My cultural life: singer-songwriter Hayley Ross

Singer-songwriter Hayley Ross from Brighton

Singer-songwriter Hayley Ross from Brighton - Credit: Archant

The Brighton musician sings the praises of Patti Smith and shares her worries for live music venues in the city

What I’m watching

I watched Normal People like everybody else. I fell in love with it - it was beautifully shot. Netflix and iPlayer have taken a beating during the lockdown. There is a Nina Simone documentary that I really need to knuckle down and watch.

What I’m listening to

I’m listening to a lot of Big Thief - there’s one particular song - Cattails on the album USOF - that is getting a battering. The singer has a lovely voice, and the songwriting is incredible. It feels quite 1990s to me, with a country influence as well.

The music that’s got me through hard times

I lost my mum last December, and lost my dad earlier this year. It has been really hard. All last summer I was listening to Jason Molina, of Songs Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. His song Whip-poor-will was very comforting. It’s raw and honest and beautiful and fragile. Real passionate writing.

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The last film I saw

I love going to the Duke of York’s Picturehouse. One of the last films I saw there was Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson and Zack Gottsagen as an adult with Down’s Syndrome who wants to wrestle. He breaks free of the old people’s home he’s staying in and goes rambling through the south. It has some great bluegrass music and is absolutely gorgeous.

Best experience in a theatre

I went to see Frankenstein at The Spire in Brighton at Halloween 2019. I took my son to see it and it was really good, quite immersive. The same church had Lou Reed’s guitars there during the Brighton Festival - it was full of noise and feedback. You were given earplugs when you went in to experience it.

Book I’m most likely to lend to a friend

I love Patti Smith’s Just Kids - I want to read it again. It was recommended by a really good friend of mine. What a woman Patti Smith is.

Best local arts venue/event

I really like the Green Door Store in Brighton - I will go to watch bands there, and I’ve played there as well. I’ve also played places like the Hope and Ruin and The Brunswick in Hove. I have seen Samantha Parton and Jodie Holland, and Yo La Tengo play Komedia. I would be gutted to see any of the venues in Brighton close because of coronavirus. We’ve already lost Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar. It’s really worrying because where are bands who are up and coming going to play?

I have been in Brighton for 11 years, we were in Hastings for a year before that, via France, Spain and London. I’ve moved about a lot. I loved the community in Hastings and events like Jack in the Green. I had to move to Brighton because there wasn’t a lot of work there. One of the last gigs I did before the spring lockdown was playing Fat Tuesday in Hastings.

Hayley Ross’ EP Come Back - The Remixes is out now on Barracuda Recordings

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