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November 2013

In just 18 months, Indiana has gone from playing her first gig as an unknown in the Old Market Square, to signing a major label deal and performing for the Queen. This week she released her first single for Sony which has been playlisted by Radio 1. Simon Wilson caught her at home just before she headed off to Los Angeles to start work on her debut album.

IT’S one thing singing for the Queen when she’s sat just eight feet away from you in a small radio studio but to have deliver the line “and I will be Queen”...
“I was told not to look at her when I sang that line,” laughs the 26-year-old at her home in Long Eaton.
“But I was so focussed on not looking at her, my eyes were darting around the room and they hit her a couple of times.”
She was performing a cover David Bowie’s Heroes with Irish band The Script, a random gig that was arranged at the last minute to show HRH the new Live Lounge at the Radio 1 studios at the official opening of the BBC’s new Broadcasting House in London.
After the performance, which was screened live on the BBC News 24 channel, Indiana was introduced to her.
“She's well sweet and little,” says the mother-of-one in her home studio, where she’s been working on tracks for her much anticipated debut album.
“She reminded me of my grandma Mary. I was still proper scared though. I was so glad I didn't mess it up.”
They had a quick chat about Glastonbury where Indiana, real name Lauren Henson, was due to appear on the BBC Introducing Stage, part of which was seen on BBC Three’s coverage.
So there are two obvious highlights of the first 18 months of her career to date but topping both of them was playing the main stage at Splendour in July.
“There was so many people and they all cheered whenever I said anything,” she laughs.
“I was saying thanks and they kept clapping and shouting. I was about to start crying so I played Blind As I Am and messed up the words because I was all emotional.”
Splendour was headlined by Jake Bugg but also appearing on the main stage were indie band Dog Is Dead, managed by Nottingham’s DHP Family, who recently signed up Indiana.
The organisation, which operates Rock City, the Rescue Rooms and other venues, also promotes shows around the UK and they’ve booked her two next month; at Nottingham’s the Bodega and Oslo in Hackney.
“I'd like to start touring more because I love performing,” she says just 18 months after her very first gig. That was in the Old Market Square as part of the Future Sound of Nottingham competition to open Splendour’s main stage. She didn’t even make the final but was booked to play the festival anyway, such was the buzz surrounding her.
A year later she was on the main stage.
“Sometimes it feels like ages ago,” she reflects.
“So much has happened. I want to say I never dreamt I'd get this far... or some other corny line, but the truth is, as soon as I realised this was what I wanted to do I dreamt big.”
But she admits: “I’ve still got a long way to go.”
This week her debut single for Sony, Mess Around, was released and was placed on the Radio 1 playlist, a station that has supported her for months.
“I hope I never get used to being on the radio. It's such a buzz. I have a voice mail off my mum and my sister singing (screaming actually) along to Mess Around because it came on the radio when they were out in the car together.
“I’ve met a few of them. Phil Taggart is such a cool guy. Sara Cox is my favourite though and she waved at me when I visited the studios. And I met Scott Mills. He follows me on Twitter, you know,” she grins.
“Zane Lowe has really got behind me just recently. He interviewed Dave Grohl with the drum loop on Mess Around going on in the background. It was an awesome feeling listening to it all.”
Her music has been compared to everything from Portishead to Sinead O’Connor and The Cranberries. It’s electro-based and lyrically dark, which is surprising for an apparently happy and warm personality.
“People often say I'm not what they expected after listening to my music but I am drawn to darker things. I wanted to be a forensic scientist growing up.
“A lot of the time it’s just the way it comes out when I'm writing. Last week I set out to write an Arabian love story but I ended up with a song about a zombie army. It’s called Sleeping Nation. Here are a couple of lines from it: ‘And legion corpses creep, emerging from their sleep, I set my people free...’
“I'm a weirdo,” she laughs.
“And that’s not a line from the song, just a statement.”
As well meeting the Queen, Indiana has had a chat with the daughter of the King: Lisa Marie Presley.
“It was at a party for the launch of her album. Yeah she was chatting away to me and I said 'I’m sorry, I've not taken any of that in. I can't stop thinking you're Elvis' daughter and that you were married to Michael Jackson!'.

She’s now landed in LA where she’ll be spending a couple of weeks staying in Hollywood and working with producers on songs for her debut album. That will likely be released by the spring.
“When I come back there’ll be a new single and I’ll be making a video for that before Christmas.”
Joining her in Los Angeles is the boyfriend (the reason she moved here from Loughborough) and their two month old daughter, Etta.
“I'm under strict instructions that this trip is not a holiday,” she says.
“And I've only got one day off. I’ll be spending that with Etta and her dad. Etta comes everywhere with me. Well, I am her food after all,” she laughs, then adds: “Everyone has been really supportive and as long as you have that support network around you, there's no reason why a mum should have to decide between a career and a family.
“I'm doing both and I hope my situation empowers and inspires other women.”

Mess Around is out now on iTunes. Indiana plays The Bodega on December 4. Tickets are £6.50 from For more about her go to or follow her on Twitter @indianathegirl

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