Horsham singer-songwriter launches new name and identity

A Horsham singer-songwriter after years of performing under variations of her own name has relaunched herself under a new identity.

Marnie Burt is now ilonalowe.

She brought out her new single Once Again at the end of April; the next single Some Day will be out at the end of May.

Marnie, who attended Millais School and Collyer’s in Horsham is just about to graduate from BIMM in Fulham, having found, she says, her artist voice.

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“The new name came because I wanted to move on from various incarnations of my own name that I have used over the years. For years, I was just different versions of Marnie, and it was just a massive confusion for me and for everybody that was listening to me.

“I decided to start over, and it has been the best decision I have ever made.

“I decided to do it during lockdown. This is a very new project for me.

“The new name came from looking at a lot of paint colours on websites. Sometimes you need a bit of external inspiration! And I saw ilona and I thought that sounds pretty.

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“It’s a pinky creamy colour, and when I looked it up, I discovered that it is Hungarian for Queen of the Fairies. And lowe… well, it just sounds good!”

Now 26, Marnie first used her name for making music when she was about 15. Changing to something else completely now is “either brave or stupid”, she says: “But my dad always describes me as a woman of extremes!

“I do do quite impulsive things, but they are usually informed.

“But during all that time I was never quite sure who I was as an artist, but over the past year I have become much more sure about who I am and about what I want to do.”

Because of the lockdown?

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“I don’t really know what the catalyst was. It’s quite possibly something to do with the lockdowns. I suppose I happened to have a little bit more time on my hands to have the creative space where I was not just trying to focus on a job.

“But I do think for some people it can take a long time to figure out who they are. Other people just slip into it, but over the years I have been in many outfits playing all sorts of different music.

“Over this year I have had a definite growth in defining who I actually am. Through doing lots of writing, especially over the past three years where I have been at university studying song-writing, I feel I have really figured it out.

“I would describe the music as alternative folk. I know it sounds cheesy, but the music is just me in music form. It is an opportunity to be really creative in my writing and a chance to speak my truth, not to be afraid to take a stance and to say what I believe and to address certain things.

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“I used to get involved in political commentary and socio-economic commentary, but I didn’t know enough about it and didn’t want to get preachy.”

It’s more a question of talking about relationships – and also addressing the third factor in relationships that makes them a problem, namely her own insecurities and anxieties.

Songs are a good way of dealing with them: “But I want to be addressing them in a way that touches everybody.

“For me it is a way of addressing personal things but in a way I hope will resonate with everybody.

“I don’t want to become known as a preachy songwriter!”

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