MY heart goes out to artists who tackle music…
at such a young age. Greta Jaime is only seventeen and has, already, made a name for herself – as a unique songwriter and extraordinary live performer. She talks to me about her route into music and the inspiration behind the new track, Static (Exchanges). She discusses her passion for Jimi Hendrix and what music she was exposed to as a child; whether there are any gigs coming up – and how she has improved/changed since her debut single, Lost in Mexico.
Greta Jaime tells me how she relaxes away from music; how it feels to get recognition from fans; whether there is any advice she would offer songwriters coming through the ranks – whether we will see her play some Hendrix-like flaming solos on stage anytime soon!
Hi, Greta. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m great, thanks! It’s been a very busy, exciting week.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a musician and songwriter from North London.
Static (Exchanges) is your new single. What is the tale behind it?
The story behind that song is kind of a unique one: it actually stemmed from a poem I had written called Stones. A few days later; I was working on an instrumental on my laptop and I had made this sort of brooding drum beat. Then, I kept singing part of the poem over it - which was the line “I’m still throwing stones to safety”.
From there, the song came together super-quickly because I realised I wanted to write about indifference and the growing distance that I was experiencing with someone at the time.
The single has already garnered acclaim and attention from radio and streaming sites. Is that quite pleasing to see?
Yes. It’s amazing! When releasing this song, I definitely didn’t expect it to get the response it has had.
Will there be more material to follow? What are you working on?
Yes. I have the next single that will be released in a few months – and I have an E.P. in-the-works, too!
Do you think you have taken steps since your debut song, Lost in Mexico? Have you grown in confidence, would you say?
I definitely think, since releasing that song, I’ve been able to evolve, musically, and have just had a chance to write a lot more. When I wrote Lost in Mexico; it felt like a song that sort of (just) fell out of me and, at the time, it was so different to anything else I had written. After releasing something so honest; it makes it easier for me to be open and to write about anything I like.
You are only seventeen. Is it quite daunting stepping into music so young?! Does the fact you’re a teenager give you a unique perspective on life?
I think it is daunting, in the sense that you’re trying to figure out how you can translate the way you hear the song in your head to the finished product. I got started in music production and recording demos because I couldn’t figure out how to explain what I wanted the song to sound like - but I could play the different parts and piece it together that way. I think, as you’re growing up, you experience so many new things in a short space of time.
Writing songs can be a good outlet to capture the sentiments that come with that - and give them their own space to live.
I know you developed a passion for Jimi Hendrix when growing up in North London. How did you first come to hear his music? What is about him that provokes a reaction?
I think, the first time I heard about him, was through my parents (who were big fans). I remember them watching a documentary about his music and just being drawn to his playing. I think, also, the way he was able to express himself so fluidly with the instrument was so appealing for me - because he made all of his playing look really intuitive.
Will we see any Jimi Hendrix-like flaming guitar solos and histrionics in the future, do you think?
I may have a few tricks up my sleeve for the future…but, I mean; if you have any spare guitars you want me to burn - please send them my way! I love evolving the live show and adding new elements to keep it exciting. Having free reign over the set is part of what I love about playing live - because I can change and develop things over time depending on the reaction from an audience.
Which other artists did you respond to when you were younger? Do you tend to prefer older, classic artists – or do you have a fondness for modern acts, too?
When I was younger, I listened to anything I could get my hands on really. I played guitar for a while before I started writing; so I was introduced to a lot of classic artists like Eric Clapton and David Bowie through that. At the moment, I listen to a lot of modern acts, too, because I think there are so many exciting artists pushing boundaries and merging genres in a unique way.
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
I would love to do a tour. I’m actually finishing my A-levels at the moment so gigs are temporarily on hold. But, if everything goes to plan; there should be some more shows in the summer!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Lots! Hopefully, I can collaborate more with other musicians and producers.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I only recently started playing shows but, last year, I was lucky enough to play Camden Assembly - and that was definitely a huge highlight for me. Living in North London, I’ve passed the venue so many times - so being able to play there meant a lot.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
I’m not sure if I should really be giving advice yet but, if I had to; I would say it’s important to constantly create and work on your craft. I think, if you’re able to keep your head down and constantly work to improve, it’s much easier to create opportunities for yourself and keep up with an industry that is evolving so quickly.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not really! If I’m not making music, I’m most probably consuming it but I like that. My sister gets paranoid my earphones will get tangled around my neck when I fall asleep - so I should probably stop doing that…
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Only one is so hard to pick - but a song I’ve been loving recently is Pills by St. Vincent. I got to catch her set at Green Man Festival in 2015 and she is incredible (also, yes; I am biased because she plays guitar.)
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