Country Girls Living It Up In The City

Samantha Lloyd and Narn Nominated In British Country Music Awards

Leah Hamer || August 10th

A smile for miles, a naughty giggle and the capacity to talk about anything and everything for hours- Samantha Lloyd is the easiest interviewee imaginable.

On a rainy Thursday afternoon, I headed over to The Exchange, the same venue that I first met this lady at many months ago. Dewy from the rain, she gives me a cuddle and settles into our booth, wearing a black bandana (as she knew I’d be wearing one too- and she was correct), and a top reading Not all those who wander are lost, a very fitting quote for Samantha. After having more than her fair share of knockbacks, she has pushed through to the other side as a truly remarkable young woman and musician, and now she is receiving the recognition she deserves.

Since launching her debut EP, Now That You’re Gone here several months back, Samantha has not gone quiet, ‘I must have gotten on peoples nerves because I’ve pushed and pushed to get my name out there. What’s the point in making an EP and not trying to get it out there? Don’t get me wrong I love lazy days, but you’ve got to work to get noticed.’ And thankfully, the right people have been paying attention.

Samantha’s hard work and talent has been noticed by the big boys of the industry, and it has led to her nomination for Horizon Act of the Year at the British Country Music Awards. ‘It’s been a really nice confidence boost, to know that people are listening to my music, and they actually like it. ’

The British Country Music Awards is an annual affair taking place at The Concorde Suite in London on October 30th. With big names like The Shires, Raintown and Jess & The Bandits all attending the evening, Samantha is just slightly excited, ‘It would be the best day of my life if I won…but I don’t think I will. I’ve got to keep my feet on the ground.’ Winning this award would give Samantha an unparalleled level of exposure although receiving a nomination alone is an honour, ‘I’ve got a nomination at the end of the day and that’s a big deal, if I don’t win, I don’t win.’

There is a sense that the BCMAs this year will be a real family affair, as the majority of those that have been nominated throughout the other categories are Samantha’s dearest friends including Scott Poley, the guitarist for her EP, her producer Justin Johnson who first told Samantha about the awards when she began working with him, and Thorne Hill- who was the one to break the news to her several weeks ago. ‘He sent me the link to the nominations, and I saw his name and I messaged him like Oh my god, that’s amazing, well done. And he replied saying I’m not talking about me, look further down…I was in bed at the time and I just got up and went crazy.’

Hearing about her nomination from Thorne is slightly surreal for Samantha, ‘I’m his number one fan. I always play his music in the background at my gigs. He’s such a down to earth, humble man.’ So undoubtedly, he is the man she will be routing for to win the Male Vocalist of the Year, UK Album of the Year and Video of the Year categories. ‘He just deserves it. I look at Thorne and genuinely feel like he’s worked so hard and his voice is just amazing. Every time I’ve seen him perform he’s been perfect, I’ve never seen him on a bad day, he’s always on his game.’

Asking Samantha who she wants to win each category leads to some understandable indecisiveness, Carrie Underwood, Raintown, Gary Quinn, Jess & The Bandits are just some of the artists that she is backing across the board, ‘I think we should just all win.'

When me and my friends were eighteen, we fitted the student stereotype and spent most of our time either drunk, or hungover at work or in lectures. This is a pretty typical way of entering adulthood from what I’ve gathered. Then there are those extraordinary teenagers out there like Narn, who put the rest of us to shame as she slowly takes over the world, one song at a time.

Narn has been crafting and perfecting her talent for years, making herself a well-known name in the country music circuit. After recently releasing her debut album, Wasn’t Born To Lose, she is now receiving well-deserved recognition for her efforts, through her nomination for the Horizon Act of the Year at the British Country Music Awards. At just eighteen, she is the youngest nominee this year. ‘I found out the morning that they were announced, I actually woke up to messages from people saying that I was nominated and I've honestly never woken up so fast! I ran downstairs to my mum and told her. I was just so excited and grateful.’

The British Country Music Awards is the equivalent of the Oscars to Narn, after her dedication to following them for the past few years. ‘I first attended the BCMA's in 2014, and went back again in 2015. Between those years, it was really clear to see how much UK Country Music is growing and how the BCMA's are getting bigger every year.’

After being on the scene since she was young, Narn has pretty much met everyone who will be attending and performing on the two nights of celebrations in October. Nominated alongside her dearest friends, Samantha Lloyd, The Southern Companion, Acoustic Journey, and Fitzwallace for the newcomer award, Narn is over the moon that she will be sat beside artists that she knows and admires so much on the evening. ‘Winning would really mean a lot to me, but I'm just so grateful for the nomination. I know the nominees in the same category as me and the other category's too, and every one of them is so deserving! It feels great to be nominated alongside such great musicians.’

The competitive nature of these awards is pretty non-existent and although Narn would love to win, there’s no hint that she’d be disappointed if she did not, ‘There's so much talent and hard work throughout all of the different categories, and I'm so happy for all of the nominees. I don't really think that any of the nominees feel like they're in competition with anybody or want certain people to win over others, and UK Country Music is often described as more of a family because of things like that.’

With a couple of months of waiting ahead, Narn’s life is moving full-steam ahead as in between her festival performances over the summer, she is preparing to pack up and move away from her hometown for university. In September she will be heading to Liverpool to study ‘Song writing and Performance’ at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). A fitting choice as Liverpool is a city that she has a close attachment to after launching her debut album there at Parr Street Studios and performing at the Cavern Club when she was just sixteen. ‘LIPA was founded by Paul McCartney, and it's quite difficult to get into. I'm the only person from my college that got accepted there, which means that I'm starting completely from scratch so I'm kind of nervous and excited!’

A nomination at the BCMA’s, a place at LIPA- you’d think that would be enough to look forward to, well there’s even more. Narn has also been nominated in The Sentinel’s Our Heroes awards taking place in September, in the ‘Bright Young Thing’ category- an award that celebrates the outstanding achievements of those under eighteen. Then after all that, straight after the BCMA's she is heading out on her very first UK tour.

Balancing her education, social life and her career all at once is a difficult task to manage, however, I know few individuals as determined as Narn, ‘I work so hard to try and achieve my dream, I love music so much and I really appreciate everything that's happened in my career so far.’ And there is no doubt that Narn’s career will continue to advance further and further than she can ever comprehend.