Weaving darkly introspective musings into bright, beachy pop melodies, Bournemouth’s buzzing new songstress Jazz Morley is bound to catch your ear. The UK native made an impact with her first two tracks, “Bad Love” and “Take Me Down”, and is now back with what may be her best work yet, in “Ruin Me”.
Jazz and I got the chance to chat about this lovelorn new single, and about the honesty and reflection that serves as the driving force behind her music. Take a look…
Interview and introduction by Jon Vilardi.
You mention that “Ruin Me” is about ‘finding yourself in a bad place in life, feeling like you’re only just holding it together, and being vulnerable to another’s influence’. How do you feel that this sort of emotional honesty about negative experiences inspires and affects your songwriting and sound?
I’m only really able to write by drawing inspiration and emotion from experiences in every day life. It sounds very maudlin saying that most of the experiences that create good material are negative, but unfortunately that tends to be the case. When I’m happy, then I’m too busy being happy to sit down and reflect on it. Also, I’ve always been a sucker for melancholy music which definitely comes through in my sound.
When I’m happy, then I’m too busy being happy to sit down and reflect on it.
There’s a distinct overlap between electronic music and a more straightforward singer-songwriter approach in your sound. What’s your feeling behind melding stripped back, personal lyrics with lush, complexly produced instrumentation? Who are some of your influences in that regard?
I grew up listening to soulful power ballads from the likes of Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight and Etta James. Before I was writing music, I was obsessed with singing love songs. When I began to put pen to paper, it was natural for me to draw from this love of heartfelt ballads, so I began to sit at the piano and developed a fairly traditional way of writing. In recent years I’ve embarked on an intense love affair with electronic music, specifically that of the down-tempo, moody variety. I guess I’ve moulded the two together in the most organic way possible.
The response to your music both from listeners and in the press is full of some pretty heartfelt praise – what do you think it is about what you’re doing that’s connecting with people?
Being honest. People can see straight through pretension. Music is such a powerful thing; it marks significant moments in all sorts of peoples lives. If just one person can make an emotional attachment to your music then you’re on the right track.
As a U.K. singer-songwriter in the realm of electro-pop, I’d imagine you’d find yourself among a lot of like-minded artists. Are there any in particular you’re collaborating with or planning to collaborate with?
I’m working with all sorts of writers and producers at the moment, all of which are adding to the melting pot of creativity that I’m concocting. I’m just about to do a few days writing with Mark Hill, a.k.a. The Artful Dodger, and I can’t wait to see what happens. I would also love to work with Christine and The Queens; I’m a bit in love with her, so I think some sort of powerful all female collaboration would be super cool.
Somewhat similarly, you’ve probably also found yourself among some ‘competition’ within your genre. What is it that sets Jazz Morley apart from the rest, in your view?
I disagree with there being ‘competition’ in the music industry. You can have peers who have similar genres of music, but in my opinion, there’s space for all of us, and everyone is different. Cream rises to the top, so eventually, all that matters in great music and brilliant songs, and that’s all I’m trying to deliver, as well as making an effort not to take anything too seriously, because that’s when you stop having fun.
There’s space for all of us, and everyone is different. Cream rises to the top
The atmosphere of your songs can be very reminiscent of scenes like a day at the beach, or a nice sunset drive… Does a sense of location and aesthetic play a big role in your songwriting?
I think it does. Ever since I moved from the city back to the beach, I feel like I’ve got the space to be more creative, and not be too swayed by what other people think I should be doing. Freeing up the side of my brain that was constantly worrying about money has made space for new ideas, emotions and creations. I’m a sea baby, so I’m happiest next to the water. It is my therapy.
You look to have some exciting live dates coming up! To finish up, what can you tell our readers about where to catch you performing, and what to expect next?
Well, the plan is to release an EP in the next few months, followed by gigs in London, my home town of Bournemouth and a few festivals this summer. I also hope to get over to Central Europe this year to do a few shows, so watch this space!