5 Songs I Love w/ Zoë Wren
Zoë Wren is a UK-based singer-songwriter known for her silky vocals and modern take on traditional folk. Since her beginnings as a busker in Camden, she has performed on stages from the Cambridge Folk Festival to the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. The music video for her latest track, ‘Vapour’, follows the story of a WWII spy who was underestimated for being a woman. We wanted to learn more about her influences, so we asked Zoë to tell us about five of her favourite songs.
1. Joni Mitchell - Amelia
Picking just one Joni song is a struggle, she’s a big influence on me as a songwriter. I love
Amelia for the story and the lyrics - it’s partly about the aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart,
who mysteriously disappeared. Simply produced, the vocals and fingerpicked electric guitar
take the spotlight, and there’s a warmth to it, and something about its fluctuating
unresolved harmony, that makes me want to listen on repeat. “It was the hexagon of the
heavens, it was the strings of my guitar” – how do you come up with a line like that!?
2. Agnes Obel - Familiar
This song is weird and wonderful and atmospheric. Agnes Obel’s vocals always feel like she’s
right there in your ear, and the distorting voice changer effect in the chorus makes it both
uncanny and otherworldly. There are so many details with the layered strings and vocals –
I’ve always loved music that’s a bit on the cinematic side, and this is a hauntingly beautiful
3. Fleetwood Mac - The Chain
I grew up listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, thanks to my parents, and that love of folk rock
has always stayed with me. If I could perform with any band, it would be Fleetwood Mac –
joining their wall of vocal harmonies would be an absolute dream experience. This song is
just epic, and a classic from one of my favourite albums.
4. Phoebe Bridgers - Motion Sickness
There’s something unique and distinctive about Phoebe’s songwriting, the way she blends indie, rock, pop, and folk in a perfect combination, and her lyrics are so fresh and frank. This song is right at the top of my traveling playlist, it always puts me in the right mood.
5. Tori Amos - Cornflake Girl
It was also hard to settle on a Tori song, and though this might not necessarily be her best, it
sums up so many of the things I love about her songwriting. The inventiveness and
unexpectedness of where she takes her melodies with soaring vocals, the creative
instrumentation, and those virtuosic piano solos. Although the meaning behind the song is very dark, anytime I hear that opening bar it’s hard not to feel immediately elevated.