Singer-songwriter Freya Ridings has described the highlight of her career so far – getting her platinum disc in the post.
The 25-year-old releases her eponymous debut album later this month, a collection of songs she says has been 10 years in the making, 10 years of “writing and love… overcoming heartbreak and loneliness”.
But it was last summer that the musician shot to fame, thanks to a little help from reality TV.
The emotion of her third single, Lost Without You, was felt by millions as it provided the soundtrack to a break-up in an episode of Love Island 2018, eight months after its release, and subsequently shot into the top 10 of the UK charts.
It went on to be certified platinum, the status given to a single once it sells 600,000 copies.
“I think the moment… as a shy teenage girl dreaming of future things I never thought I’d have a platinum disc sitting on my wall,” Ridings told Sky News. “I do now.
“When the postman delivered that it was a real shocker of a moment.”
That’s really how you get your platinum records?
“Yes, the postman just delivers it and you’re like, ‘thank you!’ It’s just on my mantelpiece in my bedroom, it’s kind of massive. It’s quite surreal.”
Ridings spoke to Sky News at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, which celebrate all the arts genres, from comedy and TV to dance and opera.
The musician was nominated for the breakthrough award, which was eventually won by actress Jessie Buckley, but said it was “genuinely humbling” to be in the running.
“I had no idea that I was going to be nominated for something like this, and I’m just so happy to be here, so excited,” she said. “There’s so much culture, I love it. I’m so in awe of everyone who’s nominated.”
Ridings also spoke about the challenge of overcoming dyslexia as a songwriter.
“As a dyslexic person, being nominated for anything to do with writing is always going to really stun me, so I’m so, so thrilled,” she said.
“I feel like at school I was told I’d never pass any exams and my mum home-schooled me for a bit, so to actually be here for songs I’ve written and performed… there’s so many writers here I used to read when I was younger. It’s an incredible honour.”
Ridings attended the awards just a week after performing at Glastonbury for the first time.
Before performing Lost Without You, she told the crowd: “Sometimes you write a song in heartbreak and isolation, never thinking that anyone will hear it, or feel the same. And sometimes, that song changes your life, and I’m so, so grateful to be here with you today…
“This is for anyone who’s ever felt loss about somebody.”
Ahead of the festival, organiser Michael Eavis had picked two acts he was most looking forward to seeing – headliners The Killers, and Ridings.
“That took me back for a second,” Ridings said. “For him to say that, especially for Glastonbury where there’s so many people, it was a real pinch myself moment.”
- The Sky Arts Awards, hosted by Melvyn Bragg, airs on Sky Arts at 8pm on Wednesday