JADA – I want to create space for everyone

Foto-© Universal Music

Selbstbewusstsein, Selbstachtung und Body Positivity ‒ darum geht es bei der dänischen Popsängerin JADA. Auf ihrem zweiten Album Elements, das im Mai bei Universal Music erschienen ist, zeigt sie, dass diese Themen, die erst einmal nur wie Schlagworte klingen, und sie als Künstlerin nicht eindimensional zu betrachten sind. Auf ihrem Album nimmt sie ihre Zuhörer:innen auf eine Reise durch die verschiedensten Emotionen, Erfahrungen und Nuancen mit und bleibt sich dabei immer selbst treu.

Wir haben im Juni mit ihr über Zoom gesprochen. Gerade auf Tour erzählt sie, warum der Schreibprozess ihrer zweiten Platte sich so von der Entstehung ihres Debüts I Cry A Lot unterschieden hat und warum sie immer wusste, dass sie im großen Stil Musik machen wird, aber doch gewartet hat. Wir sprechen über die Schönheit des Alterns, warum Elements ein unterbewusst entstandenes Konzeptalbum ist und warum es ihr so wichtig ist, dass ihre Fans ihre eigenen Leistungen anerkennen und ihre Kunst davon nur Ausgangspunkt sein kann. Außerdem spricht sie über ihre peniblen Vorbereitungen auf ihre Tourneen, warum sie an jedem Abend eine neue Mischung präsentiert und wie sie versucht, Vorurteile über ihr Publikum abzulegen und umzukehren.

Congratulations to your second album Elements. It came out roughly a month ago ‒ how do you feel about it now?
I feel like I am still vibrating from the burst. I am still getting used to the fact that this music exists outside of my body now. It is such an amazing and humbling experience to see people using the music, making it about them, making it a part of their lives. That is very moving.

Elements is your second album and therefore your second release day. Can you compare the two experiences?
When I released my first album, I was nervous and very excited. I was excited to see how people would receive it; how it would resonate within them. It was the first time they heard my voice. Because of the pandemic, I created the second album in kind of a cage. I was touring the whole time I was writing the first album. Releasing Elements was scarier. I knew that I loved it, this was the sound I wanted to create, this was how I felt. But I had so little connection with the people I usually spend a lot of time with.

Sophomore albums are known to be difficult; did you face any challenges with Elements based on that special situation?
There were a lot of challenges writing this album. It is hard to tell apart, what was what. It was made during a pandemic; it was my sophomore album. There were a lot of obstacles that challenged me a lot and sometimes made me hate the music I was making and made me ecstatic about it at other times. I am still understanding the whole process. So far, I can say that there is something challenging about the sophomore album. You want to feel free and do whatever you want. But I felt an obligation to the people who supported my first album. Sometimes that made me scared to disappoint. I hope that this was just a second-album-kind-of-thing.

You are one of the biggest Danish pop music stars. Can you tell us more about the journey from a very small music market to the international business?
I know this sounds very dramatic, but I am just going to say it. I feel like I was born with a prophecy, I feel like I was born to sing, and I have always felt like it is going to be big. To me it has been very overwhelming, because there is a big difference between wanting it, dreaming about it, almost expecting it, fighting for it, and then living it. It is always about maintaining the feeling of purpose. I keep questioning things. One example is my first European tour. I have been postponing going to other countries than Denmark. I did not want to do it just to make everything bigger. I wanted to have the right reasons. It was the same with going from an Indie label to something bigger. I keep going back to my heart and to my stomach and I am asking myself why I am doing it. If I am doing it, because it feels good, it makes the process easier. It is not balanced all the time, but it is my compass.

This sense of dimension can also be found on your album. There is not one message or image, everything is dimensional and therefore more relatable. But also, more complicated. Do you feel young women in music or musicians in general must fight for dimensions in their public image?
Yes! I have the feeling that I am constantly made smaller. People want me to be one story or one feeling. With this album, I had to fight for dimension. As you said, it makes things more complicated, but I am willing to risk that. I want to take up that space and be all of me. I want to create more space for everyone to not shrink themselves into one story.

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Do you think your age helps you doing that? Is it easier now that you are 29 and not 19? You said you have always had that sense of purpose of being a musician, but you have waited for a while to fulfill that.
I knew that when I was younger too. I was offered big record deals when I was 19 and I said no. I remember some of my older friends and colleagues told me that at some point I have to start saying yes to something. They asked me what I was scared about. But I was not scared, I just knew that that was not the time. I was too young. I do not know why I knew that. But I thought that being famous is hard and I was nowhere near ready. I had to find my own center, I had to feel good in my body and in my soul and I did not do that when I was 19. For years, I said no to everything, and I had to trust the fact that they would keep asking. I love getting older. I know that I am not old, maybe I will change my mind. But so far, I love being alive more and more every day. Even though life gets much more complicated.

Yes, but it feels equally complicated when you are 19.
You are right. I was a child who grew up around wonderful people, who had a lot of issues, who found it hard to be alive sometimes. I was a child who was given a lot of responsibilities. I remember even as a little girl I could not wait to be grown up. That this is a better suit for my soul. I loved being a kid, but I have always been very aware that it gets easier.

You become more independent; you trust yourself more.
Exactly. I have always wanted independence and autonomy every day. I can count on me. I know that now. That makes things a lot easier.

You are a role model for younger girls and young women. What would you like them to take away from your art?
It is such a cooperation being a role model. I love being me because it is a lot of fun. I am so happy if people listen to my music or see an image of me and feel liberated or more like themselves. But I also feel like they are giving me credit for their own work. They are doing it! I am doing me, they are watching me, but they are changing themselves.

Well, you still create a space for them to be able to do that.
I am so honored to do that. That is what I want to be doing. I just wish they would credit themselves for the work they are doing. That is not me. I could not do it. I can create the space, you are right. I wish for them to take that away from the music and the album: that they are allowed to take up any kind of space they want.

That all relates back to the concept of being a multidimensional human and artist. Your album is called Elements, which also plays into that. It seems like a concept album, but you came up with the title long after the recording.
Music is magical and I am so grateful to be a human being making music. The process of writing the album was quite chaotic and I kept coming back to writing the songs in a cave. That was the only thing that helped. A couple of weeks before we had to upload the album, I did not have the title. Again, it is something I do not think I can take credit for. It arrived to me like the letters from Dumbledore. It landed in my lap. It was not something I had to think about. I was in the car with my boyfriend, and I received the letter. I said it out loud to myself and to him, “I think the album is called Elements. And I really like it.” I was like, “Dangerous has always been a fire song, we have got Air, Something To Say is such a water song…” It was amazing. It is a concept album, but the concept came last.

It is an unconscious concept album.
Yes, it seems like that is the only way I can make a concept.

Let us talk about touring. You are on tour right now; you are playing a lot of festivals this summer. How do you prepare mentally to be in front of so many different people every other night? Do you just dive in, or do you need to create a special mind set?
I am one of those people who prepare and rehearse a lot. Preparation gives me freedom. If I know my shit, I can obtain levels of freedom that I cannot gain otherwise. Generally, I treat myself like a top athlete when I am touring and before. I do a lot of weightlifting and very specific singing exercises. Mentally, I am thinking about what it is that I want to say and to create. When we were going to a BBQ and I was having a crisis about what to wear or what to bring, my mum always said, “How do you lift the energy? You are part of creating this party. Your outfit, your energy, your whatever…” That is part of my upbringing and that is what I am doing with my shows. I am asking myself what I bring to the table. That is a big part of my preparation. And the audience brings something, too.

Do you bring different dishes to festivals and to headline shows?
Yes! I have been thinking about and rehearsing this a lot. That makes me able to whip up a new dish when I meet the audience. I feel like I have all the ingredients with me on stage. We just played at a festival for people with all kinds of handicaps. It is very big in Denmark. Everyone loves playing there. It is such an amazing energy. My show right now is quite sexual. One person asked me if I wanted to dial it down a bit for this festival. I thought about if there were a lot of children, I just did not know. When I came out on stage and I looked at the crowd, I could tell, it was not a kid’s festival. And I thought, I will dirt it up. If people asked me this before, it must have been because of their expectation that the audience is not such a sexual crowd. And I thought that was bullshit. I wanted to get down and dirty with this crowd. So, I whipped up the sexiest show ever. The ingredients are there and the audience just tells me what they want to eat.

Thank you for the interview!

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