You’d be forgiven for recognising a Becky Hill song, but not necessarily Becky Hill herself. But don’t worry, this is a self-confessed problem for the 26 year-old singer, who is looking to step out into the spotlight with her new single ‘Space,’ the first taste of her long-awaited debut studio album, set to be released in 2021.
Hailing from Wolverhampton, she originally appeared as a contestant on the first series of television singing competition The Voice in 2012, before topping the charts on Oliver Helden’s frenzied dance hit ‘Gecko (Overdrive)’ in 2014. Since then she’s been releasing a steady stream of dance-pop confections for radio (‘Wish You Well’, ‘Back and Forth’, ‘Heaven On My Mind’).
A streaming queen with over 18 million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 1.5 billion combined streams – she was also the second-most streamed UK female solo act of 2019 – the time for that long-awaited solo breakout moment is here – but who is Becky Hill, really?
In the latest edition of NME’s In Conversation series, we sat down with Becky to dissect ‘Space,’ her love of dance music and how she plans to take over the world. Here’s what we learned.
New single ‘Space’ is Becky Hill’s coming out party as a pop star
Becky describes her new single ‘Space’ as a “step up and a step out” for her as an artist, taking cues from acts like Robyn and Caroline Polachek.
“I really wanted it to be a level-up,” she explains of mid-tempo banger ‘Space’. “A lot of the other videos I’ve done have been very…here I am sat in a coffee shop. I don’t think [the song is] necessarily me being more ambitious, but I definitely think it’s a show of my ambition.”
Her upcoming album has been inspired by the likes of La Roux and Passion Pit
Although known by many as a dance-floor diva, Becky lists some synth-pop idols as surprising influences for the LP. “I’m definitely leaning more on the synth-pop side… I get a lot of my influences from La Roux, Robyn and Passion Pit, I definitely wanted more of that kind of vibe on there, the stuff that I used to listen to as a teenager in my bedroom.”
Being a contestant on The Voice taught her some valuable lessons
“I didn’t take myself seriously,” Becky says of her time on singing competition The Voice, where she placed in in the semi-finals. “One thing it did teach me is that you get treated like a VIP when you’re on the show, and as soon as you’re off the show, nobody gives a shit. I think a lot of people were coming off that show expecting people to knock on their doors, but I never did. You’ve always got to paddle your own boat.”
She’s ready to be more than just a featured voice on a dance track
“I’m not after fame,” Becky says of her ambitions with the new album, “but I’m after people to know what my songs are and who my name is, so they’re not just turning up at a festival being like ‘oh let’s just go there because we don’t want to watch anyone else.’ I would like people to go, ‘I know who Becky Hill is, and I know all the songs that go along with it.’”
With her new material, she wants to raise the bar for what female dance acts can achieve
Becky speaks a lot about her love of dance music, after following her older brother to raves as a teenager across Birmingham and to Fabric in London, but she’s not precious about admitting that there is only so far dance music can go.
“I fought doing dance music as a solo artist for a long time,” she admits. “I always thought there was a ceiling with it. Especially in the drum’n’ bass scene, there isn’t a lot of female vocalists. I can name Charlotte Haining Rhea, Jenna G… but there wasn’t a surplus of it. I’d always wanted a challenge and I suppose that’s why I’ve always wanted to go into pop music, because I want to be seen as someone that broke the record.”
Becky Hill’s latest single ‘Space’ is out now