Her unreal journey to ‘No Romeo’…

Three years ago, Lauren Henson – who has since adopted moniker Indiana in memory of her dad and his love for Indiana Jones – uploaded some songs onto YouTube while piano-sitting for her sister, including a cover of Joe Goddard’s ‘Gabriel’. The song’s composer, John Beck, stumbled upon her version and was so impressed by the beauty of her vocals that he invited Indiana to do some recording.

“It felt like it wasn’t real, I thought it was just some weirdo,” she laughs. “But, it turned out that he was this Grammy-nominated guy, so I went down to his studio.” Three years later, Indiana is signed to Sony with her debut LP ‘No Romeo’ set for release on October 20th.

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‘Solo Dancing’ is about being strong enough to do it on your own and not care what anyone else thinks...

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Determined to not let being on such a huge label go to her head, Indiana assures Clash that the album process has been an organic one, with a gradual growth while she maintains complete control over every aspect of her art.

“I was going over my Sony contract and I got my lawyer to put in the points of having creative control. I feel like I’ve got the (work) flow of being on an indie label, as I’m still not being shoved in people’s faces, but then I also have the benefits of having a major label behind me.”

In the run up to her album, Indiana has released some incredibly strong tracks, which are more up-tempo than her dark and brooding offerings from 2013. Layered with pulsating synths, the sultry ‘Solo Dancing’ is influenced by the disco-inflected Drive soundtrack and climbed high in the UK singles chart in April. Its video has been a fuel of intrigue with its collection of various clips of Indiana acting out metaphors for a, ahem, particular solo activity. Shots include her flicking a jellybean and bashing a bishop chess piece.

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‘Solo Dancing’

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“I was a bit unsure whether the video would cheapen the lyrics,” she muses. “It’s actually a song of empowerment. ‘Solo Dancing’ can be a metaphor for anything – it’s about being strong enough to do it on your own and not care what anyone else thinks.”

Despite the major radio success of ‘Solo Dancing’, Indiana retains a clarity and raw emotion in her vocals, which is something not often heard on mainstream airwaves.

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[Music] started out as escapism and an outlet, and now I feel healed and grounded…

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“It wasn’t until I started writing music that I was able to use the stuff that I was holding in from when my dad passed away,” she reveals. In this sense, music has acted as a healing process, as she channeled that inner pain into her voice. “It started out as escapism and an outlet, and now I feel healed and grounded. I’ve never felt like that before and now my head’s in a better place.”

Indiana can count performing for the Queen as one of the most memorable and surreal of her musical endeavours. She was chosen as the BBC Introducing artist to play in the Live Lounge during Her Majesty’s visit to the new BBC building. After the performance apparently the Queen clapped only once, but hey, Indiana concludes: “You only need one clap from a Royal!”

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Words: Hana Barten
Photography: Stephanie Sian Smith
Fashion: Avigail Collins
Shoes courtesy of Kickers; full fashion credits in Clash magazine issue 98

‘No Romeo’ is released on October 20th. Find Indiana online here

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