#ThrowbackThursday: GIHE w/ Charlotte Carpenter (02.11.17)

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown in the UK, we’re unable to make it into the Hoxton Radio studio to broadcast our weekly live new music show from 7-9pm. Instead, we’re sharing previous GIHE radio show recordings as #ThrowbackThursday sessions, so you can still enjoy 2 hours of new music tunes & chats with some of our favourite artists each week.

Today, we’ve picked our November 2017 show with songwriter and Babywoman Records founder Charlotte Carpenter. Tash & Kate spoke to her about her EP Shelter, her gig at St Pancras Old Church, producing and releasing music independently, taking up skateboarding again and her on-going love for Courtney Barnett and Avril Lavigne. She also played stripped back versions of two of her tracks on air.

Listen back to the show below:

Tracklist
Nina Simone – I Put A Spell On You
Kllo – Dissolve
Miya Folick – Give It To Me
Skye Wallace – Scarlet Fever
Ailbhe Reddy – The Tube
PINS – Bad Thing
Kid Cupid – Easy
King Henry & Rhye – Moment
Nova Twins – Thelma & Louise
syrra – I Can Be Mean
REWS – Your Tears
The Franklys – Keeper
Just Because – All I Knew
Pale Honey – Get These Things Out Of My Head
**Charlotte Carpenter – Interview & Live Session**
Courtney Barnett – Pedestrian At Best
BERRIES – Wild Vow
LAD – Dancefloor
Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

PLAYLIST: Galentine’s Day 2021

Grrrls, it’s one of the best days of the year – GALENTINE’S DAY! Coined by Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) back in 2010, Galentine’s has since been recognised by girls across the globe and used as a light-hearted platform to celebrate the girls and women who enrich our lives.

To celebrate, we’ve chosen tracks from some of the many female-identifying artists who inspire us and we’ve put them all together in one big playlist. We’re all about self-love & sisterly (not just cis-terly) love today, so scroll down, press play and share the Galentine’s joy!

 

Bikini Kill – ‘Rebel Girl’
This one goes out to my GIHE gals, Tash and Kate! A song about having the coolest best friend, by ultimate heroes Bikini Kill, you should listen to it at full volume and celebrate all the “queens” of your world this Galentine’s. (Mari Lane)

Nova Twins – ‘Thelma & Louise’
An iconic duo singing about another iconic duo! The GIHE team love everything that Nova Twins are about. Not only do they make genre-defying, loud music that makes our cells scream, the pair are vocal about the lack of visibility and support for women of colour in the heavy & alternative music scenes. They’re releasing a new compilation album on Blood Records titled Voices Of The Unheardwhich aims to spotlight just some of the amazing artists of colour in the scene who deserve more recognition. Featuring tracks by Big Joanie and The OBGMs, it’s set to be a superb listen and all profits will be going to The Black Curriculum too.  (Kate Crudgington)

X-Ray Spex – ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’
We are all so, so, so excited to see the new documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché that celebrates the life of the X-Ray Spex frontwoman. This track always reminds me of GIHE and  Tash & Mari when I hear it. I’m very grateful for all the hard work and friendship they put into running this platform with me. (KC)

T-Bitch – ‘Dressing Up’
Southend-based feminist punks T-Bitch deliver a much needed dose of defiant self confidence on this belter of a track. If you can’t dress up on Galentine’s Day, when can you? Underscored by a strong and necessary message of support for trans women, ‘Dressing Up’ is a middle finger to anyone who tries to stop you from being your true self. As the band put it: “It’s not about pleasing them, it’s about pleasing yourself / Fuck those insecurities, leave them on the shelf!” (KC)

The Other Ones – ‘Forever Young’
The latest single from GIHE faves The Other Ones, ‘Forever Young’ races with a swirling, euphoric energy, oozing a sunny sense of nostalgia with honey-sweet harmonies and scuzz-filled riffs. This uplifting anthem is an irresistibly catchy slice of shimmering punk-pop, reflecting on how “anything feels possible” when you have the right person with you. (ML)

Diet Cig – ‘Roadtrip’
Flowing with Alex Luciano’s luscious honey-sweet vocals, infectious jangly melodies and all the twinkling energy I need now more than ever, Diet Cig’s ‘Roadtrip’ (taken from 2017 album Swear I’m Good At This) reflects on a fun, carefree trip across the country with friends, with nostalgia-inducing lyrics and an uplifting sunny charm. What I wouldn’t give for a roadtrip with loved ones right now…! (ML)

Chastity Belt – ‘Joke’
This was one of the bands I discovered at the start of GIHE, all those years ago, and it just reminds me so much of what it was like at the start of it all. All these years on here’s to my two GIHE gals Mari & Kate, and all of the jokes we’ve had along the way. (Tash Walker)

ARXX – ‘The Cat Song’
At first listen, a song about appreciating our feline friends (which I have done LOADS throughout the last year, as any of my Instagram followers/Poppy fans will be aware), I think this cute song from our fave gal duo ARXX is also about the love we have for our friends. As Hanni sings “I’m going to hold you up like this”, I think of how my friends hold me up throughout the bad times and good. And there’s added actual cat sounds – what’s not to love?! (ML)

Vagabon – ‘Every Woman’
Over the last year, I’ve completely immersed myself in the soothing sounds of Laetitia Tamko, aka Vagabon. And this song seems the perfect ode to all the strong women in your life this Galentine’s. As Tamko’s rich distinctive vocals soar with a reassuring tenderness, reflecting on how “all the women I meet are tired…” she speaks out for all women who have been told they are not enough as they are, offering a gentle cathartic release for all of us ‘gals’ who are so tired of patriarchal norms. (ML)

Girlhood – ‘It Might Take A Woman’
Tash introduced me to the glorious sounds of Girlhood last year and we were lucky enough to have vocalist Tessa join us for a Zoom chat for one of our radio shows too. I remember the call so clearly, because Tessa’s passion for her music radiated through the screen. She was such a joy to talk to. She also paid me a very nice compliment when I was trying to pose for a promo screenshot we were taking. An absolute babe through and through. (KC)

Queen Latifah ft. Monie Love – ‘Ladies First’
After I kept going on about listening to the Slowburn Podcast about 2Pac & Biggie Smalls, Mari kindly recommended I watch Netflix’s documentary Hip Hop Evolution. It’s an epic look back at the origins and development of the genre, featuring big names and many artists who I didn’t know anything about. One name that did strike a chord though was Queen Latifah. She released this track in 1989 with Monie Love and it’s an empowering BANGER. These lyrics say it all: “Some think that we can’t flow / Stereotypes, they got to go / I’m a mess around and flip the scene into reverse / (With what?) With a little touch of Ladies First” (KC)

Aretha Franklin & Annie Lennox – ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’
It it even a Galentine’s playlist if this absolute classic isn’t on it? These two talented women coming together to sing about equality and independence never fails to make me feel good. It may have been released in 1985, but the lyrics are just as relevant today. (KC)

CMAT – ‘I Wanna Be a Cowboy, Baby!’
This charming slice of country-pop from Irish artist CMAT is a heartfelt, witty lament about urban isolation and wanting to be free from societies patriarchal shackles. She just wants to exist with the confidence of a cowboy, unafraid to down a whiskey at the bar and stagger home safely. “Wanna go to my first rodeo, what’s that cracked up to be? / I wanna stop relying on men who are bigger than me” she sings, pining for the freedom that’s naturally afforded to men, but rarely extended to women. I love everything CMAT releases and will continue to stalk her on Twitter for the rest of 2021. (KC)

Piney Gir – ‘Puppy Love’
With fond memories of Piney Gir charming our ears at the last gig we hosted on Valentine’s Day last year, ‘Puppy Love’ oozes a honey-sweet romanticism and shimmering catchy melodies. Nostalgically harking back to the simpler times of crushes and the pain of first (‘Puppy’) love, the track also reflects on the common metaphor for depression – the ‘Black Dog’ – its all-consuming nature, and the struggles of mental health. A poignant and infectious offering, it could just be the perfect, bitter-sweet, accompaniment to the mixed feelings that go hand in hand with the love-filled celebrations of the next couple of days. (ML)

Girl Ray – ‘Friend Like That’
An ode to friendship, ‘Friend Like That’ flows with the trio’s colourful energy as jangly syncopated beats flow alongside the distinctive soothing allure of Poppy Hankin’s vocals and funk-filled pop-inspired hooks, creating a dreamily uplifting offering. Of the track, the band explain: “This is a friendship anthem. Reminds us of a really smashing high five with great contact. In music, friend love is often overshadowed by romantic love and IT’S JUST WRONG. This one goes out to the mates of the world.” (ML)

Chromatics – ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’
A great cover of a great track. ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ always reminds me of a story about this 60 year old Italian woman who walked into her local fire station as she was having trouble with her lock. When the firemen asked the woman where she lived, thinking she’d locked herself out of her house, she lifted her sweater and showed them her chastity belt. (TW)

Beckie Margaret – ‘Divine Feminine’
“’Divine Feminine’ is a song for people who stop you reaching your highest self,” explains Essex songwriter Beckie Margaret. Through her commanding sounds and effortless vocal delivery, Margaret elegantly balances her emotions as she warns those trying to silence her to “stay out of my way.” I absolutely love everything this young woman writes and I can’t wait to hear her debut album, which she’ll be releasing through Cool Thing Records at some point in the future. (KC)

Carole King – ‘You’ve Got A Friend’
Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, Carole King’s Tapestry continues to be one of my most favourite albums. It’s my mum’s favourite too, and I have many memories of singing along with this uplifting message of unity and platonic love with her over the years, both reaching for the tissues when we saw it live in the musical Beautiful. So, this heartfelt anthem goes out to her, my all time favourite gal, who inspires me every day and I miss so much right now. (ML)

CIRCE – ‘Ten Girls’
London based dark-pop artist Circe is inspired by the films of David Lynch, the brutality of Margaret Atwood’s fiction and the soundtracks to Stranger Things and Baz Lurhmann’s Romeo & Juliet. This single takes its title from a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale. Of the track, Circe explains: “[Atwood’s novel] is a poetic but disturbing view of women living in a dystopian oppressive world. This chimes with my own fractured generation of cancel culture, swipes of sex, and revenge porn.” I’m obsessed with Circe’s debut EP She’s Made Of Saints, which is full of sweeping, cinematic gems. (KC)

Robyn – ‘Dancing On My Own’
‘Dancing On My Own’, and what’s wrong with that!? Often I prefer to dance on my own. More space. Robyn is also an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ rights, and we all know romance isn’t just for the heterosexuals out there! So whether you honour Galentine’s, Valentine’s, or even Palentine’s Day; make sure you have a good old dance. (TW)

Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande – ‘Rain On Me’
I am dying to hear this on a dance-floor at some point! Until then, I’ll settle for my new flatmate Rachel telling Alexa to play it at random intervals during the day. (KC)

Lizzo – ‘Like A Girl’
Turning the common derogatory phrase ‘Like A Girl’ on its head to create something wonderfully empowering, this is another ferociously fun offering from GIHE fave, Lizzo. With references to other powerful women of colour, including Lauryn Hill and Serena Williams, it’s the perfect ode to the power of being female and the power felt when women unite. So, this Galentine’s Day, I’ll leave you with the Lizzo’s words of wisdom: “If you fight like a girl, cry like a girl, do your thing, run the whole damn world”. An ultimate feel-good anthem for women everywhere. (ML)

Lotic – ‘Burn A Print’
With a name that means to “to inhabit rapidly moving water,” Lotic’s chaotic yet fluid soundscapes truly embody her passionate, fighting spirit. Her mission is to “live life to the fullest by not giving a fuck about what anybody thinks” and she communicates that with defiant flair on this track. (KC)

Britney Spears – ‘If U Seek Amy’
I just thought that this Galentine’s Day would be a good opportunity to show some solidarity with wonder woman Britney Spears. I’m sure most of you have heard about the new documentary ‘Framing Britney Spears’ – a film investigating the conservatorship arrangement that has been in place since 2009, declaring Spears unfit to manage her own personal affairs, and the grossly unfair ways in which she has been treated over the years. With her independence being so extremely restricted by a terrifying patriarchal system (and her own father), it highlights the awful ways that society can find to assert control over women. This Galentine’s Day, and all other days, we stand with the #FreeBritney campaign by singing along to one of her most controversial songs. (ML)

Destiny’s Child – ‘Girl’
I re-watched the video for this Destiny’s Child track recently with tears in my eyes, because they’re just so nice to Kelly in it?! The bit where Beyoncé wipes the tear from her cheek… *sobs* This 2004 banger pure girl power all the way through. (KC)

PLAYLIST: September 2020

It’s been another testing month, filled with more government Covid-19 “rule” changes and unwanted opinions on social media, but we’re determined to keep our spirits up by listening to some of our favourite women and non-binary artists. September’s GIHE playlist is filled with an eclectic mix of alt-pop gems, frenzied guitar anthems, indie tunes and alternative new sounds. Take some time to scroll through our track choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Noga Erez – ‘You So Done’
An emotionally charged offering from a resilient and uncompromising artist, Noga Erez’s latest single is accompanied by a stunning set of visuals directed by Indy Hait. The Tel Aviv based artist delves deep into the memories left behind by a toxic relationship, making this her most personal release to date. She’s yet to share something that we don’t collectively adore here at GIHE, so expect to see her name on all future playlists! (Kate Crudgington)

Eilis Frawley – ‘Stats’
The poignant new single from GIHE fave Eilis Frawley, ‘Stats’ offers a completely unique soundscape from the classically trained percussionist. Kicking off with an arresting drumroll, it quickly picks up the pace moving into bold, Krautrock-infused spoken word, as the lyrics see Frawley recite hard-hitting stats, highlighting the everyday injustices facing women today. Tackling issues such as period poverty, FGM, domestic violence and other vital issues, it’s a beautifully striking and necessary listen. A poignant protest song that you can dance to. ‘Stats’ is out now via faves Reckless Yes. (Mari Lane)

Æ Mak feat. Seba Safe – ‘i dance in the kitchen’
Embracing production duties for the first time on her new EP, how to: make a kitsch pop song to show the world, Æ MAK – aka Aoife McCann – made this record during the Covid-19 lockdown period with “100% childsplay and solo belly laughs”. This single in particular showcases her delightfully carefree, vibrant attitude when it comes to letting go of performance qualms and focusing on making music that makes you feel good. (KC)

HANYA – ‘Texas’
The latest single from Brighton’s Hanya, ‘Texas’ is propelled by a dreamy haze, as it flows with twinkling hooks and the soaring, effervescent vocals of front person Heather Sheret. With shades of the lush surf-pop of Real Estate or Best Coast, it’s a shimmering slice of exquisite indie-pop oozing a blissful tranquility and spellbinding ethereal splendour. The perfect soundtrack to soothe these post-summer blues. Of the track, the band explain: “‘Texas’ was entirely written and recorded during lockdown, experimenting with working remotely as a group. The track explores the startings of a relationship – the head-over-heels uncertainty, the self-doubt and the desire to know each other entirely.” (ML)

Daniela Andrade – ‘Puddles’
A definite September highlight for me comes from Honduran-Canadian producer and musician Daniela Andrade. The track is called ‘Puddles’, it’s self-produced and it has been reverberating around my head since I first heard it. If you don’t start swaying when you hear this, something is wrong. This track was announced alongside details of her new EP, Nothing Much Has Changed, I Don’t Feel The Same, which is out on 30th September via Crooked Lid. (Tash Walker)

Komang – ‘DEWI’ 
I cannot get this song out of my head! It’s excellent. It comes from Melbourne artist Komang and is her debut release, endorsed by a mentorship with the amazing Sui Zhen. Komang is a multidisciplinary producer, performer and vocalist who blends soul-based groove and echoes of traditional Gamelan to create vibrant electronic RnB described as “neo-soul meets Balinese mystic power”. This track is lifted from her forthcoming EP Mythologies, which is set to be released later this year. There’s only one way to listen to this song and that’s very loudly with your eyes closed. TURN UP THAT DIAL. (TW)

Nina Cobham – ‘Solar’ (Bipolar Sunshine Remix)
I love this remix by Bipolar Sunshine of Nina Cobham’s ‘Solar’, it’s so goddamn sultry. Makes me hold onto those dreamy summers of years gone by… (TW)

Seraphina Simone – ‘Hollywood $$$’
The latest release from one of my faves Seraphina Simone, a song shining the spotlight on the glitzy, gritty, ghastly Hollywood. In her words, “’Hollywood $$$’ is about the Lynchian, fame-obsessive undercurrents of tinsel town, with its sirens, starlets, leeches & letches. It’s about that world of smoke and mirrors – where nothing and no one is really as it seems, and the world of celebrity – where we deify or demonise people into these superhumans or arch villains. Kim Gordon mentions ‘tarantula LA glamour’ in Girl In A Band, and that sums it up perfectly I think – the predatory darkness under the glitz.” Amazing description, I defy you to not think of Mulholland Drive or even Selling Sunset (for my sins) when you press play on this. (TW)

ZAND – ‘Slut Money’
A defiant, savage pop tune that celebrates self-autonomy, body positivity and sexuality, self-described “ugly pop” star ZAND takes aim at slut shamers on their latest single. They deftly defy the haters on ‘Slut Money’ through a combination of gritty beats, sweet vocals and candid rap verses. (KC)

Leikeli47 – ‘Zoom’
I’m ashamed to say I’m extremely late to the Leikel47 party, but I’m so glad I’ve now discovered the gritty, brutal wit of the bandana-clad Virginia born rapper. Following 2018’s epic album Acrylic, last month she shared ‘Zoom’. Holding nothing back, ‘Zoom’ showcases Leikel47’s swagger and tenacity with its glitchy beats, catchy hooks and lyrical wit, with references to ‘90s boy bands and her roots in the DMV area: “I ain’t the type of bitch to do a lot of barking/ And only thing I need validated is my parking/ I’m from the back street boy, where it’s very rare to link/ And if you using the wrong note/ We’ll put yo ass n sync…” I just can’t get enough of it. And if you too are new to the joy of Leikel47, I strongly suggest checking out singles ‘Girl Blunt’ and ‘Money’. (ML)

Tolü Makay – ‘Don’t Let Go’
An understated, beautifully soothing listen, Nigerian-born, Ireland-based artist Tolü Makay gently reassures her listeners to let go of their fears through her smooth vocals, tender lyricism and jazz inspired instrumentation on this reassuring track. (KC)

SUSU – ‘Work Song’
New York based SUSU have shared this epic guitar tune that powerfully demonstrates the deep civil unrest that’s simmering beneath the Covid-19 pandemic in the USA. The band explain: “This song is for US – the disenfranchised, black, brown, minority, middle class, poor, trans, gay, and subjugated communities stepping down off the auction block, breaking the stranglehold; saying: ‘If a house gets in my way, you know I’ll burn it down.’ As Nina Simone once said, ‘An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times’.” (KC)

MOURN – ‘Men’
A rallying cry against toxic masculinity and street harassment, Barcelona-based MOURN’s latest single is lifted from their upcoming album Self Worth, which is set for release on 30th October via Captured Tracks. The song is an honest, cathartic purge of the distrust and anger many women suppress on a daily basis when they’re intimidated in public spaces. (KC)

Francis Of Delirium – ‘Equality Song’
Funded by Luxembourg’s Ministry of Equality to celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote, Francis Of Delirium’s vocalist & guitarist Jana Bahrich penned this poignant track in the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. It’s a powerful, necessary dismantling of the ingrained sexism and toxic masculinity that permeates society. (Just a heads up: there’s mention of rape/sexual assault) (KC)

Fightmilk – ‘If You Had A Sister’
The latest single from faves Fightmilk, ‘If You Had A Sister’ may be more sombre in tone than previous releases, as it oozes a swirling melancholy and heartfelt lyricism, but it loses none of the band’s trademark emo-tinged indie-pop goodness. Propelled by the gritty, raw emotion of front person Lily’s yearning vocals alongside scuzzy hooks and perfectly interwoven musical layers, it offers a shimmering reflection on life and loss. The band expand: “ … if there was ever a time for songs you can do ominous slow dancing to, it’s 2020.” ‘If You Had A Sister’ is out now via Reckless Yes. (ML)

Ailbhe Reddy – ‘Looking Happy’
Dublin’s Ailbhe Reddy has transformed the crushing sadness that comes with seeing your ex “enjoying” their life on social media without you, into a buoyant alt-folk gem. Lifted from her upcoming debut album Personal History, which is set for release on 2nd October, the track taps into the feelings of inadequacy we all experience when the FOMO unexpectedly hits us while scrolling through our ex’s newsfeed. (KC)

First Frontier – ‘Take Cover’
Having been creating music together since last year, South London duo Helena Poole (who has previously played for us at The Finsbury in her other band Macadamia Sluts) and Paul Stafford – aka First Frontier – pride themselves on choosing hope over fear and play over fight. Focusing on what we can control and devote positive energy to, debut single ‘Take Cover’ is propelled by scuzzy hooks and thrashing beats, creating a catchy slice of fuzzed-out garage rock, tinged with dark ‘80s nu-wave vibes and swirling harmonies. (ML)

Nadine Shah – ‘Ladies For Babies (Goats For Love)’
In the wake of another irritating tirade from “that” man-punk-band of the moment, I just wanted to take this opportunity to declare my love for Nadine Shah. Having released her immense latest album Kitchen Sink earlier this year, she completely blew me away when playing the BBC 6Music festival in March; one of the most immersive live performances I’ve ever witnessed, it’s simply impossible not to become utterly captivated by her unique charisma and the subtle, gritty power of her vocal delivery. I’d pay whatever it took to take her on tour with me… (ML)

Vanessa Richardson – ‘Spider’
This track is right up my experimental music street. It comes from Toronto/Montreal based Vanessa Richardson who is an experimental singer, songwriter and producer. I’ve listened to it non-stop since I heard it first, I love the loops, the deep vocals, the feverish percussion, it really creates this wonderfully dark intoxicating sound. Sublime. (TW)

Masma Dream World – ‘Theta’
This is the lead track from the upcoming album by Masma Dream World, the solo recording project of multi-disciplinary artist Devi Mambouka. Of the track, she explains: “From age 0-7, the human brain is in ‘theta,’ a state during which our minds can be programmed to believe anything. I became quickly aware of that programming growing up in the African country of Gabon, where, despite its Matriarchal roots, young girls are groomed to be wives and mothers only — there are no other options.” Mambouka wanted to create an anthem for these young girls, which developed into the otherworldly trip-hop song ‘Theta,’ driven by a deep sub-bass and kick drum. The lyrics, which are heard both forward and in reverse, translate to: “We are girls from central Africa. We are Gabomas!” Gaboma refers to a young hip Gabonese girl. As with the rest of her debut album, the music is designed specifically to awaken one’s power source from within, and it set for release on 25th September via Northern Spy. Incredible. (TW)

LibraLibra – ‘Listerine’
A step away from the usual high energy riotous cacophonies of the Brighton band’s previous releases, ‘Listerine’ reflects on lingering painful memories. Showcasing the incredible soaring splendour and versatility of front woman Beth Cannon’s vocals with an almost operatic force, the track oozes a glistening soulful majesty, creating a striking cinematic soundscape. With blissful twinkling keys providing the backdrop to Beth’s vocals, it’s filled with poignant, reflective lyricism as a raw, emotion-strewn power builds to a magnificent, immense anthem of self-realisation. ‘Listerine’ is taken from LibraLibra’s new EP, Hail Mary, out now. (ML)

Balraj Singh Samrai, Pandit G Gavsborg, Farah Amad Khan, Shanique Marie, Tunde Adekoya, Vikaash – ‘I should have hugged you tighter when we last met (Oh What A Joy)’
This piece was made in June of this year with the help from Opera North’s artist development programme, Resonance: The Lockdown Edition. Combining  music and spoken word to document life  during the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on  communities of colour, Samrai initially produced an instrumental which tabla player Vikaahsh Sankadecha added South Asian percussion rhythms to. Equiknoxx member Gavsborg then penned a poem for the track, and Farah Ahmad Khan added her own spoken word contribution. The accompanying video is so powerful and was made by the Rainbow Collective, go check it out and raise the profile of this track. This is documentary art at its best. (TW)

 

Track Of The Day: Brittany Howard – ‘Stay High’

A defiant acceptance of what must be an all-consuming grief; Brittany Howard – best known as the powerhouse vocalist of Alabama Shakes – has shared her debut solo album Jamie via ATO Records. The album is named after her teenage sister, who passed away when she was young. It’s a fitting tribute to a life that had so much potential, and a wonderful gesture from an artist who has shared her vulnerable, but beautiful story of sisterhood unfairly cut short.

Single ‘Stay High’ is an uplifting track that’s taken from the record, accompanied by a charming music video featuring actor Terry Crews. Howard’s steady vocals and optimistic lyrics are easy on the ear, as gentle percussion and guitar play out in soothing style. Along with the album, Howard has released a manifesto documenting what Jamie means to her, which you can read below. Make sure you scroll to the end of this post to watch the video for ‘Stay High’ too.

Brittany Howard Mission Statement:

I wrote this record as a process of healing.
Every song, I confront something within me or beyond me. Things that are hard or impossible to change, words and music to describe what I’m not good at conveying to those I love, or a name that hurts to be said: Jaime.

I dedicated the title of this record to my sister who passed away as a teenager. She was a musician too. I did this so her name would no longer bring me memories of sadness and as a way to thank her for passing on to me everything she loved: music, art, creativity.

But, the record is not about her. It’s about me.
It’s not as veiled as work I have done before.
I’m pretty candid about myself and who I am and what I believe. Which, is why I needed to do it on my own.

I wrote and arranged a lot of these songs on my laptop using Logic. Shawn Everett helped me make them worthy of listening to and players like Nate Smith, Robert Glasper, Zac Cockrell, Lloyd Buchanan, Lavinia Meijer, Paul Horton, Rob Moose and Larry Goldings provided the musicianship that was needed to share them with you.

Some songs on this record are years old that were just sitting on my laptop, forgotten, waiting to come to life. Some of them I wrote in a tiny green house in Topanga, CA during a heatwave. I was inspired by traveling across the United States. I saw many beautiful things and many heartbreaking things: poverty, loneliness, discouraged people, empty and poor towns. And of course the great swathes of natural, untouched lands. Huge pink mountains, seemingly endless lakes, soaring redwoods and yellow plains that stretch for thousands of acres. There were these long moments of silence in the car when I could sit and reflect. I wondered what it was I wanted for myself next. I suppose all I want is to help others feel a bit better about being. All I can offer are my own stories in hopes of not only being seen and understood, but also to learn to love my own self as if it were an act of resistance.

Resisting that annoying voice that exists in all of our heads that
says we aren’t good enough, talented enough, beautiful enough, thin enough, rich enough or successful enough. The voice that amplifies when we turn on our TVs or scroll on our phones. It’s empowering to me to see someone be unapologetically themselves when they don’t fit within those images. That’s what I want for myself next and that’s why I share with you, “Jaime”.

Order your copy of Brittany Howard’s new album here.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut