Jade Bird (photo courtesy of Glassnote, PR)
Quarantined Artists is a new FUV feature that includes online Q&As and on-air conversations with musicians dealing with life in Covid-19 lockdown.
It's been just over a year since Jade Bird released her self-titled debut album and she was set to travel across the States this spring, touring behind that release with a stop at Brooklyn Steel on May 7. Well, that's not happening now, the tour is postponed, and Bird is safely home in Britain, making her way through these quarantine days with her family.
It's definitely a strange full stop to what had been a jet-fueled ride for Bird. Her affection for Americana and blissed-out country vibes turned heads; it's still a trip hearing a very young British songwriter so expertly channel Johnny Cash or her own gravelly lament, "I Get No Joy." She was riveting at Rockwood Music Hall when FUV welcomed her last summer for a concert, soon after she had the unforgettable chance to sing with a starry roster of fellow musicians like Dolly Parton (one of her country heroes), Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow and others at the 2019 Newport Folk Festival.
Bird's connection with Carlile means a lot: Bird is a fan, and as someone who has an intuitive gift for the choosing the perfect cover song, she recorded a stunning version of Carlile's "The Eye" just for FUV. For our Quarantined Artists series, we also caught up with Bird via email and she told us a little about her homebound life, her list-making skills, and one beloved family member who works on the frontlines for Britain's National Health Service:
You usually keep a tour diary on your website and you were supposed to tour the States in April. Have you been keeping a diary of these days of social isolation? What's your typical day like now?
I’ve been doing lists, like 50 spots labelled “songs written” and “books read” and “exercise." I’ve filled in a lot on the latter, but books I’ve been pretty hopeless with. I’ve joined a group of songwriters who have been writing a song a day, so that as well as a lot of video games. A LOT.
Are you in London during these lockdown days? How are you taking care of yourself and your loved ones, to keep your spirits up?
I’m out of town, near Gatwick Airport —however eerily, no planes have been going over. We have family games night and we are calling grandma lots (she works in the NHS). It's tough, you know, big highs and big lows for everyone. I’m just very very grateful that I have a family who are safe and supportive, truly.
It's been a year since you released your debut album in 2019. How much difference a year makes! Is there a song on that album—or perhaps one that you've recently written or even something that you've scribbled in your notebook—that has a lyric that feels timely right now?
Well, I wrote a song called "Prototype" in January and the first line is: “Put my heart in quarantine to try and analyse, what it is that forces me to love the prototype." Crazy.
Livestreaming can't replace a concert tour, but it is an outlet that is working for some musicians and you've done a few already. How are you navigating that challenge of playing sets from home?
I feel really good—happy I mean—playing live sets at home. I really want to cheer people up and by doing so, it cheers me up. As I said it’s been a real reminder of why I do this: primarily to spread joy or cathartic energy through music. [Keep track of Jade Bird's livestreams via her Twitter account - Ed.]
Thank you for sending FUV your lovely cover of Brandi Carlile's "The Eye." What do you love about that song and Brandi's songwriting?
That song is a modern classic. This album just feels so honest. "The Mother" skates poetically through motherhood; it’s another favourite of mine. Plus Brandi live reminds me to up the game constantly. She's an incredible vocalist and musician.
- Jade Bird
April 21, 2020