RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON ARTIST JEWELIA
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
I’m a singer songwriter and producer based in London, originally from Bucharest, Romania. I make quirky pop music in various flavours, exploring different facets of pop with every release, from synth pop to pop rock, to folk pop and chamber pop, among others. I mostly produce my own songs.
Let’s go back a bit, what made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I’ve been singing and writing songs since I was little – in fact, I wrote my first ‘song’ when I was 7. When I was 13 I became interested in production and started teaching myself to record and produce my own songs.
I then went on to study music in a specialist high school, and then at university. Music always felt like the obvious choice for me.
Name your 3 favorite Albums.
Ethel Cain – Preacher’s Daughter
Muse – Origin of Symmetry
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
I have a very vivid memory from being a toddler of being fascinated by a street performer playing a keyboard.
I don’t remember the song, and I wouldn’t have known it at that age anyway, but that is my first clear music-related memory of “this is something cool that I would love to do’.
Whats the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?
I love Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking”, I think it’s a great read for any creative, and especially for independent artists.
Asking, and trusting that you can fall back on your audience, and also being authentic and creating and maintaining meaningful relationships. Before reading her book, I would’ve thought of crowdfunding as “begging”! Without this, I can tell you for sure that my first album wouldn’t have happened.
If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?
I’ve neglected the live side a bit, so some help on this side would be great.
At this point I think some support/opening slots for some bigger acts would help me a lot!
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Live streaming seems to be a great way to reach new people! I’ve been streaming (less often than I wish I could) on my Twitch channel, and also been using ReStream to stream on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at the same time. This has been really great for my engagement across the socials!
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you?
I can’t ride a bike
I can’t swim
I grew up on a farm
What was the worst experience on stage?
I once had a gig in Cambridge where I had convinced a large Meetup group to come. I was really excited because the venue was overflowing with people, unfortunately just after the first song, the PA speakers blew up!
Together with the sound engineer we tried to fix it without any luck for a good half hour with everyone staring. Eventually I played a short acoustic set with no amplification, which was not ideal for my voice considering I also had a cold!
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I think that’s probably a question for my listeners to answer? Personally, I think it’s the vocal tone, which is quite recognizable.
What was the recording process like for the new single?
It usually starts with a voice note on my phone of a very basic idea or melody, and so it happened with “Strong in My Own Way”.
Then, in my home studio, I have it set up so I can sit at pian and record straight into logic. I also have a mic (Aston Origin) on an arm so I can lay down some demo vocals. Then, I gradually make it better by adding layers, drums, synths, loops etc.
At some point it is time to replace the demo vocals with “proper” vocals, which I still do in my home studio, but this time with my Telefunken TF29. Once I have a vocal I’m happy with, I start recording doubles, harmonies, etc to make a vocal stack.
At this point, there is usually some refinement to the arrangement and production, and it is finally time to mix.
I always try to get the mix as finished as possible myself before sending it off, so it is 90% there when I create the stems, leaving most of the FX enabled.
When the mix engineer imports the stems, it should sound pretty close to my project. They means that they can spend more time refining the sounds as the more fundamental stuff is already taken care of.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new track?
The most important thing I learned from making this song is that less is more! Initially it was a whole minute longer and had some extra sections which I was quite attached too, but couldn’t quite get them right.
Once I managed to look at it objectively and started cutting the bits that did not really move the song forward, all the problems disappeared and I realised that shorter and snappier is the way to go.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
Add some zeros to the stream count perhaps?
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I have just ended a Kickstarter campaign for my second album and I’m very grateful to everyone who contributed – we raised £8000! Now I’m off to work on the album, so please stay tuned for more music coming!