Rudie Edwards has fond memories of the place she called home as a child. Dover, in the south of England: the musician and songwriter can picture the quaint town in her mind; those high school years of first loves and friendships. But she also recalls the time she spent as a teenager looking out to sea, past the beaches and cliffs towards France, pondering what lay beyond it. “I wanted to go out and see the world,” she says.
These are days she dreams of now and writes about in her music. Life is cyclical, and it often takes us back to the place where we found ourselves at first; moments long forgotten, now resurfacing. This is true of Rudie. An artist who’s learned that distance from a place makes it a little more romantic, she’s left home, travelled the world as an in-demand songwriter and musician in her own right. Finally, she’s found her creative clarity.
It has culminated in the creation of her debut body of work. It’s called Worst Ways, and those who’ve experienced the raw feelings of displacement, familial pride or broken heartedness will feel it’s gorgeous, grandiose melancholy in full.
The first single from it “Young” is, at its heart, about Dover, and those first fleeting loves that leave a profound effect upon who we are as people. In it, the comforting mundanity of the first boy she loved – one she learned to love The Smiths for, and subsequently left behind as she moved to London – is juxtaposed with her own journey. “While you’re watching TV, I’m boarding another plane… always chasing something new.” Most of us breathe a sigh of relief at the idea of leaving the places we grew up in. But Rudie Edwards can still find the warmth in them. “It’s my little thank you to him,” she says, of that first love. “My little thank you for the things I miss from back then.”
To look back upon a life already lived usually warrants a descriptor that never applies to the music of Rudie Edwards: nostalgia. Nostalgia is sentimental; it’s cloying and created from our desires to rebuild our pasts the way we want to remember them, rather than how they were. But Rudie Edwards doesn’t rebuild her past through her music, she recalls it in painful, beautiful, minute detail. Even when she works with the sore memories that only reflection can conjure, she is a songwriter who sees everything lucidly.