Despite being brought up in the Norwegian countryside, where she started singing from a young age, Liv Austen now lives in South East London where she has developed her career as a rising country star.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background!
I grew up in Norway, I fell in love with music as a child and started writing songs when I was a teenager. I live in South East London and consider myself a Norwegian Londoner. If there is such a thing!
Tell us something about you which is weird.
I have a funny OCD with stairs, I love running up them doing two steps at a time, and I find it super frustrating when it's an odd number of steps!
What was it like growing up in Norway?
It was great, I had a lovely childhood. Especially the nature and being introduced to that as a child has been important to me.
Why did you decide to move to London?
I moved to Guildford first to go to drama school and I fell in love with London while I lived there
Do you like it here?
I love it here. London is my home and some of the most important people in my life are here.
How did you go from acting to singing?
I wrote songs from a young age and started doing more of that when I came to London and people seemed to really enjoy my music – it kind of just snowballed a bit! I was doing both music and acting from a young age, probably more music, actually, so it makes sense that I've ended up doing both as a profession!
What is it about country music that you love?
The honesty! As country music writers we are always searching for the truth; which is what I was always taught to do as an actor too. I love country lyrics and how straightforward they are, you don't need to look for the most clever words. Sometimes you can be touched the most by the most direct and simple line.
What was it like working with Ben Earle?
Really great! He is a good friend and a fun guy to hang out with and I was so honoured when he wanted me to sing his song. Even more, honoured that he wanted me to play piano on the track, but it was a bit nerve-wracking to have to do it with him sat right next to me in the studio watching me as I recorded! But I'm so proud of the song we recorded together.
Where were you when you first heard your track being played on BBC Radio 2?
In my room, literally dancing along to it! I was so happy.
You have described yourself as a bit of a shy child, how did you get over that?
Fake it till you make it, I think! I still feel shy sometimes, or at least introverted. But I try to just be myself with people and accept that not everyone will love me, but some people will. I think the more I trust myself and don't worry about judgment from others, the easier it is to be comfortable with other people. In terms of being a shy person on stage, I still get nervous about performing, but I recognise the feeling as necessary now and it doesn't freak me out as much.
What challenges have you faced?
Being underestimated, constantly. Living in London comes with its financial challenges too, I was really struggling a few times. Confidence is the biggest challenge though, and I still face that regularly. It goes up and down!
What have been the high points of your career?
The Radio 2 plays have been amazing, playing C2C, signing my record and publishing deal.
Tell us about your new single, 'Don’t Regret A Single One'.
It's a song about embracing your mistakes and celebrating them. I love to think of it as a bit of a feminist anthem too, it's basically a song about how I learned to love myself through being involved with all the wrong guys!
What message are you trying to get across in your music?
Self-love, forgiveness and acceptance are some of the main messages that seem to come through. Songwriting is cathartic to me so I just try to touch on what's happening in my life.
What is your life motto?
Go where you're celebrated, not where you're tolerated!
What ideas have changed your life?
This sounds a bit bleak, but it's really not – coming to terms (to an extent) with the fact that life is insanely short and we are all going to die, has really been the main thing to give me courage to follow my dreams.
What are you most in love with right now?
My new flat, and the man who is living in it with me.
What would be your dream gig?
I'd love to play a sold-out headline show at the Round House in Camden, with some amazing guest performers!
Where can people keep up with what you are doing?
You can go to my website, livausten.com, or Twitter and Instagram and I'm Liv Austen on Facebook. You can also listen to my music wherever you stream or download music!