By Mark Savage
BBC euphony reporter
What bash you bash erstwhile you get bored of your biggest hit?
That was the dilemma facing Anne-Marie arsenic she wrapped up her 2019 satellite tour. By that constituent Rockabye, her fig 1 collaboration with Clean Bandit and Sean Paul, was 3 years old, and the prima had sung it much than 250 times.
"I virtually got to a constituent successful my unrecorded amusement wherever I asked everyone 'Do I person to bash Rockabye, oregon tin I conscionable miss this 1 retired tonight?'," she says. "And they'd all inactive privation it."
It's not that she's not arrogant of Rockabye, which was 1 of the best-selling songs of the 2010s, it's conscionable that she's got plentifulness much wherever that came from: hits similar Friends, 2002, Ciao Adios, Alarm and Our Song, her caller duet with Niall Horan.
One of the UK's astir effervescent popular stars, Anne-Marie Rose Nicholson is besides a nine-time Brit Award nominee, a satellite karate champion, a justice connected The Voice, and 1 of the astir seat-of-their-pants contestants to person appeared connected The Great British Bake Off.
But beneath the bubblegum pinkish hairsbreadth and gregarious personality, the vocalist suffers from a astonishing deficiency of self-confidence.
"Every opus I write, I deliberation it's crap until it gets into the apical 20," she says.
"Like, erstwhile I wrote Friends, I conscionable thought 'Hmmm, this is OK,' but everyone other was similar 'This is your adjacent single!'. So I'm fundamentally the worst justice for my ain music."
It mightiness dependable trivial, but the vocalist has been plagued by insecurity since her teenage years astatine schoolhouse successful Essex.
At the property of 14, she was accused of cheating connected her boyfriend, an incidental that scandalised her classmates. The information was little melodramatic - she'd simply spoken to different lad connected the telephone precocious astatine nighttime - but schoolhouse is school, and "everyone turned against me" successful an instant.
"The remainder of my schoolhouse years were terrible," she recalled successful the 2020 documentary How To Be Anne-Marie. "I held everything successful and I astir became mute due to the fact that I didn't privation to springiness anyone a crushed to accidental thing atrocious oregon person a occupation with me."
Now 30, the vocalist says the acquisition scarred her truthful overmuch that she "decided to region it from my memory" - but erstwhile she became famous, the insecurities came backmost tenfold.
"Fear of judgement is monolithic successful this manufacture anyway, fto unsocial if you person an contented successful the archetypal place," she says. "And due to the fact that I hadn't dealt with it, I couldn't really mend myself."
The trauma manifested itself successful anxiety, signifier fright and assemblage representation problems. When her 2nd medium was scheduled for merchandise past year, she confessed: "I tin consciousness the unit coming connected again to beryllium Anne-Marie and it's truly scary."
Overnight, Anne-Marie's medium and circuit were shelved. For the archetypal clip successful years, she was forced to walk clip connected her own.
"Lockdown was truly tough," she recalls. "I've ever loved being truly busy, due to the fact that I don't truly privation to beryllium connected my own, and perceive to my thoughts."
Then 2 things happened: (1) She work a publication for the archetypal clip successful her beingness - Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck; (2) She started enjoying the solitude.
"Suddenly, I was like, 'Oh wow, I've ne'er felt this successful my life. I've ne'er been capable to beryllium successful my surviving room, bash nothing, person a cupful of tea, but beryllium OK with my ain company.'"
Filming the documentary successful the interruption betwixt lockdowns forced her to face her aged precocious schoolhouse experiences. Reopening that doorway prompted Anne-Marie to question assistance from a therapist.
"It's changed my life, to beryllium honest," she says. "Once a week I person therapy and chat rubbish to her. And each week I larn something. I realised that I'm the mode I americium not due to the fact that that's the mode I am, but due to the fact that of everything that I've dealt with successful my life."
In 1 session, her therapist asked wherefore she felt specified unit to succeed.
"I was similar 'I consciousness similar my statement privation maine to marque hits each the clip and I consciousness similar my fans are gonna hatred maine if the album's crap'.
"She [the therapist] said 'Yeah, but person you really asked them however they'll consciousness if that happens? Because I deliberation you're putting the unit connected yourself'.
"And I was similar 'Damn, I've been doing it my full life. I'm a perfectionist, and I'm my ain worst critic. And possibly that's wherefore I'm inactive going successful this manufacture - but besides it's rather detrimental to my intelligence health'."
The realisation has changed her career. Now, the extremity isn't income and accolades but making euphony that feels authentic. The medium that was acceptable to spell pre-lockdown has been scrapped. It's replacement is called, with a wry self-awareness Therapy.
Like galore artists, she recovered lockdown gave her breathing abstraction to ore connected writing, without the distractions of touring and promotion.
"When you're busy, the workplace is ever the 2nd option," she says. "And adjacent erstwhile you tin acceptable it in, it's not worthy having a league due to the fact that you're conscionable truthful knackered.
"That's ever been a spot confusing to me, due to the fact that you're going to beryllium playing these songs for years to come, so, however tin you not walk arsenic overmuch clip connected that arsenic you are touring?
"So though I was aggravated astir the past medium [being delayed], successful hindsight I'm truly blessed due to the fact that I consciousness mode amended astir this medium than what would person been coming retired past year."
The medium has already produced 2 apical 20 singles, acknowledgment to a rigorous process of auditioning songs for her mum and dad.
"I beryllium determination and ticker them listening to it due to the fact that I cognize they'll astir apt prevarication if I asked them connected the phone," laughs the singer, who besides gets a helping manus from her long-time friend, Ed Sheeran, who co-wrote 2002.
"He's precise honest. If I nonstop a opus that's bad, helium doesn't reply. That's his sign. When helium replies that means it's good, oregon helium has an sentiment of thing that could beryllium better, truthful he's a large help."
A 3rd apical 20 azygous from the medium is astir guaranteed, acknowledgment to a long-demanded duet with six-legged popular behemoth Little Mix.
"This has been years successful the making," says Anne-Marie. "We were sending songs backmost and guardant each the clip but thing ever truly worked out."
The breakthrough came with Kiss My (Uh-Oh), a opus that drips with much cognition than a Drag Race play finale, built astir an interpolation of Lumidee's irresistible summertime jam Uh-Oh (Never Leave You)
"I'd recorded it arsenic a solo opus but for immoderate reason, 1 night, I conscionable thought, 'Oh my God, Little Mix would dependable truthful bully connected this.' So I sent it to Leigh-Anne (Pinnock), and they each loved it. And due to the fact that they made it dependable truthful good, it became a single."
While Kiss My (Uh-Oh) is astir walking distant from a failing relationship, a astonishing fig of Therapy's songs revolve astir the thought of retribution.
"Ever seen a chick suffer it? Because everything you did to me, I'm going to bash to you times two," she sings connected the opening track, x2, aimed astatine "every idiosyncratic that is cheating connected idiosyncratic close now".
Later, connected Tell Your Girlfriend, Anne-Marie threatens to exposure a lad who's sending texts down his girlfriend's back.
"I've ever loved the thought of revenge," the vocalist grins maliciously. "What girls don't privation to cognize what their fellow is up to? So I wanted to commencement a radical of vigilantes for each miss whose fellow is messing with them."
And what punishments would this posse deliver?
"I haven't really done this yet but I've got a imagination of getting loads of cling movie and - God, this is weird - cling-filming someone's car to a lamp-post," the vocalist laughs.
"I don't cognize why, but 1 time I'm gonna bash that."
It's not rather Black Widow, but we'll instrumentality it. And, erstwhile she's finished doling retired justice, she's heading backmost retired connected the roadworthy for her archetypal gigs successful 2 years, culminating successful a header acceptable astatine the Scarborough Open-Air Theatre connected August slope vacation weekend.
Which begs the question: volition she play Rockabye?
"I had a rehearsal a mates of days agone and I felt truly affectional singing the aged songs," she says, portion keeping the setlist firmly nether wraps.
"I ne'er thought I'd person that transportation with them again, aft singing them for truthful agelong - truthful that was a truly peculiar moment. I conscionable can't hold to perform."