Cara Hammond is a soulful singer-songwriter from North Wales who picked up her first acoustic guitar at the age of eleven and began to write her own lyrics to accompany the chords she had learned through her lessons. Growing up in the late 90s and early 00s Cara was heavily influenced by strong female vocalists and iconic performers such as Beyoncé and Alicia Keys, many of whom she has covered over the years. Having a flair for the dramatic herself Cara performed in many plays and musicals during her teenage years which undoubtedly aided the development of the outgoing, young songstress we see on stage today.
As her skills progressed Cara found herself drawn to music with potent lyrics and distinct refrains that resonated with the listener. Music from the likes of Amy Winehouse, Lana Del Ray and Ben Howard became her inspiration as she began to weave her lyrics into more intricate melodies. Cara began to perform her songs for a wider audience at the age of fourteen. It wasn’t long before she landed her first supporting performance for none other than Charlotte Church at Llangollen Fringe Festival. After watching Cara’s performance from the wings, an impressed Charlotte Church invited Cara to support her a second time at a FOCUS Wales festival.
Cara self-released her first two EP’s on SoundCloud in 2012. Followers of Cara’s may recognise some of her early songs from videos posted on her YouTube channel, some of which were filmed and directed by her two brothers. Her early releases caught the attention of BBC Introducing and the BBC has continued to support her throughout the years, inviting her to perform at BBC Introducing showcases. Her latest two singles Good Times and Such A Mess being added to BBC Radio Wales ‘A Playlist’ and Such A Mess also featuring in the nationwide BBC introducing Hotlist.
Cara continued to work on her music and write new songs throughout her later school years. It was at this time Cara began to experiment with her style, landing on her signature modern-vintage look after a costume party where she dressed herself as Audrey Hepburn. After completing her A Levels she moved to Leeds to attend Leeds College of Music. Her time there studying contemporary music, working with fellow musicians and experimenting with different genres allowed her music to mature into more of the soulful pop that she creates today. In her second year at Leeds Cara self-released her third EP, Ray, this one signalling her emergence into the wider music industry. This release was well supported by BBC Introducing, leading to a BBC Introducing Showcase at the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds. Following this Cara supported RnB artist Mahalia in Leeds, during her first UK tour. Cara’s openness to experiment and the ease with which she collaborates with fellow musicians led her to the opportunity to attend a writing camp in the Netherlands for BMG and Sony. Her songs ended up getting pitched to some of today’s top industry talents such as Dua Lipa. She also began working with Universal and GL Music, flying out to writing camps in Stockholm and Copenhagen respectively. Cara finished her remarkable university experience with a First and a slot at the coveted Love Supreme Festival in 2017.
After finishing her degree Cara travelled around South East Asia, immersing herself in the rich culture and diverse music scene. On her travels she would stop literally anywhere that had a spare guitar to film acoustic cover sessions and participate in open mic nights. Having recently set up Spotify to showcase her music and grow her following, Cara met with the regional team of Spotify in Singapore. Upon returning to the UK, Cara’s most recent single How I Feel received huge support from playlists across DSPs global network.
Cara’s ambition has always been to reach a global audience and so it comes as no surprise that after her travels she turned her attention to London’s music scene to further her career. She began to work with London based producers and songwriters. Some of these include artists Laura Oakes, writers Sebastian Sternberg and Pedro Vito (Jack Savoretti number 1 album ’Singing To Stranger'), Blair Mackichan (The Greatest - Sia ft. Kendrick Lamar), as well as an EP with Andy Burrows (We Are Scientists, Razorlight) and Doc Brown.
In association with the independent label ‘Oswaldo’ 2019 saw the release of ‘Good Times’, Cara’s most popular release to date, accompanied by a music video directed by Alejo Sonnenberg. This year would mark a turning point for Cara as she began to play more and more renowned venues in the city. While finding her feet in a local house share she played at Troubadour, The Islington and a sold out show at The Water Rats in London. In the summer she performed at high profile festivals How The Light Gets In, Penn Fest and Boomtown Fair. To finish a spectacular year, she played to a crowd of 25,000 in collaboration with Peak FM before releasing her single Such A Mess which showcased Cara’s advancing sound and ‘gossamer pop within an electronic landscape’ (CLASH Magazine, 2019).
To begin what is set to be an even more spectacular 2020, Cara released her newest single, Ready For the Fall, which seeks to address her experiences as a young artist and to reunite her newfound sound with elements of her previous singles. Perhaps one of the ways she signals this is in the video itself, filmed and directed once again by her brother Ryan Hammond. Ready For the Fall has since been played on major radio stations around Asia, as well as being played as part of the BBC Quay Sessions on BBC Radio Scotland. Due to the global pandemic, Cara’s performances for BBC Scotland’s Quay Sessions, BBC Wales, as well as performances for Lowde Fest and Focus Wales festival have been postponed.
In July 2020, Cara released ‘twenty four hours’ EP , a homemade collection of songs, written, produced and mixed by the upcoming indie-pop singer-songwriter during the quarantine, with the help of her fans. The songs were written using ideas sent in by fans on social media. Cara then wrote each song in twenty four hours, for their premiere performance on her weekly Instagram livestream.
Cara plans to release an EP for Autumn 2020, and is so excited for you to hear her new music!
Written by Jessica Povey