Behind The New Music – INTERVIEW – Do You Miss Me Yet? Raven Shelley

Welcome to the feature where we talk to musicians and artists to find out in depth information about their brand new singles and music. Today we speak to Raven Shelly about her brand new single Do you miss me yet?

Hello Raven tell us three unknown facts about yourself?


1 – I appear to be creating what can only be described as a mini-jungle in my home due to the recent acquisition of several large houseplants. It’s become a new hobby!

2 – I make sterling silver jewellery, often incorporating things like feathers and sea glass that I’ve found, and sell it online and at various craft fairs. 

3 – I have recently developed an obsession (I mean OBSESSION) with foxes. 

How did you get into music?

I was always surrounded by music growing up; the house was full of it, so I think I just absorbed it in a similar way that I absorbed literature. We would tend to have classical music – especially Tchaikovsky and Mozart – at breakfast (though I didn’t appreciate that enough as a surly sleepy teenager, I do now!) and then various playlists at dinner. An early memory is my parents having dinner parties, and when I went up to bed I could still hear the music playing; I still have some of those playlists and certain songs still remind me of that time. That’s one of the amazing things about music, its ability to transport back to times and places long gone.

My parents also both play instruments; my Dad plays the guitar, my Mum plays the violin and they’ve both played a bit of piano. They also had lots of musical friends; I grew up in France, and I remember our neighbours there both played the accordion, and on most Sundays they would have lots of friends over and do a big lunch, ending the afternoon with traditional French folk music which everyone joined in with. 

So I think that I’ve always been around music, but I sort of fell into playing guitar. I couldn’t sleep one night so I got out of bed and watched a late night music programme with my Dad; there was some female singer-songwriter, I don’t remember who now, and he suggested I start playing guitar. We looked into lessons, and everywhere was full, but I sat in on one of my friend’s lessons, and picked it up from there. 

Once it started, my passion for music was like my passion for literature; voracious. The more I read, the more I listened to, and the more I learnt about playing guitar, the more I wanted to discover. I can’t imagine my life without music now. I was hooked once I started, and I realised I was never going to be happy unless I’d at least tried to pursue it professionally.  

Who do you find your inspirations? 

I have a really broad range of influences. Musically, I’ll always say it’s those artists whose lyrics are so exceptional they could be described as poetry. Namely, Bob Dylan, Ani DiFranco, and Leonard Cohen. 

However, I also love Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground, Edie Brickell, Suzanne Vega, 10,0000 Maniacs, Wolf Alice, Marika Hackman, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Loudon Wainwright, Tanita Tikaram, Donovan, Billy Bragg, Ian Dury, Glen Hansard, Fleetwood Mac, Against Me, Kate Bush, Nico, T. Rex, Phoebe Bridgers, Stevie Nicks, Blondie, Pulp, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Florence & The Machine, Iron & Wine, The Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, and many more. 

They’re all influential in different ways, but I know that I always look for good & unusual lyrics, as well as honest music. I want to feel that someone genuinely believes in what they’re singing, it’s not just that they’re writing what they think people want to hear. That’s what I really admire about Dylan, DiFranco and Cohen; they’ve always refused to be ensnared by what their fans want to hear, and they have continued to evolve and to change, continued to experiment, even if it means being called ‘Judas’!

Literature and poetry also have a profound influence on my music, and a few favourites include Thomas Hardy, John Irving, Charlotte Bronte, John Fowles, Shakespeare and Homer, Graham Greene, D.H. Lawrence, Blake, Philip Larkin, Milton, Brian Patten, Sylvia Plath, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Literature makes its way into my songs in all sorts of ways. I tend to read with a notebook and pencil in hand. That way, if something I read kickstarts an idea, or I particularly like a phrase or word, I can underline it/write it down, and either run with it right then and there or come back to it later on.

I am also enamoured with visual mediums, my favourite artists being Schiele, Klimt, Van Gogh and Turner, whilst my favourite director is Nicholas Roeg. I am drawn to images that strike the mind, that are unusual and memorable, commanding attention and demanding to be noticed. 

Tell us all about your latest single Do you Miss Me Yet?

It’s a scathingly humorous breakup song, based on looking back on an utter car-crash of a relationship. Someone said to me recently: “Remind me to never piss you off. I don’t want to end up being on the receiving end of a song like that haha”. I think that gives you an idea of it!

How long did it take to write the song? 

About 10 minutes. This was one of those songs which just comes to you almost fully formed, unlike those ones you have to wrestle with for months until you eventually subdue them. 

Where does the inspiration for the song come from?

Every relationship that’s ever crashed and burned in the most spectacular way – especially mine! When I wrote it, enough space and time had passed for me to be able to look back on the whole ridiculous situation and find the humour in how ludicrous it was. 

I had nothing to go on but the title of this song, initially. And I was toying with ideas and lyrics, messing about on my guitar, when suddenly it all came together, and this song just poured out of me. My pen could barely keep up with my mind. I played it through, left it to settle until the next day, made a few tweaks and it was done! It was pure and joyous word-vomit. 

Tell us a little bit about recording this track in the studio – what were the highlights and challenges?

We were aiming to record 4 songs in the space of the 5 days I had the studio for, and ‘Do You Miss Me Yet?’ hadn’t actually made the cut. I was really hoping we’d be able to squeeze it in though, and luckily we did on the last day!

One of the best comments I’ve heard about it was from the producer. I played it through for him, so we could discuss some ideas, and once I finished he said: “Wow, that’s harsh! Surely no one is this bad?” – I told him he might be surprised! 

What is the most challenging thing when it comes to producing a record?

 Where do you start? I mean it’s a lot of fun, but like most forms of creativity it often looks a lot easier than it is. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!

How do you warm up for a show?

I know it’s important to get myself into the right headspace – how I do that varies a bit. But it’s often just simple things like a few deep breaths, arriving at the venue with plenty of time to spare so that I’m not rushing about and so I can get a feel for the place. Maybe have a pint and a cigarette, or get chatting to some people. I don’t have any weird pre-show rituals… not yet anyway!

Also let’s talk tour – will there be live shows coming next year?

Yeah! My next live show is on the 14th November at Bask’s Acoustica night. It’s a really great stylish new venue, and they have some fantastic music. It’s also a lovely atmosphere, where people are having a good time but actually listening to the music too. 

What is one of your favourite songs  to perform live? 

I think it’s ‘Do You Miss Me Yet?’ – it’s full of energy and passion, and the lyrics always make people laugh. And it does feel good to sing it – very cathartic!

What is the toughest songs to perform live and why?

 Ooh, tricky. It’s possibly ‘Alabaster Skin’. It’s a very personal song, so I don’t actually tend to play it much live anyway, because even years later it still brings back a shard of the pain I was feeling when I wrote it. And it’s got some guitar picking I have to concentrate on, plus there are some soaring vocals in it.  

Our site also is about improv – in a music sense, what have been some of your favorite improvised melodies that you have created and been able to use in songs and why?

I think it might a chord progression and rhythm that I’ve used for ‘Bubblewrap the World’. It’s a really upbeat, fast-paced song with quite a funky rhythm, but I was  just messing about with my guitar and suddenly it appeared. The thing is I had the chord progression for years before I found the right lyrics for it – I had to wrestle that song into submission, it had about 3 different sets of words to before now. 

What are your plans for the rest of the year and 2023?

I’m moving back to Manchester in the next month or so to pursue music. Playing live at Bask of course, and hopefully many more Manchester based venues. And I have another song released on the 2nd December! (Stay updated on my music news via Instagram, Facebook and Spotify).

And finally why should people check out your music?

Because it takes less than 5 minutes of their time and they might discover something they really like. If they don’t, they haven’t lost out on anything. And because it means a lot to independent musicians if people just check out their stuff and give it a go. 

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