Aussie pop starlet Samantha Jade has kept her fans waiting an awfully long time for this new album of hers and even scrapped its previous incarnation to steer things in a slightly different direction.
To celebrate its release on Friday, we pop chatted with Ms ‘Shake That’ and talk about ditching ‘Always’, the creation of the new album and the unenviable task of coming up against Adele in release week.
Last time we spoke – late July – you’d just released ‘Shake That’. It’s been a bloody hard slog with that single…!
Yeah. It’s always a little bit – not hard, that’s not the word – but a challenge to get your music across the line. Especially in Australia. It’s tough. There are not many performance-based shows anymore. There’s no ‘Rove’ or any of those talk type shows – and so I do feel it’s hard for Australian artists to be known unless you go on ‘The X Factor’. You know what I mean? Even then though, you can go on it and you get a ‘hi, bye’. So it’s really hard to connect with an audience after that kind of a show. So I do think that’s something we look into in Australia – to get those back.
Someone was chatting to us recently and said that Julia Morris would be the perfect person to have one of those type of shows.
She’d be brilliant. That would be brilliant.
Like a Graham Norton-esque type thing.
Yes. I think that’s what we need. Because that way you get to know the person, you get to know the artist and you fall in love with them again. I think that’s really missing.
Well maybe Graham Norton should be on your radar… You know, you’re going to be on ‘Home & Away’, so you’ll be in the UK market. Is that all part of the cunning plan?
Do you know what? That’s my plan in my head. The UK is my dream – always has been. And that’s what I would like to do. ‘Home & Away’ came up and it just added to it. It wasn’t at all because we looked for it or wanted to do it. It just sort of came up and I thought it was great. The role was what made me take it.
I’d been offered a role on ‘Home & Away’ before and I’d said no, because it was similar to a singer type role. But this one came up and I thought, ‘that’s perfect’. It’s very different than anything I’ve played, so it really is acting, which I really wanted to do.
February. Guest role though.
So let’s talk ‘Always’. You announced it as your new single and all of a sudden… Then ‘Shake That’ came back.
Then ‘Shake That’ came back. The thing with that is that we kind of wanted to wait because from ‘Shake That’ to album to then ‘Always’… ‘Always’ still going to come out, it’s just going to be a little later. It’s a great summer song. We wanted to give the album its moment as well. So by going on ‘The X Factor’ and promoting a single – which one do you want to promote, the single or the album?
And it kind of felt right to promote the album because it’s a bit of a 360. I left that show saying that I wanted to make a record and I came back to the show saying, ‘here’s my record’. So it was kind of like that. So ‘Always’ is still coming out… it’s just been pushed.
Fans have spoken to us and questioned what the hell was happening.
I know. Yeah, yeah. It’s not my decision. Those calls aren’t mine. So you have to choose your battles. But you know… I do love ‘Shake That’ and I don’t think it had its own TV moment. I know it was on ‘Dancing With The Stars’, but not like that. So I think that moment was a great one. It was real performance moment. That song is a performance song. ‘Always’ is a bit more of a radio/car driving song.
You performed it spectacularly, it has to be said.
It needed to be a big moment. And it was.
It was missing that. And ‘X Factor’, of course, you’ve got that stage, those lights, the fans… you’ve got it all. And ‘Shake That’ needed that. It was really cool.
So let’s talk about ‘Always’? It’s fun, bright, almost a bit retro – even a bit of a Stock Aitken Waterman vibe – so much fun. A perfect intro to pop album ‘Nine’.
Definitely. I think so too. And that’s why I made it the first track. When I was doing the album tracklisting I made it number one, because I think it’s… ‘Always’ was the last song we wrote for the record. I’d written all those emotional songs – the tragedy turned to positive. I’d written the ‘Shake That’s, which are a bit more sexy and tongue in cheek. I just thought, ‘I need to write a fun song! There’s no fun song on this record’. I listened back and thought we were missing that moment. That ‘let the windows down, let your hair out, driving’ song.
And that’s ‘Always’. It’s that perfect summer song. That’s the song for me. I just love it. It’s a feel good song. It’s not too deep. It’s not dark. It’s just fun. It’s about fun and dancing and getting ready to go out.
The album, obviously, is incredibly diverse. From the fun and froth of that through to the sexiness of ‘Shake That’ and to the gorgeous title track, which strips away all the big pop production and actually showcases your voice.
Yeah. Thankyou. That song is obviously the heart of the record. This record does have those vibes, like you said. ‘Always’ and ‘Born To Be Alive’ are the fun party songs, ‘Castle’ is from the heart. ‘Castle’ is what I’ve been through, like writing a diary entry. And ‘Nine’ is the heart and soul.
The record’s about family. It’s about choosing the positive road and the high road, which is what we had to do last year. ‘Nine’ sums that up. It’s about love. My mum, when she was going through everything, she was always saying that we’ve got the gift of love. We’ve got each other. Some people don’t even get that. And so ‘Nine’ is about being lucky.
The title’s quite personal to you as well, we’ve read… the number nine keeps coming up in birthdays and the like…?
Yeah! It’s a weird number for us. I’ve got that tattoo of it. We all have tattoos. My brothers and I all have ‘nine’ tattoos. TJ is born on the 9th of November. Alex, my other brother, is born on the 19th of September, which is the ninth month. I’m nine years older than him. And I’m born on the 18th… two nines equals eighteen, eight plus one equals nine. It’s just all around our family.
When I wrote this record, I lived in an apartment which was number nine. It was just weird. It just kept coming up. And I love the number nine, because it means universal love.
What’s your favourite tune on it? Or which means the most?
Do you know what? ‘What You Want’ is one of my favourites. It’s very urban, but that’s what I love. I love that. I wanted to write a record like Destiny’s Child’s ‘Cater 2 U’ and I felt like those songs were missing on the album. That ‘jamming in the car’ type thing. I wanted that song, because I’ve felt that way when I listen to that song. That’s one of my favourites. ‘Nine’, obviously. And ‘Always’ is my favourite uptempo song.
You mentioned during our last chat that there was meant to be a duet on the LP?
There was going to be. It didn’t happen. To be honest, that is completely out of my hands. And that was really upsetting.
Can you tell us who it was now?
No. If I was a naughty artist I would, but I’m not. It was rally upsetting. It was a great song and it was a great moment and it just…
So you’ve said… not your choice…
Not at all. I think it was just getting… we’re opposite labels too, opposite management and opposite publishers and I think it was more of a political decision, which is so upsetting when you’re in it for the love of music. Not many people know who it is. But my A&R and I were extremely disappointed.
What are your hopes for this album commercially? Wouldn’t it be ironic if it debuted at No.9?
Yeah, I’d be happy with top ten. The thing is that everyone wants a number one. Unfortunately we chose a day and then we heard that Adele’s album was coming out the same day. So you kind of say goodbye to a number one when you hear that. It’s not going to happen.
She’s blasting everything before her at the moment, isn’t she?
Uh-huh. And she’s Adele. I’ve pre-ordered it already as well… I get it.
You’re working against yourself! Maybe you should tweet her… I’ve preordered yours, now the least you can do is preorder mine.
She’s amazing and I get it, but to be honest, I don’t measure success in numbers on the charts. If I did that, I’d go crazy. If I kept refreshing iTunes and checking it… I think that basically for me, this album makes me happy.
I love the songs on it, I’ve been involved down to the font, you know. I’ve been very hands-on about it, my brothers are singing back up vocals, my family have all been involved in everything. So that for me is good enough in itself. And as long as my fans like it, that’s what matters to me.
So where to from here? Obviously ‘Always’ will come out for summertime and then do you start work on the next one…?
We’ve got so many songs left over, so I think we may do a deluxe record with some more songs on it. And maybe even… because there were all those singles from ‘Firestarter’ to ‘Sweet Talk’ that didn’t make the record.
Why didn’t you include those on the LP?
I didn’t want to put them on there because it was a new chapter for me and I had so many new things to say. I’ve actually had five singles out since the show, so that would have been half the record. And I couldn’t put out an album with four new songs – my fans would’ve killed me. They’d be all ‘are you kidding me? We’ve waited three years for four new songs!?’ No. So I needed to put all new material on there. But I do think that maybe on the deluxe we could put them at the very end or something like that.
What’s been the most challenging thing about putting the album together?
It’s always hard coming up with a tracklisting. Obviously you guys are only hearing eleven songs. We had a billion songs, but it’s about what’s right for the record, what fits, what tells the story… all of those kinds of things. So for me, it was just deciding on those songs.
And what have you learned in the past 12 months?
You know, I am a new person since everything happened with my mum. I have learned so much. And that’s why this album is a different album and why I needed to re-write it. Because I feel like when I was writing the album before this, I feel like I’d gone through a lot. I thought I’d gone through a lot in the industry. And I had gone through lots in the industry. And it is really hard. Nothing to take away from that.
But when you go through something like losing your mother, it’s a totally different thing and it just humbles you. The wind is just taken out of you and you completely go, ‘now that’s heartache’. You know what I mean? And so I felt like I didn’t want to write from a bitter standpoint anymore. I wanted to write from a positive standpoint about appreciating what we do have. Because once we lose something, you appreciate what else you have. So my whole idea on everything, on life, has changed completely.
Samantha Jade’s brand new album ‘Nine’ is available now.