It’s Friday night at Glastonbury and Anne-Marie is stood on the Other Stage.
It’s pitch black, and behind the festival’s famous flags, there’s people as far as the eye can see up the rolling hill. Anne-Marie is belting out Love Ain’t Just A Word, a song that goes on to feature on a No 1 album.
Anne-Marie’s name may not be plastered all over billboards yet, but she has already been on a sell-out world tour with Rudimental as well as on their chart topping album We The Generation. She’s also been a star at a number of headline festival performances.
The Essex-born singer’s first song Summer Days hit the internet in 2013, but since then her solo career was put on the back-burner after singing on huge Rudimental tracks like Rumour Mill and All That Love, as well as Love Ain’t Just A Word alongside Dizzee Rascal.
She subsequently became one of the most familiar voices on We The Generation and a bursting presence of energy in the London quartet’s live show.
Between touring with Rudimental last year, Anne-Marie has refocused on her solo material. Having finished her Rudimental duties in December, she embarks on a brief headline tour this week before finishing her debut solo album, due in summer on major label Atlantic (also home to Rudimental).
“2016 is going to be the one for me,” explains the 24-year-old. “Whatever I do, I’m really competitive and a bit of a perfectionist. But I feel like I’m ready and I’ve got the right songs now. I know that in this industry I’ll do everything I can and I’m not going to stop until I reach the top.”
“2016 is going to be the one for me. I’m not going to stop until I reach the top”
These are confident words. But when you factor in the Rudimental tour, the fact that prior to her pop career Anne-Marie was a triple world champion in karate and starred in the West End as a child alongside Jessie J, you realise that someone so determined striving for perfection is proven to bear fruit.
It doesn’t hurt that previous then-unknown guest singers with Rudimental have included Jess Glynne, Ella Eyre and John Newman.
However, despite touring the world’s largest stages with Rudimental, she’s been suffering from nerves as she moves into her solo shows.
Speaking about her first show at Oslo in Hackney last October, Anne-Marie explains: “I was shitting myself. Seriously. It makes my palms sweaty just thinking about it. How weird is that? Everyone was telling me that I do it every day in front of thousands of people but it feels like when I’m on stage with the Rudimental boys, there’s 10 of us up there and we’re all in it together.”
It looks like the Do It Again singer is going to have to get over those nerves pretty quickly though, as the London date at Village Underground on her forthcoming tour sold out weeks in advance.
“Aspirations for this year? Definitely to be number one”
“I love that I have that level of support already,” she explains. “And that’s all thanks to Rudimental, really. They’re where my fanbase has been built from. It was an amazing year in terms of being a learning curve and preparing me for this year, but now I’m finished touring with them it’s literally about me.”
Anne-Marie says she has all the singles ready for the album, and is spending this month in the studio putting the final touches to the album. She’s worked with some big names putting it together, with the Rudimental boys taking up production duties on a number of tracks as well as Fraser T Smith (Adele, Sam Smith) and Steve Mac (One Direction, Lily Allen).
So if she feels like 2016 is going to be her year, does she have any specific targets for the album?
“Definitely to be No 1,” she jokes. “But really, I’m scared to put myself in a place where I might be disappointed. So I’m just going to push as hard as I can, have fun and see where it takes me.”
She can’t speak highly enough of what her preparation has given her as an artist in her own right.
“It’s really inspirational to step into the world of people who have already experienced what I’m about to go through,” she says. “Working with people already in the industry, and that I know for being amazing artists, definitely makes you step up.
“The Rudimental boys are like my big brothers,” she concludes. “They always tell me when I should go to sleep or when I shouldn’t go out partying. I just need to make sure I taken all that they’ve taught me on board now that I’m going out on my own.”
Anne-Marie tours at:
Manchester Deaf Institute (January 28)
Nottingham Bodega (29)
Brighton Haunt (31)
London Village Underground (February 1)
Loaded reporter Robert McCallum has written for many leading culture magazines and websites about music, sport, science, politics, fashion and arts. Follow Robert at @therobmccallum