UK garage-influenced pop darling Katy B revealed snippets of a personal life marred by tragedy in an interview with The FADER, ahead of the release of her third album. For Honey, due out on Rinse/Columbia/Sony in April, she enlisted the production help an army of preeminent dance music producers and artists, including Kaytranada, Four Tet, Floating Points and Novelist.
Katy B—along with collaborators Diplo, Kaytranada, D Double E and Geeneus—unpicked each of the album's 13 tracks, talking about the sounds that influenced them and how they came to be. Additionally, Katy revealed how many of the tracks were inspired by difficult times in her life, including the death of her brother in 2014, who'd been severely brain damaged in a car accident 18 months before.
When discussing the album's closing track, "Honey Outro," the London-born artist said the last few years were a dark time for her. "I lost my brother, and for a year before that he had brain damage," she said. "He was in a vegetative state. It was even worse than him dying, it was watching someone just survive when they shouldn't be surviving."
Other tracks on the record were inspired by breakups, including her collab with Craig David and Major Lazer, "Who Am I?," released earlier this week. "[This song] was about my first boyfriend," Katy B says. "I used to be in a band with him and when we broke up...I realized everyone I knew in London was in the band." Katy went to describe how the track is about what it's like to go through a breakup and to lose more than just the other person in the relationship. "Others might lose their home, even their child and family—I think of people going through divorces when I sing it, too," she said.
There will be some light-hearted tracks on the record, however. "Dreamerz", featuring fellow garage-influenced British producer and DJ, Hannah Wants, is a tribute to Katy B's friends. "I wanted to write something about being with my core group of friends," she said. "We ride or die for each other."
Katy also revealed to The FADER the inner-workings of the production process on an album studded with sparkling collaborators. "Most of the work with producers on the album happened over email," she said. "I realised how much I enjoy writing that way," Katy said. "In the past producers have told me what to do vocally, which is really annoying." Read the interview in full, and look out for Honey when it drops on April 29.
Anna Codrea-Rado is THUMP's News Editor. Follow her on Twitter.