“Everyone deserves to be safe”

In partnership with L’Oreal Paris

Áine Deane joined NME at the L’Oreal Paris stage at Luno presents All Points East 2023 to chat about their Stand Up Against Street Harassment campaign. Watch our full interview above.

At Luno presents All Points East 2023, L’Oreal Paris continued to raise awareness of their Stand Up Against Street Harassment campaign with a stage highlighting the best upcoming talent and a pop-up tent offering their 5 Ds training, free beauty supplies and relaxation spaces.

One of the artists making their Luno presents All Points East debut on the L’Oreal Paris stage was London singer-songwriter Áine Deane, who wowed the crowds with her dreamy introspective cuts.

Speaking to NME before her set, Deane told us what L’Oreal Paris’ campaign means to her, her latest EP ‘nothing left to say’ and supporting Sam Smith at the Royal Albert Hall.

NME: Hi Áine! Why are you partnering with L’Oreal Paris to discuss their Stand Up Against Street Harassment programme?

“Everyone deserves to be safe, whether you’re on the streets, in a festival or at home. I don’t think that anyone should ever be in a space where they feel unsafe so it’s important to advocate for that and raise awareness for it because not everyone understands what’s going on. I’m really glad that L’Oreal [Paris] is standing up to it at such a big festival as well, it’s really nice to see.”

As an artist working in the music industry, why is this cause important to you?

“At festivals specifically, a lot of people can feel quite unsafe as there’s a lot of people moving around in a large area, so I think it’s important to raise awareness at events like this and at other live music events. There’s a lot of space for things to happen, but there’s also a lot of people that can hold everyone accountable so it works both ways.”

If you’re comfortable to share, what kind of behaviours have you experienced in relation to street harassment?

“Every girl can say that they’ve been catcalled on the street, no matter what they’re wearing, what time of day it is or where they are. It could be in the middle of a city or in a village, it really doesn’t matter – everyone’s experienced it which is really sad and shouldn’t be the case at all.

“That’s what I’ve experienced. I’ve been quite lucky and haven’t had anything serious happen to me. But, I have a lot of friends who have been harassed in various different areas and it’s rubbish. It makes you feel so unsafe, and there’s nothing worse than feeling unsafe [around] where you live or where you work.”

What do you think can be done to further raise awareness and empower people to take action against street harassment within the live event space?

“It’s all about knowledge. A lot of people are unaware that it’s happening if it hasn’t happened to them, so it’s just letting people know that it’s happening to a lot of people and you need to be watching out and taking action. If you see something that isn’t right, you are allowed to stand up for it and you should. It’s giving people the power and the knowledge.

“It’s really important for artists to be watching the crowd as much as they can. I understand it’s quite difficult when you’re up on stage and you’re full of your own performance and all the things going on there, but artists should be keeping an eye on the crowds and for all of us to be looking out for each other. Make sure that people behind, beside or in front of you, even if they’re strangers that they’re feeling safe and that nobody’s acting untoward to other people.

“It’s everyone’s job to look out for each other. If you see something wrong, just call it out immediately.”

How did you find supporting Sam Smith at the Royal Albert Hall?

“It was potentially the best two days of my life. I’m a big fan of Sam Smith and I’m a big fan of the Royal Albert Hall, so to put them together was incredible. I’m a theatre kid at heart, have a drama degree and love musical theatre, so to be able to perform in the Royal Albert Hall was a dream of mine.

“As an artist, Sam Smith is an incredibly inspirational artist. I love their music and to be able to watch their soundcheck and be around the atmosphere, I felt very lucky. To sit there after my set, watch their show, and see their dancers and orchestra was amazing and so cool. It’s something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life and it’ll be very hard to beat.”

You released your EP ‘nothing left to say’ in June. It’s a very personal release, but also very relatable, from situationships breaking your heart to being young in love. How do you find putting your experiences out into the world?

“It’s very scary to put out songs that you’ve written so personally and about such specific experiences, but it’s the most liberating thing ever because you’ve been working on this music for years.

“For my latest EP, I was working on it for a very long time. By the time it’s ready for release, you haven’t been working on it for a couple of months so for it to all come out, you’re reintroduced to it in a new light which is so nice. I’ve had people come up to me at gigs and say, ‘This song has helped me through a break-up’ or ‘I really related to this song’ and that’s really special. These songs have helped me through certain parts of my life, so to have other people be able to experience that through my own songs is incredible and makes it feel like the breakup was worth it.”

Were there any trepidations just before its release?

“I was sat on my bed, counting down the minutes and seconds until midnight for it to come out. Part of you is really scared that something’s going to go wrong with any of the streaming services and it’s not going to upload correctly, or the picture’s going to be skewed or all orange. Your mind always picks out the worst possible scenarios.

“Then there’s also the element of something really personal is coming out into the world and everyone’s going to hear your innermost thoughts. It’s all fun and games when you’re writing in the studio but then when you release it and however many people are going to listen, it’s slightly terrifying. But, you also wrote it for a reason, so when I write a song and want it to come out, I decide which one that has a need for it to be released. It’s quite cathartic. A big emotional release.”

You’ve been on tour and playing festivals over the summer, how’s it been?

“Performing live is my favourite thing to do. When I’m writing songs in the studio, I’m thinking about performing them live so seeing people sing the words back and you and enjoy themselves, it’s such a great feeling. Also, going to gigs and festivals is one of my favourite things to do so to be able to bring that to other people at a festival is really cool. I never thought anyone would show up to any of my gigs. I’m constantly petrified that I’m going to play festivals and it’s just me, my mum and my dad, but I love it. It’s always really fun.

“They’re always fun days too. You get to do your set, and you also get to see so many other artists and pull inspiration from them. I often leave festivals and gigs getting so inspired to write new music because of how much fun I’ve had and you have to keep writing to keep performing.

“There’s no better feeling than someone singing your words back at you. Sometimes I’ll have eye contact with certain fans in the audience who are singing their words back at me and it’s such a special thing that we’re sharing.”

To find out more about the Stand Up Against Street Harassment Training you can take the introductory ten minute online here or register for a more detailed hour long in person session with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust here.

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