Daisy Dares You is a 16-year-old future pop sensation from a sleepy little village in rural Essex. “I might be young, but I’m really not some blonde little dolly girl,” she says. “And I’m not gonna be a helpless artist. I know what I want, and the only way it’ll come out that way is if I do it.
That much is true and may go some way to explaining how someone born in 1993 (1993!) has already managed to craft a clutch of surefire pop hits. “Well, you do definitely have good space to write out here,” she admits. “And I spend a lot of my time sitting about reading poetry, which might’ve helped. But, really, I’m just from a musical family, so I’ve played guitar and piano since I was about six. And if you play, you eventually start to write. It’s just one of those things.”
The first “proper” song Daisy wrote was called Hurt. She’d been working on it for quite a while when, on Boxing Day 2007, she played it at a family gathering. A musician friend of her mum’s, Matthew Marston, was sufficiently impressed to invite Daisy over to his home studio to help her record it. “That was pretty amazing,” she remembers. “I went from strumming in my bedroom to recording in a proper vocal booth.” Encouraged by friends and family who were enormously impressed with the finished result, Daisy started going into the studio at weekends and during school holidays. “It was just something to do for fun, really. I didn’t expect anything to come from it.”
But after Daisy wrote the glorious, sibling-baiting Number one enemy towards the end of 2008, Marston passed on the finished song to a few industry contacts. “That’s when it all started to go a bit crazy,” remembers Daisy. “The people who’d got it were sending it on to other people, and suddenly we were getting loads of phone calls and MySpace messages. I didn’t even have a manager. It was all pretty overwhelming, but in a good way.”
Before long, Daisy hadn’t just secured management, she was the subject of a full-scale major record company bidding war, which eventually saw her sign to Sony. “Surreal isn’t it?” she says. “I’m not a stage school kid and I have no ambitions to be a celebrity, but all this has happened. And now I can’t wait to get out there and start playing these songs live. I really love gigs.”
Despite her tender years and pastoral existence, Daisy’s been going to live shows for years. “London and Cambridge are both pretty close, and I’ve got mates who can drive. Recently, I’ve seen Blood Red Shoes, which was great, and Tokyo Police Club, who were brilliant. And I’ve seen Foals a few times, because they’re just amazing.” As you’ll gather, Daisy might make bright, infectious pop music that’s fit to light up any radio, but her influences stretch far beyond the obvious. Ask her what she’s been listening to recently and she’ll fire out, “White Denim and The Kills and The Dead Weather and Bombay Bicycle Club and Late of the Pier and Friendly Fires.”
It’s probably worth retreating a few yards before you ask whether a certain Ms Lavigne is also among her most-played. “No! I hate that comparison,” she spits. “Just because I’m female and young they have to put you in a box. Frankly, anyone who says I was influenced by Avril Lavigne can get stuffed.” Well, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
That said, Daisy is certainly pleased to be arriving at “a good time for girls”, with Florence and The Machine and Bat for Lashes among her particular favourites. “Those are definitely the kind of artists that inspire me,” she says. “But then when I write, it just seems to come out as pop.”
Daisy describes her music as “delirious funky produce” and, sure enough, songs like Daisy Dares You and Number one enemy are giddy, electro-pop rushes which cartwheel and surge around huge hooks and whopping great choruses. But her literate, self-penned lyrics are a crucial part of the mix too. “I write when I need to get things off my chest,” she says. “All of my lyrics are about things which mean something to me.” So, Number one enemyaddresses the huge rows she was having with her sister at the time she wrote it; the wistful Next Few Minutes “is about my ex-boyfriend and me being a pushover and a twat”; and the wonderfully cutting Can’t Keep Her Mouth Shut takes aim at an indiscreet schoolfriend (“but she doesn’t know I’ve written it about her – yet”).
As well as writing the songs, Daisy has a strong say in every aspect of her burgeoning career. Indeed, she rejected Sony’s original idea for the Daisy Dares You video, instead coming up with her own concept for a video filmed in her back garden, in which she wore her own clothes and was surrounded by her real friends (all concerned are agreed it turned out much better that way). A keen painter, she also designs all of her own artwork and customises her own clothes and shoes (“I’d love to design my own brogues”). Daisy even finds time to co-promote a popular club night in her local town, and to stay home to work on her impressive cooking skills (her gooseberry and elderflower jam is a particular triumph). “Obviously I need people around me to advise me on things, but I don’t want someone else doing my artwork trying to represent me. Only I can do that. “
Truth is, Daisy might be astonishingly young, but she seems better prepared for pop stardom than many artists several years her senior. Without wishing to sound like a proud grandparent, she’s got her head screwed on, this one.
“I really do feel ready for this,” she says. “I am still young, but I don’t think I’m going to be missing out on my childhood or anything. This is the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Not a lot of people my age get a chance like this.”
So, what does she hope to achieve?
“I’m not aiming too high at this point. But a global smash hit would be nice.”