PHOTO CREDIT: Alyssa Justice Photography
IF one wants an exceptional and unique artist…
PHOTO CREDIT: Mariah Crabb Photography
with a passion that runs deep, then I know someone who ably fits the bill. Rather than being a songwriter du jour; JØUR is someone who will remain in music for years and inspire many others to put pen to paper and get their feelings onto the page.
I have been speaking with her about the new single, American Nightmare, and what she thinks of America under Trump; which albums and songwriters have influenced her; what her next steps are; if she has any tour plans lined up – JØUR tells me what she hopes to achieve before the year is through.
Hi, JØUR. How are you? How has your week been?
The sun is shining and I’ve finally put my winter coat away this week, so I am doing great.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Yes, hello. My name is JØUR!
American Nightmare is your new song. What is the story behind it?
I wrote bits and pieces of American Nightmare over a year or so, as a general reflection on my feelings towards the classic ‘American Dream’: go to school, get a job; get married, buy a house; start a family, grow your kids, so they can do it all over again. It felt really contrary to what I wanted for my life and it seemed like that lifestyle would be more of a nightmare than a dream to me.
Meanwhile, my country unexpectedly elected Donald Trump; Black Lives Matter has been fighting for justice in our generation’s fight for Civil Rights; gun violence is at an all-time high in the U.S. and the #MeToo movement has forced a reckoning for men’s treatment of women across the globe.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that the song has taken on new meaning for me in the last two years since I originally wrote it.
How do you see the current situation in the U.S.? Do you think the nation is heading for disaster?
The current situation in the U.S. has, perhaps, already arrived at the point of disaster. I don’t say that sardonically, as much as I recognize that we are in a state of severe imbalance and polarization that has created a lot of unrest.
Rather than heading for disaster, however, I have more hope than ever that our country can break out of the stagnant status quo that has defined it for so long and truly believe in the power of our people to surge forth and create a change in the paradigm that favors our citizen’s well-being and safety. We are in a unique moment as a nation, with the potential to turn the tide with our collective voices.
PHOTO: CREDIT: Hillary Olson Photography
Do you think it is important to fight against oppressors like President Trump?! What does American need to do survive and evolve from this nightmare?
Although I’m not a fan of Trump as President, his leadership has unveiled the true state of our nation. Hate crimes rose when he was elected and after the protests in Charlottesville, we could no longer hide from the truth that there is still systemic racism and hate in our country. Like I said before; we are in a unique moment and hate is largely unfiltered while he is in power...
It’s important for us, as a nation, to see where people’s attitudes truly lie so we can begin to shift the paradigm with this next generation of young people. I think that is possible. These old veins of hate may not ever be eradicated, but many of the people who embody that hate will die soon and our generation is going to be the one running the country with a new vision for what it means to experience freedom in the “Land of the free”.
What is the future looking like in terms of material? Might we see an E.P. later this year?
I can promise you there will be more music coming in 2018.
Which musicians inspired you to get into music?
I distinctly remember obsessing over Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard record as a young child. One time, I was in the bathroom singing one of her songs into the mirror and, when I came out ,my whole family was standing outside of the door and applauded. I was so embarrassed. I think I was eight.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alyssa Justice Photography
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
I have summer gigs lined up locally in the twin cities of Minnesota. Currently, I have some other ideas in the works but nothing confirmed.
Are you coming to the U.K.? Do you like British music?
That would be a dream come true. Yes. Let’s say that is on my list of goals. Regarding British music, yes, I have a few favourites. I’ll take the heat but I will always love Oasis and truly one of my favourite bands of all time is Led Zeppelin.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I hope to continue down a path of creativity. I create more than just music and I want this year to be (the year) where I can say I gave myself fully to my creative potential in all areas, be it dance, painting; photography, design; music, writing or other mediums.
PHOTO CREDIT: Hillary Olson Photography
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Yes - I used to tour with HALEY (Haley Bonar) as her synth player and background vocalist and we had an outrageous time in the U.K. Every show was sold out and the people were so kind and supportive. We got to play on Jools Holland with The Temptations, which was a really special experience.
If you could select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Feist – Metals
This record taught me how to use my voice like a paintbrush to make art. It changed the course of my music entirely. I learned that everything matters in a song, even the space between the notes.
Brooke Fraser - Brutal Romantic
Brooke Fraser is a poet. I have always found her music inspiring and this has influenced my lyricism. Additionally, the production on this album is nothing short of brilliant.
Led Zeppelin - BBC Sessions
This set of albums made me understand music as something spiritual.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Find your strengths and use them, then build a team to fill out your weaknesses. You’ll never follow exactly in someone else’s path, so your best friend is yourself. Know yourself, know your strengths and know your limitations.
IN THIS PHOTO: Andy Cook
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I am a power cleaner...
My whole world feels brighter when the dishes are done and the floor is mopped. Otherwise, I knit clothes and listen to podcasts. No T.V. in my house.
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).
Feist’s Anti-Pioneer OR Brooke Fraser’s St. Petersburg (IV Fridays). When I heard both of these songs, I felt like they were the last songs that ever needed to be written. I can listen to both on-repeat for hours…