I will put some boys/bands into this feature…
soon enough but, right now, a sensational female artist comes to my heart - one who has enjoyed a flow of upward trending. I have been reading interviews Jade Bird has conducted recently – including one with the BBC – and she has a real charm and accessibility that leaves ego at the door and opens its arms. The twenty-year-old, it seems, is rapturous, (very) funny company – friends tell her, if music does not work out, she can become a comic! It might seem, when reading these features, Bird does not take things seriously; she prefers fun as opposed to personal revelation and insight...you would be wrong. There is a warmth and a captivating aura that emanates from her but, balancing the humour, is an honest artist keen to explain her process. Her voice has been compared to Patti Smith and, usually, such name-dropping is exaggerated and lazy. In the case of Jade Bird; that honorific is justified and well-founded. It is hard to categorise and label her music: critics have tried and, rather restrictively, labelled her as a 'Country' artist. One hears Punk and Alternative sounds in her music; one gets impressions of early-2000s Pop – that is especially true on new single, Lottery. The young talent was going through writer’s block prior to laying the song down; trying alcohol and various other ‘cures’ to get her spark back. The chorus came to her and, with lottery-based metaphors in her head; the rest poured out of her. The young songwriter knew she had a hit and, whatever the reason for the revelation was, the brief writer’s block passed – she also read a series of band lyrics in order to get her songwriter-mind back in gear.
Bird was raised in a family that moved countries and had a military background – she was especially inspired by the strong women in her family (her mum and grandmother, especially). Bird’s rise to prominence started, like many, with pub gigs and open mic. nights. These were harsh and not instantly profitable. It was a valuable experience but, in an area of Wales that did not have a huge music scene; chances to perform bigger-scale gigs were hard to come by – to audiences who were not always receptive. The break came when she was offered a place at the Brit School. Bird settled into the place but would balance school work with gigs. It was a tough thing to cope with and there was a time when she made a confession to her mum: how was she going to manage and progress in music. After recorded songs in a friend’s bathroom – the acoustics, as she claims, were incredible – she cut a demo for her management and, without pause, she was shipped to Woodstock to record an E.P. (Something American) with Bat for Lashes’ producer, Simon Felice. Glassnote signed the singer and, with her career on the ascendancy; she was in a fertile and inspired mood. Bird, herself, claims to have notebooks filled with songs and ideas - hundreds, in fact! She is part of a Glassnotes stable that includes Chvrches, Phoenix and Childish Gambino: hardly minor names you are unlikely to have heard of - just the label to encourage Bird to foster those sketches and imaginative writings.
Her debut E.P. was well-received and, with songs like Cathedral in her arsenal; she was starting to prick the ears of some important sources. The track, seemingly, fell out of nowhere: the idea of jilting someone at the altar, wearing a big white dress, seemed like a great idea. The track, in a way, shares D.N.A. with Bat for Lashes’ concept album, The Bride. Bird adds her own dynamic and voice to a vivid and beautifully realised song that proves any past droughts are gone and buried. A spot on BBC’s Sound of 2018 is only the start of things: Bird has appeared on Stephen Colbert’s U.S. chat-show; she has big gigs coming up and, on Lottery; there is a new sense of style and purpose coming through. As Jade Bird noted when speaking with BBC: Lottery is the only song, more-or-less, on Spotify’s New Music Friday that featured real drums. Most of their recommendations are Electro/Pop artists: their songs tend to provide processed beats. That difference and originality is something Bird should be proud of. There are a lot of promising young female songwriters emerging; each with their own style and angle. I feel she has something the competition does not provide: a personality that seduced journalists and emanates from every note. You can hear Bird and that big smile; a curious mind and debating heart that wants her music to connect with every listener. All of these components – and the immense talent she possesses – means the on-the-rise songwriter is going to be…
ONE of 2018’s biggest propositions.
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PHOTO CREDITS: Getty Images/Jade Bird/BBC