Verge were lucky enough to catch up with the young, impeccably talented Billie Marten. At the tenderÂ age of 15 Billie has already got a lot under her belt including an amazing performance at Reading and Leeds 2014, shooting a Burberry Acoustic Campaign, performing at the BAFTA Breakthrough Brits event, and releasing an EP, all while still studying at school. Billie is now preparing for a gig at the Guide Dogs Annual Awards that take place on the 10th December. There seems to be no stopping this incredibly talented, and absolutely beautiful, young woman.
Youâ€™ve achieved so much for such a young person, itâ€™s hard to believe youâ€™re only 15! Can you tell us a little about how you got started?
Music has always been running in the family; my dad and my brother play instruments, my mum plays piano and itâ€™s all in the wider family too. So we would all usually get together on special occasions, and then everyone would play and sing at Christmas. I really wanted to join in so my dad bought me a Â£10 guitar and taught me a couple of chords. We started to put up some videos on YouTube which were originally for my grandparents and family, and then my mum worked with somebody who had a connection with Unsigned sessions, and we came in for a video, and I guess that was it.
Do you find it hard to balance your school studies with your music?
Definitely! It gets quite tricky as the year goes on and the exams get closer. I just think itâ€™s really important to keep the two separated so they donâ€™t interfere with each other. But Iâ€™m always doing work on the train and catching up.
Whatâ€™s been the highlight of your career so far?
Thatâ€™s a hard question. Iâ€™d probably say producing my first EP: that was just incredible to do. The whole experience is just amazing, Iâ€™d never done it before so I had no idea how anything worked, but you kind of just pick it up as you go along. Itâ€™s really exciting to put things down, record, and produce the whole thing which you can then say is yours forever.
Can you tell us a little about your experience shooting the Burberry acoustic campaign?
It was actually really last minute, while I was down in London. A couple of days before hand we were told it was happening so we went to get a fitting and everything. I did the session with my producer who played the piano on it, which was great. The videographer was amazing, the whole thing was so relaxed, I didnâ€™t really notice I was being filmed. They put it up about a month later, then they asked me to play at the Burberry BAFTA Breakthrough Brits event, which was so lovely, it was so nice of them I just couldnâ€™t believe it.
How did you become involved with Guide Dogs charity?
They asked me to do this amazing event on the 10th December supporting the Guide Dog charity. Iâ€™m absolutely honoured to be playing it, itâ€™s such a great cause and it is so important.Â It actually costs about Â£50,000 for the working lifespan of a guide dog, so itâ€™s vital we raise awareness for the charity; Iâ€™m excited to play a song, and hopefully get lots of people talking about it!
What drew you into the charity?
I researched and read a lot about it, Iâ€™ve never played for a charity before. Itâ€™s been more pub gigs and stuff, but to actually play and to do something productive and to get people aware of the cause is really great. It really is so important.
Can you give some advice to young people who want to break into the music industry?
Get your music out there as much as possible, social media is so good for that. I really canâ€™t believe it happened to me, honestly. I came through BBC Introducing, I sent them two tracks on the off-chance that they would choose me, I had the automated email back and didnâ€™t expect anything, I really just did it for the experience. When I was chosen they really helped me progress, they got me a spot in Leeds and Reading which was just incredible, they were so lovely. I would definitely say get your music out there as much as possible.
After achieving so much in 2014, what are your plans for 2015?
Â Theyâ€™re very exciting. I am currently making a brand new EP, which is great. That should be out early next year sometime, hopefully early Spring 2015. Keep a look out.
Â This year Guide Dogs has also been selected as one of the UK based charities for ITVâ€™S annual â€˜Text Santaâ€™ fundraiser, which will be aired on the 19th December. For more information and to find out how to donate please visit www.justgiving.com/textsanta.