Jade Bird

Main Stage (Sunday)

“The common thread in all my music, my lyrics, my shows and my artwork is me,” begins Jade Bird. "I don't feel like anybody can shift my character.” Nor should they want to. Jade channels that character — and her creativity — into music that Rolling Stone have described as “a young Londoner’s spin on modern Americana” and which Jade herself calls “kind of country, kind of blues, kind of pop and kind of none of that”. Either way, Jade’s music is passionate, full-bodied commentary that finds this 20-year-old, “funny-on-a-good-day” songwriter singing about the vows we make to ourselves and each other: what it takes to make them, what is required to keep them and what it means to break them.

Jade suggests that the two biggest influences on her work are “experience and idols”, and while she briefly embraced her mum’s penchant for Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson, it was through discovering her own musical heroes that Jade was able to focus her creativity identity, somewhere in the mix of Cat Power, Mazzy Star, The Smiths, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Bob Dylan. She was also entranced by Dolly Parton’s direct songwriting and fearless rise through the conservative world of country, and it was Patti Smith whose perspective on art and poetry inspired Jade to see her own career as being every element connected to her music, rather than just the songs themselves.

Jade started gigging at 13, kicking things off with a set of dubious covers on a fairylight-draped stage at one end of a Bridgend pub, before hurling herself into competitions with her own songs along with gigs anywhere that’d take her, which involved memorable performances in nursing homes and psychiatric wards. “That period was all quite strange,” she smiles now, “but it taught me everything I know today about how to hold a room.”

“I’m not confident in the sense that I wake up every morning and yell ‘GO ME!’,” she concludes, “but I feel like with every corner I turn expectations are shattered, and I hope I’ll keep surprising people along the way. It feels like with every step forwards I'm getting a little bit further towards the destination of being able to call myself an artist.”


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