Six Of The Best – Jodie Nicholson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Darlington’s Jodie Nicholson is a captivating performer and writer of beautiful music. Her melodic and ethereal style alongside her note-perfect delivery can reduce the rowdiest of audiences to pin-drop silence. In September this year, she released her home-spun, debut album ‘Golden Hour’ and she now finishes off the year with a couple of shows on Saturday 7th December at Stockton Sparkles supporting Cattle & Cane (which has now sold out) and Sunday 15th December at  Soapbox Sessions in Darlington

Here, Jodie chats influences as she shares with us her Six Of The Best.

Influences have and haven’t always been easy to pinpoint for me. There are a few key players who have inspired the way I play and write from the very beginning, but recording ‘Golden Hour’ unravelled facets to my ‘style’ that I didn’t necessarily know existed. I predominantly gravitate towards and take inspiration from music that is lyrically interesting, melancholic, layered and full of feeling.

Growing up I was surrounded by my mum’s love for ABBA and singer-songwriters like Eva Cassidy and Katie Melua, my dad’s choice of T Rex, Tom Waits, and Planet Rock radio (which still remains a staple), and a healthy mix of early 2000’s pop and R&B. You could say that I’ve always listened to a relatively broad range of music. Below are a handful of many artists that influenced my debut album ‘Golden Hour’ and my songwriting as a whole:

DaughterDaughter are probably one of my biggest influences. When I first started writing, I didn’t necessarily know how to express what I wanted to write about without being blunt or too obvious. I would say that Daughter’s metaphorically-heavy lyrics and storytelling helped me find my feet lyrically in some way. There is an unmistakable ache in all Daughter’s songs that I adore listening to, it’s almost cathartic. I love their music for the production and how they build each song. It’s brimming with atmospheric, electric sounds and thunder-like drum beats, which definitely inspired me to build upon the acoustic, stripped-back framework of my songs. My favourite songs of theirs include ‘Still’, ‘Smother’ and ‘Tomorrow’. 

Laura MarlingMy dad first introduced me to Laura Marling when I was around 16/17. Hilariously, I remember not knowing whether I liked her music or not, as after a short while she became one of my favourite artists. There is a brilliance in the darkness of her storytelling, every song paints a picture in your mind with her use of imagery and characters. I’ve always admired Laura Marling for her folk-inspired instrumentation, intricate guitar playing and ability to sing about sadness so beautifully. ‘The Beast’, ‘Daisy’ and ‘Blackberry Stone’ are some of my favourites. Learning to play a number of her songs made me fall in love with open D tuning on guitar, and they really provided guidance as to how I could use it for writing my own material. It’s a very warm and inviting tuning that I used for songs like ‘In Spring’ and ‘Run’. 

Tori AmosI was introduced to Tori Amos by my parents when I was in my early teens. Admittedly, I know very little of her music and only know her EP, ‘Scarlet’s Hidden Treasures’, along with a couple of other songs. Listening to that EP alone has pushed me massively over the years to play and write my own music on piano. To me, the way she plays the piano is the stuff of dreams. Her songs are a joy to sing, my favourites are ‘Ruby Through the Looking Glass’ and ‘Seaside’. I love the moments where she holds a note over the music. I feel as though her influence has crept in more and more as I’ve continued writing and my ability has progressed. The introduction to ‘Apollo’s Frock’ definitely inspired me to experiment with writing instrumental pieces, it’s so moving. 

Lucy Rose – Lucy Rose is hands-down my favourite female solo artist. Across all four albums, her sound feeds my love for warm, melancholic music; it can go from being stripped, acoustic and intimate, to very layered, electronic and upbeat. I love the contrast each album has in the way it’s produced and her choices of sounds/instruments for each song. There’s a certain grit to ‘Soak It Up’ that I adore; it’s something I really wanted to capture the build-up of my song, ‘Losing Track’. Lucy Rose has a glorious softness and feeling in the way she plays that I think really shaped my approach to how I play and write. The honesty and emotion in her latest album ‘No Words Left’ mesmerises me every time I listen to it. In my eyes, she really can do no wrong. I have no doubt that she will always inspire me and the music I write in some way. My favourite songs of hers include ‘Shiver’, ‘Nebraska’, ‘Second Chance’ and ‘Solo(W)’. 

Roger Waters / Pink FloydThere’s something so magical and comforting about Pink Floyd’s music to me. I have really fond memories of watching my dad’s favourite artists’/bands’ live DVDs growing up, and ‘Roger Waters In the Flesh’ was probably the most loved. I’d say that watching ‘In the Flesh’ really kick-started my appreciation and love for backing vocals in music. Out of everyone on stage, I was always drawn to the female vocalists and the impact their gospel-like sound brought to every song. My personal favourites being ‘Amused to Death’ by Roger Waters and Pink Floyd’s ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’. I’d say Pink Floyd’s ‘Time’ and ‘Us and Them’ made me realise how powerful oohs and aahs can be in shaping a song, both emotionally and dynamically, and how your voice is an instrument in its own right. My dad’s love of prog. rock definitely rubbed off on me. I love how every song goes on a journey, it’s so interesting to listen to and always keeps you on your toes. It makes you realise that there really are no rules when it comes to song-writing. Pink Floyd, to me, really kill it in terms of instrumentation and effects too (in a good way), you can’t listen to them without admiring how rich and colourful their sound is. Every song makes you feel something and I love that.

The Staves Anyone who has listened to my music before will know that I am a sucker for layered vocals and harmonies. The Staves are one of my favourites, along with Fleetwood Mac, Fleet Foxes and Flyte. A friend of mine showed me their song ‘Mexico’ a few years ago and I instantly fell in love with their voices. I love how their vocals soar over finger-picked guitar and light instrumentation, especially in ‘Blood I Bled’. Listening to how they use their voices really inspired me to experiment with my vocals and how I built harmonies for ‘Golden Hour’, especially when recording the first track, ‘Intro’.

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