This past year I wrote a review on Jade’s debut EP, Violet Dreamer, and it quickly became one of my favorites, appearing on my Top 10 of 2020 list. With her newest single, “Vintages,” dropping not too long ago, it seemed like an opportune time to check in with the artist and get an interview. I was interested in uncovering some of her process and inspirations, and Jade answered all of my questions with grace.
To kick things off, would you mind introducing yourself to our readers?
Hi, I’m Jade. I’m a singer-songwriter and producer based in Seoul.
Starting broadly, you’ve worked across a few different genres in your work so far. Personally, how would you define your style of music?
I would say a few things like acoustic music, folk, and indie-pop. Abstractly speaking, I am always fascinated by a dreamy, romantic, and mellow feel when I make music.
Continuing with another biographical question, how and why did you get started making music?
At first, I started writing my songs, doing some music assignment at school when I was attending an international school abroad. Making my music was an eye-opening experience for me. After that, I came back to Korea to study composition more deeply at a university.
And then, I decided to study abroad again because of my thirst for experiencing many different and various music genres in a bigger world. So, I tried to dig deep into music and find my musical personality while studying songwriting at a university in London.
Along a similar vein, do you have any artists in particular who inspire your sound?
Corinne Bailey Rae would be the one that I got the inspiration for most of my music. She is very good at storytelling and she is a great artist who expresses her emotion purely and honestly. Apart from her, I love female folk musicians such as Laura Marling, Billie Marten, and Lianne La Havas. For the pop side, LANY and The 1975 are my favourites.
Your EP came across to me as pretty sentimental. Do you have a favorite song that you’ve released so far? Either in terms of how it turned out or what it means to you.
Though I love all of my songs, they are like my babies but I would say “Youth” from my first EP Violet Dreamer. It’s because it has so many memories and feelings that I experienced in the UK, both good ones and bad ones. It’s the song that reminds me of that time very vividly.
“My Violet and My Blue” would be the second. It’s because I didn’t expect that many people could like it when I released my EP. It has not much arrangement, just the guitar and vocal but surprisingly quite a lot of people have been showing love to this song.
Looking at your song credits, it looks like you do a lot of your own work (or are heavily involved) when it comes to making your music. What does your creative process usually look like? Are there specific things that inspire you to write more than others?
Yes, I tend to get involved in producing my albums as much as possible. Of course, it’s harder but I feel like it can show more of my ideas, personality, and intentions in my music. I think, in general, that kind of aspect makes some differences from other songs. So, I try to do everything if I can.
However, still, I can’t handle the whole thing from the start to the end, so I first scratch some ideas like melodies, lyrics, and a bit of arrangement, and then passed them to other collaborators to add or polish more especially in terms of the arrangement.
You’ve written songs both in English and Korean – do you prefer writing in one over the other? How or when do you decide which language you think will suit a song best?
I used to prefer writing in English, but now I enjoy writing both in English and Korean. I think that English suits my songs better because I love elements of western music and also English pronunciation. It’s much smoother than the Korean language. However, with the Korean language, I can describe my emotion and do storytelling more in detail in the lyrics. So there are pros and cons.
Moving away from the technical side of things for a bit, I’d like to ask some more aspirational, philosophical questions. What do you hope people take away from your music?
I really hope that people can get comfort from my music and escape from reality. I have got through all of a hard time with the music. When listening to some song that I like, I feel it takes to another dimension. I have been hoping that I can make that kind of music and it can give people the feeling that I felt.
Being an indie artist can sometimes be a bit challenging, but of course there’s no telling where your career could go. The sky’s the limit! What’s your biggest goal or dream as a musician?
As an independent artist, my biggest goal would be that my music could be appreciated and recognized by many more people. It’s a bit vague but I believe that music is the way that I can talk with my fans and I can get to know new listeners and communicate with them, so I hope to continue to make music and keep being connected with listeners as long as possible.
As we’re wrapping up, are there any future plans you can let us in on? Anything you’re excited about and want to promote?
There are quite a lot of things that I want to show. Some video clips for a few of my songs will be uploaded on Youtube in March. Recently, my new single “Vintages” was released, so I hope that many people could listen to that and I could get to know new listeners through my new album.
Also, I am planning on releasing more single albums in the near future. Plus, I have been writing many songs for my full length album, so I wish to show it at the end of this year.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to leave our readers with?
Thank you very much for reading this interview. Even though what’s going on these days seems depressing and we are restricted to do many things, I hope everyone stays strong and healthy, not losing hopes and dreams for the future. Also, I wish that music could help you and heal you somehow.