Updated: Wednesday, 11th December 2019 @ 3:04pm

Want to find the Sound of 2012? Look no further than Salford's Ren Harvieu

Want to find the Sound of 2012? Look no further than Salford's Ren Harvieu

By Stephen Sumner

Salford’s very own Ren Harvieu was selected for the BBC’s Sound of 2012 list last week, so she spoke to MM about getting discovered on MySpace, breaking her back, and Guinness.

Ren's soulful sincerity is probably what captured the attention of her manager, and later local legend Johnny Marr.

She's rapidly becoming the next in that relatively short line of artists that break through, not because they've tear-jerked their way through a process like the X-factor, but because they put their music out there, and people just get it.

Ren's tried her luck at talent shows, but her heart wasn't set on showbiz. Her friend had a studio, so she recorded a few tracks and uploaded them to her MySpace.

The rest was out of her hands, and has come as something of a shock. She still has that charming naivete about it all.

Oh, and she had the misfortune of breaking her back in May, so she's in the process of bouncing back. It got in the way of performing at Glastonbury though.

Maybe next time. 

MM: Do you think you would have got into the music industry if your manager hadn’t stumbled across you on MySpace?

Ren: Hard to say really, I wasn’t particularly pursuing the dream. Probably not, because I didn’t have any contacts in the industry.

What did you do when you found out you had been selected for the BBC’s Sound of 2012?

Bought a pint of Guinness! The record label said “We have some news but don’t know what to make of it.”

Previous selections for the BBC's "Sound of" lists have gone on to big things, from James Blake to Jessie J. Do you think they're on the list because they're going to be successful or successful because they're on the list? 

It definitely pushed them up, I doubt they would’ve been selected if they’d been shite. I don’t know much about it to be honest, I’m just excited.

What have the perks been so far from being nominated?

Just more exposure. It’s so weird people knowing who you are though!

No deal with Guinness so far then?

(Laughs) Not yet, not yet.

You've been compared to a wide range of artists – from Dusty Springfield to Amy Winehouse – who would you be most flattered to be compared to?

Rufus Wainwright, he’s like a pop opera, I’d like to work with him, I’ve been on a bit of a Rufus binge recently.

You broke your back earlier this year, which put you out of action for a while. Looking back, was that a setback or has it worked to your advantage? 

Oh, it was a setback, I’m still recovering from it, still feeling affected. But I was quite shy before. Performances seemed like something so massive. Having an accident puts things in perspective.

Did that prepare you for playing the Apollo last week?

You mean for the Courteeners’ fans? They’re a difficult crowd, but I just said, “F**k this, I’m not going to let anyone bring me down.” I just did my thing. The Courteeners are a lovely bunch of people though.

You supported Elbow at a gig for the charity Mencap in a church. Was that the most atmospheric place that you've performed?

Definitely, there was a beautiful acoustics and I f**king love Elbow. Such a lovely audience for such a great cause.

They're writing the Olympics 2012 theme tune. This is a bit of a Blind Date-style, but if you could write a song for any international event, what would would it be and why?

Are they? I really don’t know, name some international events?

The winter Olympics? A G8 conference? It’s up to you!

If they approach me I’ll give it a go!

I know you're really only just starting out, but now that Judge Jules has said he's hanging up his head phones to become a lawyer, what job would you do if you weren't in the music business? 

Who? I’ve no idea. I always wanted to become (laughs) a show-girl. I used to think I wanted to own a tea shop in Salford precinct. It’s a depressing place, I’d probably get torched!

Johnny Marr heard your stuff on MySpace and talked to you while you were in hospital about working with you. Is that still on the cards?

It’s up to him, I’m always going to be running to him. It’s any Salford girl’s dream!

Thanks a lot Ren, bye.

Thanks Stephen, bye.

Ren’s first single, Through the Night is out on 23 January and her debut album of the same name is out in April.