Louisa Rose Allen, better known by her stage name Foxes, graced the stage of the Manchester Academy on Sunday evening before revealing the ins and outs of her triumphant music career.
The 25-year-old has had one of the most dramatic years of any rising pop star – a journey which she describes as her ‘craziest, most whirlwind year’.
From bagging a Grammy, releasing her debut album Glorious which included hit singles Let Go For Tonight and Holding onto Heaven, embarking on a high-profile tour with Pharrell Williams to making a cameo appearance on Dr Who – it’s fair to say 2014 has been good to the 25-year-old Southampton songstress.
The Youth singer revealed her success kicked off when she was nominated for the Best Dance Recording award at the 56th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
She said: “I remember getting my ticket and holding it tightly in my hand… I couldn’t quite believe I was there.”
With EDM heavyweights Calvin Harris and Duke Dumont in her award category, the pop newcomer was so sure she wouldn’t win she nipped out for a sneaky drink with fellow British musicians Sam Smith and Disclosure, during the ceremony.
“We were like Brits abroad and we ran across the street to have a drink,” said the doe-eyed beauty.
“But then I got a call from my manager saying, ‘er, you do know your award is happening really soon’ So I ran back and sat down – although because Calvin Harris and Duke Dumont were up for the award too, I just thought there was no way in hell I was going to win.”
Reliving her somewhat awkward moment at the world famous Staples Centre when collecting her Grammy, the In Her Arms singer said: “I ran on stage with chewing gum in my mouth and yelped ‘mummmmm’.
“All a bit embarrassing. And from that point onwards it just felt like time no longer existed as it had beforehand.”
Less than four months later, Foxes would release her debut album, titled Glorious.
“It was something I’d dreamed about for so long. You can think about putting a record together but actually having it out… When this big box of finished copies arrives with your name on it and your thank yous on the inlay cover, well, it’s just an incredible moment,” she said.
“I just wanted to make a collection of songs I’d be proud of when I was older. If I wanted anything from it, it was to make something that really meant a lot to me.”
The pop star, who has raked in more than 100million views on YouTube, admits that she doesn’t like to listen to her own album as she is a ‘perfectionist’.
However the song she is most proud of is her 2011 hit Youth.
She said: “Youth is one that I will always hold really close. It was made in a tiny bedroom with no fancy equipment, a terrible mic and headphones which only worked in one ear.
“It’s a song I wrote before anything, before I knew I was going to write an album.
“I wanted my life to change and my mum’s life to change. I was on a train to London from Southampton and I just got thinking ‘I can’t let everyone who says I can’t be a singer bring me down’.”
The singer-songwriter is already working on a follow up to Glorious and appears to have learnt a lot from the past year.
“The success I’ve had this year means I can work with the people I want to – which feels weird in itself,” she said.
“You think to yourself ‘these guys have had all these hits and I’m just little old me’ and that creates a pressure – you have to bring songs to the table that are really good.
“They’re not going to write them, you have to. But I like it that way. I’ve learned what worked from the first album and will take that experience into making the second one better.”
Despite noting down her lessons, Louisa insists that no new material will be unveiled on her tour.
She said: “I want to see this tour as a final nod to Glorious, It’s a time to celebrate.
“It’s basically me with everyone that has bought the record and supported me from the very beginning.
“It’s a special way to close this chapter of my career and start afresh in 2015. So this is the Glorious tour, definitely.”
The former Institute of Contemporary Music Performance student spoke of her time while touring with rapper and producer Pharrell Williams.
She said: “I still can’t believe that tour happened really. It was 36 dates with one of the biggest pop artists, well, ever.
“I watched him every night and I never got sick of that show – but it does make you go ‘right, I need to up my game here’. I made sure I got plenty of advice from him and his dancers.”
The invite came after Pharrell heard her Radio 1 Live Lounge cover of his chart topping single Happy.
“I don’t know how he heard it. I was quite scared to do Happy because it’s so well known, but it was so fun to do. Using elements of Massive Attack’s Teardrop, it turned out really well,” she explained.
“So well, in fact, that Lauren Platt did a strangely similar version on The X Factor.”
When asked about the top tips that were passed on by Pharrell’s, she said: “Well, the advice was more encouragement, which was really nice.
“When you realise Pharrell and the people around him are genuine fans of your music that’s unbelievable, as well as being great for your confidence.
“What was great is that he really seemed to get that I wasn’t just writing throwaway pop songs but that I had something to say. There were moments on that tour which I’ll never forget.”
To top off her mammoth year, the singer also made a cameo appearance on the classic BBC sci-fi show Doctor Who where she gave a jazz inspired rendition of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.
The chart topping singer described her experience on set, she said: “There’s a lovely atmosphere on set – and there’s some really funny pictures of me messing around in the Tardis.
“They probably rolled their eyes and thought I was a proper fangirl.
“I was fascinated – all of the knobs and everything you see on the show actually work. I ended up pressing loads of buttons before I got hurried along. I was having a great time.”
Images courtesy of Voxes Vevo via YouTube, with thanks.