Singer-songwriter Freya Ridings has said she took inspiration from a childhood of being “different” to create her debut album.
Speaking at the Isle of Wight festival, the first major UK festival the rising star has played, the 25-year-old said music helped her through tough times.
“Growing up and at school I was really dyslexic, a redhead, I was taller than the other kids,” she told the Press Association. “I guess I was very different and being at school that makes you a target.
“I kind of used to hide in the piano rooms at lunchtime and that was the thing that I turned to at times that were difficult.
“It’s always been the anchor through all the storms of my life.”
Asked if she would like to share a message with those experiencing a similar childhood, Ridings said: “Stay true to the kind of music you would make if no one was listening.
“When I was writing ballads that was the most uncool thing that you could do, and at school it made me properly uncool.
“If you hold on to who you really are, eventually the world kind of accepts you for it as well.”
Ridings described her self-titled debut album, set for release on July 19, as a “heightened version” of her playing at the piano, with string quartets and gospel choirs accompanying her singing, and “a labour of love she can’t wait to share”.
The Times Breakthrough Award nominee’s 2017 song Lost Without You reached number nine in the UK Singles Chart.
Ridings said the Isle of Wight Festival is the largest she has played in the UK and further dates at Glastonbury and more are still to come this summer for her, before she launches a headline tour in November.
Ridings plays in the Isle of Wight on Friday evening before headliner Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, along with further performances from the Courteeners, Lilly Allen and James.
Saturday sees George Ezra and Fatboy Slim take to the main stage, before Biffy Clyro close the festival on Sunday.