RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON ARTIST AMIE JAY
Hiya Amie, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Thank you, it’s great to be here! Do you have any virtual oat milk???
What made you decide to start the band / become a soloist?
I was working my 9-5 job in insurance at the time, and I was like ‘wouldn’t it be super cool if I actually released my own music? I wonder if I could do that?’ Then I spent the entire day at work making a plan for how to do just that. I knew barely anything about recording or releasing at the time, so I did a load of research and started reaching out to people to see where I could get. In all honesty, I thought the idea would die out because I wouldn’t be able to make it happen. But it didn’t, and I’m so glad I got there in the end!
Introduce yourself and your musical history
I’ve been writing songs since I was about 5 (they were truly awful), and music has always been a huge part of my life since then. The intention was initially to be an actress or musical theatre performer, but somewhere along the way, music took over and I realised that being a singer-songwriter fitted me so much better. I think my background in musical theatre definitely helped me with my storytelling, though, so I’m so glad for that. I went to University for music and dance and the rest is history! My day job is now actually in musical theatre, so it’s all come full loop which is adorable.
What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?
If the style of a certain song will be repeated again soon, like “can we expect to hear more like this?” I’m like ???? Will you hate it if it’s not?!
I’m still fairly fresh in my artist journey, so I don’t have my style 100% nailed down yet. I’m going for what feels authentic for that song, and they’re all tied together by who I am, my lyrics and the topics I write about. So, yeah… I don’t like to feel pigeonholed sometimes, let me genre hop a bit and figure out where I am.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
Not really, but I do love to talk about them as I think some of them are hilarious. My favourite is the Avril Lavigne clone / impersonator called Melissa who took over when Avril secretly passed away. It’s so dark but so ridiculously funny…
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
I feel like that’s all I did. The worst was when I actually had Covid over Christmas and I rebought myself my pending Christmas presents from my Mum because I was so bored and sad that I was going to miss Christmas and not get the presents for a while. I ended up getting out of isolation on Christmas day and having duplicate presents…
We have set up RGM USA, sharing USA music with the uk scene and vice versa, what are your thoughts on the UK music scene?
There are so many crazily talented people, and such an eclectic mix of music. So many bedroom artists are really honing their craft and there’s so many that I keep track of that I find so inspiring. I think as with anywhere else, the UK music scene is recovering from the pandemic and there’s a feeling in the air that everyone is feeling hopeful and inspired again, which is amazing.
What useless party trick do you have?
It’s so pointless, but I can make my stomach rumble on command. Don’t ask how I found that out because I have literally no idea.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I did a songwriter’s showcase and at the last minute, I swapped a song out in honour of one that felt more like me. It was Kate Nash’s ‘Birds’, which isn’t exactly vocally challenging but it’s such a great song for storytelling. I took a risk and played up the comedy in the song and it went down so well. I loved that performance so much!
What was the worst experience on stage?
It’s not music related but the worst was forgetting a dance on stage. I’ve never recovered mentally. I did not play it off well, either…
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
I always get told that my talking voice doesn’t match my singing voice. My vocals are airy, high and sweet but my talking voice is quite loud, boisterous and deep, so whether they’ve only heard me sing or only know me in ‘real life’, people are always puzzled by that. Also, I’m really small… I’m literally only 5ft.
If you had to describe you and your music to an alien, how would you describe them?
I read a review once that described something as ‘unpasteurised melodrama’, and I really relate to that as an artist. I guess honest, no bull*** sad girl anthems that often drag my exes. I’m sure the aliens would vibe.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I think the range and the journey that I’m going on as an artist. As I said before, I’m still finding my sound so I’m really exploring some different genres and topics that are more out of my comfort zone, but they’ve been the best received and I’ve had more fun making them. I don’t ever write about anything that isn’t authentic or a true experience, so I guess that’s kinda rare these days, too.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
It’s actually really lame but I just watched an episode of Sex & The City and Carrie Bradshaw does my head in. She’s the worst friend and just so annoying, I don’t know how anybody puts up with her. I hate it when you love a show but the main character is trash…
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
I really love playing my song ‘Long Gone’. It’s one that I don’t get in my head about or overthink, I’ve just played and performed it enough and I feel so connected to it that it’s so easy and so enjoyable. It always goes down well, too.
I hear you have a new single, what can you tell us about it?
I mean, it’s the ultimate song for driving with the sunroof down in the spring/summer. It’s called ‘Sweet Nostalgia’ and it’s a funky, kinda 80s inspired indie pop track that talks about how living in the past can distract you from living in the present.
Talk me through the thought process of the single?
Lockdown (and the therapy that came with it) made me realise that I’m a really nostalgic person, and that it’s actually not healthy when it’s at that level. I wanted to really explore that and hold myself accountable, and just be brutally honest about the fact that sometimes I go off into a dreamworld about past situations and don’t enjoy the moment in front of me… until it’s nostalgic again, and then the cycle repeats.
What was the recording process like?
Fun! Marble Empire nailed the production almost instantly, and the energy was great because we all just really liked the song. It went super smoothly, I didn’t need to really rework anything so it vocally and lyrically is exactly as I wrote it acoustically, which I love.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
That I’m quite a perfectionist when it comes to vocals, and not to panic if they don’t sound perfect even when they’re essentially still in the demo stage. I actually wanted to redo the vocals in this song, but once we comped them and focused on which takes were the best and got mixing, I loved them! So yes… patience.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I really don’t think I would. I stand by it… it’s a slamming bop from start to finish, hahaha!
What are your plans for the year ahead?
The EP is FINALLY coming this year. It’s been a ridiculously long process as I’ve had so many people involved pull out on it repeatedly BUT now I actually have the songs. They’re safe with me, and they’re COMING OUT. The last one is just being finished, so no more false promises, it’ll be here by summer – and this track will be on it.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
In my head, I often narrate everything I’m doing as if I’m a YouTube vlogger or make up influencer. But I’ll be like, putting my shoes on and explaining how to do it in my head. If anybody else does this, please come forward. I’ve made myself vulnerable. Please comment or message me to let me know I’m not alone.