“I’m really proud to be a pop singer”: Samantha Jade returns to songwriting roots
Samantha Jade is back, and hopes the industry is listening.
“I want to be taken seriously as an artist,” Jade proclaims during the opening moments of her chat with TMN.
“I know I’m a pop singer and that already has such a stigma surrounding it, and probably always will, but then you go and put a reality TV show winner status on top of that and it kind of makes it even worse.
“At the end of the day I’m really proud of my time on The X Factor and I’m really proud to be a pop singer. It doesn’t mean that I should be taken any less seriously compared to someone standing there with a guitar or someone being played on triple j,” she explains of the unfair industry ridicule she’s received in the past.
It’s with that passion and internal fire that the Sony Music Australia-signed artist launches new single ‘Bounce’ from her forthcoming third studio album, slated for release in early 2020.
Returning to her roots as a songwriter, she has hit a full circle moment in her career that has made her take a step back and look at what she’s done as an artist.
Prior to winning The X Factor in 2012, Jade was signed to US-based label Jive and wrote for artists like Ashley Tisdale and recorded vocals for the hit TV show Glee. She also released a couple of RNB-infused pop songs like ‘Step Up’ (from the hit movie of the same name) and ‘Turn Around’ that received some decent traction worldwide. But after being dropped, she felt a little lost and unsure of where she was going until she went onto the reality TV juggernaut.
“I actually got my publishing deal before I got my record deal. So songwriting has always been just as important to me. I think a lot of the time as a songwriter you are always writing towards a goal. You are put into a room and you’re told that this is the type of song they need you to write, this is the feeling, this is the BPM and there are so many restrictions,” she reflects on her early experience as a songwriter.
But now it feels really different as she’s working on her own project and has been given full reign of where she wants to sonically and lyrically go.
Switching up her process, Jade took co-writer Carmen Reece along with her to Los Angeles. Reece co-wrote previous hits ‘Always’ and ‘Shake That’. “We worked with a bunch of different producers throughout the trip but I wanted to keep the writers the same as it allowed a cohesiveness to be established,” she explains.
‘Bounce’ is a song that came pretty naturally to Jade and celebrates love in a very playful and carefree matter. “It’s talking about someone putting a bounce in your step, which makes you not take everything so seriously and makes you want to be better, love harder and have fun,” she explains. “The importance of highlighting light and shade within this collection of material was important because it’s a part of the ups and downs of life that makes us human.”
In contrast to this carefree playfulness, the rest of the album reflects on some darker and more honest times in her life with the loss of her mother inspiring one of the most vulnerable moments.
“When you lose someone you kind of lose empathy towards things and you need to re-learn that as not everyone has been through your journey, so everyone’s own problems are big to them. So I wrote a song about that self discovery I went through.”
Jade’s most honest moment hears her unloading her bitter, angry and upset feelings towards the industry in a very direct way. The candid song came about during her first sessions with DNA since her last original record Nine, five years ago. Without any deliverables or pre-set subjects and lyrical ideas, they just discussed about how they were feeling at the time.
“There were all of these emotions that we wanted to talk about and we just went there. We went hardcore. It’s a song that is really about how you’re genuinely feeling when you’re really really down. There’s no resolves. There’s no beacon of light to it because it wouldn’t have been true to how we were feeling at the time. It’s about being played, and giving everything and realising that for me it’s personal because it’s my life, and for them it’s just business.”
She found the writing process of that song really important for the project as a whole as it allowed her to get all that angst and emotion out of her system so she could then move on with the rest of the record and write the fun and happy moments.
“It was almost like a personal shedding before we could move forward with this next chapter.”