Live On The Bridge

S4 E1 | FULL EPISODE

Jade Bird

London artist Jade Bird comes to the studio with her band and performs some of her singles as we await her first full-length album and is also interviewed by Jon Hart here at KCPT.

AIRED: January 05, 2019 | 0:26:46
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TRANSCRIPT

("Lottery" by Jade Bird)

♪ I was 19 and you were 23 and

♪ We stayed in Number 4 Ferdinand Street ♪

♪ We spent five talking 'bout our lives ♪

♪ But we'd talked like that about a thousand times ♪

♪ And I'm bored of all that

♪ You used to tell me that

♪ Love is a lottery and you got your numbers ♪

♪ And you're betting on me

♪ You used to say that

♪ Love is a game but you got your numbers ♪

♪ And you play it anyway

♪ I'll tell you about a guy

♪ That I've been with

♪ You ask how old is he

♪ And I laugh 26

♪ Nah, but he's 30

♪ How messed up is that

♪ Oh, forget it, he says

♪ I'm a jealous man

♪ And I don't want to talk about that ♪

♪ You used to tell me that

♪ Love is a lottery and you got your numbers ♪

♪ And you're betting on me

♪ You used to say that

♪ Love is a game, but you got your numbers ♪

♪ And you're playing anyway

♪ Are you still betting on me

♪ Hold on, my dear

♪ Hold on real tight

♪ It's just a numbers game in my mind ♪

♪ And we've been here a thousand times ♪

♪ A thousand times a thousand

♪ You used to tell me that

♪ Love is a lottery and you got your numbers ♪

♪ And you're betting on me

♪ You used to say that

♪ Love is a game, but you got your numbers ♪

♪ And you play it anyway

♪ Are you still betting on me

♪ You used to tell me that

♪ Love is a lottery and you got your numbers ♪

♪ And you're betting on me

♪ You used to say that

♪ Love is a game, but you got your numbers ♪

♪ And you play it anyway

♪ Are you still betting on me

♪ Baby

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Jade Bird live in our studios here at The Bridge.

That's just a great song.

- Thank you so much.

- I'm imagining that it triggers

a few singalongs here and there.

- Honestly, like people have actually been singing along.

As you can tell, I'm a bit croaky

due to so many shows where people have been singing with us.

But I mean for me it's never really happened like that.

I've never had people sing along before now.

So it's kind of special every time, you know.

- I know you're working on the first full length.

It's been a little bit over a year since

you put out an EP, Something American.

- Yeah.

- [Jon] And you know just by the sound of your voice,

it's you're not American.

- No, I know, I'm very British.

- But you do have some American dialects.

- Aw, it's so early on!

Sometimes I can talk a little like that.

I don't know if it's any good or nothin', but.

(laughing)

- Oh, love that.

It must be fun to tour across America.

- Yeah, we're like having the best time.

We played Kansas last night, Salt Lake City before,

and I mean they've been quite packed.

Like I was not expecting it.

So we're just having the best time.

- Yeah, well the music that you've

been putting out has been really great.

By the way, before we go too far,

is it just too early to wish you a happy birthday?

It's two weeks from today.

- Yeah, I know, October the 1st.

Yeah, then I can actually drink in America.

21. - Yeah.

So that's just an American thing.

That's not a? - Oh.

I've been able to drink in Canada and the UK for years.

Years!

- [Jon] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- But, yeah, I can drink in America.

- Well, try and tough out those next two weeks for us.

- As hard as it will be.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah.

You know, I think that so many of

the artists that come through,

you're musical tastes is at least

informed by your early years.

And when you were three your grandmother

was sharing Cotton Eye Joe

while your parents were battling it with EDM,

so you know I think that that explains

a lot about where you are.

- Yeah, absolutely, and I think the Something American EP

that came out last year.

I started writing when I was 12

and I think I was really influenced

by a lot of Americana music, you know,

Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Neil Young, Bob Dylan.

It was like you said a bit of a

rebellion for me to find that music.

I was like, ooh, guitar.

You know, I heard this before.

Not quite so dramatic.

But then recently I've been getting into

Alanis Morissette and a lot of 90s kind of guitar music.

So it's a nice cross between that, but yeah.

- You know, it's so funny,

and I hope I'm not bringing anything up,

and you can always wave me off,

but you strike me as being so

fun-loving and so free spirited.

Your parents were divorced when you were a teenager.

Both sets of grandparents were divorced.

- It's true.

- And we know how hard that is on kids,

and I'm sure that you had your struggles.

I mean you've even referenced having sad kid days.

Right?

But you know really on the face of it,

your reaction to all of that seems to have been,

hmm, that'd be a good song!

- (laughs) I mean it's true.

I use humor it's a British thing

as well I think, the majority of it.

But I always use humor to kinda

combat quite a serious situation.

But for some reason I've always been fascinated,

well I guess that's the reason,

I've always been fascinated with affairs

and marriage breakdowns and just

a general overarching betrayal of trust.

I feel like it's the kind of substance

that makes good songwriting.

I think any good songwriter has

to have an empathy to be able to do that.

I feel you can feel what other people are going through,

and because then people were so close to me

it allowed me to kinda create authentic

songs in that manner, you know?

- Your grandmother thought one

of your more recent songs was just about her.

- I know.

She was like, how do you write that stuff?

I've never been, you know.

It's called Furious, the acoustic song.

And I've never been in that situation,

but I've got a wild imagination I guess.

(laughing)

- I want to go back to when you

very first got started with music.

Seven or eight, Russian piano teacher.

I've never really heard you say it,

but just sort of the look on your face

when you're talking about it,

I kinda get the impression maybe she was just mean.

- Ah!

She actually wasn't.

It was tough love.

I mean if I didn't practice I'd certainly know about it.

But I learned a lot of discipline from her I think,

and not in a mean perspective,

just in she was kind of like a parent

that you didn't want to disappoint.

You know what I mean?

She'd worked so hard to get to where she was before.

So, yeah, I relate to that in a way.

- Yeah.

So you mentioned getting the guitar,

and that sort of opened you up around 12 or 13.

But it didn't just open you up in terms

of your influences and the music

that you discovered through that,

but also it started you songwriting.

- Yeah, absolutely.

I'd never been able to write on

the piano before a couple of years ago.

And to say how long I've been playing

the piano for, that's kinda crazy.

It always just felt so cliche to me.

Whereas the guitar, like I said to you before,

it was the rebellion.

It just had so many prospects, like lyrical prospects.

It's quite freeing,

whereas piano was always quite

a constructed instrument for me.

- You know just the list of inspirations

that I've heard you mention,

it's like a crazy list, right?

It's Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club,

Patti Smith, Civil Wars, Chris Stapleton,

Alanis Morissette, Loretta Lynn,

Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Son House,

and it just goes on from there.

- And it goes on, yeah.

- Yeah.

You just sort of listen to things all over the spectrum.

- Yeah, absolutely.

I feel like when you, especially old music,

if you listen to it I feel like you can always

get something new out of it that a band hasn't before.

The music that I love that's more recent,

have listened to the time before it to try and pinch stuff.

Does that make sense?

- Sure. - You kinda become a product

of your own influences in a way,

but it's important to kinda get something new.

And by listening to such a range,

that's what I try and do so I don't just sound

you know like a Neil Young wanna be or.

You know what I mean? - Yeah, I mean,

it's important to you, I know, to sound like yourself.

- [Jade] Absolutely.

- So when you started writing songs,

was it like an everyday thing?

'Cause I know eventually it became that.

- Yeah, I mean initially I was always writing as a kid.

I wrote poetry and stories,

and you know I was just a very literary fan I guess.

I was always reading.

But then you know like when I was 12

I pretty much did a song a day.

I've always had a bit of a work ethic.

You know, for me it was like I said,

a bit of a therapy just to do it every day.

I'd fill up a notebook,

and I'd be quite proud of it at the end.

I'd be like, oh, here's 100 rubbish songs. (laughs)

But, yeah, I've done that pretty much ever since.

- You know the interview that I was reading

that was probably a little old but,

said that you've already written over 600 songs.

- Yeah, yeah, about that, 500, 600 I'm sure, if not more.

I've got all the notebooks in my house.

They're kinda stacked up.

But I'm quite flippant with it.

I never stick on a song too long,

if it doesn't kind of gel.

I workshop them all with this band here,

and we kind of see if it's one that we wanna keep.

We're testing out six new songs live right now on this tour

that will be going on the album, so.

- I know that you've been that you've been writing,

and then all of a sudden it's like

off to the studio real quickly.

I think in Kansas City we got

a little caught up in that cycle.

You were gonna open up for First Aid Kit here.

- Yeah.

- [Jon] And then you got yanked out to do some recording.

- I know, I know.

Recording is important.

I think you've got to get the balance

because I don't want to leave people

with all this momentum and then no record.

I'm writing all of it 100% by myself.

So with that you've got to put in a bit of work,

and you do have to cancel things, unfortunately.

- So you go into the studio and you

knock out like 13, 14, 15 songs a day?

- Yeah, I mean, so I do that every

three months, three or four months.

Everything I've written up to that point

I'll whittle down into about 15 songs,

track 'em all acoustically.

I get people's opinions that I really kinda value,

you know my management, my friends,

and then I bring them to these guys

and we just workshop them.

We just you know make them into the songs that they are now.

- Alright.

Jade Bird is in our studio.

We'd love to hear another song if we could.

- Alright, this one's a bit of a slower one.

It's called Something American.

("Something American" by Jade Bird)

♪ We knew each other when we were very young ♪

♪ High school sweethearts, or something American ♪

♪ Now we've become older, I only see photos ♪

♪ She's what I thought, something American ♪

♪ Something American

♪ But you don't call me now

♪ And I don't think too much about ♪

♪ You, but when she's not around ♪

♪ I can feel you're lonely

♪ Oh, I can feel you're lonely somehow ♪

♪ I'm not nice like her

♪ Won't wear white like her

♪ Don't live life with the pages mapped out ♪

♪ No, I'm not perfect

♪ But then no one is

♪ We're all reaching for something American ♪

♪ You don't call me now

♪ And I don't think too much about ♪

♪ You, but when she's not around ♪

♪ I can feel you're lonely

♪ I can feel you all night

♪ In my dreams I find

♪ The stars align

♪ Then they all collide

♪ And it's you and I

♪ Oh, back in time, it feels so right ♪

♪ But you don't call me now

♪ And I don't think too much about ♪

♪ You, but when she's not around ♪

♪ I can feel you're lonely, lonely, oh ♪

♪ You don't call me now

♪ And I don't think too much about ♪

♪ You, but when she's not around ♪

♪ I can feel you're lonely

♪ Oh, I can feel you're lonely somehow ♪

♪ We knew each other when we were very young ♪

♪ High school sweethearts, or something American ♪

- Title track from Jade Bird's original EP

live in The Bridge studios this afternoon.

Yeah, we really want to just thank you for coming in.

You talked about, - Thank you.

- [Jon] after the first song, being a little croaky.

I think that that plays into your

songs, actually pretty well.

- Lucky me.

I know, I know, it's true, it's true.

- There's something about that raw emotion

that you get with a voice that's

just a little bit raspy or whatever,

but this is your day off.

- Uh huh.

- [Jon] Yeah, and you came in to play for us.

And sing for us. - Yeah, no problem at all.

Thank you for having me.

- [Jon] It's just lovely of you to do that extra work.

- Thank you so much.

I appreciate that.

- You were born in a small town,

bit of an army brat, moved around quite a bit,

but you and your mom settled in London,

and that opened up the opportunity for you to start gigging.

- Absolutely, yeah.

I mean I've been gigging since I was about 14,

so a little bit before we moved.

'Cause when we moved from Germany when my parents split

I moved in with in my grandma and my mom.

And they used to drive me to all

these tiny little competitions.

They were always a bit humiliating

'cause they were like, you know, know you're too sad,

you know the other person goes through.

And I was like, I'm not good enough.

(laughing)

So after all that kind of nonsense for two years,

I moved to London, and I found this a little blues bar.

I remember it because it was like my home,

the first time I'd felt musically at home.

There was this Brazilian owner Rafa,

who kind of became a father figure to me in a way.

And I just played there every weekend, every week,

every open mic, you know, until I got better,

and could kind of stand up with

these big bluesy men I guess.

- You know, it's so funny,

I've heard your music referred to as country.

Like, I don't hear that,

and I don't hear the blues, and I don't hear rock.

I don't hear any genre, I just hear songs, right?

- That's great though.

That's what I want.

I think it's kinda of genre defying in a way

when you've got such a culmination of sounds, you know.

- Was it hard to be you in a blues club?

- (laughs) I think initially,

I mean I've grown quite a lot

over these past couple of years, massive amount.

When I first came in I remember Raf being like,

"Ah, what's this pop nonsense you're gonna play in my bar?"

So I've really changed since then.

But, you know, it's always hard to be yourself in a way.

But I'm a confident little lass, so. (laughs)

It's probably easier for me than most people.

(laughing)

- You know, somewhere along the way

you managed to get into the BRIT School for Performing Arts,

which it got quite a reputation.

I think that you enjoyed that and it served you well,

but you also skipped out a lot.

- I did.

I mean the first year I remember working super hard.

My mom was always, academics were a big thing.

My mom would have killed me if I'd

a come home with anything less than a B at least.

Scholarly

No, it was quite a lot of pressure.

But I remember I did two A-levels

on top of like, you do a music course.

So I was working in the night to do my English still.

And then the second year I was kinda like,

yeah, I really do just wanna do music.

So I was skivin'.

We call it skiving in the UK.

I was skipping out.

I used to do that quite a lot. (laughs)

- Yeah.

Did they get to the point where it was like,

oh, you're sick again, you must have a gig?

- Oh.

I was always ill because I used to work

and then do a gig in the evening,

and then have to get up early for school,

like six a.m. to get to school.

They were always kinda looking at me

and being like, are your priorities right?

And I was always like, yeah, absolutely.

Gigging.

(laughing)

- So towards the end of school

you were sorta like, okay, what am I really doing here?

- Absolutely, yeah.

I remember, I think he was the January,

it will be going off two years ago now

or one year ago, two years,

I was kind of asking my mom,

I was four months till I broke up from school

and I was like nothing is happening.

I have not met anyone who can put me in any

sort of position to be in front of more people.

My mom was like, yeah, keep on.

Then I remember that May, I managed to meet my management.

They came across me via the blues bar I was playing in.

And the rest is history.

But that first break is the most terrifying,

'cause you feel like it's never gonna happen.

- So you, to help get that break,

you went into a friend's bathroom and recorded 13 songs?

- Yeah, if not more.

I think it was about 18 songs.

Then I had that little demo list on Soundcloud, as you do.

Then it got sent around and gradually

more people heard it who could help me out, so.

- But you didn't want to sign to a label

until your first EP was done,

because you wanted it to just be yours.

- Creative control is massively underestimated.

I think especially when you are young

you kind of go, you know, I know of a lot of artists

who are like, I've got a record deal.

There we go, job done.

And it's like, you gotta make the record,

and the record's got to be you,

and you have to live with it if it doesn't do well.

So that's why I'm saying to you

about writing 100% my own record

because I mean if it doesn't change the world,

it changes me and who I am.

You know, that's what important.

- Sure.

It's kinda cool though, you know,

you don't have a label deal

and you come over the United States, go to Woodstock,

partner up with Simon Felice of the Felice Brothers.

- Yeah, he's a spiritual kinda guru a little bit.

I grew so much.

There's an engineer David Barron,

who's also an absolute genius on everything I've ever done,

and I work with them on everything I've ever done.

But, yeah, I was 18 and I had these songs.

I had Something American, I had Cathedral,

and whatever's on that EP.

I was just kind of a bit terrified, but knew what I wanted.

I remember being like no electronic drums.

Don't put any electronic drums in my records.

So we tracked it all with a guy called Matt Johnson,

who played for Jeff Buckley on the drums.

So it was an amazing experience,

game changing, life changing.

- So after that's done

that allows you to hook up with Glassnote.

They have small little bands like Mumford & Sons.

- Yeah!

Daniel Glass, I remember meeting him

for the first time in New York,

and I think he wasn't necessarily sure

I was gonna be able to work hard enough,

'cause I was quite shy back then.

I was a bit the same.

I was like who's this big record guy.

Then we met the second time,

I went to meet his family and we just hit it off massively.

And since then he's been my biggest mentor.

He's a bit of an inspiration for me.

It's kinda great when you can be with a label

that's inspiring instead of crushing your dreams.

(laughing)

- Yeah.

My sense is that you've got the record almost done?

- Mmhmm.

Yeah, we've got these six and then it'll be done.

- [Jon] Alright.

- So six, so I guess that's halfway there.

There'll be 13, 14 songs on the record, so.

- Well, we're really anxious to hear it.

You're already looking ahead to the next record.

You'd like Jack White to produce that.

- Ooh.

I know, I know.

I think I would, you know?

He's just doing something different.

I saw him and Tom Waits.

He popped backstage, Tom Waits did,

and was like, congratulations on pursuing kinda real music.

I just think he's on to something, always has been,

something pioneering, good music.

So I'd love to collaborate with him at some point.

- I think one of the things that's really exciting

about the record that we don't have yet,

is that by all accounts you're really stretching yourself,

and you're really sort of making sure

that you're crossing as many boundaries as you possibly can.

The interesting thing was that you've said that

you're doing that just to set yourself up for the future.

- Absolutely, yeah.

The people I admire the most have

been like shapeshifters in music.

You know, what you admire you want to be,

and I feel like crossing boundaries is something

that I want to do in my career.

I never feel like a dream is too big

or a sound is too big for me.

I kinda get it in there again, I get it stuck in.

'Cause the more you do on the first album,

the more you'll do on the second.

So I say that's my theory anyway.

- Yeah, absolutely.

Jade Bird is in our studio.

We'd love to have one more song if we could.

- Alright, this is a bit of a rocker!

It's called Uh Huh.

("Uh Huh" by Jade Bird)

♪ Does she wake up, put on make-up in the bathroom ♪

♪ And go to work and stay real late ♪

♪ And text you she'll be back soon ♪

♪ But her boss runs his fingers ♪

♪ 'Round her pretty blonde platinum 'do ♪

♪ I bet you never thought about that, did you ♪

♪ And it's none of my business

♪ And I don't wanna get involved ♪

♪ If you're thinking that she's good ♪

♪ I think you should be told

♪ She's got you on your knees like a little boy ♪

♪ Everybody sees that you're just a little toy ♪

♪ She's got a boxful that her daddy likely bought ♪

♪ She asks you if you love her, and you nod and say uh huh ♪

♪ Does she wear short skirts so you don't ♪

♪ Ask her if you can check her phone ♪

♪ Talk about the guys at work so you feel ego-central ♪

♪ Like fancy cars and football teams ♪

♪ Is she like continental

♪ With a European accent does she speak, oh so gentle ♪

♪ And it's none of my business

♪ And I don't wanna get involved ♪

♪ If you're thinking that she's good ♪

♪ God no, God no

♪ She's got you on your knees like a little boy ♪

♪ Everybody sees that you're just a little toy ♪

♪ She's got a boxful that her daddy likely bought ♪

♪ She asks you if you love her, and you nod and say uh huh ♪

♪ She's got you where it hurts

♪ But you don't seem to see

♪ That while she's out at work

♪ She's doing what you did to me ♪

♪ She's got you where it hurts

♪ But you don't seem to see

♪ That while she's out at work

♪ She's doing what you did to me ♪

♪ She's got you on your knees like a little boy ♪

♪ Everybody sees that you're just a little toy ♪

♪ She's got a boxful that her daddy likely bought ♪

♪ She asks you if you love her, and you nod and say uh huh ♪

♪ She asks you if you love her, and you nod and say uh huh ♪

♪ She asks you if you love her, and you nod and say uh huh ♪

- [Jon] That seemed like fun.

- It was a lot of fun, yeah. (laughs)

- Yeah, absolutely.

Jade Bird is in our studio.

This is where I tell you that you can

still go out and get the Something American EP.

But we're all waiting with baited breath.

I assume Uh Huh and Lottery are gonna be on the new one.

- Of course, yeah.

None of the Something American EP.

I've kind of written that away.

But, yeah, them two are the start of this phase.

- Alright, Jade Bird, it's been such a blessing

to have you in the studio today.

We had so much fun. - Thank you so much.

Me too. - And I hope you'll

come back again soon.

- Absolutely, for sure.

Thank you so much for having me.

- [Jon] Jade Bird live on The Bridge.

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- Thanks, guys.

(audience applauding) (audience cheering)

♪ City full of lights to feel alive ♪

♪ I know it looks so dark

♪ But with you here on my arm

♪ It's a a walk in the park

(whistling)

♪ We all wait for morning

♪ But it never comes out every night ♪

♪ We need something more than

♪ A city full of lights to feel alive ♪

♪ I know it looks so dark

♪ I know it took so long

♪ With you here on my arm

♪ It's a walk in the park

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