Anne-Marie is UK pop’s busiest (and most honest) chart-topper

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Moya Lothian-McLean
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2017’s biggest-selling debut female artist is heading for global fame. Here, she talks anxiety and her new album.

Anne-Marie is tired. But there’s no time to rest: after the 27-year-old’s headline tour wraps up in two weeks, she’ll be supporting Ed Sheeran – who co-wrote a song on her much-anticipated album Speak Your Mind – on his 2018 arena tour.

For the Essex-born singer, it’s another rung on the ladder she started climbing more than a decade ago. Her roots are on stage (she starred with Jessie J in West End musical Whistle Down the Wind aged 12), but after being signed in 2013, she honed her craft on tour with Rudimental before hitting number one on Clean Bandit’s Rockabye.

Since last year she’s released a steady stream of solo earworms: current hit Friends has become an anthem for women everywhere who have received unwanted attention… 

From the outside, it looks like you’ve made it. But what’s going on behind the scenes?

It’s constant hard work and it never stops. If I’m not in a writing session, I’m doing promo. If I’m not doing promo, I’m on the stage. If I’m not on the stage, I’m on social media. If I’m not on social media I’m at an event or on the red carpet.

Everything looks amazing from the outside, then today I’m here trying to not die. But even though that all sounds horrific, I love every single little thing about it.

You’ve spoken about your anxiety in the past. Have you found a way to manage it?

I really wish I had an answer to that. I don’t know how to deal with it yet. I try to tell everyone that it takes time.

It’s like heartbreak
– you’re not going to go out one night, get pissed and feel OK the next. I’m fine on stage, but get anxiety when meeting new people; it stems from a constant worry that they won’t like me.

At the moment I’m just throwing myself in, even though I feel like [mimes heart beating rapidly] when I find myself in a new situation.

Have you incorporated any of these experiences into your upcoming album?

I feel like I’ve got a lot to say, and it’s not just all the bad experiences with boyfriends that I’m known for. There’s a song called Perfect, which is about body confidence. And another called Trigger, which is about gun violence – I’m nervous about the American reaction to that because I’m not in a country where it’s such an [obvious] problem. 

But I remember when music was something that people sought out in order to help them get through difficult situations, so I really wanted to release the song.

Speak Your Mind is out on 27 April.

Image: Supplied