SINGER and songwriter Maz O’Connor will play Whitby's Musicport Festival on October 23 in the wake of the September 30 release of her new single, Skin.

"Skin wasn't easy to write, but I needed to write honestly about what it's like to be a young woman in this society," says Maz, who was born in Barrow-in-Furness but relocated to London. "Our bodies are scrutinised and we're under pressure every day to be perfect. And it's hard to be a young person in this country. I hope the song will offer a catharsis to people."

Since the February release of her third album The Longing Kind, O’Connor has been writing and working with producer Nosaappollo to develop a sound that fully represents her musical influences and ambitions.

“I'm 25 and living in one of the world's most diverse cities. I listen to everything. Why would I put limitations on my music?" she says. "It's taken me a while to figure out what kind of artist I am and want to be, but now I'm finally making music which feels like me, and I can't wait to share it.”

The January death of David Bowie sparked O’Connor’s new drive of creativity. "It reminded us that artists should have the courage to be authentically themselves. His subversion of the status quo was much bigger than music; it's about offering an alternative to the establishment," says Maz.

Although seeking to broaden her musical horizons, O’Connor will not turn her back on the genre that brought her a nomination for the Horizon Award at the BBC Folk Awards 2015 after releasing Upon A Stranger Shore in 2012 and This Willowed Light in 2014.

“Folk songs will always be in my bones, but so is Bowie, so is Joni Mitchell, so is Nina Simone. I'm a musician, and for too long I've limited myself to being a folk musician.”

Tickets for the Musicport Festival can be booked at