Music: Essie Jain Interview

This singer/songwriter moved to New York from London in her early twenties. Stunning long blonde hair, hypnotic voice and an album of lullabies out now. Here follows an interview with the lovely Essie on music and the feelings and life changes post- twenties.

Written by Helen Martin

Essie Jain by Madi
Illustration by Madi Illustration

Could you introduce yourself please?
Hello there, my name Essie Jain. Pleased to meet you.

Where are you from and where do you currently reside?
I grew up in London, moved to New York in my early twenties, and I’ve been there ever since.

What sort of music do you create?
Someone once told me that I make “quiet music in a loud world” and i always thought that described it perfectly.

Do you write it yourself?
Yes, I write the music myself. Over the years I have also collaborated on a few songs with my husband Patrick. He’s very technically gifted on his instruments, so working with him has kept me on my toes.

What music/artists/eras influence your music?
I think I’m still quite old fashioned in the music i like. I grew up watching classic musicals; films with Frank Sinatra, Ginger Rogers, Tony Curtis etc…and I listen to more film soundtracks than anything else I think. I also love piano players – Keith Jarrett brings something particularly beautiful to his performances. I think the biggest influence on me is watching or hearing people play their instruments really well. I love it when someone has a pure talent like that. It really lifts my spirit.

Essie Jain Amelia's

What’s your music background?
I come from a very musical family, so music was a natural part of our household, and they have always been be so supportive of me as a musician. I studied the cello for 8 years, learnt the piano, and I also trained for a couple of years with an Opera Singer. I had the opportunity to have a great foundation to work with, for which I am truly grateful, and i hope to give that back in some way to the kids in the next generation after me.

What instruments do you play?
My main instrument is definitely the piano, but i have picked up a bit of guitar and even some bass playing over the years too (not having a great knowledge of the bass has actually made me able to be freer with it, so I’d love to explore that further at some point).

What can we find on your album of lullabies?
A place to shut the world away for a time, and a place to sooth a tired spirit. My friend said it was like inhaling a moment of calm, which was just what i had intended.

What made you want to make an album of lullabies?
Well, friends and family having lots of babies was the first step. When you get to your thirties, it all starts to happen at once, (mainly because men and women have been in hot pursuit of their ambitions and careers throughout their twenties) so suddenly I found myself in a new world, with lots of little ones now hanging out at my house with my friends and I. Sleep seemed to be a major issue with all of them, and “baby music” was driving them bonkers. Just because someone has a baby, does not mean that their musical tastes disappear, and i thought it would be great to make an album for both parties.

Do you feel free to create the music you wish?
I’ve always felt free to create the music that I wanted to make. I’ve really never felt any pressure from anyone to be anything other than myself.

Do you enjoy performing on stage?
Yes, I love performing. I’ve never had a problem with nerves, it has always felt really natural to me to be on stage. For the lullabies, i recently made the decision to leave the instrument playing to other people, which has enabled me to just concentrate on singing. I’ve found that i really love performing this way.

And tours/festivals – what are the like for you?
I’ve toured a fair amount, and I’m definitely happiest when I’m out and about performing. But for this lullaby album, I’m in a slightly different position in terms of live performance, because I’ll be doing more family based shows, which will take place earlier in the day. So I’m really looking forward that side of things.

ESSIE ALBUM

How do you relax?
I’m an active person, I love walking, hiking, yoga etc, but deep down, nothing beats being at home and simply embracing the quiet of the evening, either with music, or the stillness outside.

Do you enjoy being in England? What does it means to you?
Yes, very much. England really does have half my heart, and i think it always will. I love living in the USA, and that’s why I’m still there, but even though I’ve lived abroad for almost a decade now, I will never completely understand what it means to be “American,” just as it would be the same the other way around.

Where do you see yourself in the future?
I’d love to keep traveling all over the world, playing music with my husband, friends and family. And when the moment comes when my husband and i have children of our own, I’d like to bring them along to share in all of that too. I’d also like to work to help children through music. When my father was ill earlier this year, we spent some time in hospital with him, and i was very moved by the people working in the children’s ward one floor below us. It made me want to help bring some soothing music into that environment, so I hope to be able to figure out a way to make that happen.

When can the UK see you? Festivals planned at all?
I’m currently putting together a series of performances for over the summer in the UK, and I’ve met some lovely people recently who are curating family music events and the like, which I am going to work with to set up shows, so lots to look forward to.

Essie Jain’s album; Until The Light of Morning, is out now on her own label, Light Of Morning.

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