This time two months ago, 19-year old indie pop singer JADE was just another kid with big plans and a dream. Living in Phoenix, six hours along the dusty expanse of Interstate 10 separated her from the twinkle of Los Angeles lights. With producer Jordan Tamaeno at her side, frequent trips to the buzzing city allowed ample time for contemplation. Rather than shying away from an industry that has discouraged those far older, JADE jumped feet first into her passion, moving her entire life to LA when the opportunity arose. With new single “Find A Place” out today and debut EP “Pink” dropping August 25th, those big plans hardly seem out of reach.
“Find A Place” is a dreamy, techno-pop track begging to be played on lazy summer afternoons. Strong synth beats accompany JADE’s fluttering falsetto as she implores, “tell me that you’ve found a place/for me and you to run away”. Gentle guitar trills through the bridge, layered with JADE’s almost ethereal harmony for a summer pop tune that is a true delight. Check out the new single here:
Ahead of the release of her new music, JADE had a chat with Music Existence about big moves, tour plans, and growing up.
Music Existence: You just recently moved from Phoenix to LA. How has that transition been? That’s a pretty big move.
JADE: It’s been really interesting but it’s been really cool. I really like it out here, I’m glad I did it! Arizona is a cool place, but it’s not for me at the moment. I’ve definitely learned a lot about the music business since I’ve even moved out here, so it’s been really exciting.
ME: How do you think that the move will affect your songwriting and your music process? Do you think it already has?
JADE: It’s definitely a whole different set of surroundings, and it’s kind of a new mindset, too, because I’m in a whole new place with new people. I’ve been writing songs in the same place for the last, since I was-I’ve lived [in Phoenix] since I was four. [The move] has definitely kicked like a little creativity thing in my mind. I actually wrote a couple songs and showed them to my producer and I was telling him how I felt like the lyrics were a little different than usual. I don’t really know how, I just kind of felt it.
ME: How long have you been writing songs?
JADE: I don’t know the exact age, but I was very young. I wanna say around eight. It started out as just a thing to do with me and my friends, ‘cause we were bored, and it just sort of grew. It just kept happening and I ended up really taking to it.
ME: I can’t imagine writing songs as an eight year old, that’s incredible.
JADE: Thank you! It wasn’t about anything special, it was about Halloween costumes, I think.
ME: That’s adorable! So I assume the songwriting process looks a little different between eight years old and now. Do you have a typical process?
JADE: It depends. I think the first thing I’m best at is coming up with a melody before lyrics and before anything else. But inspiration definitely comes in waves. Sometimes it’s random, sometimes it is inspired by something else like another piece of art or an emotion. For the most part, I dunno, it just hits me. Sometimes I’ll sit down and it’ll just spill out of me all at once, and then sometimes it’ll take days to get it right.
ME: You play guitar and piano and ukulele. When you’re writing, is there an instrument you tend to gravitate towards?
JADE: It’s kind of whatever I’m feeling at that time. I think most of my knowledge on an instrument would be on the guitar, so it is easier to write a song on the guitar. But sometimes I find that certain songs just go better with certain instruments. So I could start off on guitar and then realize ‘hey, this would sound better over here.’
ME: And you taught yourself all those instruments, right?
JADE: For the most part. Guitar, yes. I did take piano lessons for like, two months. So yeah, mostly self-taught.
ME: That’s incredible! What inspired you to start learning and teaching yourself guitar?
JADE: It was weird. I had this-I don’t know how to explain it-I had this strumming pattern in my head that I really wanted to figure out ‘cause I was already writing songs and I was already messing with the keyboard. I thought I could really do something cool with the guitar. I grabbed my dad’s old guitar when he wasn’t home and I just started trying to figure it out. I just looked it up on the internet, like how to tune it, and stuff like that and I just sort of went with it. I figured it out and it clicked and it worked really well. After that I didn’t ever want to put it down.
ME: Is your dad the only other person in your family who’s musical?
JADE: Yeah, my dad’s the only one. He said he had a Beatles cover band when he was a teenager, and that was the extent of it. Yeah, it’s just me. I don’t really know where I got it from.
ME: Do you have any current musicians or songwriters who you really admire and want to emulate?
JADE: Yeah, I really love Lorde’s new album. I’ve been recently getting into her lyrics and her songwriting. I think she has a really powerful image and vibe that I really like and appreciate. Not a lot of other artists really have that. I also love Sia, I love what she’s doing. I love how she writes for herself but also has the ability to write different types of genres for others. I’m also a songwriter on top of a singer, so being able to do that is really cool.
ME: Your first single “Yesterday” has over 100,000 views since you posted it last year. Were you expecting that response when you initially put it up?
JADE: No, not at all! It did a lot better than we even hoped. It was weird, there was like a chain reaction in the comments section. Everyone was tagging the person that they loved [saying] ‘oh, this would never happen to us!’ It was interesting, I remember I was in a library at the time when my producer called me and goes “Hey, you should look at how many views it has!” and I kinda danced out of the store.
ME: How did it feel to watch in real-time people having such personal connections to something you wrote?
JADE: It’s crazy. It’s so hard to explain because it’s something that I have thought about since I was a child. It’s always just been a dream or a concept. Like, ‘oh that would be cool if people liked my music,’ so to actually see people looking at it and connecting to it and relating to it, validating everything, is hard to accept at first. Once it settled in it was really exciting. I’m really happy that people relate, because that’s all I really wanted.
ME: Your EP “Pink” comes out on August 25th. What would you say are the main themes of the EP? What do you hope people get out of it?
JADE: If you look at all the songs, the oldest songs go back from when I was still in high school, I think I was a sophomore. And then we have really new songs, which were written only a few months ago. So it’s kind of a timeline of me growing up and experiencing new things and trying to figure myself out. Growing up and changing is really hard, and it can be really confusing, and I think that this whole album kind of captures that. You can watch as I grow and develop through each song, and the different heartaches and experiences someone goes through. And I think everyone can relate to that. Everyone goes through that process.
ME: Absolutely. Who would you say most influenced the sound of the album?
JADE: I wanna say it’s sort of a mix. I grew up a little bit of an edgier kid. I was kind of a punk kid, I liked the emo stuff. As I got older, I came to more appreciate modern pop music. I grew up on both My Chemical Romance and I also really like Justin Bieber. I think that kind of influenced me a little bit. I didn’t want a generic pop album; I wanted something edgier, something different. It’s kind of who I am. I think that influenced me, the whole emo culture mixed with pop.
ME: The lead single “Find A Place” drops July 12th. What contributed to its placement as a single and what excites you most about it?
JADE: I do love that song. I think the melodies and the lyrics are really great, and very relatable. It’s about just wanting to escape, and everyone wants that at some point. Everyone wants to go somewhere better. I think this is a song people easily connect to. The video shoot went unexpectedly well; everything just fell into place so easily, so quickly, it just felt right to be the single. It represents the album really well. It just made sense to all of us.
ME: Do you have plans for touring “Pink” after its release?
JADE: Nothing set in stone, but definitely touring in the future. I’m excited to get back out there. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do something like that, but nothing I can say for sure. But definitely going to happen!
ME: So you’re excited about the prospect of touring?
JADE: Yeah! I love traveling around, meeting all the new people, the different cultures, the different music vibes. It’s something else in every state; it’s definitely a cool experience.
ME: Looking in the future, do you have any dream venues that you want to play?
JADE: I’ve always looked at the Wembley Arena as a success, only because the people that I listen to always played there. They’d always say ‘Oh, we sold out the Wembley Arena!’ And I’d think ‘Oh, that’s kind of cool.’ The people that I look up to are excited about that, so that’s my goal. And of course, playing at the New Year’s Eve ball drop, or something like that.
ME: Are there any artists that you’d really want to collaborate with?
JADE: Oh yeah, definitely! Justin Bieber, I mean I feel like he’s got the music industry in the palm of his hand right now. I feel like he has all the connections to any songwriter he could have, he’s got a great voice. I think it would be an honor to be able to collaborate with him. And then of course, the aforementioned Lorde and Sia, I’d love to work with them. And of course Hayley Williams from Paramore!
ME: Your commitment to optimism and to pursuing your goals is really admirable, especially in someone so young. What would you say to young musicians, or anyone who’s struggling to take that leap of faith like you did with the move to LA?
JADE: I think-and this is gonna sound a little cheesy-but I think one of the biggest parts of that is just trusting that you can do it, that you have the ability to do it. Sometimes you just feel it, sometimes you just know that’s what you’re meant to do. I’ve always just felt if I’m not meant to do this, then what the hell else am I here for? If you really believe that you can do it and believe it’s what you’re meant for, it should almost come, not easy, but it should be a no-brainer to go for it. I think I’ve encountered a lot of musicians when I was a kid in high school who said ‘we’re gonna make it.’ And I watched them give up on it a year or two later and say ‘I’m gonna work for my dad’s company, the music thing didn’t really work out.’ I understand the fear, but I think it’s just really important to understand that if you don’t really believe in yourself, if you don’t really want it, it can’t happen. It’s not going to happen.
ME: Do you have anything else you’d like to mention?
JADE: I think it’s been a very long, emotional, even fearful process of creating this album. Wondering ‘when is it ever gonna happen,’ so I think now that it’s here, I’m really happy and I’m really excited. I hope that people listen to it and believe in me as much as I believe in myself. I hope people can really connect to it.
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