- Mon, 2011-02-28 16:18
If you don’t know about Sunday Girl, you should. The brain child of singer Jade Williams and producer Jim Elliott, Sunday Girl is making big waves on the indie-pop scene with her combination of beautiful, lilting vocals merged with funky melodies and poptastic beats. She’s just released her new song Stop Hey, and the praise only continues to flood in.
I Like Music chatted to the lovely Jade about overcoming her fear of singing in public through hypnosis, DJing at fashion parties, covering Everything Everything and how a degree in set design has given her big ambitions for future Sunday Girl live shows….
ILM: You kicked off this year as a backing singer for Everything Everything in the Radio 1 Live Lounge, how was that experience?
Sunday Girl: It was really surreal actually! It came about because I did a cover version of one of their songs, which they eventually heard and liked! I went to my record label’s Christmas party on a whim and they were there. We got chatting and then I got chatting to their manager. I think that’s where the opportunity to sing with them in the Live Lounge came from. So that was quite cool, just from turning up to a Christmas party! It was really weird, ‘cause I’ve never really done backing vocals before, so for the first time to be on Live Lounge was quite scary! It was amazing. Just a really surreal moment... Millions of people heard it!
ILM: How did you go about arranging the cover?
Sunday Girl: It was just me and a producer - we had the idea and I found a producer and we just messed about with it really. He had loads of old vintage machines. I was playing him different tracks that I liked and then he had his influences, so it merged in that way. I think when you do a cover you need to choose it for yourself and completely mix it up and change it. I did a cover of the Laura Branigan song Self Control, there’s a
video of that on YouTube. That was a little thing we released. I just picked that song because I loved the imagery of it. It was all about creatures of the night. I think if you’re gonna do a cover, pick it because you like it.
ILM: How would you describe your single, Stop Hey?
Sunday Girl: People often say it sounds like MGMT or Goldfrapp. For me it’s a festival sound; quite summery and epic. It’s quite pretty, but then it’s quite bolshy as well, with the drums and stuff. Me and my producer Jim Elliott wrote that song together, it must’ve been about two years ago now. We’ve had it for ages! It was just one of those songs that popped out of nowhere. We both really liked it. I think that track’s the blueprint for the album really...
ILM: How would you describe your music-making process?
Sunday Girl: Well my producer Jim lives in Wales... I met him when he was working in London, we had something like three sessions together and wrote three tracks. You know when it just clicks straight away with somebody? We were just producing stuff really quickly, we had loads of ideas that really worked. But then he moved to Wales, so now it’s weird. I won’t see him for months, then we’ll get in the studio and crack out loads of work, then I won’t see him for ages again. It’s a weird relationship but it sort of works. It was nice to go down to his studio to write in Wales. He’s got a little farmhouse and field! It’s almost like a holiday! I love going away; it’s nice to write away from the usual stuff.
ILM: How did you end up pursuing a career in music? Have you always wanted to be a pop star?
Sunday Girl: I’d always sung for years and years, like everyone does in their bedroom, but I never thought I’d end up doing it as a job! My mum used to hear my singing in my room and say “you’re really good!” But I was so terrified – I tried to sing in front of people but I was just so, so scared. She took me to a hypnotist one day to get over this big fear. To see if it worked I took myself to a little choir thing one day. And it had worked. I'd had the whole fear lifted and just had this new freedom to sing outside my room! From there I just got into bands with boys at school. I was always writing poetry and words and stuff, so I started to write songs. Then I did a little acoustic set in a club in London one night and a guy said “can I manage you?” From there it got a bit serious and I began proper song-writing, doing the rounds and just trying to find my sound really.
ILM: Wow! A hypnotist! Do you remember what he did?
Sunday Girl: Yeah it’s weird! It’s about the space between being awake and asleep, the space where people meditate, that sort of state. You just lay in a chair and they talk to you and get you into that state. It’s talking to your subconscious. My boyfriend had to do some public speaking recently and he was really terrified, so I marched him along saying “it’ll fix it!” and it really did, it worked with him as well! If you really, really want something it’s just that tiny shift in your brain that can really make a massive difference. Another thing I was terrified of was being on stage! Once I’d got over singing in front of people I had to work on that, I just hated being on stage! So for me, it wasn’t a usual career path, it was an awkward one. But I love it now!
ILM: A lot of people came to know you through the Diplo remix of your track Four Floors. How did that come to be?
Sunday Girl: It was my A&R at the label; he had a meeting with Diplo and just took loads of different tracks. I think the way Diplo works is that he listens to stuff for a few seconds, then just turns it off! I think he turned everything off including mine, then at the end said “can I listen to that one again?” Then he played mine again and was like “yeah, I’ll do it.”
ILM: Fashion has become a big part of what you do. You became the face of River Island's Graduate campaign, write a weekly fashion and music column for MSN and you're also booked to DJ at parties for the likes of Erdem, Vogue, Nicole Farhi and Reiss! How do you think music and fashion compliment each other?
Sunday Girl: I don't know... I think obviously music’s an expression of yourself and what you wear and fashion is an extension of that. I think you’re either interested in it or not, but I’ve always had a style. I don’t necessarily follow fashions, it’s more of a style thing. I didn’t really do it on purpose, I just did it for myself but people seem to have been picking up on it which is nice!
ILM: You’ve DJed at some really cool functions, what have those experiences been like?
Sunday Girl: It is another world completely. It’s really weird! Sometimes I turn up to these things and feel so cockney and out of place! But I dunno, I think people imagine it to be quite bitchy, but I don’t think it is. Everyone’s really nice and I go there to DJ… I actually really prefer DJing at fashion parties than club nights. I’m learning to DJ still, and I’m not amazing, but they’re accepting of that and it’s just chilled out. But it is a completely different world.
ILM: How do you prepare your sets? Do you approach the fashion party sets in a different way to club night sets?
Sunday Girl: Sometimes you get a brief... In a way the fashion parties are almost like my practice time, if you do mix and it's a bit rubbish people aren’t really that fussed. I also use it to see what songs go down well. Well, sort of... I started off thinking “right, play cool music!” But in the end I was like “you know what, I’m just gonna play what I like!” So I might chuck in a bit of old Destiny’s Child or some TLC and people just go mad for it! When you’ve had a drink, all you wanna do is dance to songs you like. The ‘cool’ tracks go out of the window!
ILM: Your recently supported Ellie Goulding on tour, how was that?
Sunday Girl: Before I went on tour I was still quite body-conscious on stage; you know when you freeze up a little bit and you’re a bit “ah! Dunno what I’m doing!” On the tour practice really makes perfect, and it was the best experience ever. Ellie was so lovely! It was just like all of your mates going on holiday. I loved it! It was really good to learn the craft properly and watch how Ellie does stuff.
ILM: What can we expect if we come to see you live?
Sunday Girl: Well I did set design at university, so I really want the show to be visually amazing. I’ve dabbled with stage props but I’m getting more serious with it this year. I’m going to get someone in to help me do that so it’s a real show to come and see. I think you can tell that I’m really confident but also quite shy, almost quite vulnerable. People comment on that, saying it’s a nice thing! You can see where it’s a bit awkward for me and where it’s not. I want people to see that so they know that it wasn’t easy but that anyone can do it – if you’re terrified, you’ve just got to go and do it!
ILM: If money was no option, what would be your dream set up on stage?
Sunday Girl: I’d love to come out of a big golden egg or something! Or be in a big taxidermy dome, or a big birdcage or something!
ILM: Who have been some of your biggest musical inspirations?
Sunday Girl: I went through a really big jazz and blues phase and I was obsessed with Peggy Lee for a bit, I think her voice is amazing. I’ve always loved Kelis. Elvis; my dad used to pay so much Elvis when I was younger. Destiny’s Child when I was growing up. Singing along to a Beyonce album was almost like my vocal coach in a way! I don’t sound anything like that, but I never really had singing lessons or anything. I just used to sing along to CDs in my room...!
ILM: What are you future plans?
Sunday Girl: Well the album’s coming out and I hope that it will do well. More tours, more DJing, a bit more fashion stuff… I'll just see what happens!