Monday, June 17Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Coffee House Sessions: April Keen

Beth Carr catches up with April Keen after her Coffee House Session on 6 February.


April Keen brought superbly moving music to Tommy’s Kitchen alongside her guitarist Jesse on the first Monday of February, performing a range of original songs and covers. Her cover of Hey Soul Sister blew me away with its stripped back nature and a melancholy feel. The set was incredibly well crafted and there was a real sense of passion in the movement and energy shown by April on stage.

She doesn’t always know what genre her music fits into but it is best described as folk, pop and indie. Her Coffee House set is naturally stripped back but in studio recordings there’s more electronic production, although her chilled vibe remains. Her lyrics are more in the style of Gabrielle Aplin but her melodies and sound are reminiscent of London Grammar and Daughter, with instrumentation similar to Oh Wonder.

April has been into music since she was little, not seeing it as a career until she started writing and gigging at 16. She was torn between doing music full time and studying, but doing her course at BIMM London has enabled her to use her student loan to live in London, where most of the music opportunities are. The Coffee House Tour has also helped her reach people who can relate to her music and are going through the same emotions as her.

With this in mind, the themes of her music tend to be personal. She writes in phases about her own experiences, often waiting a year before writing about a particular incident. Love and heartbreak are key issues in her recent work, along with self-doubt: all things students commonly experience.

Although April is balancing her music with student life, she has allowed plenty of time to record and release new songs. At Coffee House we heard her next single ‘The Right Thing’, which is coming out next month, and there’s a plan to release a single every one or two months for the rest of the year – I’m certainly excited to hear more of April’s music!

You can find April on Facebook and Twitter @aprilkeenmusic. Look out for rhubarbTV’s coverage of her set on their YouTube channel!