Polly Money has been in your periphery for some time, whether you’ve realised it or not. At just 27 years old, she’s opened for the likes of Muse, Orla Gartland and Newton Faulker, lent her deft guitar skills to indie darlings such as Let’s Eat Grandma and Priya Ragu, and warmed up some of the UK’s most prestigious festival stages. It’s fair to say that the Cornwall-born, west London-based artist has nailed the role of best supporting actor but this year, she’s taking center stage.
Self-described as pop-R&B, Polly credits Usher for her dulcet melodies, John Mayer for her silky guitar skills and Nao for her honey-dipped vocals. These days, she takes notes from queer royalty like Kehlani, Frank Ocean and Muna, who she crowns her biggest influence. While she may be indebted to the above for her musical cues, her lyrics are innate. “I actually find it quite hard to write about things I haven’t experienced. I tend to write about relationships and the silliness me and mates get up to,” she giggles.
Raw lyrics navigating the terrible 20s and tricky relationships have been central to Polly’s last two EPs, this month’s ‘It’s Not That Deep’ and 2020’s ‘Trip2020’. Notably, these are the first releases on which she has sung openly about her queerness. “My music maybe just has a bit more heart and passion now. I feel like I am most myself at the moment.” She’s even plastered the self-procclaimed title of “lesbian overlord” across her social media channels, harking back to the silliness she previously mentioned.
Silliness is also a key ingredient in Polly’s live show, in which she typically balances a goofy onstage manner with emotive and magnetic performances. It’s this captivating combination that stopped Muse’s Matt Bellamy in his tracks when passing a small community festival in London, in 2013.
“About three songs in, I spotted Matt and his then partner, the actor Kate Hudson, in the crowd. Despite the rain, they stayed for 15 minutes, chatting and watching my set.” Days later Muse’s manager contacted Polly and said: “Matt saw you play at the weekend and he’d like you to support the band at Stade de France near Paris, this Saturday.” The following weekend 18-year-old Polly opened for Muse, Dizzee Rascal and Biffy Clyro at the 80,000-capacity national stadium, armed with nothing but her acoustic guitar and her voice.
In the years since, she’s earned more stripes playing at festivals including Glastonbury and Isle of Wight, opening for Apre and Gabrielle Aplin and backing Laurel and Denai Moore. Considering Polly first started tinkling on the piano at just seven years old, it’s perhaps no surprise that performing live has become her bread and butter. But that fact doesn’t make it any less impressive that she has two decades’ worth of musical experience under her belt, and yet a whole career ahead of her.
“For me the goal is to keep releasing music on a regular basis and maybe at the end of each little part there’s a show or a tour.” This September, she’ll play her first headline show at Peckham Audio. “I am honestly beyond excited… I’m playing this with my band and we’ve got some ideas to really create the show I’ve wanted to play for a while. Playing live is my absolute thing,” she gushes. And if her impressive track record of live shows is anything to go by, it’s bound to be the launchpad that serves to take her to new heights.
Words: Lisa Henderson