by Helen Earnshaw |
Jodie Marie is set to make a huge name for herself in 2012 as she releases her debut album Mountain Echo, a record that has been four years in the making.
I caught up with the twenty year old singer song writer to talk about the album and her new single I Got You.
- You are about to release your new single I Got You so what can we expect from this new record?
It is a song that I wrote with Bernard Butler a while back and it’s quite a souly and upbeat song, it’s probably one of the most upbeat songs on the record.
It is basically a song about having someone really close to you and no matter what situations or problems that life throws at you you know that you have got that one person to rely on, and that’s all you need to get by really.
It’s just a really happy song that is very soulful and I am really excited to release it.
- Your sound doesn’t really fit into any one genre, there is some soul, blues and folk influences in there, so how would you describe the sound of your music?
I think you have nailed it their really. There are influences from mainly Blues I would say, although my album is not strictly a Blues album, but Blues, Soul and a little bit of folk.
There is a mixture of songs on there but all of the songs that I wrote are from the heart, I always feel like you have to write from the heart so the listener can relate to them.
I think it’s a bit of a mixture it’s got happy, sad, remembrance and I think that it is an album that people can relate to and it’s things that I have wanted to tell people and have never been able to - this album is a way of saying these things to people finally.
- This single is quite simple with the way that is sounds with a stripped back piano so is this the kind of sound that we can expect from the rest of the album?
Again I think there’s a mixture as not every track on the album is piano - I Got You is probably the more contemporary song on the album. Mountain Echo, which is the name of the album as well, is the final track on the album it’s a remembrance song really and I wrote it with Ed Hardcourt after his friend passed away.
We went into a session and we wanted to make something sad but beautiful and I think that is what the album is trying to sound like; not necessary sad but something that is quite beautiful even in the sad songs.
There is a real mixture as there are more guitary based songs so it’s quite souly and bluesy - that is how I would put it out to people really.
- As you say Soul, Blues and Folk are very prominent on the album so is this the kind of music that you grew up listening to?
Yes, yes lots of Blues music. My parents were always playing lots of BB King in the house so it started from when I was born really. There was a bit of country, not a lot but my mum use to sing Patsy Kline to me when I was a baby.
Yeah loads of Blues music has been played around my house and it has influenced the way that I write and the style that I have come to find of myself.
There were loads of Eric Clapton, Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan played around the house and I think that is what made me be more interested in the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt because it’s of the same sort of style. But it has always been that older style that I have loved really.
- We have talked about the stripped back sound of the single and the rest of the album does follow in this vein so how much of a conscious choice was it to make the vocals a huge focus point of the album?
I think that the vocals carry the album and really hold it together; I think that is the main thing. But I think with the sound of the album, although you say it sounds stripped back, there is a lot of technicalities within the album as well, there are lot of little things that need to be listened to within a track.
And I think that is one of the things that is exciting about it is there are some really amazing players on the album that I got to work with and I am really thankful for that.
But I think that it is the vocal that holds it together as I have always been one to listen to vocals and lyrics in whatever music I have listened to and that is what I wanted to get across with my album; I wanted people to hear the voice and listen to what I am saying and really be able to relate to it.
-The album is produced by Bernard Butler and Ed Harcourt so how did that collaboration come about?
When I was sixteen and first got found by a guy called Roy, who is my management now, and one of my management Toby his dad was staying at a B&B and, to cut a long story short, he set up the first session with Bernard Butler.
At the time I didn’t know who Bernard Butler was, which I am quite thankful for now because I was so nervous anyway, I started writing with him and it went from there. Then I got set up with different writers, for example Ed Harcourt, and just found that I really gelled with them.
I had been writing long before I began co-writing with Bernard but they just understood what I wanted to do and they drew it out me as well. I think that is what makes it so lovely was I was able to write with these people and be true to what I wanted to do in the first place
- You’ve penned the album so which artists have a heavy influence on you and what general influences your writing?
I would say that my main musical influence would be Bonnie Raitt, especially the Collection album and her early Blues stuff, I have always listened to her and she means every word when she sing a song, even if she is doing a cover; she does a lot of covers but she manages to sell to as if she has written it herself.
She means every word because it has come straight from her heart and that is how I feel I try and write, or I do write, I want people to feel the same feeling that I do when I listen to songs that she has written. I want people to feel every word and feel the passion and I hope that that comes across in my work.
The other thing is where I am from and I think that is a massive influence on my album, I am from Narberth in Pembrokeshire It’s a very rural area and it’s very close to the sea and I think that it has had a huge impact on my music, just being outdoors and being with nature. I have to go back and have doses of that after I have been in London for a while.
- You a signed to Verve records so how did you come to sign with that label?
We had been going around with my music to different labels, once I had got a good number of tracks together and I had demos of them, and Simon Gavin had just moved over the Decca and he had heard a bit of music, and from what he had said, he had enjoyed it straight away.
I was at home in Narbeth and I had a phone call from my management asking if is was alright for Simon and them to drive down? And I was like ‘yes that is fine’. There are not many head of labels that treks all that way, it’s a four and a half drive to my house from London. For him to come down showed that he was interested from the beginning. We sat and chatted and the second time that we met I was signing to Decca which was amazing.
And it is such an amazing label as well they have got such a fantastic amount of artists on there such as Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and it’s amazing to think that I have been put on that list - it’s really flattering and I am honoured.
- And Verve Records have obviously given you the space to write and create the kind of album that you wanted to how important was it for you to have that kind of creative control?
It’s very important yeah. I had written a lot before Decca had come into the picture and with my management as well they were really supportive in just having me do exactly what I wanted.
That’s is why I took long in making and releasing the album because when I first started with Bernard I was sixteen and I am twenty now - so it’s been four years making sure this is exactly what I wanted to release.
I am really happy with it and it’s really nice having a label and a management behind you that are fully supportive of what you want to release and enjoy it as well. I didn’t want to release anything that I wasn’t happy with and I know that I am ready to release it and this is exactly the path that I wanted to go down. I am really happy to release it and I am very excited as well.
- You supported Will Young on his last UK tour so how was that experience? And how did you find working alongside Will?
It was amazing to have the opportunity to tour with someone like Will because he has such a massive following, especially coming from a TV programme he has really moved away from that and he has done really well to become himself. I really respect him for that because I expect that it is not that easy to do that.
Working alongside him is incredible and he is such a nice guy and seeing him on stage after we had played was lovely. The audience really responded to him and to us, it is quite daunting as a support artist thinking that you have got to support someone who has such as designated fan base you think ‘they are not going to come and see us and it is going to be empty’ or ‘if it’s full they are going to talk over us because they are excited to see the main band’.
But they were so lovely and it was full from the beginning and you could hear a pin drop through every gig it was fantastic.
- You also played the HMV Next Big Thing Festival so how was that gig?
Yes I played in the Jazz Café and what an amazing venue that is with the names that have played there. But it was really lovely to be part of that and there were some great artists playing on the night I was there and to be part of that was really flattering.
I really enjoyed the gig as it was only the second gig we played with my full band because we have just been doing an acoustic set up for the last year, so it was nice to get the full band in there.
- Finally what’s next for you?
My next single I Got You is out 27th February and then my album is out on the 5th March, which I am really excited to release. Hopefully some support tours are in the pipeline because I would love to get back on the road again.
Then I have my first headline show, which is going to have a string quartet and special guest as well, on the 17th May at Shepherd’s Bush Hall so I really can’t wait to get to that time now. I feel like rolling time on but I don’t want to as well because there are a lot of exciting thins going to happen before. Just keep performing and writing I guess, the two things that I love.
Jodie Marie’s single I Got You is released 27th February.
And the album Mountain Echo is released 5th March.
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw