In this day and age there seem to be hundreds of singer-songwriters out there, numerous sound-a-likes and loads of middle of the road wannabes but in an over crowded scene there are those that truly stand out. One such artist is Dana Jade, a singer-songwriter who crafts raw primal rock that has to be heard to be believed. Dana is just about to release a brand new single, Little Sister and so I thought to coincide with the new single it was high time I caught up with Dana to find out more.
1. Hi Dana, how are you today? What are you’re early memories of music, did you grow up with a musical background?
Hello great thanks! There was always music around the house my Mother constantly had the radio on and she would sing to me and my brother. We were in Church & School choirs but I wouldn’t say we were a musical family but I wouldn’t say were were not either if that makes any sense?
2.And when did you first start writing and performing?
I have always been obsessed with guitar but I only seriously started pursuing music after I left school. That’s just the way it is in Trinidad. There’s no Brit school or performance arts colleges and certainly no school of rock n roll! Music isn’t seen as a real career or a real job. But why the hell would anyone want one of those?
3. Who were your original influences when you first started becoming involved in music? I read somewhere that you grew up with Soca and Reggae did these tropical sounds influence you in anyway, did relocating to London via New York ?
So many influences! PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Nirvana, Hole/Courtney Love were among the first to inspire me to pick up a guitar. I discovered many bands during the time I spent in NY visiting my Dad. Grunge, the intense energy of Sonic Youth, Riot Grrrl and classic British punk like The Clash and the Pistols have played a big part in shaping my sound. Punk was one of the reasons why I moved to London. That movement really spoke to me, obviously I didn’t live through it but I’d love to see something like that happen again. Please Universe?
The rhythm of the Caribbean is hard to ignore and like any other red blooded Trinidadian I like to dance! So those soca and reggae infused “riddims” started finding their way in to the sound.
4.Your sound has been described as dirty, gritty rock n roll and blues do you think this is an accurate description to your sound?
I’ve always found it hard to describe the music in words and then Time Out London managed to do it in 4 words!
“Attitudinal bluesy punk and roll from this member of Gaggle.”
I’d like to think it is danceable as well!
5. I also see that you’re involved with 24 piece collective Gaggle, can you describe to our readers what Gaggle are about and how you became involved in the collective?
Gaggle is hard to describe but I can tell you what it means to me. It has been the single most powerful and heartening example of sisterhood I have ever come across. It really disarms the woman whose MO is to hate other women on sight. That bs needs to die! It is 2011! Join us in solidarity, support and positivity.
6. So to date you’ve released a couple of singles and striking videos, how they’ve been received? And you’re just about to release a brand new single, Little Sister, what are your hopes for the new single?
People really seem to like and connect with the video for Little Sister which I’m very proud of because it was my very first foray into art direction.
What are my hopes for the single? World Domination obviously!
7. The new single is backed with a cover of M.I.A’s Galang, why did you decide to cover this particular track and what do you think you bring to the song?
Some fans of hers have been really pissed off that I touched that song but ffs I am a fan too! I just always thought it would lend itself to guitars and a post punk approach and thankfully most people I’ve encountered agree with me. I just thought wouldn’t it be a surprise if I added this to the set? It always goes down a storm in the live shows. Give thanks!
8.You’ve released a couple of singles now, can we expect to see an album in the near future? And if so what can we expect to hear from a full length Dana Jade release?
I’m working on the album right now and hope to release it in early 2012. Expect to find my blood, sweat, guts, heart, love, lust and tears in this collection of 10 possibly more tracks.
9. I read that in the past you supported John Parrish (PJ Harvey), how did that come about and I imagine it was something of a dream come true, is there anyone else you’d like to perform with?
Omg yes! It really was. The promoter just thought I would fit on the bill. It’s not everyday that you get to support an artist whose albums you actually own. I’d love to perform with Ms. Harvey herself of course and The Kills and Skunk Anansie and the list goes on…
10. I get the impression that from listening to your songs that in a live situation it’s all very raw and almost primal, is that a fair description of a Dana Jade show?
I’d like to think so. You’d really have to come to a show and make up your own mind. I do try to bring the energy I’d like to see when I go to see a band. People dance at our show; I love a dancing crowd! I do engage with the audience as much as possible. I make eye contact; I talk to them and thank them profusely. I love the moment when a crowd isn’t that sure about you then they suddenly warm up because they can see that you’re working your arse off and you have actually lived the lyrics you are singing. People respond to sincerity that is the only thing that keeps me going sometimes!
11. Do you have a tour in support of the new single lined-up?
Not yet! Why? Do you know a booking agent? Does anyone know a booking agent? Help!
12.What’s next for the immediate future for Dana Jade?
I am actually planning an event to raise awareness/funds for the prevention of FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) called “Clit Rock” a term coined by Skin of Skunk Anansie fame. I felt it worked here on many levels. Hopefully she’ll give us her blessing or even get involved! That would be amazing!
13.Thanks for your time Dana, is there anything you’d like to leave our readers with?
Yes. Support independent music! Dead artists don’t eat. If you love a band share their videos introduce them to your friends. Request them on your favourite radio shows etc. You can’t complain about how rubbish the charts are if don’t do your part. I’m obsessed with Nneka right now, go… listen to Heartbeat. Thank me later.
Peace, Love & Riddim.