Seventeen-year-old Saffron Collins has a voice beyond her years. It’s familiar, warbling in the style of Amy Winehouse, but it holds onto a distinctive alt-pop tone that paints a new English hit-maker onto the horizon.
Collins’ first single, Chewed Up, is a good indication of what she can do with just a sparse, sticky melody. And as the UAE-based teenager releases her second single, Green, we chat to her about what’s next.
Can you tell us why you chose Chewed Up as your debut single?
In my head, Chewed Up felt really catchy and I just thought people would enjoy it. It was a good establishment to my sort of vibe.
What’s your second single, Green, all about?
Green is very layered with guitars. It reminds me of a movie soundtrack. High Hoops a.k.a. Jordan Arts collaborated with me on the track and he was like, ‘What kind of beat do you want?’ I just said something jazzy. He came up with this double-time beat, which is pretty cool. The song is about feeling isolated in my old school and how people may pretend to like you.
For those who are just getting to know you, how would you describe your music?
Alternative, with hints of R’n’B and guitar-esque melodies and layers.
Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
I lived in the UK till the age of seven. I moved out here [to the UAE] due to my dad’s job. Initially, I grew up in Abu Dhabi and moved to Dubai when I was 12. I’m undergoing my second to last year of school.
Do you come from a musical family?
My grandad and uncles are really musical. My grandad is such an amazing accordion player and my uncle is a guitarist. The gene pool skipped my dad and it somehow got to me.
What were you like growing up — and when did you first become interested in music?
I was a weirdo and my parents were trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Luckily, they found out that music was a way of expressing myself. I just got old tennis rackets and mouthed the guitar parts to Sunshine of Your Love by Jimi Hendrix.
We hear a bit of Amy Winehouse in your sound. Who would you say are your musical inspirations?
Amy Winehouse! The Doves. I listen to a lot of music... subconsciously their music comes out in the music I make now. For example, I was listening to New Order one day and I made this song that had that New Order drum sound in it.
A lot of people hide their accents when they sing. Did you know you didn’t want to do that?
At the beginning of my music, I would sing in a [nasally] American accent. My voice soon progressed into a London accent. Which is strange, because I talk in a really posh accent from living here.
What can people expect from your debut album? How far along are you in the process?
I’ve basically recorded four songs at Red Bull Studios in Auckland. I’m planning to release them as singles one by one. I have a lot of new songs on top of that and will be in the studio here working on them with Reiner Erlings soon.
What’s your goal for yourself, and for your music? What’s a big dream you have?
My dream is just to enjoy myself and make music, really, as cliche as it sounds. I want to start my own label, producing my own music and other people’s music.
Don’t miss it!
Saffron’s singles Chewed Up and Green are available on all major music-streaming platforms.