Published Mar 23, 2016When Holly Lapsley Fletcher was younger, she was expecting to work for National Geographic as a physical geographer. There was no dream of becoming a music producer, mostly because that job is still a relatively novel one to the 19-year-old wunderkind.
"I went to an all-girls school and I didn't even know what a producer was then," she admits with sincerity. "I just wanted to record electronic music, and I just did it through GarageBand. I didn't even understand the concept of what a producer does or anything like that. I thought it was interesting that you can do this as a career."
Adopting the name Låpsley for her music (the ring accent in her name was to personalize it, and because she "likes how it looks on a piece of paper"), Fletcher started composing songs and posting them on Soundcloud, really only for distant family members to hear. But while she was still in school, her music caught the right ears at BBC Radio 1, and in no time she was making her live debut at Glastonbury and signing with XL, who won a bidding war.
What separates Låpsley from other singer-songwriters is her style of production. While her commanding voice has earned comparisons to label-mate Adele, her signature skill in arranging her electronic compositions is her insistence on using cavernous space and clicking rhythms, which are more analogous with other label-mates like Jamie xx or SBTRKT.
"Sonically, I prefer electronic sounds. It comes from an appreciation of space and the use of space," she explains. "I have a fascination with ambient and experimental music, and in that kind of stuff there is no music or lyrics, and it's all about the use of space and how it's carefully put together."
Still, when it came time to recording her debut album, Long Way Home, Låpsley felt intimidated by the move from her personal studio at home to the professional in-house space at XL Studio.
"It was scary because the only thing I've ever known is the limited equipment that I have at my studio," Fletcher says. "So I worked very closely with Rodaidh McDonald, the in-house producer and engineer, to try and understand the equipment. His role was technical, not so much creative, but my album wouldn't be what it is without his help."
The experience was a rewarding one that she hopes will prime her for the future. "I'm training to be an engineer this summer so I can engineer my second album. Plus I want to go into writing and producing for other people after a few years."