‘There’s a certain unmistakable warmth present in Jade Emperor’s music'
The 28 year old, London-native, Jade Emperor will end this year defiantly having released her first track ‘Can’t Move On’ back in March just as the UK went into lockdown and her follow-up ‘Greener’, in the midst of it all. Drawn towards several genres, Jade leans into her influences through carefully thought through lyrics and instrumentals. Bossa Nova jazz, light contemporary R&B and soul merge together to form a confident individualism with an irresistible retro soul aesthetic.
Her new single, Better, is a positive escape from grey, London Town, during uncertainty and political divide, with a vital message of community and self-empowerment. Written by the artist post-lockdown, she reflects on the renewed appreciation she has for loved ones – inviting the listener to also pause for thought.
When did you first start singing?
I stated singing at 11 when my mum tried to force me to audition for a music scholarship at a boarding school in Sussex. I didn’t make the audition as I was busy wondering around the grounds, pretending I was at Hogwarts. Needless to say, she was furious when she found out I’d missed my opportunity. Hey
In the summer leading up to the big audition, my uncle had me singing George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ on repeat every Saturday as a way of training my voice up. I’d definitely say that’s when the journey began for me.
Are there any singers that inspired you?
I was heavily inspired by the jazz greats. Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Etta James were huge influences for me when writing and developing my singing style. I had quite a Ballardy sound, but my lyrics were very raw and hard hitting. I wanted to be able to create relatable music with an edge.
Are there any artists that have changed your music?
Amy Winehouse’s ‘Frank’ came out when I was 12 and it honestly impacted my life in such a positive way, musically and theoretically. She was ahead of her time yet so in touch with a time before hers.
Adele’s ‘19’ also really inspired me to embrace my voice and reassured me that it was okay to write down how I was feeling and then sing about it. When I look back at my writing, my poetry and lyrics were very open and honest. Almost like extracts from a diary. I actually can’t believe I experienced some of those feelings.
As a creative howʼs lockdown been for you?
My first single ‘Can’t Move On’ was released about a week after the UK went into a national lockdown. It also happened to be my birthday! It’s only year one, but my journey has been so positive and things have progressed quicker than I could have ever imagined.
After releasing my second single ‘Greener’ in June, I performed at the Liverpool Sound City virtual festival (alongside a few other smaller performances that sadly got cancelled due to the pandemic). I’ve also met a lot of creatives online through which lots of exciting opportunities have arisen. It’s weird, but I think the year has worked out as best as it possibly could considering the climate.
Have you been able to stay productive musically and otherwise?
I thought I needed to be out and about performing and creating music in the studio, but I think being forced to be at home has taught me how to think outside the box and just figure shit out. I transformed our spare room into a studio so that I could create music anytime of the night or day. It’s been an absolute game changer!
Who has influenced your current sound?
I love what Joy Crookes, IAMDDB and Princess Nokia are doing. I find them to be such fiercely unique and relatable women. I’m obsessed with their sounds and the beautiful energies they give off.
Your new single ‘Betterʼ has a really lighthearted tone. Is this a song for self-empowerment?
Completely. My intention for ‘Better’ was for it to uplift listeners and encourage them to look on the bright side of life despite the perceived challenges. It’s also a reminder to appreciate those around you and accept them for who they are. You never know what tomorrow will bring, so hold them tight and whilst there, make sure you’re keeping an eye on your well-being too..
Whatʼs on the horizon? Any more singles or perhaps an EP/Album coming anytime soon?
Yes..! I’m working on some very exciting new singles and I’m so up for experimenting more with contemporary jazz sounds. I’m feeling very spontaneous right now, so who knows. I may come at you with some cool visuals or even an EP. As they say, watch this space!
Listen to her brand new single 'Better' on all streaming platforms!