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Rising star Rianne Downey to make Dundee debut after co-writing new The View track ‘Dixie’

Rianne Downey was handpicked to sing on tour with former Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton.

Rianne Downey will play a solo set at Church Dundee on September 16.
Rianne Downey will play a solo set at Church Dundee on September 16.

This year is proving to be a landmark one for Rianne Downey.

Over the summer the Bellshill-raised singer/songwriter toured as part of Paul Heaton’s live band and she has also scored a co-write on The View’s comeback album.

Yet none of these achievements should outshine two EPs the solo artist herself has put out during 2023 ahead of her debut Dundee gig next weekend.

Rianne first came to notice during lockdown through a varied series of covers posted on YouTube that included, among Madchester anthems from Oasis and Stone Roses plus some Simon & Garfunkel ballads, The Beautiful South’s dry-humoured Rotterdam.

This number brought her to the attention of the top-selling group’s former frontman, Heaton, who handpicked the Lanarkshire lass to provide vocals on his recent tour for such classic hits as Perfect 10, Song For Whoever and Don’t Marry Her.

Paul Heaton was joined by Rianne on the main stage at the TRNSMT Festival at Glasgow Green in Glasgow. Image: Lesley Martin/PA Wire.

Playing to huge crowds at festivals such as Glasgow’s TRNSMT has been something of a career highlight, Rianne admits.

“It was just unbelievable, amazing,” she says. “I even had a few solo songs, which was lovely. TRNSMT was my hometown and televised, so that was a highlight, a really special moment. And there’s evidence that it happened.”

Celtic fan Rianne ‘outed’ on stage

Rianne also survived Paul outing her onstage as a Celtic fan, something the younger artist worried about, given an understandable reluctance not to alienate part of her growing fanbase. So much so, she tried taking on a different allegiance.

Rotterdam (Or Anywhere) – The Beautiful South

Posted by Rianne Downey on Monday, 16 November 2020

“It’s quite funny, I was very nervous about announcing what team I support, but Paul does it [for all bandmembers],” she says.

“For the first couple of dates, we actually said Motherwell, because that’s actually closer to Bellshill. But when it came to it, I didn’t want to lie.”

Paul’s classic-pop style chimes with Rianne’s own wide-ranging tastes from Johnny Cash, thanks to country & western-loving grandparents, to her mum and dad’s Britpop collection.

Rianne’s own ear for a tune was first apparent with acoustic backing on 2021 debut EP Fuel To The Flame, mixing Americana and folk sounds with indie-pop.

This year, though, has seen a definite uptick in creativity: back in February, she released a second mini-collection of catchy tunes, Come What May, rapidly followed in June by the eclectic Method In My Madness.

Rianne Downey takes inspiration from a variety of genres. Image: Sam Crowston.

This ranges from wistful opener Songbird to the defiant Dancing In The Rain via the jazzy, Norah Jones-style Paper Wings and its heartfelt, piano-led title track, purposefully showcasing Rianne’s wide-ranging talent.

“My tastes are very varied, because I’ve loved so many genres,” she explains. “I’ve trained my voice to be versatile, so I wanted a body of work that shows what I can do.”

Rianne co-wrote track on The View’s new record

Elsewhere, her input appears in a wildly different context on Dundonian outfit The View’s current long-player Exorcism of Youth, having co-written the propulsive Dixie.

Rianne had actually been invited into the studio two years ago with frontman Kyle Falconer to contribute to a solo festive project, she remembers.

“It’s another thing that’s hard to believe,” the Liverpool-based singer says. “Me and Kyle wrote a Christmas tune together [Jingle All The Way]. It was going really well and we were taking a wee break when he said he had this other song he thought I could bring something to.

“Originally it might have been my song, but I was focused on the ones I had already sitting there. I thought having it on The View album was even cooler than me singing it.”

Rianne wrote a Christmas song and co-wrote an LP track with Kyle Falconer from The View. Image: Sam Crowston.

So what is the method in her madness?

“There has been a lot of back and forth, rearranging plans to get to where we are now,” she answers. “It’s a way of me saying, see, there is a method to all this stopping and starting, trying new things. There’s something behind the journey I went on as I was trying to create the music I wanted to.

“For me, it is about just doing it and letting it come – living and breathing music. Trying to be as raw as possible, even though that can be hard. I’ve always been someone that’s went with my gut on everything.”

Rianne Downey will play at Church Dundee on September 16 2023. For tickets and more information, visit Ticketweb.