Interview with Jessie Reid

An artist that’s been on my radars for a few years having played on the same line ups, Jessie Reid truly is an exceptional artist. I sat down to chat with the songstress (who’s recently released ‘Wake Up’) to speak about the best advice she’d give to her younger self, music recommendations and what’s in store for the rest of the year.

What’s the best advice you’d give to your younger self?

Start singing earlier! I’ve always thought of myself as a guitarist and songwriter… I specialised in guitar at uni and wrote a lot of instrumental stuff when I was younger. I think I was too shy to sing and thought I sounded dreadful so never really took it seriously, mainly focusing on writing songs for other people. It was only a couple of years ago that I decided to just get on and do it because I love writing and singing. So I would tell my younger self to bite the bullet earlier! Having said that, the guitar element is a big part of my performance and writing and I suppose if I had began singing earlier I wouldn’t have learnt to incorporate different percussive techniques and ‘laptap’ style. Perhaps in the end, that was the way things were meant to be!

Give our listeners some music recommendations that we should check out!

Ainslie Wills has been on repeat for me – her song writing is phenomenal and holds such emotion. Also been listening to Joshua Burnside a lot – his music is very interesting structurally and there are a lot of very unique elements in there – love his use of instrumentation. Finally I’m a huge fan of an artist called Tom Joshua – I met him at gig when we were both supporting Dan Owen on his tour and just love all of his songs!

What’s in store for you for the rest of the year?

More releases, more recording and a lot more writing! I’m just finishing up an EP at the moment in the studio but have quite a few songs I’d like to get recorded over the summer. Of course as venues start to reopen, I’ll be playing some shows and festivals. I have a headline show in Birmingham on August 1st which is exciting. I’m playing Green Gathering and Gate to Southwell, so a couple of festivals coming up too!

The artwork for Jessie’s latest single ‘Wake Up’

Do you prefer performing live or recording, and why?

I love both but more recently I have loved recording (especially as the pandemic has stopped live performances!). I work with a producer who I’m comfortable with and has similar music tastes – therefore we can play around with ideas in the studio and create stuff there and then. If I could say one element that I particularly enjoy is making rough demos before actually going to the studios. Once the song has finished, I love adding all the other little elements, like a guitar riff or vocal harmony. That is when I am truly in my element!

Who are your main musical influences and why?

This is always such a difficult question as there are so many to mention… I would say firstly my biggest influences have come from those who lived locally when I was growing up. From the age of 14 or so I’d go to local open mic nights and just met some of the most amazing musicians and song writers – being exposed to that at a young age really helped and I felt constantly inspired. Going each week would encourage me to write something new or learn a new tune so I was constantly learning.

In terms of more conventional influences, I love anything that has a three part harmony, such as the Staves, The Wailing Jennies and Flyte. Vocal harmonies give me goosebumps! I’m also obviously a huge fan of all the old school folkies – Joni Mitchell, Neil Young… and you can never beat a bit of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ album! It incites joy each time! If I’m looking for a more melancholic sound, I would always go to Bon Iver – he’s an absolute genius and never fails to write with such emotion.

You can follow Jessie Reid on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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