We Chat to Holly Humberstone About Her Upcoming EP 'Work in Progress'

Words: Phil Taylor
Photos: Constantine Spence
Monday 04 March 2024
reading time: min, words

LeftLion caught up with Grantham (and Nottingham) native Holly Humberstone during a rare few days of downtime between tours. Look out for our full interview in the next edition of the magazine...

Intoyourroom Pressshot Credit Constantine, Spence

There’s clearly a special place for Nottingham in Holly Humberstone’s heart. Although she’s often described as a Grantham native, the alt-pop sensation was born at the Queen’s Medical Centre, and spent many of her formative years in the city. Nights out at Rock City, singing karaoke after a gig at Rescue Rooms, and shopping at Ice Nine are all fond memories for her.

Holly has performed in Nottingham many times over the past few years, including a concert at Rock City in late 2022 and most recently a stripped-back gig at The Level just before her debut album, Paint My Bedroom Black, was released in October 2023.

Although she unfortunately isn’t able to visit Nottingham during her next tour, which begins on 8th March, she has included two relatively local shows: at The Engine Shed in Lincoln on 10th March and Leicester’s O2 Academy on 12th March.

Sadly, those venues don’t often appear on the typical tour circuit for artists as big as Holly Humberstone. When I speak to her via Zoom, the day after getting back to her London flat after a busy European tour, I ask why she decided to include those cities on the itinerary. She explains that it was a conscious choice for her.

“I wanted to go to Lincoln because I grew up around Grantham and my grandma lives near Lincoln … I think it’s a really beautiful place and I spent a lot of time growing up there as well, so I wanted to take the show to Lincoln,” she says. “I actually did my first ever show in the same little complex of buildings as The Engine Shed where I’m playing. So that will be quite full circle for me.”

Holly is also looking forward to visiting Leicester, explaining how the city, as well as Nottingham itself, feels like a home town.

Kissinginswimmingpools Pressshot Pleasecredit Constantine Spence

“I grew up in this little estate just outside of Grantham. Nottingham was the closest city, but it was technically in Leicestershire … So I’m really looking forward to going home - I think that’s going to be extra special!” she says.

She continues to reminisce. “I had lots of happy times in Nottingham … It was where I spent most of my teenage years going out. I feel like the Nottingham music scene just had a lot to offer,” she says.

I ask her about the Nottingham references in some of the songs on her recent album, including Ghost Me and Lauren

”Yeah, I’ve had so many good times in Nottingham but I had this really strong memory after the Rescue Rooms show - we went and did karaoke and we sang Angels … I do write a lot about my youth and having fun and going to Rock City and stuff like that,” she explains.

The impending tour also coincides with the surprise release of Holly’s new five-track EP, Work In Progress, described as “a stream of consciousness for fans.” The first single from the EP, Dive, has already become a fan favourite. So why would she choose to put out another collection of new music, so soon after a full album, I wonder?

“It wasn’t really planned - it’s been a bit random. My album came out back in October and I naturally thought I’d do a deluxe album or something, and stick some songs that didn’t really make it - songs that weren’t good enough to be on the album - on to the end. But I didn’t really want to do that,” she says with characteristic frankness.

“One day I was like, ‘I don’t want to release a deluxe album that’s just loads of filler.’ And I went back through all of these demos and I found a bunch of songs - all of them are from different points over the last few years. I loved these songs and they somehow just kind of got forgotten about. I just wanted to release them!”

“I feel like this group of songs, they really feel like me,” she continues. “I feel like I’m constantly changing all the time. I wake up a different person every day, it feels like. I’m very much a work in progress - I haven’t figured anything out for myself yet. I’m just waiting to kind of get a bit of a clue on things!”

Holly Humberstone’s UK tour begins on 8th March in Edinburgh. She plays at The Engine Shed Lincoln on 10th March, and O2 Academy in Leicester on 12th March. Her new EP Work In Progress will be released on 15th March.

You will be able to read more from Holly Humberstone in the next issue of LeftLion, which will be available at the start of April

We have a favour to ask

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion

Please note, we migrated all recently used accounts to the new site, but you will need to request a password reset

Sign in using

Or using your

Forgot password?

Register an account

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.

Forgotten your password?

Reset your password?

Password must be at least 8 characters long, have 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number and 1 special character.