The music world is tough, every musician and producer will happily acknowledge that fact. However, they will also be eager to explain just how rewarding the industry is and rightfully so. For Jodie Knight, one of the UK’s brightest musical prospects, the narrative is much the same, a life in music is a rollercoaster but most importantly whilst there can be frustrations, the industry is so fulfilling. In the midst of this winter’s lockdown, we caught up with Jodie over a now commonplace Zoom call and everything from school talent shows, to home studios and Ed Sheeran was discussed. In what was a fascinating insight into the early career of a multi-faceted/genre artist, it was obvious to see the immense dedication and commitment Jodie has to her craft, and it is clear that she has a big future ahead of her.
The main challenge for anyone, in any of the creative industries is without doubt breaking through. The cutthroat attitude of labels and executives, alongside the ever-increasing talent pool, makes it a constantly changing landscape that is becoming even tougher to establish yourself in. Like many a musician, Jodie found the breakthrough stage challenging, but it only fed her passion and drive to succeed.
‘Oh, without doubt it has been really hard’, there is a sincerity in Jodie’s voice. ‘However, what I have learnt is that more often than not one thing leads to another, so a project with a producer or another artist frequently opens doors to new endeavours. What really helped me, was the use of Instagram and also busking. I found that busking has been crucial as it has allowed me to gain exposure to people first-hand, rather than from behind a screen.’
She is quick to acknowledge that now, even after summiting the first major hurdle of any artists career, ‘projects swing in roundabouts and each time you think that you are having a major push, it is almost inevitably followed by a lull’.
However, the past year by all accounts has been seriously productive and resourceful for Knight. The question surrounding a possible full solo project was coyly dodged, as any artist should do, but what was clear was that there is a lot of music on its way.
‘There are 100% some plans for projects and full-length solo projects, however that is all I am going to say about it!’ She laughs, ‘I don’t like giving too much away until I know it is all confirmed. I suppose it is almost suspicion I might jinx it. I can tell you that there are plenty of songs on the way, especially collaborations. The collaborations are with a mix of artists and producers, but I think I have focused on working on more dance music at the minute. These will be on their way soon; however, they are just waiting to be signed to record labels’.
She quickly adds, ‘make sure to keep an eye for the new stuff!’.
As with most people, the last year has provided an opportunity to try out new things, and whilst the question about ‘how lockdown has impacted you’, it will not cease to lose its importance, as the variation in the answers is fascinating. The only similarity in Jodie’s answer to many other peoples was that it provided a chance to experiment, explore and execute. Jodie utilised the time to focus on new sounds and directions for her music and clearly put in an industrial amount of energy into achieving this.
‘I spent a lot of the lockdown writing and producing, as well working through my uni commitments. I think the time I had, meant I could experiment with my producing, especially messing around on the keyboards and synths’, she takes a moment to pause. ‘Throughout the three periods of lockdown, as I mentioned earlier, I have been able to work on a lot of collaboration pieces which has been great. To be honest it has just been music, music, music!’
The lockdown period also allowed Jodie to focus on creating new sounds, as well as incorporating different genres into her repertoire. ‘I found that the last year has allowed me to pursue working on new genres, as previously I would often like a type of genre such as dance music, but I wouldn’t try and replicate that sound in the studio. I am now experimenting and making music in the form of the genres I love to listen to.’
Producing and song writing is only half of the story for any solo artist, with live performance more often than not being the main reason for their choice in career. Jodie is no different and her passion for live performance was clear to see, but the past year has painfully taken away pretty much all opportunities for live music. However, prior to Covid, gigging was a major part of Jodie’s artistic career.
‘As I mentioned, a lot of my live performing came from busking. I see that as my day-to-day job now, which I love but Covid has definitely affected it. In terms of proper gigs, I was doing a lot of gigging, in venues such as The Jacaranda, but it feels such a long time ago now’, she admits sadly. ‘In the summer I managed to play a gig in Portugal, and I was so nervous beforehand because I hadn’t done any live performing in such a long time.’
Taking a moment to pause, almost as if to recollect her memories of gigging, she says ‘I really do miss the live stuff’. It is a telling sentence, which shows just how damaging Covid has been to those in the creative sector, which makes it even more important to go out and support artists live performances.
Performing has always come naturally to Jodie. From a young age, the stage has always been an attraction to the artist, and as she explained, her musical career was kickstarted by her gravitation towards performing live.
After asking her about how she got into music, Jodie described how her musical journey began from age 8. ‘I think I was around 8 or 9, and I was playing the saxophone, most kids usually play an instrument when they are young!’ She jokes. ‘From there, in school I wanted to play another instrument, and I really wanted to start signing. This coupled with my brother teaching me how to play some songs on the guitar really set me on the path of a music career. I remember I entered the school talent show, much to the surprise of my parents and sung a song and loved every second of it.’
‘From then onwards, I grew in confidence and began to post covers of tracks and I soon realised that music was all I wanted to do, and here we are’, she says smiling.
The journey to where she is now, has had a variety of influences and now more than ever, her influences are helping to shape the sound she is trying to reproduce. Whilst she points out that she does not take any real inspiration in the form of art, literature or culture like other artists have sometimes recognised, she does highlight the importance of other artists in stimulating her creative direction.
‘I would say my biggest musical inspirations at the minute would have to be Chelsea Cuttler and Jeremy Zucker. I love the music that Chelsea Cutter creates, which is made all the more fascinating by the fact she writes all of her own music. I would also say Nick Wilson is a big source of musical stimulus. Although now you’ve put me on the spot, I can’t think of any! Personally, I love the sound of their music. I think what is most important to me is that their music is very lyrical driven which is a major part of my music.’
For Jodie Knight, it is the start of an intriguing musical career, and one that will undoubtedly bring her major success. With a bedrock of work now established, Jodie has done the hard work and can really push on with what is going to be a serious journey through the musical landscape. Make sure to stay tuned!
Photos: Ricky Liu
Interview: January 2021