First up in our series from Buckle and Boots festival 2017 we feature the gorgeous and very talented, northern lass, Jade Helliwell. Jade opened the BCMA Horizon Stage on Saturday afternoon, a performance that comes after a whirlwind year – her video of singing with a busker in Leeds went viral and amassed over 15 million views in May, her EP once again entered the charts peaking at number 1 on the UK iTunes Country charts, and she signed to ROAR Global management on the back end.
And what an opening it was. Jade’s set was full of confidence and she seemed more comfortable on stage than ever. The first two songs I made it over for (as always at festivals you end up running between stages with little time to spare to catch all the good stuff) were Never Learn and I Have a Good Life from Jade’s EP Forget the Night. Never Learn is a catchy and upbeat tune, perfect for opening a festival, and I Have a Good Life is feel-good, classic-country feeling song about being happy with what you’ve got – the influence Jade has taken from Dolly Parton shines through in both her vocals and lyrics here.
The next song was my highlight of the set – Cam’s version of the Lori McKenna song Old Men Young Women. It’s no secret that the Belles and Gals team could probably agree that Lori McKenna is one of the best songwriters on the country music scene. Coupled with Jade’s vocals which were flawless in this rendition, it was one of those rare moments of magic where I personally saw Jade’s full potential for the first time. Sometimes you just need that one song. It made me think about the importance of our UK country gals honing their song-writing skills and collaborating with each other…
Maybe that’s for another time but I was very pleased when Jade later said that she had been writing a lot lately. A product of this were two songs – one being the most personal written yet about a relationship gone bad last year “I could see a shooting star… I could see the northern lights…. I’d still”, and one called By My Side which showed significant in Jade’s growth as versatile song-writer if you ask me.
Jade also sang Ask Me to Stay and Forget the Night of her EP, both of which very popular with the crowd. The biggest crowd-pleaser, however, was a lovely cover of Cam’s Hungover on Heartache. Luke Thomas had been enlisted to help out on stage – apparently everyone who plays with Luke must play at least one Cam song (good taste!).
We caught up with Jade after her set:
You’ve had a whirlwind few months with the viral video, massive media coverage and your ep going to the top of the charts. We’re so very pleased for you! Have you come down from the high yet? How are you feeling now?
I’ve still not come down. I doubt I ever will! It’s been incredible so many amazing things have followed – I’m just looking forward to the rest of the year.
We loved your set. Do you think you have more confidence on the stage now?
Thanks! I think my confidence grows with every gig I play and that’s because of the way the audience reacts and the lovely feedback I get afterwards.
I also took notice of your new song, I think it might have been called by my side? I think your songwriting is improving alongside your experience. Is this something you’ve been focusing on in any particular way?
Thank you so much. Yes it’s called ‘by my side’. I think my songwriting is something that I continue to try and develop. I want to keep pushing myself to write in new ways and about new subjects and perspectives of things so naturally I develop the more I write 🙂
We uploaded a video I took on Saturday on our twitter (see at the bottom), and Lori McKenna retweeted saying how cool it was. Were you pleased with that?
I am still not over Lori McKenna retweeting that video and calling it cool! I’m such a fan girl I love her I think she’s an incredible songwriter and definitely someone to inspire so to see she heard me cover her song and then to go one further and retweet and comment made my day/week/life!
You’re going on tour with Holloway Roads. These are some of my favourite boys on the Uk county scene, how much fun do you think that’ll be? And what else is coming up for you in the latter half of 2017?
I cannot wait to head on tour with Holloway Road. I think there’s gonna be a whole lot of laughs in store and incredible music each night. I’m so excited.
For the rest of 2017 I’m already looking busy. I have a great gig July 21st at Gullivers in Manchester put on my Ukcountrylive! Tickets available here: https://www.wegottickets.com/e
That does sounds like an incredible summer you’ve got coming hope – best of luck and look forward to seeing you on the road, Jade.
Review and interview by Nathalie Larsen