Not many 24-year-olds get the chance to work with Pharrell Williams on their debut record. But the world’s hottest producer thinks scouse songstress Jetta has what it takes to be big.
Not content with being the first British artist to have a song from her opening effort produced by the man in the hat, Jetta has been tipped as one to watch for 2014 by Rolling Stone magazine and iTunes, plus she was one of the most talked about performers at SXSW this year.
Hailing from a musical family, Jetta taught herself to play piano before locking herself in her bedroom to write songs using Logic on her laptop, and working the dive bar live circuit in Liverpool.
Northern Soul‘s Paul Clarke caught up with this rising star determined to make it big the old fashioned way.
Northern Soul: It must have been a bit weird having Pharrell producing the title track of your new Crescendo EP?
Jetta: I know! I had to pinch myself when I found out he’d invited me out to Miami to work with him. It’s strange – when you’ve grown up listening to someone’s music, buying their records, getting tickets to an N.E.R.D concert…to sitting in the studio writing your own song with them.
NS: Was it a happy experience?
J: The sun was shining and I was in Miami with Pharrell. How could I not be happy? He has that knack for being super cool and keeping things positive.
NS: Crescendo is a mixed bag of songs so who are your influences?
J: So many. I grew up listening to my parents’ record collections – Police, Bowie, Tracy Chapman, Blondie. Then I got into moody pop and British bands.
NS: Tell us about your journey from a choir via your bedroom to a record deal?
J: I guess they’re all related in the sense that I was busy in my room getting creative, producing songs to filming my own music video from my iPhone. That’s what gained the interest of the labels. I was just having fun with some friends.
NS: You are from Liverpool so did any of the city’s rich musical heritage rub off on you?
J: That was what brought my mum to Liverpool from London. She moved there when she was 18 to study at the music college. I think having musician parents played a major role. That and growing up in the centre of Liverpool, it’s buzzing with music.
NS: You’ve been out paying your dues on the live circuit as a solo act. Never fancied taking a short cut via the X Factor?
J: I’ve never really been one for shortcuts. I prefer the long route with all the bumps in the road.
NS: You’re out on the road with the red hot John Newman….it’s a step up to some big venues so are you ready for it?
J: So ready. It’s been great working on things, personally, in the studio. Now I’m ready to take it to the big stage and share the experience.
Interview by Paul Clarke
Jetta’s EP Crescendo is out now on Polydor featuring remixes by Icarus, Infinity Ink and Zed Bias. Jetta supports John Newman on his Northern dates at Apollo Manchester, October 20/21 and Bridlington Spa on October 22, 2014.