Two Deep Breaths: Freya Ridings

“I’m good at one thing and I’m going to do that one thing well.”

I admire the resolve in Freya Ridings. She just turned 23 years old, but she’s growing up quickly this year now that her songs are finally coming out to the world.

During her European run with Gavin James, Freya felt a shift in her tone while on stage. For her first few shows, she compensated for her jitters by talking a lot, cracking jokes, and keeping her banter light in between her songs. It didn’t make her feel good. Halfway through the tour, she remembered what her mother used to tell her.

“Slow and low, Freya, slow and low.”

Slow enough to savor the moment. Slow enough to challenge the weight of the eyes of a crowd. Slow enough not to react so quickly to that weight, and recognize that time is on her side when she’s behind her piano. With her new live shows, Freya intends on being the person who writes those songs – that is, the woman who dives deep into heartache. After all, that’s who people will want to see as soon as they hear her songs.

Freya’s first single, “Blackout,” is heart-wrenching. It’s about that fresh open wound after heartbreak, where everyone is telling you that you’re better off now, and yet you protest because he or she was always supposed to be the one. It’s too real. Though I wonder in fleeting moments who “Blackout” is about, I don’t get far down that road as soon as I start playing it. I have my own “who” that I immediately begin to remember.

That’s a particular kind of relatability that makes Freya special. A lot of music can promise a good time, but not all music can promise that you are understood. Freya isn’t trying to write songs that put people at ease. However, though difficult in subject matter, they are still warm. 

We finally got to meet Freya in person this April when she came to visit us in Los Angeles. This was the first time she’s been out here since she was 14, and this was the first time she’s traveled alone. Before she left back for London, she told us that she’s changed even during her stay here. When asked what it was about LA, she replied, “every time I do something that scares me and pushes me to the other side, I know that I can do it.” We just hope this means she’s out here every month then.
The Black Box team is incredibly excited for Freya. We’re stoked to be on this journey with her.

Listen to “Blackout” on Spotify here.

Photographs by Carlos Bawse.