Backstage with Jess, Laila and Emily

This week we go backstage with Jess, Laila and Emily, three school friends from Bristol currently studying for their A-Levels.

Children and teenagers across England and Wales will be heading back to school this September after a strange and unprecedented summer. Jess, Laila and Emily share with us how they have been adapting to schoolwork and friendship in lockdown. The girls are united over their passion for music, and would usually attend concerts together around the UK to see their favourite artists. In this interview, the girls share with us what they love most about living in Bristol, what music keeps them focused when studying for exams and their all-time favourite live gigs.

What does it mean to you for Bristol to finally have an indoor live entertainment arena?

Jess: It’s great that we won’t have to travel too far as we’ll have our own arena where we can proudly support artists from everywhere. It also will give Bristol even more of a lively atmosphere where everyone can come together.

Laila: It is relieving to hear that we won’t have to travel hours to cities such as London and Birmingham to see some of our favourite artists live. It also brings a lot more opportunities to the city and people of Bristol.

Emily: It's amazing, being able to see artists in my city is something I've always wanted to be able to do. The travel side is usually what puts me off going to as many concerts. It will give everyone in the area so many more opportunities.

What do you love most about Bristol?

Jess: I love the busy nature that Bristol has; it always feels like you’re surrounded by interesting people with their own stories.

Laila: The city has many things that we don’t commonly see such as a harbour and a suspension bridge, making the city very unique.

Emily: I think the main thing would be the creative side to the city for me, having the works of Bansky and the growing number of events makes it a great place to be.

Like many young people, you’ve been completing your schoolwork and revision from home. Is there an album or playlist which keeps you focused and relaxed when studying?

Jess: I usually can’t sit down and concentrate without music! I am always listening to chill playlists with artists like Chase Atlantic or Croosh as it helps me to multitask!

Laila: I always try to listen to music while I study or do homework to help relieve stress and tension. I have a range of different songs and albums I listen to while trying to destress. It also helps me to listen to film soundtracks as well.

Emily: Music has helped massively for me to stay concentrated and calm in lockdown. I’ve made many playlists and have enjoyed having the time to discover new artists. I recently discovered Gracie Abrams and Kiana Ledé and love their work.

You’re a close-knit group of friends so it must be strange not to see each other every day at school. How have you been keeping in touch e.g. Zoom quizzes, FB messages, FaceTime?

Jess: We’re always talking through social media or playing games with each other but it’s definitely weird not seeing each other every day for so long.

Laila: It is strange going from pretty much living together to not seeing each other at all. We have caught up through discord calls and text messages as well as playing games such as Minecraft.

Emily: We’ve called each other a few times and have checked in on each other. It's been really strange not seeing each other at all.

First gig, last gig, favourite gig?

Jess: My very first gig was Twenty-One Pilots with Laila at a massive arena, and my last gig was Somebodies in a very cosy music venue in Bristol, so it was quite an interesting difference! My favourite gig was MARINA, which I went to with Emily, as the atmosphere was incredible.

Laila: My first and favourite gig was the Twenty-One Pilots Bandito tour in March 2019. The last gig I attended was Seafret.

Emily: My first Gig was Ariana Grande and that was incredible, my last one was The 1975 and my favourite so far would probably be MARINA.

bristol 🤍

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Which artist/band/performer would you like to see perform at YTL Arena Bristol (...and why?)

Jess: I would love to see either Glass Animals or Tame Impala as I reckon their music would sound so great in such a large arena and give amazing performances!

Laila: It would be really cool to see bands such as My Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco perform at the YTL Arena as they have big fan bases which will attract a lot of attention to the city.

Emily: Lennon Stella! She is the first person I’ve ever seen in Bristol, and I would love to see her come back and play at the arena one day. I did also speak to her briefly about the city and was delighted that she loved it.

Can you name a song that can instantly boost your mood? (and why?)

Jess: Wounded/Surrounded by Kid Bloom has kept me in such a good mood recently, his music always gives off such a lively vibe.

Laila: There are many songs I use to boost my mood, but it is currently Level of Concern by Twenty One Pilots as it fits the situation we are currently in and brings some joy to it. I have also been a fan of the band for years, so they are familiar to me.

Emily: At the moment I would say Rain on Me by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande - I love both artists so the collaboration was really exciting. 

And finally, can you share an all-time favourite song/ a song that means a lot to you so we can add it to our YTL Arena Backstage Pass playlist?

Jess: Harvey by Her’s because it’s just such a beautiful song that gets to me every time.

Laila: Ribs by Lorde as I really like the vibe of the song and how upbeat it is.

Emily: Save Us by Lennon Stella is a song that means a lot to me lyrically.

To listen to our Backstage Playlist on Spotify, click here. For exciting updates at YTL Arena Bristol, follow @ytlarenabristol on social media or sign up to our newsletter here