Interview: Catching up with UK artist Beth Thornton about songwriting, new music and more

Hi Beth, thanks so much for doing this interview today – How are you?

No problem! I’m great thanks.

What have you been up to lately?

I’ve been doing as much writing as I can, which has worked out well as I did a really fun songwriters round with Liv Austen and Jeff Cohen last week! It was the first time I’ve ever done one and I felt extremely lucky to share the stage with Liv and Jeff.

Could you tell us a little but about yourself and your background in music?

My brother and I started a “band” when I was 13. We thought we rocked! However I couldn’t play guitar, and he didn’t want to play the songs I wanted to sing. So I taught myself guitar at 15. Then I could play the sort of music I loved and also started writing too.

So why country music? What is it about the genre that made you decide to go in that direction?

I love the honesty in it. I’m always drawn in by lyrics and I love the stories that get told in country music.

How would you describe your sound?

Melodic, emotionally driven and authentic.

How would you describe yourself as a songwriter?

I can be quite pedantic. After I’ve written a song I like to go through it again later on to see if there’s anything that I could have done or said better.

What usually comes first, the melody or the lyrics?

Nine times out of ten I have my guitar in my arms whilst writing. I occasionally come up with a melody first but typically the melody and lyrics come together.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

On my sofa! If I’m relaxed and comfortable then the words come much easier.

If you could write with any songwriters who would they be?

Max Martin! He’s written so many songs that I love. Also, Ralph Murphy. I’ve learned a lot from reading his book and watching his seminars on youtube!

Have you been to Nashville? If so, what were your highlights?

I haven’t… Yet! It’s definitely on my bucket list, but I’d love to make a name for myself here first!

How are you finding the UK country scene and how do you feel it has changed over the last few years?

It’s great! I only really started pushing my own music last summer so I’m fairly new to the scene. Everyone is really supportive of each other and the people that come to the gigs are amazing! It’s a lovely genre to be a part of.

Growing up, country music was still a bit unheard of in the UK– did you ever face any obstacles going into the direction of country, did anyone ever question it or try to steer you toward another genre? 

To be honest, no! Growing up my Mum played all kinds of music so having an interest in country wasn’t out of the ordinary in my house. A couple of people have said “I’m just not into country”, when I’ve asked them if they want to come to a gig, but I don’t think they realise what “country” is. A lot of people used to think it just’s cowboys, big hats and two-stepping. I’m glad their views are changing!

Who are your favourite country artists?

I have lots of favourites for different reasons. Shania Twain makes me feel good, Johnny Cash makes me reflect. But far too many to list!

What are you working on at the moment and what can we expect from your music in the future sonically and lyrically?

I’m working on my new single at the moment. Expect fun music and honest lyrics! I always try to write about what I know.

Who have you been working with on your new music?

Recently I’ve written a lot with my lead and rhythm guitarists, David Ashworth and Gareth Gwyn. I’m also working on something very exciting with Tim Prottey-Jones from The Wandering Hearts.

When can we expect a release for new music?

Very soon! I promise that you’ll be the first to know! 🙂

Can we expect to see you live anytime soon, if so where?

I have a few things in the pipeline. If you keep an eye on my social media I will post all gig info on there! There will be a live show when the single drops and that’s going to be a very special night.

Speaking of live shows – you opened up for Bon Jovi which must have been quite surreal – how was that for you?

It was definitely the most surreal yet memorable day of my life! Not many people get to say they opened for their heroes, so I wanted to take the opportunity to show Bon Jovi and the crowd how grateful I was by giving it my everything.

Tell us about the set you did – what did you play and how was the crowd reaction?

We played 5 original tracks. Myself and Dave actually co wrote the final song especially for the show and everyone enjoyed it so much that I decided I wanted it to be my next single.
The crowd were awesome! We got to meet a lot of people after the show and they were all super friendly and said how much they enjoyed our set.

What was it like to meet the man himself and did he offer any words of wisdom or any feedback on your performance/music?

Again, so surreal! I’ve been listening to Bon Jovi since I was 13 and they were my main inspiration for me to want to write my own music, so getting to speak to Jon was amazing. We met him just after our soundcheck and he said he thought we sounded great (we all fan-girled). He was really down to earth and just a genuinely nice guy!

Bon Jovi aside – what has been your favourite or most memorable performance?

I played at C2C with my band in March and we had a blast! The crowd were so much fun.

In a live setting, if you are asked to do a cover, who would you cover and why?

Foy Vance – Upbeat Feelgood. It’s such a lovely song and no one can listen without feeling happy!

What does country music mean to you?

Country music has sculpted me as a songwriter and I don’t think any other genre could have done a better job. I’ll always be thankful to my Mum putting the Dixie Chicks album on in the car and fuelling my love for it!

Who are you listening to in country music right now?

At the moment I’m really into Maren Morris. She’s really showing people how different country music can be. I love that she has a little bit of everything in there.

Do you have a favourite film?

I tell people my favourite film is Forest Gump but really it’s Sex And The City.

What do you do to prepare for a show? Any show rituals?

I like to have a little internal pep talk with myself. I tell myself that I’m at that show for a reason and I deserve to be there. And to enjoy it!

You have a day off – what do you do?

Take my two dogs on a really long walk. I love being outside and they’re also just the cutest things ever!

What have you planned next career wise? Recording, writing?

I’m excited to release my single. I’ve had it for a while so I can’t wait for people to hear it. I’m constantly writing and I love playing shows, so I’ll be doing as much of that as possible!

Thanks so much for chatting to me today, I look forward to new music and to hopefully seeing a show soon.


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