HAVING earned fans such as Elton John and Ryan Adams, and a five-star review from The Guardian for her recent album May Your Kindness Remain, Courtney Marie Andrews’ reputation is on the rise. She spoke to HUGH FINZEL ahead of her Brighton show

This won’t be your first time performing in Brighton. What do you make of the city?

I love playing there. Brighton is such a beautiful seaside town. The first time I played here was in a pub when I was 21, and I’ve loved coming back ever since.

I read that you’ve been doing some producing work here as well?

That’s true, I was here for a week in January with Oliver Spalding and Jack Watts, producing their record. It was fun. We had a beautiful seaside cottage and it was my first experience producing another person’s record.

Speaking of producers, what was it like to work with Mark Howard [Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Neil Young] on May Your Kindness Remain?

It was amazing. Mark is an incredible person to work with. He offers a perspective that is very inspiring and one that I often wouldn’t think of. That’s why I wanted to work with him in the first place; he has a very non-traditional, spontaneous way of working.

You produced your previous album Honest Life yourself, what made you decide to bring in outside help for this record?

I know what my limits are, and I wanted to shake that foundation up and stretch not only my limits but the limits of the sound. I also didn’t want it to feel like a nine-to-five, where I go to the same studio and do the same exact thing as last time.

I like to push myself and the next logical challenge was to shake things up and go down to LA and record the album in eight days. We recorded it sitting in a circle in a big glass room, with lots of weed.

How did it feel, after 10 years of making music, to be labelled an overnight success when Honest Life took off?

It’s funny, I think one publication said that I was “an overnight success after eight years”, and that is kind of how it feels. It’s great to finally come to town on a tour bus and have a crowd to play for. I really can’t be any more grateful to be at this point, because I did have years and years of just about getting by.

You’re coming to the end of your European tour now. Is there a difference between how women in music are perceived and treated in the UK and Europe and in the USA?

I think things are changing everywhere. There are now so many people making it known that we’ve been turned away for too long. There is this great website called BookMoreWomen who have all these festival posters where they take away the men’s names, and bands that feature only men, and you’re left with very few names.

It’s trending now, so people are noticing that women have just as much of a voice as men do, and we deserve every bit of opportunity as they have. I think it’s pretty much the same here as it is in America. Things are constantly changing and I do believe it is getting better, because people are calling it out. I’m not sure that things have changed yet, but they are changing.

Would you describe yourself as a country singer?

No. At least in America I’m not a country singer. I think maybe in Europe I’m thought of as more so. I identify more as a singer-songwriter, only in the sense that I really want to make many different styles of music, and if you’re “country” then it’s harder to make a folk song or a funk song. I mean, country artists have done that in the past and I think that’s why the term Americana came about in the first place; it’s all roots music in one genre.

Your music has come a long way since your first band Massacre In A Miniskirt. Does anything remain from those punk roots?

Absolutely. There is a DIY freedom to punk and a freedom to speak your mind, and that’s always really resonated with me from those roots. Plus we were a feminist punk band, and that remains.