Jaidene Veda Interview
Added — 13th June 2012 by DowntownSoul
GOING DOWNTOWN WITH…Jaidene Veda…
One of the rising stars of the scene, Canadian Jaidene Veda is a musician, vocalist, wordsmith, remixer, sound designer, filmmaker and photographer!! She has put together an extensive back catalogue of music, working alongside such luminaries as Jason B, Tom Conrad, Trinidadian Deep and The Rurals – her music covers deep and soulful house, soul, nu-jazz and spoken word, and she has developed a style in which her influences are evident, but taken to another level…intimate and personal, created and performed from the heart, to touch the soul…
The Brother C caught up with Jaidene on her return home after an extensive tour of Europe and a brief visit to the US to promote “Pisces Pendulum – The Anniversary Remix LP”, to indulge in a little Q & A for DowntownSoul about herself, her influences and what we can expect from this multi-talented artist in the future…
Thanks for taking the time out to answer some questions for the DowntownSoul group, Jaidene – first up, I wanted to ask you about the original “Pisces Pendulum” album – can you give us an insight into the inspiration and concept behind it, and the reasons for releasing the second set of remixes?
I’ve been a recording artist for a little over 12 years now, and I started releasing quite a few dance & club singles with international producers & labels…while deep, soulful house is closer to my passion and the sound that inspired me, I wanted to compile the ‘deeper’ (slower, more musical) renditions that came about over the years and make them available on one project. This also allowed me to display more dynamic in my sound (including songs off the 4/4). I was honoured it was so well received and that I continued to meet more & more of the people that inspired me early in my career – this all afforded me the opportunity to revisit the songs and give them all new life. I feel like the remix album plays back like an album, not a compilation (which technically, the original ‘Pisces Pendulum’ was). those songs were all written between 2002 to 2010, and truly encompass this Pisces’ “pendulum” – life…the ups, the downs, the dreams, a labour of love and worth every ‘indie-grind’ moment to share it through the music…
You re-released the album under a second guise (the anniversary) last year – it has to be said, to very positive critical acclaim – were you prepared for the level of reaction?
I was so overwhelmed (in tears at times) reading the reviews from the first time around, namely the ones that compared me to all my greatest influences, or simply reading the names of those who had their ears on my work, my art, my little voice…house music at times seemed to represent huge powerful gospel vocals, but thanks to the Naked Music sound I was so deeply inspired by, I found the bed of sounds to nestle this subtle sound of mine into. Then I began to realize more & more that “inspiration comes full circle” – I was reaching people because whether directly or indirectly, I was moulded into the Artist I am because of them. Today? I’m still in awe of the people whose ears are on me (straight geeked!!)
On the back of the re-release, you undertook a tour of Europe at the end of last year – for myself and many others across the water, it was a chance to finally meet the person behind the songs – can you tell us how the tour went for you? I also know that it wasn’t the first time you’d visited, so what was different this time?
What a dream come true to connect to the UK where I have so many connections/prior releases/label affiliates! Paris & Prague were like ‘cherries on top’ – but Amen to the chance to meet so many of the souls behind the indie journey face to face for the first time. Luckily the first mini tour became more of a whirlwind recording stint, and hence the connection to some of the new producers & musicians on the remix LP. Once I was organizing the second tour for the Anniversary I just had the chance to reach out a little further, (in terms of) the dates, radio shows, cities (I saw Belgium, Germany and Spain for the first time!), and as I said in my liners – it takes an army of ears and eyes to move and indie album – truly both trips were possible because of the people involved. So the best part was meeting them, whether in studio, on air, on the dance floor, people singing along in the room – such an honour when you hear, see & feel the project resonating with people. The best best? I even got inked! “PISCES PENDULUM” on my ‘microphone arm’, in Prague, my Papa’s country…this music is about my life, it is my life…now it is for life. Again, a dream come true!
As a songwriter and performer (and without giving away any “trade secrets”!), what inspires you to create music? And do you have a particular way of working/creating/writing? And who inspires you on the soul & house scene right now?
Oooh, everything & anything around me can inspire me to write, and I don’t mind sharing! Whether I feel the need to create through cathartic means, or I feel like touching on a certain message – pending the music & producer I’m working with, I find the mood, chord progressions & instrumentation guides my sound; I also like to find characters in the poetry or simple things like my embouchure to help give a song life. I want to be as dynamic as I can considering I have a pretty subtle instrument. Both poetry & melody are important to me – but unless I’m writing an a cappella (beginning without music) I find I’ll sit with the music and let the notes find me before I bring lyrics into session…I’ll hit record right away and freestyle/scat the sounds/vowels, some random words then go back and really begin to write. I’d rather manipulate prose than insist on a story being told in a certain way. I think that’s the gift in this instrument – the addition of language to communicate, but the ability to alter the sound. Granted it’s such a visceral delivery, (but) it’s still always from the heart & keeps it intimate.
As for inspiration – Naked Music defined the sound for me once I was introduced to House – Aya, Lisa, Gaelle, also Marie Tweek to name a few, but from the age of 12 my sound was truly inspired by Bjork, Sade & Me’shell (NdegeOcello). They still influence me today, as do Feist (Calgary’s own!), Yukimi from Little Dragon, even the UK’s Jessie J – those are also ‘current’ artists who keep me believing real artists (not just pop stars) are making genuine movements in the industry. All hearts for Adele on the cover of magazines, right?!
…so what’s next for Jaidene Veda? And when are we likely to hear new material from you?
I have a number of new singles coming out this summer/year including more material off the 4/4 (always enamoured with that opportunity while working more and more with the live atmosphere & jazz musicians!); but I know that “Pisces Pendulum” has had a very lengthy run for an indie album – so I’m very inspired and absolutely ready to work on a “true” follow up as a brand new album. The mash-ups I continued to produce in the interim always seem to resonate just as well with people – I know that nostalgia is key in anyone’s relationship to their music collection, so I mean to incorporate that into official projects. I’m pretty sure that ‘news’ will be official soon…excited to share with you when!!
…and finally, if you could give one piece of advice to people starting out on the road you’ve taken, what would it be?
I’m inclined to say all the “dream big”, “be real, be raw”, “be genuine, embrace mistakes” phrases (I sang my heart out on “Pisces Pendulum”, simply about being a dreamer, or when things went wrong for me in every way. I healed myself through the music and at times, very transparent lyrics – but i think that’s one reason people loved it and connected to me to whatever degree – it was from the heart!), but maybe the most relevant to people paying attention to the Pisces Pen journey is “don’t be afraid to go indie” – the ‘DIY’ world we’re in calls for it really. I’ve been so lucky to connect to reputable producers, incredible underground labels, even the exposure of the Billboard Charts & major DJs – but I’m most grateful that people out there are willing to support an indie project through the simplicity of Bandcamp, Facebook, and a really late entry to the Twitter world – there are still music lovers out there who want to see full-time artists do what they love (stay full time!). In that respect I think that when people see that you’re “doing it yourself”, they see something worth not pirating. We all know MP3s and piracy have changed the game, so we all have to maintain heart to keep people’s hearts in their actions…”DOIN’ WHAT’YA LOVE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD”!!
Thanks so much for agreeing to take part – we at DowntownSoul wish you every success with everything you do – love n’ blessings always, lil’ sis!!
Jaidene Veda, interviewed & article by The Brother C
JAIDENE VEDA (jaiveda productions)