Interview by Ed MacLarenCanada’s Jody Quine has always been an improviser – her personal philosophy of ‘Yes And’ has opened up her life and her music to a string of unique opportunities. After her well-received debut album in 2001, the Vancouver-based singer spent the next decade shining on a number of high-profile EDM collaborations while continuing to work on her own music. Finally, Jody has stepped out solo once more with her enchanting sophomore effort, “Seven”, which puts the musical spotlight squarely back on her. Femme Metal Webzine got a chance to talk to Jody about still being considered a “new artist”, fan-funding campaigns and the possibility of a Grammy nomination. Hi Jody! Congratulations on the success of “Seven”. What started out as a handful of demos has evolved over the past year into a possibly career-defining album. What a difference a year makes, right?
Such a big year for me! I truly decided to stop sitting on the sidelines of my life and step into the ring. Being that I have pretty big dreams that’s a pretty big ring but I’m loving every minute of it.“Seven” really gives you a chance to express your musical voice as a solo artist. How does it feel to be able to showcase your own talents in a non-collaborative environment?
It’s totally rewarding but in a different way. Some of these songs are over 10-years-old now and I’ve been wanting to record them for so long. I’ve always been a very independent person so there is also something about being at the helm by myself that has its benefits as well.How does your vocal approach to a song differ when you’re doing you own things working on a track with Balligomingo or Sleepthief?
The writing process is different in a couple of ways. With Sleepthief, I’m given a title and I go away and come back with lyrics and a melody. With Balligomingo, all three of us have our fingers in the pie from the start. Vic or Garrett will have programmed a piece of music that I’ll improvise on top of the first time I hear it. We’ll do three or four passes that way and then Vic and Garrett will cut it up and rebuild a melody with what I’ve already sang. Sometimes the lyrics will work for parts of the song and for other parts I’ll have to write new lyrics with similar sounding words. It’s a complete process of three people bringing their ideas to the table and working together until all three of us are happy with the final outcome.“Seven” keeps one foot in the electro-pop arena but has a folkier singer-songwriter feel with your voice right in front of the mix. With the length of time between solo albums, what kind of statement did you want to make with “Seven”?
I think the biggest thing for me, at this point in my career is that I’m back doing it. I have been so grateful and honoured for all the great collaborations I’ve been able to work on over the last 10 years but I did start out as a solo artist so it really means a lot to me to get back to that part of myself. It was more of an opportunity meets action situation.You managed to snag Rhys Fulber to produce. How did you get him on board? What were his ideas for your direction on “Seven”?
Rhys is awesome. He actually reached out to me about seven years ago to tour with Conjure One. He had heard me sing and thought I’d be a good fit. It didn’t come to fruition but we’ve kept in touch over the years. I was thrilled when he agreed to produce “Seven”. I really feel he helped bring my sound to the next level.Your PledgeMusic campaign went a long way to making “Seven” a reality. How important is crowd funding and other money raising strategies for keeping the musical visions of independent artists alive?
I truly think it is the backbone of the new music industry. We’re back to the days of philanthropy and benefactors. Kind of fun really. It also allows for niches having their interests musically being met. It’s no longer about the big machine, it’s about us as people coming together and really having a say in what we want to listen to beyond the radio or top 40 hits.You recently signed up full-time with EDM band Balligomingo who you’ve collaborated with for years. How does working in a band add to your fulfillment as an artist versus working solo?
Vic and Garrett are like brothers to me. We’ve seen some ups and some downs together for sure. There is something cool about being a part of a team that is facing the same opportunities and challenges and the different perspectives that are involved in that.Your vocals have been featured on many albums brimming with talented female singers. What would you say makes your voice unique and lets it stand out?
Oh my! I hear people enjoy my airy tone. I was just saying this morning in a radio interview how I feel that our life’s experiences and lessons come out in our tone. So the living I’ve done, the pains I’ve felt, the lessons learned and the growing, all of that speaks to my listener somehow. It sure is a romantic notion anyways.Congrats on making it onto three categories on the Grammy ballot this year on the strength of the track “Come Back Home”. Hopefully you’ll score a couple of nominations! What is it about the song that resonates so well with listeners?
Yes, how exciting that has been! I have not made it to the final ballot but I’ve met so many amazing people along the way. I think “Come Back Home” really speaks to us all in so many ways. We’ve all been left along the way and given our loved one that glowing support on their way out the door and we’ve all taken a leap into our own lives as well and had to be brave. It’s a song between lovers, between parents and children, and between long distance friendships. It’s a love letter to somebody else and to your self. I’m grateful it does speak to listeners.You’re considered a new artist but you’ve been recording since the early 2000s. Do you still feel like a new artist in a way or do you think of it more as being newly recognized?
Interesting question!! Yes, as a Best New Artist nominee, it’s a matter of whether or not you’ve been nominated for Grammys before or not. I still feel like a new artist in a way because as I am now out on my own in the business as an independent artist. It’s a new ballgame for sure! But I’ve also been around long enough to have learned to go with the flow, trust the outcome and have heard so many ‘No’s’ that my skin has a good amount of thickness.You also have extensive experience in live comedy and improv. How does that skill inform your writing and live performance?
It has been one of the most important skill sets in my life. The theory of ‘Yes And’ just opens up the whole world to possibility. Since I was an Improviser when I first discovered my path as a singer I was already quite comfortable failing on stage. Well, not comfortable with failing but not afraid of it. So from there I have just allowed myself to sing and be while I’m on stage. What a gift! With writing it helps me to allow a flow to occur. In fact the biggest follies in any writing process is editing too soon. It’s important to let it out then you can go back and craft it. I had writer’s block for several years at one point. It was the negative chatter in my mind editing the second anything came out. But every time I go back to the basics of creativity is it to just allow. Say ‘Yes And’.Thanks for taking the time to speak to us! Good luck with the Grammy nominations!
Thank you so much for your time too and for posting this interview! All the best with the New Year! Keep shining!