Fiona Bevan and Kal Lavelle: The Song Sisters Tour Marwood Cafe, Ship Street Court, Brighton, Sunday, August 17

WHEN she discovered only 13 per cent of the songwriters registered to songwriting rights society PRS For Music were female, One Direction songwriter Fiona Bevan decided to do something about it.

The result is the touring, free Song Sisters Masterclass run by Bevan and fellow songwriter Kal Lavelle, ahead of their double-headline all-female bill at the Marwood Cafe.

“We’re trying to help women whether it's about the music industry or the songwriting process,” says Bevan, who co-penned One Direction’s second chart-topper Little Things with Ed Sheeran.

“We are finding girls have amazing abilities but don't have the confidence. I think there is so much focus on how you look and your presentation skills which I don't think boys get to such a great extent. Women aren’t encouraged to take risks, but you have to be a risk-taker to do what we do every single night.

“When women come to see us play we are hopefully role models who will inspire them.”

Bevan started writing songs as a teenager, having played instruments for as long as she can remember.

She released her first studio solo album Talk To Strangers earlier this year, showcasing a jazz-influenced take on acoustic folk music and intelligent pop.

It was recorded in a live analogue style with producer Shawn Lee and Bevan playing all the instruments on the record.

“We did everything with a very human rhythm,” says Bevan.

It was a long road to the recording sessions, which saw Bevan working with former Satanic Slut Georgina Baillie in the Adam Ant-mentored outfit Poussez Posse, and touring with jazz pianist and songwriter Gwyneth Herbert.

“Playing with Gwyneth, with that jazzy, folky and story-telling influence, was a great learning experience,” she says, having contributed to two songs on Herbert’s latest album The Sea Cabinet. “Adam Ant was very inspiring. Everyone you work with you learn from – I never went to music college or anything like that.”

The financial support for the album came from her collaboration with Sheeran, which was recorded by One Direction in 2012. Little Things was initially recorded on a phone while the pair played shows together, long before Sheeran's ascent to the charts.

“I found the lyrics about a year later and emailed them to him,” remembers Bevan. “He was hanging out with One Direction at the time and demoed it for them.

“One Direction recording Little Things was an incredible life-changing moment – it helped me get a publishing deal, and gave me time and space to quit my job and focus on making my album. I love writing songs for other people - you get to tap into different emotions and use a different voice."

For her own album she was inspired by what was going on around her - from the all-encompassing nature of the music industry in The Machine, to the London riots in recent single Rebel Without A Cause.

“The riots swept up the street I was living in and smashed up cars along the road," she remembers. “I never saw that energy and frustration which had no means of articulating itself in any interview afterwards - it was always with victims and shopkeepers, not people who got swept up in it.

“I love clever, interesting pop. Some people turn their noses up at pop, but everyone has their own interpretation about what it means. I always think pop music means something that has an instantly likeable quality - something that's catchy.”

She's continuing to write - taking a notebook wherever she goes, and recording melodies on her phone - although she is finding it harder to write new material on tour.

“I would like to do the next album quite quickly,” she says. “It’s important to make it the best I can make it. I don't have any time pressure from the label - they want me to make something I'm proud of.”

Support from Stephanie O’Brien and Emily Baker.