IT HAS been quite a year for Chepstow singer-songwriter Violet Skies.

The former Wyedean pupil, who used to spend her school lunch breaks writing songs with her friends, now finds herself signed to a deal with a major publishing company, with one of the songs she penned currently sitting in the UK Top 40 chart, and a headline concert in Cardiff at the end of the month.

“I didn’t expect it all to happen at the same time,” she said. “In music, you kind of keep going and just hope something turns up, but I didn’t expect it all to happen within weeks of each other. It’s been weird, to be honest.”

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Violet capped a successful six months with her first UK chart success, writing God Is A Dancer, which was released earlier in the autumn by British singer Mabel and superstar DJ Tiësto. The song has spent eight weeks in the UK Top 40, peaking at number 15.

“I get texts off people all the time, saying: ‘Hey, your song’s playing on the radio,’” Violet said. “It’s a really weird feeling.”

Violet began songwriting in earnest while studying at Wyedean School, in Sedbury.

“My music teacher Mr [Brian] Ellam, who retired this year, and my other teacher Ms [Patricia] Allard were amazing people who really encouraged me and my friends to write songs, and write in our school break times,” Violet said. “That’s how I got started, and it wasn’t until a few years later that I started songwriting properly, professionally.”

As well as the support she received at home, Violet said those early days with Mr Ellam, Ms Allard, and her first singing teacher Elisabeta Battersby had been “instrumental” in her career.

After Wyedean, Violet studied French and history at Exeter University, and left there with a renewed determination to work in music. A set at the 2014 Glastonbury festival was followed by a place in the BBC Horizons project and concerts in China and North America. But her first big songwriting break happened almost by accident, when a phone call from the Sony office in Berlin cut short a date she was on in the city.

“They’d heard I was in town through some friends of mine,” Violet said. “I went in for a meeting, played them some songs, and they asked me to stay another week. I ended up recording with a bunch of artists and one of the songs got recorded by Zara Larsson.

“It was all super-accidental. I feel sorry because I did ditch that guy, but for me it worked out in the end.”

Since that fateful Berlin trip, Violet has written with a host of international stars including One Direction’s Liam Payne, and earlier this year signed a publishing deal with prestigious music firm Kobalt.

Violet also runs Shewrites, a global series of all-female songwriting camps, which aims to redress what she called the “horrific” gender imbalance in the music industry.

Behind all her recent achievements, though, is an appreciation for the support and early opportunities she had, in and around her hometown.

“I played every tiny pub in Chepstow,” she said. “I even went to the pop-up show in the High Street with a band I used to be in. I played tiny places in Newport, Cardiff, and all over.”

Violet also learned the ropes in a spell working at Monnow Valley Studios, and T’Pau founder Ron Rogers helped her record some early demos.

“I did so much stuff in the local area,” she said. “I was lucky that I met those people because they formed my early experiences.”

After a whirlwind 2019, Violet is now looking forward to moving to Los Angeles next year, where she will work for Kobalt; and has more artists releasing her songs in the coming months. She will also focus on her own music and tours.

The dream, she said, would be to write a song for Adele, though a Violet Skies world tour is also high up on the list of ambitions.

“If you do a world tour, you’ve ticked a lot of boxes for yourself, professionally, but let’s start with the headline show in Cardiff,” she said.

“I can’t wait, and I’ve got two other girls supporting me who are amazing. A lot of people in Chepstow have asked me when I’m going to do a show in Wales.

“I really wanted to do a home show, because I’ve got friends and family who haven’t seen me sing in years. It feels like a lovely conclusion to what has been a big year for me.”

Violet Skies will perform at Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, on Saturday, November 30, 7pm. For more information about the concert, visit