INTERVIEW: Samantha Jade

Samantha Jade is ready to kickstart the 2020/21 summer with an anthem that is all about embracing change, which is something we can all relate to after this turbulent year. ‘New Boy’ is a tropical pop meets RNB interpolated track that immediately grabs your attention with its addictive melody and retrospective groove. It’s a dive back into the glamourised pop she’s known for after getting a little more experimental with the sensual RNB track ‘In The Morning’, and the emotionally charged ‘BACK 2 BACK’ which were both released earlier this year. 

The Australian pop-star has been heading back to her roots over the past year by rediscovering her love for RNB music and storytelling, which has coincidentally led her back to her own self-discovery. With a strong vision in mind, her forthcoming next studio album is promised to be an honest affair that showcases a raw side of her artistry. 

I recently chatted to Samantha Jade about the colourful summer vision behind her new single ‘New Boy’, as well as explored the sisterhood message behind ‘BACK 2 BACK’ and the nostalgic and sensual RNB vibe of ‘In The Morning’. Check it out BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: Your new single ‘New Boy’ is a colourful and catchy little summer jam that is all about new beginnings. So can you explain to me how this track came together creatively? 

SAMANTHA JADE: I actually wrote this song a year ago. So Carmen Reece and PK who I wrote ‘Bounce’ with were here in Australia for the ARIAS and for a songwriting camp. So we ended up doing a full week together which was so cool to work every single day together, because you start to get fresh new ideas and get to really bounce off each other. We started with about seven ideas and ended with only four that we finished. 

‘New Boy’ was one of the ones at the end. It was summer at the time, so we wanted to write something with those island drums, and have it really feel like summer, not knowing that it would come out a whole year later. But I do feel like it’s more relevant now than ever before we all just want new everything after this year. So we just wanted to make a song that made you want to dance, have fun, and not think about everything, which is a shift from ‘BACK TO BACK’ which was more emotional and about the things I’ve learnt during this hard time. 

TB: Sonically I hear some Sia and Little Mix influences with some old school pop-RNB injected in there too. So what were you sonically referencing in the studio? 

SJ: All three of us are big fans of old-school 90’s and 2000’s RNB. We also all love quick talk melodies with gifting out how many lyrics you can fit in so you can kind of say more than in some other songs. So for this one we loved the idea of writing hook, after hook, after hook and then figure out where they go. 

PK was building the track and then we were singing different parts over it and writing down all these hook ideas. We then sat down and pieced them all together as a song, and that’s what I think all of those 2000’s songs that I love have, is that every part is almost like a chorus. 

TB: For the music video you worked with Matt Lee again who did the Bounce shoot, and it was such a cool visual concept with the industrial warehouse and neon lights. But what impressed me the most was the choreography, as this seemed like your most choreo demanding video yet. How did you find all the lead up preparation for this shoot?

SJ: It was definitely my most choreography heavy video ever! I haven’t obviously performed much this year because of Covid, so usually I’m dancing and singing all year, and am at a certain level of fitness and mental fitness with learning choreo. So I was really nervous when it came to this video as I haven’t danced properly all year, so it was almost quite new to me. 

I really love how Matt works because he breaks down every move if I really need it, and it’s nice to sit in the choreo because once you get to the shoot you need to add singing along to the words at the same time, looking at the camera, while also making sure that you look nice. But it was a lot of fun, and I feel like this video really needed the choreography. Matt is so talented, and I love what he did with ‘Bounce’ but I think he’s really taken it to another level. 

TB: I also love that there was a dance break towards the end of the song! 

SJ: I love a dance break, and no one does them anymore! 

TB: Another cute part of the video saw you swiping on Bumble. You’re obviously now engaged, but did you ever dating apps in the past? 

SJ: I actually haven’t ever used one, because I was in my first relationship for seven years and that started when I was like 18. So when I did break up with him and I had the time after that, I didn’t want to be with anyone. I was just happy, and decided to work on me instead. I then knew Pat through the industry, so I never had to get an app, and to be honest I wasn’t ready for it. But I know so many of my friends who have, and it’s really worked for them. There are some really incredible stories from people meeting on Bumble, so I thought it would be a really cool tie in for the video. 

TB: The outfits in this video were amazing, in particular I was obsessed with the gold two piece! What sort of looks did you want this song to be represented by?

SJ: Outfit wise, I’m always very hands on. With ‘Bounce’ I knew I wanted pink, yellow, white because when I write the songs I always see the colours, video and mood board in my head. So when I wrote this song I saw night time, crops with pants and bright neon. It’s a lot more sexier and darker than ‘Bounce’ which was my last big music video, and I felt like it needed that.

The gold piece was actually something that the stylist Jana Bartolo threw out there on the day of. Gold was actually not apart of the brief, the reference was black and oranges. But then she showed me this gold piece and I was like “I have to wear this in the video! I look like a Logie! I love it!” *laughs*. It’s such a cool and memorable piece, and with this video with the choreography being such a standout I knew that the outfits had to be special too. Because what I remember most about old Christina, Britney and Beyonce music videos is the choreography and the outfits. Fashion is such a huge part of what I do, and it’s such a big influence of what I do, so I wanted to make sure that the fashion was as big as the choreography in this video as it deserved that. 

TB: You recently released the beautiful ‘BACK 2 BACK’ which was all about sisterhood and being there for each other during the darkest moments. The lyric “When you’ve got no fight and your head don’t feel right. Walking on a thin line, don’t forget to breathe, breathe deep” really stood out to me. So what’s your favourite lyric from the song? 

SJ: I love that lyric too! There’s something about “don’t forget to breathe, breathe deep” that can feel like it means nothing, but it’s actually the thing that saves you in moment of anxiety. Whenever I am anxious or going through a moment, my friends always say to me “breathe, breathe”. So I kinda wanted to fit that into the song too. 

I also love the lyric “don’t ever dim your light” because I think a lot of us do that. We dim our lights to fit in, or to get it over with and more forward, which I think is really upsetting. A lot of the time I say to my girlfriends “no, don’t dim your light. You can be better, you deserve better, you can get better”, whether it be from a partner, work, or life in general.

TB: With the sisterhood theme very strongly embedded in the song, the video was this really beautiful and honest affair with some of your closest friends coming together to share this video with you. How emotional was this shoot?

SJ: Oh my gosh, it was so special! I actually just spoke to some of the girls about it last week, and it was genuinely such a special day. Of course it was my song and my idea, and seeing it all come together was really emotional for me, but what was nice was that all the girls left with the same feeling. And I think that is what I wanted to create the most, that when you listen to it that you can feel the intention it was written with. 

I will never forget that day. It’s in my mind forever now. 

TB: Earlier this year you also released one of my favourite single of yours yet, ’In The Morning’, which showcased a very different and sensual side of your artistry. But sonically I felt like this was a full circle return to ‘Step Up’.

SJ: Oh 100%! That was actually the second song that DNA and I wrote for this record, and we were just like “let’s go there! Let’s go to those lyrics and that feel and just do it”. It’s such a fun song, and when we performed it on the Pentatonix tour, it was such a cool energy because people didn’t really know it as it had only just come out that week. And in New Zealand specifically they didn’t know it, but it was the one they were cheering for the most. I think people really liked the vibe and groove of it which was so cool. 

TB: As you keep working on your next studio album which is slated for release next year, what is going to be the most surprising thing that listeners are going to hear or discover about you from this record? 

SJ: I’m very pedantic about my albums as they are things that live forever, and I never want to listen back and think “why I did do that” or “why did I say that”. So I always want to make sure that I’m saying the most honest thing. And with ‘Nine’ that album came into fruition after my mum had passed away, so it was very heavily based on what I had learnt during that experience.

With this album I was really tossing and turning with the ideas of what I wanted to write. I wanted to make sure that on this album that I was 100% transparent with my fans because I have never really talked about the struggle of what actually happened in the industry or me, and how tough it was, and how it’s built me as an artist today. So I’ve kinda just really gone there in the lyrics, and been very raw and honest. So it’s probably the most emotional album I’ve done, and I think there will be some moments that my fans will put two and two together and go “I get that”. 

TB: Earlier this year you supported Pentatonix on their Australian tour, and for this set you did something a little different and took away all the dancing and performed a full acoustic set with three part harmonies. So what did you learn about yourself as an artist from rearranging the whole set that way and stripping it back? 

SJ: I genuinely love doing the dancing and big performances, like hello, Fluffy is my favourite gig to do *laughs*. But I felt like with this tour, because Pentatonix are such talented vocalists, and that’s their jam, I wanted to make sure our set was in the same vain and complimented what they do. 

We had been working together as a three piece doing a few different stripped back videos and things, and I realised that I hadn’t shown this side of me much because when I do big performances it is a full scale show with dancers etc. So I thought how cool would it be to do this whole set acoustically and bring it back to just the vocals. I also thought it would be a nice way to put out this new sound. So I learnt to really just let my vocals shine and feel confident without all the bells and whistles. And I feel like there was quite a shift in reaction with people as they were like “oh my god, I forgot that you could sing like that” and I’m like “Yeah, I won a singing show” *laughs*. 

TB: This lockdown period has inspired some people to pick up a new hobby, or find a weird new obsession. So what has been something you’ve picked up or obsessed over during this period? 

SJ: Listen, I have to say, My puppy! I am obsessed with him and he’s the love of my life. He’s something that has come into our life at the right time, and he’s just the best. But I will say as well that I know the importance of filling my soul as well as my work and life in that way. I don’t water my soul as much as I should, and I think this year has given me the time to understand that you can do that as much as you do everything else. You need to feed that side of you. 

I’ve been reading a lot, and learning to work on myself, and I really think that has been the best part of this weird year. We’ve been presented with a bit of a mirror, and that’s been rewarding. 

‘New Boy’ is out now!