan set off to play her collection of rootsy blues; her songs a captivating mix of soul, folk and country. She found sympathetic ears after winning ‘Best solo songwriter’ in a competition by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters’ and has, in a few short weeks, become one of Britain’s most promising young musical talents.

Born in what she fondly describes as “a small no-man’s land village” in East Anglia, Lotte learned the blues and much more at an early age. Having moved on from her early attempts at song writing – “my first song was a 12-bar protest about setting the monkeys free from the zoo; I was 8 years old when I wrote it” – Lotte hopes her songs will raise a smile aswell as pull on your heartstrings “There is nothing more satisfying that a good break up song, but it’s how you tell the story that counts, I’m not going to be another moaning singer-songwriter... it’s too easy!”

Watching her parents separate at the tender age of five, she learned the true heartache of breaking up wasn’t about lost love, family or even home, but rather about splitting the cherished record collection. When her Dad left home he left behind his pride and joy– a massive record collection featuring the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen. Believing him to be their rightful owner, Lotte used to steal records one at a time and deliver them to Dad on her monthly visits. Later, having discovered they really were part of her Mum’s collection, she reverted to stealing these same discs back, one at a time, and returning them home. Lotte’s remarkable anthem “Record Collection”, speaks volumes about what she observed and absorbed during those early years.

At age 7 she was given her first piano and by 15 Lotte was performing live in and around Norwich, backed by any musical friends she could persuade to come along, After leaving school Lotte worked for an insurance company for a year in order to fund her escape from small town life and see the world. It was here she began to write prolifically “the intense boredom of sitting in an office all day forced me into writing constantly, just to stay sane really... I used to pretend I was like James Taylor sitting in the brill building, just churning out the tunes, it was a song then coffee break, a song then lunch...I did a bit of paper shuffling too!”

As soon as she was able Lotte headed for New Zealand because it was about as far away as she could get. Travelling around in a Bedford camper van fondly named “Georgia”, Lotte quickly taught herself guitar so that she could continue writing on her travels. She is not short of a story or two having worked her way around the country fruit picking, taking tourists out on horseback beach rides (“everyone just kept falling off, it was mayhem!) and waitressing in a strip club (“I’ve never made so much money in tips, naked girls and cheap champagne does seem to bring out peoples’ generous side”).
Once back in London, she enrolled in music school because “good musicians don’t hang out in Suffolk”. Indeed it was here she eventually found the kindred spirits who make up her band.

While Lotte’s band and performance make for a captivating experience, it is the maturity and insight of her writing that truly sets her apart. “The promise faded faster than the tattoo” is but one of her lyrics about the disappointment of relationships that has caught listeners’ ears.
Tom Waits is the writer she most admires; her favourite Waits quote serving as a guide to her own song writing experience: “Just because it’s true doesn’t make it interesting”

But it’s the way this girl mixes Ray Charles with Bobbie Gentry, Eric Bibb with Led Zeppelin, and Bonnie Raitt with John Martyn that make Lotte such a marvel. As she says, “I’ve pretty much got heartbreak down; perhaps a collection of love songs might balance the picture!”
With songs like “Holdin’ on”, “Lonesome Heart”, and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Man”, Lotte is moments away from being on everyone’s iPod. Something tells me she doesn’t need to worry about being a waitress much longer.

Tom Rose- London- summer 2006