THE superb Jade Helliwell is one of the most stirring…
and exceptional voices in British music right now. I ask her about her love of music and the artists who motivate her. She tells me about her E.P., Infatuation, and what themes inspired the work; what gigs she has coming up; whether Nashville is somewhere, given her love of Country, she would love to perform – Helliwell suggests a new artist for us to watch.
I ask whether there are plans for the remainder of the year and what it feels like delivering music on stage; if she has a favourite memory from her career in music; what advice she would give to upcoming artists – Helliwell tells me how she relaxes away from music.
Hi, Jade. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello. I’m great, thanks. I’m having a lovely week filled with live sessions and writing.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Yeah, sure. I’m Jade Helliwell; I live in West Yorkshire. I have been performing for most of my life. I taught myself how to play the guitar when I was nineteen and began writing my own songs and I haven’t looked back.
What can you reveal about your new E.P., Infatuation? What sort of ideas and stories inspired the songs?
The new E.P. is a collection of songs that all link in some way to the feeling of being infatuated by somebody. Some of the songs are fun and upbeat and tell stories of yearning for someone to notice you; others are more sombre and tell the story of heartbreak.
Repeat is the lead single and the idea behind that song was that when you find someone you’re happy with, you no longer search for the perfect love song to describe your relationship as that person becomes your perfect love song.
Your Forget the Night E.P. resonated and proved popular. Were you encouraged and motivated by the success and attention it garnered?!
Yes. it definitely motivated me to record and release another E.P. The fans took to my music so kindly and asked for more - so it was great to know there were people out there ready and wanting to hear more.
Is the single, Repeat, your favourite song of recent times? Do you find yourself liking certain songs (you have written) depending on mood and situation?
Yes. Repeat is one of my favourites. It’s really fun and catchy so, hopefully, audiences will be able to take to it and join in at live shows. Yeah; I change my mind a lot - it does depend on what mood I’m in and also what kind of event I’m performing at. Sometimes, I love the upbeat songs and other times I enjoy the slower ballads more.
It seems like you draw from a large range of musical sources. Is your record collection pretty eclectic would you say?!
Yes. My record collection is very eclectic. I have music from old Country artists like Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash as well as new Country artists like Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan. I have C.D.s from the ‘divas’ such as Judy Garland, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion; lots of Pop music (Ariane Grande, Ed Sheeran; Little Mix, Dua Lipa and Anne-Marie); singer-songwriters (Ed Sheeran, George Ezra; James Bay and Hozier). I love Motown music and musical soundtracks and lots more. There are even a few Rap and Classical albums in my collection!
If I like a song, I like it - doesn’t matter which genre it is. To me, I think that’s great and I can use that love of different genres in my own writing.
Your mind, inevitably, draws towards Country. Have you been to Nashville – is it a place you can see yourself spending a lot of time in?
I have been three times - but each time on holiday. I was lucky enough to perform at a female writer’s night on my first trip and the open mic night at The Bluebird Café. I’m really eager to get back over and book some shows and writing sessions. I would love to become a frequent visitor to Nashville.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
Hopefully, at some point! I have lots of exciting shows. Throughout the summer, you can catch me at Buckle and Boots, Nashville Meets London and FSA.
How do you feel when you get on stage and perform to crowds? Is it easy to put that feeling into words?
It is hard to describe how it feels to perform: it’s a mix of excitement, joy and nerves. It’s hard to describe how it feels to put yourself on stage to perform to people and see them singing along, smiling and enjoying themselves. It’s an incredible feeling.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I would like to achieve some success on radio and also to perform for audiences up and down the country.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
My favourite memory is one from not so long ago. I performed at Buckle and Boots’ ‘In the Round’ at the festival alongside Sonia Leigh and Jenn Bostic. That Friday, I had quit my job as a teaching assistant to pursue music full-time...
I have been feeling worried that I had made the wrong decision and things wouldn’t work out. When I played the round, the reaction was unbelievable. I felt at home on the stage talking about my music and felt blessed to be in such great company. I remember feeling slightly overwhelmed and I knew right then that leaving my job was the best decision I could have made.
That gig will always stick in my mind as the moment I realised that maybe I could make a real career out of music.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
All of my releases mean a lot to me for different reasons. Secrets was my first full-length release. It will always be special to me as it was my first introduction to people.
Forget the Night was my first step into the Country scene. It’s also the E.P. that caught most people’s attention due to the aftermath of the viral video I was in.
Infatuation is something I’m incredibly proud of - and I believe it is exactly the kind of music I’ve been longing to make.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
My advice would be to be present. Get to as many shows as possible. Meet people; be willing to travel and play for very little to make connections and build friendships within the industry.
IN THIS PHOTO: Becky Lawrence
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I would recommend Becky Lawrence. She’s got an amazing voice and has a great E.P. out!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I do occasionally. I am one extreme to the other. Sometimes, my way of relaxing on a day off is to go out eating and have a few drinks and a night out. Other times, I just want a bubble bath, a dressing gown and a Netflix-marathon in bed!
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).
Ah, thanks so much. I would love to hear Ashley McBryde – The Jacket. I’ve had it on-repeat all month!
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