Performers and creatives of all genres have at some time come across the almost inevitable feeling that is imposter syndrome; what on earth am I doing and is this the day I get found out? Although this feeling is not confined to creative people, the very nature of putting your work into such a visible space can highlight imposter syndrome. Even singer songwriter Jonatha Brooke, with more than ten albums behind her and recent collaborations with Katy Perry and Disney, does not seem immune to this – her new EP, Imposter, takes a look at this very subject.
Imposter as an EP is an arms wide open, embrace all offering that encourages us all to step outside our comfort zone to live as authentically as possible. The eponymous title track was written for Jonatha’s NYC Song Club where she had promised to deliver something new every two weeks. ‘Imposter’ was her first contribution and analyses her tendency to be her own harshest critic.
Starting with a descending string introduction, the song soon intensifies with the introduction of a dynamic rhythm section and Brooke’s smooth vocals. The track is raw in its honesty and relatable in its sentiment, it is the lyrics that stand out in this song:
I come from a long line of pretenders…keeping up the pretence, dodging our reflections so we don’t see what everyone else sees
Jonatha is not alone in being her own harshest critic and ‘Imposter’ nails what hides behind the mask we all wear at one time or another.
This EP is about encouragement, love and acceptance. Female empowerment is also a strong theme, nowhere more so than with ‘Fire‘, the second track. A sultry contrast to ‘Imposter’, Jonatha’s sassy vocals show her versatility as both a writer and performer and bring an intensity that a track referencing Times Up needs. Lyrically, ‘Fire’ is full of intelligent gems that could serve as empowering slogans for women everywhere:
Watch out, I’m a knock out
I’m not shutting up until you agree that I’m extraordinary
‘Twilight‘ and ‘True To You‘ are both slower ballads that deal with the nature of forgiveness and acceptance in different ways and Jonatha’s clear vocals shine through on both, while the country style twang that runs throughout ‘Revenge‘ (the revenge in question relates to kindness and inclusion) again highlights the versatility of this singer and songwriter.
Jonatha has been making music for almost two decades and has amassed a wealth of experience, some of which she is sharing here:
“One of the most important things I’ve learned over and over again in this business, is that it is a tiny, tiny world. It will go around and it will come around! The schmuck who “didn’t hear a single” on your last record may get fired tomorrow and turn up in another place of power and fall in love with what you’re doing down the road. There may be a really compelling story behind his ignorance, or you may be in a position to help HIM later.
Keep your head up. Stay positive and do NOT burn bridges, throw tantrums, or be an asshole.
It sounds obvious, but there are so many times when you’re tired, you’ve been travelling, haven’t slept well in days, can’t find a decent meal, and something happens that could really set you off. It can be as simple as a patronizing misogynistic sound person at an important gig. Stay cool. Get through it. Be as careful and kind as you can. It will serve you well to always take the high road. Be the adult in the room.
Then there’s the creative side. Stay true to your own voice. Don’t imitate, don’t chase the thing that was just a huge success. Find what is unique and specific to YOU. There is no one else in the world with your particulars. Your story, your way of telling it. I am not a trained musician, so I started making things up in ways that made sense to me. I created weird guitar tunings. I sing a particular way. It is absolutely unique to me. And it is what is special about what I do. Remember that about yourself. Stay true.”
Imposter is released on November 15 on Bad Dog Records. Get your copy here.
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