Interview: Chloe Chadwick

Chloe Chadwick may be a new name to many but her debut album is a powerful slice of UK pop meets East Nashville Americana.  Recently appearing as part of the AMA UK showcase at Summertyne at the Sage, Gateshead, she was said to be the highlight of the weekend by many.

So this (Dustbowl Jukebox) is the debut record?  You must be pretty pleased with it? 

Yes, I’m over the moon at the response its received so far. When you put your heart and soul into making it you want some success out of it.  It has been a rollercoaster of emotions but the feedback has been amazing so thanks to everyone including yourself!

How long has it been in the making?

I would say 4 years.  Some of the songs were written 4-5 years ago including Big River, Summertime Lovin and Plain Old Jane, so this project has been a long time coming. It’s needed that time for the songs to fully mature, to test them live with an audience to see how well they were received and of course, I’m a perfectionist with songwriting so I had to make sure my lyrics were 100%.  I was happy with the finished product! You cant go back once it’s out on a cd!

You’ve been in bands before striking out on your own?

Being in bands is a great experience as it hones in on your skills and you learn a lot collaborating with other musicians, working as a team, knowing each of your roles is really important.  Its definitely been a worthy experience performing in bands and learning different songs and techniques on the guitar. I was the lead singer and guitarist in a pop-rock band when I was younger called Smart Girl & The Traxx (should I be telling you this?).  I certainly learnt how to be a rock chick which on occasions does still flare out of me from time to time!  Most recently I played my electric guitar on my album launch with my band for a song or two which was a really nice change.  What’s great about this type of music is you can play on your own and really bring out the rawness of the songs, or you can rock them out in a band!

The single, Love Will Find A Way has had a great reception. Is that satisfying?

Yes, I’m extremely proud.  Love Will Find A Way has been my most successful single so far.  I’ve received such humble feedback from it from across the world! I believed in that song from the start and I was so pleased with the finished product I had a gut feeling it would be the opening single for the album and I’m so glad I picked it. Patrick Jordan, a local producer who mixed the single, extremely talented guy, I let him loose on it and he wanted to give it a Lady Antebellum production feel.  So he listened to ‘Need You Now’ on repeat for 2 days solid before even starting to mix the song. He created such a great production for that song.

The message is a simple one I guess –  love is a simple emotion yet produces such a complex response.  It’s a big topic to cover in 3 minutes?

It is and most probably took me half a day to write with tweaks here and there. You hit the nail on the head.  Love is complex but it can never be ignored as it’s all around us, sometimes without knowing it. We all experience disappointments and heartbreak in our lifetime and we’re all on this rollercoaster of love and emotion. To me, that’s what makes the world go round, hence where I drew inspiration to write the song.

You did an ‘album’ then? Is it a format you still believe in?

Yes, I’m very pleased with its format, the sound, the tracklist, everything about it I felt was right in the end.  The tracklist took a while to get right and I actually took a couple of songs out in the end, one reason being that one song Talk To Me, which I love, just didn’t quite fit with the style of what I wanted.  But these things happen and the last thing you want is a song that is too far out there with the rest of the album as it kinda breaks the link. So I shall be re-working this song for the future and who knows!

I like the tags “Northern Country Queen” and “Country from the North Country”, the press have in the NE have been very supportive.

Yes, they have.  That was the Newcastle Chronicle that started the Northern Country Queen tag (no pressure!) and it’s kinda stuck with everyone else who has written something since.  I’ve received some amazing local press and comments so far this year and I’m finally making some ground locally which has been tough as the north-east always seems a little forgotten when it comes to country music. The Summertyne Americana Fest, amongst other festivals, always puts Americana and country music on the map every year and the interest seems to be growing in the north every year too!

The NE music scene has some pedigree -Chris Rea, Paddy MacAloon and Jimmy Nail, to ma e a few –  do you feel the weight of that in what you do?

No, not really.  Its great that country music has been prominent in past years but it has still also been a slow road for country and Americana music in the north.  It’s something new and the whole reason I wanted to push my musical influences into this scene as its challenging, exciting, and the buzz around Americana music across the UK is flourishing at present.  I’m very proud to be a part of that scene and, hopefully, I shall be still influencing this genre to greater heights in the north-east in years to come!

You are not a native, though?

No, originally from Staffordshire so no Geordie accent for me, unfortunately. I’m a Stokey born and bred!  We make the best oatcakes across the world! I’ve lived in the north-east for 7 years now and I call this wonderful place home because it is.  I’ve met some beautiful people here. I fell in love and I’ve written some good songs up here! I’m happy here and have no intentions of going anywhere unless it all falls apart – lol! Let’s hope that doesn’t happen! The music scene here is also coming to life as there is so much talent and everyone is really supportive! It’s a great City with some great music being made across all genres.

You’re a bit pop, a little country with the Americana attitude.  How do you view your output? 

It doesn’t really matter what genre I am as long as I am making music from my heart and it’s real. Somedays I’ll demo some hardcore country songs in my home studio and other days pop will come out of me, then a gritty Americana sound. I draw inspiration from a lot of artists as I’m very open-minded with music. Some people take a genre really seriously and I’ve even seen people arguing about it on social media which saddens me. I like the fact that I’m not pigeon-holed into one genre because I haven’t got a one-track mind to make one genre of music. I like to keep things fresh and I refuse to stick to one group simply because it’s not what I’m about. I enjoy writing a collection of different styles of music and I would never record a song and think, “I’ve gotta make it sound country, or Americana, or pop.”  I go with the flow and what comes out is the end result!

UK festivals seem to struggle with you –  too rock for country, too country for roots etc?

Yeah, I haven’t had the best time with festivals at present potentially because of this, but I’m sure there are festivals out there who love that diversity. Even the folk scene seem to be really backing Americana style music at the minute which is great to see! I’m not your general country gal but give me a mic and I will get those country boots tappin! Now I have the album off the shelf I’m hoping organisers will give me a chance to perform these songs on a greater stage.  I now have something more to offer and I think the album release will hopefully help me to gain more exposure and momentum at festivals next year. I also have a great band and musicians who back me for my gigs and they truly are special and very talented people.

You seem very happy, and it’s a pretty sentimental record. Is that a reflection of you?

I would like to think I am a happy person in general, especially when I’m performing on stage and making music as I truly believe it’s what I do best. I’m very passionate about what I do and have been since the day  I picked up a guitar at the age of 10 and started writing music. It’s like a drug to me and I know if I stop taking it I will crash and burn, literally! I can’t imagine not having music in my life and that’s what keeps me going!

You very open with your emotions?

Not always, I am more open with emotions in my songs that I am in person, hence why I sometimes struggle to let people into my songwriting and explain some of my songs as they are very personal to me. Maybe I need to start writing more happy songs!

So album one in the bag, where next?

Well, I will be looking to do some supports to gain further exposure across the UK and wherever I can, and then perhaps some new music next year. We shall see! Whatever I do I hope to meet new people along the way and just enjoy the ride! The music industry is extremely hard to crack but so am I! Watch this space.

Dustbowl Jukebox is out now.

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show – The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session – playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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