Keeley Forsyth is famed not only as an avant-garde musician who has released two critically acclaimed albums but also as a successful actor appearing in Happy Valley, Coronation Street and Luther.
We spoke with Keeley ahead of her show at Brewery Arts on 28 October to discuss how her performances bring these two worlds together.
While Keeley performs music from her two studio albums, Debris (2020), and Limbs (2022), her live shows are theatrical in their delivery with exclusive content.
“Even from a strictly audio point of view, it is very performative”, said Keeley. “The performance is film-like and is both character and voice-driven”.
“I don’t know how to do it any other way”, said Keeley. “It is a theatre piece with no stops. I do treat the performances as a completely different concept. When it comes to the performance I will sing stuff that I am never going to release, and which only works for that certain premise”.
It is clear that Keeley’s passion lies centrally in the performance aspect of her work, with visuals being equally integral as the music when it comes to evoking a desired effect on the audience.
“I am not so interested in sitting and recording behind the microphone”, said Keeley. “Even when I make a song, the first thing we are doing is storyboarding it. My influences are usually more classical, often dance-based or plays”.
“Visuals are massively important. I am proud that I challenged myself with the visual set-up for this tour, and I am proud of it as a whole. There is always an element of improvisation I like to leave though”, she said.
Keeley was recently nominated for Best Live Performer at The Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards this year, something she found herself surprisingly contented by.
“You don’t think those things matter. But I was really chuffed”, said Keeley. “What I do is really simple with no bells and whistles, so to be recognised for the performance side of it, was really good”.
Keeley’s second album, Limbs, released in February this year, received equally high praise as her debut, fuelling Keeley to push forward with an exceptional number of creative works. A third album is already in the pipeline, as well as a musical film, and a remix version of Limbs, titled Phantom Limbs, which was released at the end of September.
For now though, Keeley is continuing with her tour which includes stops throughout Europe, but as she explains, she is quite selective when it comes to choosing venues, with Brewery Arts being one of only three UK stops.
“There are only certain types of venues that I want to do, which is a bit of a leap considering I have only started in the music industry fairly recently,” she laughs. “But [Brewery Arts] is perfect”.
Keeley Forsyth plays the Theatre at Brewery Arts on 28 October as part of Brewery Arts’ 50th Anniversary celebrations, with support from Matthew Bourne, doors at 7.30pm. Tickets for the show are still available here.
See all music events at Brewery Arts here.