Music Q&A:
Jade Helliwell

The Leeds-born country singer rose to fame when a video of her singing on a night out in the city received 21m views. Now she’s the face of Firestone's Road to the Main Stage music competition

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What informs your music and songwriting?
My songwriting and music are heavily influenced by my life and the lives of those around me. I take inspiration from conversations, things that have happened to me or my friends and family members, and sometimes things I see on TV or hear about out and about.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
I think I’ve become surer of my sound and my songwriting style. When I first began writing my own songs I wrote very long songs, so I’ve developed my writing style over time. I think as an artist I’ve become more certain of the kind of shows I want to be playing and how I style myself so now I’m more confident on stage.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
Right now, I’m working on a few things. I’m gearing up to release new music and videos along with that. I’m looking forward to November to perform at the British Country Music Awards where I am nominated for five awards. I’m currently an ambassador for Firestone’s Road To The Main Stage competition, which is really exciting, bringing music lovers and musicians together. The competition supports emerging music talent on their road to the main stage and it’s been really fun so far. Finally, I’ve just announced a tour in Australia in January with five other amazing country artists with Buckle and Boots, so that’s going be a fun way to kick off 2019!

What’s on your rider?
I’m not at a stage where I can have an extravagant rider filled with puppies and blue M&Ms just yet, ha, but I do like to make sure there’s some bottled water and if I’m lucky some beers for after the show!

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.

The most surreal experience for me so far was when a video of me singing with a busker, Dawid Osial, went viral in May 2017. I sang with him on a night out after a chance encounter and my friend put a video of it on Facebook. Days later it had racked up 20 million views, I was being interviewed on TV and radio, my EP had topped the iTunes country charts and reached the top ten all genre charts and my fan base had shot up. Since that I left my job as a teaching assistant to pursue a career in music and the video has now reached over 21 million views and still keeps popping up when it hits a new part of the world!

What song do you wish you’d written?
Soooo many songs! Right now Bird and the Rifle by Lori McKenna. It’s such a beautiful song and I love the metaphors she uses throughout it.

What’s your worst lyric?
I mention tequila in a couple of my songs and I hate tequila so that’s probably my worst because it’s a lie! “I only went looking for tequila but my eyes found there way to you.” By My Side.

Can you tell us about your experiences in Nashville?
I have been to Nashville a few times with my friend on holiday and it is the best place. I loved seeing the sights, having nights out on Broadway and going to gigs. I went last month as an artist and it was a different experience but so good! I did some meetings, met lots of amazing people, did some writing and performed at a showcase event. I made lots of new friends and I’m excited to get back to the city. I definitely came home with a head full of dreams and a heart full of hope.

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