INTERVIEW: Jodie Nicholson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Safe Hands is, ultimately, an album centred around self-trust and is a personal reminder to believe in myself more,” states Jodie Nicholson, whose rise in the region’s alt. pop scene has garnered much acclaim, particularly following the self-release of her debut album, Golden Hour, in 2019. Referring to her new project, Safe Hands reflects the ethos she adopted during its creation: “The concept of being in ‘safe hands’ really spurred me on throughout the process and became my holistic outlook on the whole project, so it felt very fitting for the album’s title.”

This personal approach is echoed through the production and writing credits, with Nicholson crafting the project on her own. I was curious to know how Jodie approached this sense of solidarity in her craft. “I don’t think I anticipated how challenging it would be, physically and mentally, to go in head-first and throw myself in the deep end like that, but it’s very rewarding listening now knowing I actually did it and the music’s being received so well. To me, creating this album was really about carving my name as a producer, challenging myself in the way I record my own music, and keeping as much of the album’s creation rooted in the North East.”

The concept of being in ‘safe hands’ really spurred me on throughout the process and became my holistic outlook on the whole project

It’s clear Nicholson isn’t afraid of hard graft, but with the achievement of new skills comes additional pressures. “Writing for this album was the first time I’ve really felt pressure to write ‘good’ music and prove that I was progressing as an artist, and not because other people were telling me to, it was totally self-inflicted.” Speaking on her changing relationship with creating music following the release of her debut, it’s clear that creating a follow-up to such a successful era is accompanied with some baggage. “Once you have music out, there’s always something to compare new releases to. There was quite a prolonged period where I didn’t write, because all the far-ahead planning that comes with releasing music, particularly an album, and those inner monologues and pressures we put on ourselves as artists can make it quite an isolating, overwhelming experience.”

The resulting release is produced to lean heavily into themes of escapism and nostalgia, touched by soft synth tones and atmospheric instrumentation to support the wistful notes of the music. Inspired by musicians like Matt Corby, Lucy Rose and Tori Amos, Jodie notes: “They’re artists where I’ve maybe followed every release and particular songs or albums remind me of a chapter in my life, where I was, what I was doing then. I can listen to them with that teenage excitement and it’s a feeling I’m definitely trying to capture more in the way I consume and create music now. I think taking the reins with production really helped me unlock that feeling within my own music.”

Heading to Gateshead’s Glasshouse to perform the album on Saturday 18th May, she reveals: “The Glasshouse have played a huge part in my development as an artist in recent years, and much of this album came together at the Summer Studios residency last August. There’s something really magical about playing new music live for the first time and seeing what resonates with people; quite often, the song you least expect will take on a whole new meaning in a live setting and connect with people in a way you never imagined. The power of music is a really beautiful thing! Performing Safe Hands there for the first time with the band will be such a full-circle moment.”

Jodie Nicholson releases Safe Hands on 10th May. She performs at The Glasshouse, Gateshead on Saturday 18th May.

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