Interview: Artist-to-Watch Jade Bird on New Songs “Headstart” & “Houdini” and Her Upcoming Sophomore Album

Jade Bird © Charlotte Patmore
Jade Bird © Charlotte Patmore
With her sophomore album on the horizon, Jade Bird speaks to Atwood Magazine about the growth in her sound, her inspirations, and the writing process behind comeback singles “Headstart” and “Houdini.”
Stream: “Headstart” – Jade Bird




I think I wanted people to know I was back with this fun message. A sense of community, especially to all the young women I had met along the way.

After almost a year of silence following the release of her debut album, Jade Bird had a catch up with Atwood Magazine to tell us about her latest releases, her upcoming EP and the new direction her music is taking.

Jade Bird © Charlotte Patmore
“Headstart” single art – Jade Bird
They say I act around you
Different than I usually do
They say that I’ve even
Given special treatment
I’d deny it but I can’t
What you don’t seem to understand
Is I won’t just take your hand
I’ve left signs but you take no notice
Why’s it so hard?
Why’s it so hard?
Why’s it so hard?
I’ve given you a head start
I know us girls aren’t easy
But come on
What do you need to see?
I’ve given you a head start

Bird, one of Atwood’s Artists to Watch for 2021, released her return single “Headstart” in early November last year, which she followed up with “Houdini” shortly afterwards. Of contrasting nature, both tracks lay the groundwork for the singer’s upcoming sophomore album, in which she will continue in her Americana, singer-songwriter line, but with some subtle twists including more powerful electric guitar sounds and a noticeable influence from ‘90s British music.

With an album already in the bag, the young singer-songwriter has used her sophomore album as an opportunity to grow and develop her craft, resulting in a more mature sound, whilst still maintaining the singer’s relatable signature style.

Atwood Magazine had the pleasure of speaking with Bird to discuss her comeback singles, her upcoming sophomore album and the development of her creative process since her debut.

I think my songs are more concise and clearer, whilst retaining the imagination. I love things to be direct without being entirely obvious – song titles really help me guide that.

Jade Bird © Charlotte Patmore
Jade Bird © Charlotte Patmore



A CONVERSATION WITH JADE BIRD

Houdini - Jade Bird

Atwood Magazine: Following the success of your debut album Jade Bird, you’ve hit the ground running with new singles “Headstart” and “Houdini.” Are there any learnings you’ve taken from your previous releases that you will carry with you throughout this new phase?

Jade Bird: I think the growth in my writing and voice comes from listening back to my debut and wanting to change elements or be more grown up, I was 19 when I recorded it – a lot has changed since then.

Were the tracks in the new album recorded throughout the pandemic? How did the situation affect the process?

Jade Bird: They were recorded in the summer in Nashville. It changed the process as I had to quarantine in Mexico for 2 weeks and ended up writing half the album in that time there, like some crazy last minute inspiration hit.

“Houdini” is built around a metaphor based on the famous magician. Could you expand on this concept?

Jade Bird: It focuses on the male figures in my life doing a ‘disappearing act’, I thought Houdini was the perfect metaphor for this.

You explore the idea of abandonment in “Houdini.” What prompted your interest in that theme?

Jade Bird: I think I needed closure on my past, it was the first song I wrote for this album and it felt cyclical to end the monologue of my childhood with this song.

Jade Bird © Charlotte Patmore
Jade Bird © Charlotte Patmore



“Headstart” and “Houdini” are quite contrasting songs. What made you choose them as the first tracks to release for this new phase?

Jade Bird: They felt like the perfect stepping stone from old to new, somewhere in between.

This year will see you releasing your sophomore album. How has your songwriting process evolved since you started releasing music?

Jade Bird: Leaps and bounds. I think my songs are more concise and clearer, whilst retaining the imagination. I love things to be direct without being entirely obvious – song titles really help me guide that.

“Headstart” is a song with a lot of character. What message were you aiming to convey when writing it?

Jade Bird: I think I wanted people to know I was back with this fun message. A sense of community, especially to all the young women I had met along the way.

You have established yourself as an artist to watch in the Americana space. Who are your influences and how did you discover them?

Jade Bird: I think Gillian Welch, Dolly Parton and Sheryl Crow have all been huge influences in that space, all discovered on my own I think… or maybe my grandma…

What concepts and sounds will you explore in your upcoming album, and how are they different from those touched upon in the first album?

Jade Bird: They are very ‘90s British influences. The electric guitar tones have been huge, drawing from Blur to Cocteau Twins to Iggy Pop. It’s a bit more powerful in that aspect; that’s what I wanted to achieve.

Finally, could you tell me one thing you aim to achieve with your latest and upcoming releases?

Jade Bird: I really want people to take something away from the songs, as I have. I’ve discovered so much about who I am and who I want to be through them.

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Stream: “Houdini” – Jade Bird



 

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Houdini - Jade Bird

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📸 © Charlotte Patmore

:: Jade Bird ::


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