Kimberly Anne decodes lyrics from Hard As Hello EP, discussing love, sex and rejection
Hailing from South London and having performed alongside the likes of John Newman, Jake Bugg and Bipolar Sunshine, Kimberly Anne delivers her new single and EP, Hard As Hello, featuring a solid remix of the title track from Bastille.
Kimberly breaks down the meaning and inspiration behind lyrics from this new EP, plus some of her previous songs in this candid interview with Decoda.
Kimberly Anne’s Hard As Hello EP is out now on iTunes.
So, the girl I'm being really rude about in Hard As Hello is the person that I liked, was now seeing. So a new relationship was sparking and it was basically me wondering why... what qualities she had that I didn't.
So I was, basically, just picking holes in her personality, when I didn't really know her too well, just because I couldn't stomach the fact that I wasn't the person that they wanted to be with.
So, yeah, very mature.
Every song that I have is inspired by an authentic scenario.
So, yeah, this one was a romantic scenario that didn’t quite work out. But instead of focusing on all the reasons why me and that person might not be compatible, instead I just focused on all of my own faults and the possible faults of the new person that they started seeing.
It was just a reflection of those, sort of, self-invention moments you go through when you suffer a bit of rejection - whether it be from a break-up or from unreturned feelings and how we just feel that we have to reinvent ourselves to protect ourselves sometimes, I guess.
My choice of lyric in the chorus… I think it just mainly came from just trying to find that courage to walk away. Like it’s literally is… it is what it says on the tin because it’s just so tempting to go back out of weakness, I guess, and keep feeling like someone’s feelings are going to change - if you change, for example. So it’s, basically, just me asking myself to have the determination to just walk away… finally.
I think that lyric had come up a lot through lots of, like, folk songs through the years and stuff. I don’t know, specifically, all the songs that have it in. But it just felt like quite an emotive phrase that was bubbling around in my head.
The lyric title for Hard As Hello when the actual lyric is “hard as hell” was a complete typo. Yeah, when I was saving… when I made the demo in Logic I just saved it and automatically wrote "hello" because - I don’t know - my hands were just, sort of, I don't know... muscle memory? I write "hello" more than I do "hell" perhaps?
Also, it… yeah, it was a total accident. But, actually, it made me think of sometimes sort of saying goodbye can be just as hard as, you know, approaching someone and telling them your feelings. Also, to be honest, my sister is like a really, like, devout Christin as well and she was just like “oh, it just feels a bit harsh to me as well…” she didn’t even like the word in the song.
Now I don’t have any spiritual affiliations but it did sort of… I liked that song title anyway... Hard As Hello and then it made me think of... just… it was cool the way it was. It felt like a sign.
All of these, sort of, elements of me and my personality and my life, I suppose, comes out in my music. I can't switch off certain parts of my brain in life's scenarios. So, you know, whether it be like politics or being a communist a socialist or a humanist, you know, my views in love are the same as, you know, my views in life and the world, they come out in your art.
So, I find it really hard to not mention everything that bubbles around in my head in tracks. So, yeah, not trying to be like an open political activist or anything like that. Just it's real, it's life, it's reality. Politics is about people and affects everyone.
So, I just think it's important for people to be connected with what's happening around them and I didn't feel like the person I was dating did... which I didn't understand.
I think that line comes from a lot of my experiences - or anyone's experiences, I guess - from when you're first getting to know someone you're like... you want to know everything there is to know about them and they want to know everything there is about you. It's that scary vulnerable moment where you just, you know... you have to, sort of, let it go really to actually get truly close to someone and allow things to blossom, you have to let people in.
Sometimes, from personal experience, it does feel like, you know, when things do go wrong, you know, sometimes people can use those things that you told them and trusted in confidence - especially about your... your insecurities, for example or stuff that happened to you when you were younger or whatever.
I have seen it go a bit ugly and things like that come out. So sometimes I'm a bit wary when someone's trying to get in to know your secrets too soon. It's like "what are you going to do with them?" Like, be careful.
I'm not extremely popular with my friends if anyone mentions anything about politics on a night out - or anything slightly political or just... or if they say something un-PC or something.
I'm not a complete killjoy, but I am a bit like... it doesn't matter if I'm out having a few drinks, like, I can go off a little bit. But in... it's all balanced, it's all banter.
But, yeah, I've got a bit of a reputation amongst my friends. It's like don't mention anything around Kim, like, to do with politics.
So it's just, basically, that line was just a bit of a dig at me and my friends being like, you know... just because I ask questions that isn't, you know, the most "popular" thing to be talking about in the news right now, I think it's okay to poke and ask those questions. But... well, we'll see.
They still like me... I think.
The lyrics in Start Over and referring to not being able to sleep... I'm a, genuinely, I'm an awful sleeper. I'm a worrier - not a warrior. I'm a self-proclaimed worrier. I over-think everything - and I admit that - and at nighttime is when I find it the hardest to switch off. Which is why a lot of my writing happens at night - or in the shower for some reason.
So, yeah, I'm normally up until about 3 or 4am sometimes just, sort of, thinking things over and I, sort of, I take a lot of things on board, relationships with friends, just relationships in general, family or what's going on in the world.
So, literally, yeah, I just, sort of, turn everything over in my head a lot of the time and carry worries and I don't know how to switch off a lot of the time.. but I'm happy. I'm a happy person.
Sometimes I wish I cared less about things - even when it comes down to making music or making music videos or visual things that accompany your work like covers - as in album covers and stuff. I just care so much about everything.
I just... I have an idea about how I want things to be or how I'd love the world to be and people to be and stuff. Not to sound too hippy, but sometimes it would be so much easier to just turn a blind eye to a lot of things and not let my conscious, sort of, rule my life so much.
So, yeah, it was just saying what good would it do? If I can't turn into someone who'll just roll over. So it's like many other people seem to just do what they want and not care about repercussions and stuff.
Yeah, Start Over, in general, is about being a bit of a work in progress and allowing yourself to say "I'm allowed to screw up and start again." Like, it's fine. Don't be so hard on yourself.
It's not about falling in love at all. It's literally about... literally hooking up with someone or with people or just flirting with someone just because you're just a bit lonely, I guess. You don't really have much of a common interest
But it's... I don't know. We just seek comfort from other people, physically, sometimes and the whole song is about being a bit of a work in progress and sometimes we can slip and have a little fun with someone you know you don't want any, sort of, future with. You just want to be taken home because you don't want to be alone tonight... that sort of thing.
Party girl... not really.
Wasteland represents a little bit of... I suppose it's talking about a bit of being... experiencing a bit of a depressed state.
I've had friends who have suffered from depression - like family members - and also people I've dated and it's, sort of, me singing from their point of view. Talking to others around them who, sort of, aren't in the wasteland and how they react and respond to them.
I think sometimes when you're not going through... when you're around someone who's suffering from depression, it's hard to know how to help and be there. Sometimes it's not about, you know, magically knowing exactly what to do and what activities to conjure up or what to say.
Sometimes it's about just being like "cool... well, I'm just going to stay here with you and we'll just hang..." like, "I'll just stay..."
Like... it's all... kept thinking of it like a scene in, you know,like in those war movies and they're like "I'm not leaving you here!" It's like "go on without me..." but it's like someone just stays with you. Like sometimes that can be all someone needs.
Yeah. It's just about that really.
Well, yeah, when I started out making music I was not really myself. But I was making a lot of music that I thought other people wanted to hear and I was trying to be really interesting - which was really boring.
It's really exhausting being someone you're not so that, sort of, tired really quickly. I had people around me who were like, you know... they could only go on what I was, you know, trying to make happen. But I just don't feel like I was supported to do some things that I maybe shouldn't have been doing.
But, you know, it' s not... it's all a part of the journey and stuff. So that was all about, like, I won't be shaped into the mould that they gave sort of thing. But, also, me sort of talking to myself because I, sort of, self-made a mould as well that I had to break out of.
And, actually, I jumped straight onto a line that references my dad actually. My dad... "my head don't quite fit on the shoulders that he made..." my dad is... he's got quite a cool sensible job in a council. But, when he was my age he was trying to be a rock star and I think he gave up round about my age because it just didn't work out.
I think he's got a love and hate relationship with music a little bit. It's a bit bittersweet and so sometimes he can be amazingly supportive and other times I think he worries a bit about me going through the same thing.
So, a lot of the time I would think he wishes I was just a doctor or a nurse or something like that. Or that I did Maths A' level or something - but I was awful.
So, yeah, just sometimes I feel like there's a conflict between the person my Dad thinks I am and the person I actually am. But... so that's who that line refers to.
It was a fun lyric. There's some lyrics in La La that have a bit more weight to them and so trying to come up with a line that... actually, I wasn't trying to come with... that line just came out. It's not a reference to Lady Gaga in any way.
It's literally just life is so complex and layered sometimes that it was literally just... just lending it to the world just being a bit crazy. Like, "everybody say la la 'cause the whole world's ga ga." It doesn't... it can, sort of, mean whatever you want it to mean.
But, for me, it was just, you know, giving an audio sound to the fact that the world is pretty mental sometimes.
The chorus from Bury It There, I suppose, is all about the components that build up one person may not be compatible for what the other person is looking for.
It’s literally just me just being like, literally, the foundations of me just must not be what makes up the foundations of you and your love and what you’re looking for. So, again, just coming down to having to accept and move on.
There’ s a lot of… there’s a theme here of me being rejected, isn’t there? I need to work on that. I may need to start targeting who like me first.
Yeah, this is about someone who literally just knew they had me around their little finger… I guess. Well, I think they did and it just drove me a bit mad. I think, whether we do it intentionally or not… but sometimes when someone likes you, it can be a little bit easy to get used to the attention, I guess.
It doesn’t make anyone a bad person but, you know, it’s… when someone pulls that away, goes “okay, you’re not interested in me” and pulls it away early, I think some people miss the attention a little bit and can poke you again, without any intention, but just want to, sort of, just check if you still like me… not sure.
But, I’m not aware if that’s what the person was doing. But that’s sure what it felt like. So, it was just mixed messages I guess.
The game in Never Be Yours is about the game of... I was in a relationship with someone who I think was very terrified of being left or abandoned, or was very paranoid about me cheating or leaving one night and never coming back.
I sort of... it sort of felt like I was doing everything I could to show that I'm here - like, it's all good. But I felt like they were testing me a lot. So just pushing the boundaries and the barriers all the time to test how much I wanted to be there.
Eventually it just flipped round and it just... in essence, they just pushed me away because every time a game or a trick or something to make me jealous or whatever was brought up, I just started to switch off a bit more and more until the end you, sort of, just feel a bit numb and you start to the see the situation for what it is.
So, yeah, I think whether they were intentionally doing it or not... I'm not sure. But, erm, yeah, it's just the game of trust, I guess. Like, unconditional trust in relationships can all get a bit twisted and warped sometimes I think.
Kind Regards is totally mixed message - which is probably still how I feel about some people I dated.
I think that's a general song about... it was... I don't think it was about one person in particular. It was about my general rose-tinted glasses looking back at some relationships, I guess, on one hand.
I think I blamed... I blamed myself a lot for relationships that never worked out... I think so. I start to forget that the other person played any part in things not working out. So I'm like, I was just awful...
So, I think Kind Regards is all about, sort of, saying goodbye but, also, sort of, underlining lingering of like... "hmm, what would happen if we went back there? Would it work out..." sort of thing.
But, yeah, total... like literally total love and hate. Just, literally, during the song I'm just remembering all the good times and the bad times and how, like, they astound you but also suffocate you at the same time. It's just really mixed.
But, erm... some exes you have and you're like "no! would never go back there..." but there's just a couple for me I'd be like "well... yeah..." but I would never act on it. But I play games in my head sometimes with it, I guess.
Yeah... I think the middle eight is really fast paced. Like, I throw a lot of information at you at once. The, sort of, imagery of crying and, like, being in a war... but, like, being completely vulnerable with no armour and stuff.
Again, it's complete, sort of, flash imagery and a bit, you know... a bit of chaos which is, erm, sometimes how things feel when you're trying to get out of a relationship or you're trying to, you know, mend something or salvage what you have.
It's just... yeah, literally explaining that I really was trying to have some peace and, like, no more drama. But it just felt like I was completely vulnerable with no weaponry and I was, sort of, being attacked, so you have to retreat for your own safety, I guess.
Eventually we all have to look after ourselves and be kind to yourself and if two people aren't working out together and it's destructive then you have to, hopefully, walk away and be well.
I've never said the word "sexy" in a song before. It's weird because you normally hear, like "sexy" in like chart toppers like... "I'm sexy and I know it..." So, I thought "what would happen?"
But this was just a reflection of a night that I had with me and someone else and a bottle of red wine. Just talking... literally, I hadn't known them very long and we were meant to be friends and we were just hanging out and then it very quickly turned to "oh, okay... something more could happen here."
It just would have been so easy to have just had pointless sex to be honest. It just felt a bit boring. Like I, sort of... yeah, like, no insult to the person. But I've sort of been there and done that when it... in terms of like, you know... I know that if I'm starting to flirt with someone that I'm not that interested in, it's obviously... something's going on with me.
It's like, what are you looking for in this person? Like, what's going on with you? Do you want some attention? Do you feel a bit lonely? Are you angry about something? Are you proving a point to yourself that you're still sexy? Like... sort it out.
So I was... basically it was just me trying to be a bit mature and be like "we don't need to do this..." and so, we just, sort of, got chatting and then the person was... just admitted to me that they were just really lonely and then this conversation just got really sad and not sexy anymore.
So, yeah, this song came out of that evening. They're blatantly going to know it's them now. But, anyway...
Yeah, but we turned out to be good friends now. So it would have been really weird if we had slept together so I'm really glad we didn't.
Well it sort of transpired, on the night, that I was in love with someone that I couldn't have - and so were they.
So, when we actually connected, and we were chatting, it seemed really obvious why we were clinging to each other.
And, yeah, when they were initially, sort of, coming onto me I guess, in my head I just would have loved it if it was that other person... boo hoo!