Italian passion meets British quirk might be the best way to describe the genre-messy duo ‘redbook’.

Swiss-born pop-lover Soraya Grosso brings rich, soulful vocals and a mastery of Italian classics to mould around British-born guitarist Jake Tweddle, a self-diagnosed coffee addict raised on a steady diet of Punk and Folk.

We got a chance to speak to Soraya and Jake, here’s what they had to say.

How did you meet?

Soraya – “We met at a cinema. It was actually our first day at University and we had our induction speech at a nearby Odeon”.

Jake – “My only memory is being hugged by a stranger outside a cinema…”

Who were your musical influences growing up?

Jake – “I had ‘Iron Maiden’ from my dad and ‘Whitney Houston’ from my mum with a bit of everything in-between. I always tended to lean towards folk, punk and metal stuff. Young me loved bands like ‘Rise Against’, ‘Rage Against the Machine’, ‘System of a Down’ and ’Slipnot’ (I still love these bands like mad)”.

Soraya – “I didn’t have specific artists I listened too or was obsessed with when I was younger, but I had multiple genres I got into. My mum’s parents played Serbian music to me and my dad fed me loads of Italian tracks. I found the German and Swiss pop, rap and hip-hop scene myself when I got a bit older, so just a melting pot of sounds to be honest”.

Can you tell us a bit about your music?

Soraya – “We usually say that our music is a reflection of our different musical backgrounds but a bit of Pop & folk is always in there”.

Jake – “We’ve just released ‘little friend’ – our new single which was born out of the first UK lockdown”.

“We’re stretching our legs with our production more and more and this track is completely self-produced so we’re pretty chuffed! It’s big, emotional and holds a really special place in our hearts. We even found ourselves rearranging it with a little choir and singing our socks off in a 1000-year-old church! You can find that video on our YouTube and we’re actually releasing that live version on the 22nd of January”.

Can you describe your music in 3 words?

Soraya – “Emotive, Sharing, Reflective”

Jake – “Passionate, Genuine, Organic”

What should people expect to hear when they listen to your music?

Soraya – “A part of us. All the songs we write have come from personal experience, thoughts or emotions, in the hopes we’re able to connect with people out there. When I grew up music was my one thing that I turned to for everything. The songs I listened to became my companions and I hope I’m able to give people a bit of that with our music. Something that is there for them and accompanies them on their journey”.

Jake – “Quite an organic sound with all focus on the meaning behind the song. You’ll always hear Sorayas’ beautiful voice and myself on a guitar but from there it can really go anywhere! We seem to slip a little between genres but we always write in that way so, no matter where the track ends up, you can always here that approach at its core. I think our music is always about the connection between the music and the lyrics. It’s always about expressing a thought, feeling or moment and with our different musical backgrounds I like to think you can really hear that in our music”.

How easy do you find the writing process?

Jake – “Well, songwriting tends to be quite spontaneous for us. Sometimes Soraya will share some lyrics with me or I’ll play her a little tune on the guitar and a song forms from there. A lot of songs actually grew out of long conversations about anything on our mind at the time, which eventually involves an argument or two”.

“Come to think of it – arguing is a pretty common part of our songwriting. Emoting, expressing, and being vulnerable with each other in that way feeds a lot into our music so I guess we’ve got a process but it’s not always ’easy’!”

Soraya – “Honestly, for me it’s always different. There is no specific formula that works each time. Sometimes it’s quicker because you know exactly what you want to say and can see where the track needs to go, and sometimes it takes longer, especially when a song comes from a very emotional place. In general, songwriting is a very organic process for me and I love the journey you go on”.

What are your plans for 2021?

Jake – “Well, these are strange times and with everything always changing we’ve really learnt to adapt. We’re currently in preproduction for a ‘little friend’ music video based on a really exciting concept (if we do say so ourselves!) as well as talks about a little tour and maybe even a full EP later this year! Plus a few little bits n’ bobs that we’ll keep as a surprise…”

Soraya: “We just want to share as much music and creative projects as possible this year having only been able to release two singles last year. So, keep your eyes peeled!”

By Siân Parker