Singer songwriter Sadie Jemmett is an artist who makes music that demands to be listened to. Her latest album, Phoenix, is full of songs that take the listener into another world, a world where great melodies match witty, intelligent lyrics that tell stories. From love, loss and heartbreak through to happier times, Phoenix lives up to its name and rises from the depths – from the beginning, you understand that this album comes from somewhere deeply personal. Interviewing Sadie, she talks about the circumstances leading up to the recording of the album and that really, the end result was nothing less than like a phoenix.
Spending time with Sadie is to understand how passionate she is about writing music. As well as writing and performing her own material, Sadie also writes for musical theatre and cites the discipline of that genre that has taught her to have the confidence in her own ability to write songs, knowing that they will have something to say. Having something to say is definitely one of the strong points of Sadie’s music, with the word Brexit popping up in a song under review for the first time. Two more songs, ‘What You Give Will Come Back’ and ‘Don’t Silence Me’ talk about the plight of refugees and the ‘Me Too’ movement respectively and highlight Sadie’s attitude towards socio political protest in music. Sadie says that “song writing should reflect the world we live in, there is so much to protest about” and this is what prompted her to write these songs. ‘Don’t Silence Me’ was released earlier this year and was written in support of Sadie’s friend, and survivor of sexual assault, Mhairi Morrison. Lyrics such as ‘make him stop but I don’t wanna lose my job’ and ‘I think it’s time for you to go’ accentuate women’s experiences of sexual harassment and assault and show why the ‘Me Too’ protest hit the headlines.
Before you read on, Sadie is giving a FREE download of “Passport”, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
Sadie has a versatile voice that easily flits between the differing vocal styles on the album, beginning with ‘Rescue Street’, an introspective track that looks at internet dating, the album intensifies with the bittersweet ‘Bitter’, a classic heartbreak track. Sadie’s vocals harmonise tenderly with those of Danni Nicholls to create a soft, country feel, a sound that carries on into ‘Fighting Chance‘.
Moving into ‘Good Friday‘ and the sound becomes stripped back a little with raw vocals and lush strings, before changing lanes into the upbeat, soul and jazz tones of ‘Passport‘. Here, the sound becomes warm and soulful, and is the perfect introduction to ‘Leonard’s Waltz‘, a song that Sadie wrote as a tribute to long standing friends. Remembering the everyday is the theme here as we find ourselves listening to a description of an afternoon full of memories; it’s here that we encounter Brexit in a song, as when seeing someone for the first time in a while, what else would you talk about, if not Brexit? The album ends with ‘You Will Get Back What You Give’. Despite the politically aware nature of the song and the intricacies of giving in a consumer centric world, the song does have an upbeat feel, gently asking us to ‘have some faith in the human race’.
As befits someone who has been recording, releasing and playing live music for a while, Sadie’s advice to aspiring musicians is about the practicalities:
“Build your fanbase; tour, which is hard because everyone wants to tour to sell albums, but it will enable you to get your live sound right. Hone the sound, make a great show and, if you’re a singer songwriter, get a band around you because there are so many people around with just a guitar and a microphone. If you can, get an agent, get some showcases. Lastly, don’t expect to live off your music for a while, it takes time.”
Phoenix is released on 21 June on TwoUpTwoDown Records. Get your copy here.
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