Sweet Female Attitude’s Leanne Mason Talks ‘Flowers’ and Disposable Music

British garage hit-maker, expert producer, music teacher. A top Manchester songwriter talks up-and-coming talent ahead of this weekend’s Flashback Festival.

Leanne Mason of Sweet Female Attitude is a leading studio producer and music teacher.

It’s been just over 22 years since UK garage anthem ‘Flowers’ hit No. 2 singles and No. 1 on the country’s dance charts, before claiming a spot in the UK’s top 40 2000.

Riding high on a two-stage tidal wave that saw the soulful and sexy broken sound take over the UK club scene, in the years between then and now said song has stuck in the common consciousness, aided by a steady stream of quality remixes, from the titanic DJ Spoony genre of Dreem Team’s note, to niche hero Jamie Duggan and DJ Booda.

The outfit behind the song, Manchester’s Sweet Female Attitude (SFA), are among the names heading to Platt Fields Park this weekend for the Flashback Festival this Saturday May 21, where they will be joined by Tinchy Stryder, Example and 2 Unlimited. A classics-focused event, SFA’s Leanne Mason has a lot to say about timeless tracks, or lack thereof.

Sweet Female Attitude performs at Platt Fields Park’s Flashback Festival on Saturday, May 21

Over the past two decades, this born-songwriter has built a stellar reputation behind the scenes in British music. As we speak, his current schedule includes teaching at our famous downtown Access to Music headquarters in downtown, guiding artists from major label Universal to perfect the art of layering and vocal manipulation, and reworking Daniel Bedingfield’s hit “Gotta Get Thru This”. in a home folder.

Fingers in several pies, all before mentioning De-Tronic, the 16-person live band she’s a part of that turns club bangers into live instrumentation at venues and festivals across the country and beyond. Designed by Jon Fitz, the membership features Bob Sinclar lyricist Steve Edwards and iconic ATFC voice Lisa Millet (“Bad Habit”).

“I’ve been writing songs since I was about eight years old, playing keyboards, been in a steel band for years. The singing came later, but the writing was always there. I have a master’s degree and am an academic, but I have no qualifications in music. I decided to qualify in other areas just in case,” Mason tells us. “Training is much better now than it was back then. When I was a teenager, if I wanted to be a musician, there weren’t really any courses for singers. You took a course in media and hoped there was something in there. You had to be in bands, be part of the scene, put yourself out there.

“Now there are a lot of courses that cover this, but there are more people studying than asking,” she continues, explaining that this means countless great artists are slipping through the net. “Now musicians will almost certainly need another professional to sustain themselves and pay the bills. If you wanted to burn a track 20 years ago, that was $20,000 and a week in a professional studio. So, not everyone could afford, and the music was scarcer, but that meant it was being pushed in. Now a big part of the problem is that labels don’t invest like they did in a new song .

Citing what she sees as a rise in throwaway and disposable music, Mason reveals that one of her biggest concerns today is what this culture means for the future. A fear that 20 years from now we’ll have few “new classics” created in the present day, her honest and straightforward approach is foregrounded as she quips, “It’ll just be ‘Show Me Love’ again, or ‘Flowers’.

“Flowers may never have done anything at all now. It’s been invested heavily, but if it had had the same level of support they’re getting now, I doubt it would have seen the light of day. It there was £50,000 spent on it, £20,000 on the video alone and it was crap people believed in a song and a label would make it work properly it doesn’t seem to be happening now it seems to be music disposable,” she says, before delving into the history of the hit single.

“Flowers” by Sweet Female Attitude was one of the biggest garage tracks of the early 2000s.

“I was 16 when I first sang it, and we did about eight versions over the years trying to get a deal. The last label we approached was Reverb Records. They said that they loved it and they could hear the potential. It took them another two years to release it, and it was only white label because they had to honor the contract,” she continues. track took off because they invested in the right producer, it did well in London, and then they backed it, got it on the radio, gave it a real promotional campaign.”

Despite what Mason’s worries say about the state of the music, she’s quick to point out that it’s not a reflection on the quality of artists trying to break through today in 2022. Given of her role in nurturing these hopes, she is well placed to comment. Describing the talent pool in 2022 as “endless”, she nods to viewing habits and short attention spans as two contributing factors to the larger problem. Having everything you want on demand is helpful, but often means new artists and new work can easily be overlooked amid scrolling sensory overload.

“I remember my buddy and I were getting our expenses on a Friday and on Saturday morning we were at HMV to see what new vinyl was out before everyone else,” Mason explains. “A part of that culture that we enjoyed, those young guys will never know. I was recently talking to my daughter on Market Street about going to HMV to buy CDs and records. She never knew this concept.

Sweet Female Attitude will perform at Flashback Festival on Saturday May 21, 2022. Tickets are available.

Leanne Mason teaches at Access to Music. Course information and admission requirements are available online.

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