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

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Jodie Nicholson is an artist making waves with her spell-binding sounds. Having already supported She Drew The Gun and performed a Sofar Sounds gig in January, the talented singer-songwriter from Hurworth-on-Tees seizes February with the release of her brand new single, I Must Be Dreaming. We chat with Jodie about the single and the big things she has planned for the rest of the year.

How would you describe your sound?
Warm, melancholic, understated, honest, soulful, moving and angelic. The music I write flips between being very stripped and exposed in the song’s rawest form, to really layered and rich with drums, harmonies and additional instruments.

What is it that inspires your music?
Feeling. Admittedly, it’s a vague and possibly predictable answer, but I predominantly write when my mind is a bit foggy or I have an urge to get something out of my system. Ironically, I never really know how I’m feeling until I start singing, so songwriting for me is a very cathartic and personal process. My music usually revolves around personal experiences and relationships, both platonic and romantic, so I guess you could say that’s where most of my inspiration lies.

Sonically, though I listen to a very broad range of music, my love for artists like Daughter, Lucy Rose, Pink Floyd and Laura Marling always seem have some sort of presence in the music I create. I’m often drawn to and inspired by songs that ache a little and are lyrically moving.

Tell us more about your new video, I Must Be Dreaming?
I Must Be Dreaming is based upon someone you might call ‘the light of the room’ and more-so how it feels to be drawn, romantically or platonically, to this person and their energy. There’s a specific person and moment that comes to mind every time I play it, and I hope it’s a song that most people will resonate with in some way. It’s without a doubt one of the happiest songs I’ve ever written. Unusually for me, I Must Be Dreaming has very few lyrics. I remember being very adamant that I didn’t want to add any more or make it follow common song structures with a distinct chorus and verses – it says all I would want to say, even if it’s only two lines.

The video itself was recorded at a field in Dalton-on-Tees, literally a few minutes drive from my house. It’s actually the same place the imagery for my album ‘Golden Hour’ was taken, so it felt very fitting from the get-go. For my first ever music video, I wanted it to be in keeping with the album by shooting outdoors in as much golden light as January could offer. Conceptually, the video is a play on the lyric ‘your side of the sun’, which refers to the ‘light’ or vibe this person emits. I envisioned being an open space with little-to-no distractions and the camera moving around me as if it were in orbit. The opening begins with the sun behind me and later moves to shots where I’m facing the sun. In some way, it demonstrates the contrast of wanting to be around this person versus being around this person. Initially, it may seem that the video’s premise is simply to direct a message to someone you’re drawn to when it’s actually more-so about visually explaining how it feels to be around them, as if I am the camera and they are the person being orbited.

In terms of how it sounds, the song begins very soft with piano and vocals, and evolves mid-way through into something magical with the addition of drums, background sounds and a pretty epic sax solo. It’s a powerful, emotional song that felt like a huge turning point for me musically. Certain tracks on the album, including this one, provided a real chance for me to experiment with my sound and push myself as an artist. If someone had said to me a year ago that I’d release a song featuring saxophone, chances are I wouldn’t have believed them. To me, it’s a very warm and dreamy song that you’ll (hopefully) want to soak up time and time again.

What were the highlights of 2019 and what does 2020 have in store for you?
The biggest highlight of 2019 was definitely releasing my music into the world. Some of these songs I’ve had under my belt for 6-7 years, so it felt really good to put them out there knowing people didn’t have to come and see me perform live to hear them. Of course I continue to play these songs, but it’s nice being able to let go of them in some way and make room for new music.

2019 was kind of a year-out for me to focus more on music and see where it would take. Hilariously, I envisioned that I would release the album, put the songs ‘to bed’, and move on to other things unrelated to music. Little did I know that my path would take a very different turn. Since the album’s release, I’ve had the honour of supporting Baskey (a Swedish, grassroots version of The Staves), local heroes Cattle and Cane, She Drew The Gun for Independent Venue Week, Rob Heron and the Teapad Orchestra, and my wonderful friends Harri Endersby who adopted me on backing vocals for their album launch. With each live show, radio play, press and playlist feature, more people are listening to my music and my confidence in what I do is growing. I feel like I’m going from strength to strength.

Other special moments in 2019 included doing my first ever Sofar Sounds in Leeds Central Library and playing Last Train Home in St. John’s Church – both venues were really magical to play in. For my album’s release, I organized a launch event at The Forum in Darlington, where I joined forces with some very talented friends of mine to form a band for the night – it felt pretty epic sharing the stage with them.

2020, so far, holds a number of exciting dates that I can’t wait to play; my first headline dates since the album launch and festivals that branch a little further afield. I’m getting my teeth stuck back into writing which feels pretty great, though I’m not making any promises on when they’ll make an appearance outside of live shows! For the first time in what feels like a long time, I’m really excited to make music and see where the future takes me.

Where can people see you perform live?
13/02 – Hash Bar and Kitchen, Darlington (Headline show supported by Jay Moussa-Mann)
16/02 – The Waiting Room, Eaglescliffe (Headline show supported by Jay Moussa-Mann)
07/03 – GRL – Basecamp, Middlesbrough
28/03 – NXTGN – Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough
11/04 – Stockton Calling – Arc 2, Stockton
25/04 – Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough (supporting Martha Hill)
03/05 – Hit the North Festival, Newcastle Upon Tyne
06/06 – Long Division Festival, Wakefield
 
Tickets for all of the above are available via www.jodienicholsonmusic.com/live
 

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