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Jade Holland on love lost and love found

11 November 2020 | 3:20 pm | Mallory Arbour

Pop country artist, Jade Holland released her second album Dream Wild last year to critical acclaim, we caught up with her in this interview.

Pop country singer/songwriter, Jade Holland released her second album Dream Wild last year to critical acclaim with the single Drive Thru being streamed over one million times and, since then there has been no stopping her. Now her follow up single, Do it Right, released on 29 October, is poised to eclipse the million mark. Do it Right is not your standard love song. It’s a statement. It’s a call to action for men and women across the globe in relationships. Do it Right mines the depths of Jade’s past heartbreaks while galvanizing her determination not to waste years obsessing over a lost love.

Thanks to the worldwide covid lockdowns, Do it Right became a quarantine project managed across time zones. Co-written by Jade with David Mescon and Bruce Wallace in Nashville in 2019, it was recorded in Australia and Nashville and produced by David 'Messy' Mescon at Messy Room Studios in Nashville.

Jade – thank you for talking with Countrytown today. How is your day going so far?

I am ridiculously flat out! Because I live in Harvey Bay, and shoot all my music videos up in Townsville, it's not like I can duck home and grab anything if I forget it – it’s almost like a different part of the world [laughs] so I'm in the process of packing. I've got a music video and TV commercial to shoot.

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The tour starts with a full band show on the 13th of November in Townsville - which I'm super excited about and a little bit nervous because hometown shows are always the hardest and the most nerve wracking - and then we've got Country on Keppel, literally, the next day. I've never been to Great Keppel Island. I'm super stoked. We get to play on the beach – what’s there not to love?! Then I've got shows after that, so it's gonna be a hectic yet awesome last half of the year.

To get from Harvey Bay to Townsville takes approximately 14 hours! How do you survive and keep yourself sane during those long car drives?

I think it's just that I'm probably a little bit nuts to be honest [laughs]. I don't know. Music videos are a lot of hard work, but genuinely, it’s the excitement of it all. It is stressful – don't get me wrong – but when you can start to see it come together on the set you go, “Yes! This is what I'm here for!” [The drive] coming home [though] is such a downer because you're coming down off all those endorphins and adrenaline and you're like, “You've just had a great weekend or a week away doing some cool stuff.”

As well, on top of that, I've just shot a brand-new music video and I can't show it to anyone until it's finished. I can't keep the secret to say my life, so it's extremely hard for me! [laughs] I’ll want to post about it. I guarantee, I’ll let little things slip, but I always try and control myself and hand my phone to my Mum and then, that way, I can’t get in trouble.

You only just released your music video for your latest single Do It Right about two weeks ago now. What’s the reason behind shooting another music video so soon?

Yeh, it won't be at for another two or three months, but I wanted to have it ready to go otherwise I would have to try and shoot it over the Christmas period. I thought that might be a little tough on the crew, production team, and all the actors and actresses. It's probably one of the biggest [music videos I’ve done]. I normally have a music video, which is me, one actor and my band. But this one, we've got a crew of about 15 people that are all having a bit of a party.

In the music video for Do It Right, a man named Jonathan is seen smashing a television, microwave and many other items in the desert. What was the meaning behind the video?

The purpose of him smashing things was, you know when you're in like a relationship and the other person doesn't know they're hurting you by little things they do, and eventually, they start to build up to a big point where you just snap?! I wanted it to be like the empowerment side of things.

This guy's been hurting me and hurting me and hurting me, and each thing he smashes, it affects me. And slowly but surely, I get to the point where I go, “That's it. You've broken my heart completely. You did a good job. Now I'm gonna walk away with confidence and get on with my life.”

That was the idea behind it – and we had a hell of a lot of fun smashing stuff!

Do It Right charted in the top 20 iTunes Country Songs Chart on its October 29 release day. In the Press Release, it says: Do it Right mines the depths of your past heartbreaks while galvanizing your determination not to waste years obsessing over a lost love. Can you please expand on that?

I'd been dating this guy a couple years ago, and it wasn't like he had dumped me [but] he was trying to hang on by texting me every day and calling me. I said to him, “If you're going to do this, do a good job. I'm not coming back for round two. I'm done with you. You can be done with me” type feels.

I wrote it down and took the words ‘here's a little piece of advice, when you're breaking my heart do it right’ to a songwriting session last year in Nashville. I said, “I have this song idea – It's very dark – I think we can make an empowerment song where, once you've had your heart stomped on and come out the other side of it; I can get up with confidence and walk away from it, rather than waiting for you to decide if you still want me or not, so I can get up from this and move on with my life.”

I love when songs just happen because then you're on the right path. When it takes you like 40 minutes to write a song, because it's so easy and flows naturally to you – this was it, the new single for the new sound for Jade Holland – we were on a roll. I've written enough sad and unlucky love songs. I've met somebody this year, and everything's looking up. I don't have a need to be sad anymore [laughs].

How do you judge when somebody is worthy of being in a romantic relationship with?

For me personally, if I feel comfortable enough to take you home to meet my parents that's the first big thing. I'd been single for five years, before meeting my partner Chad and I didn't feel comfortable taking anyone home. I had I've dated a few people in that time and nothing really eventuated. I didn't want my parents to meet them and then have that person be gone the next week. I just didn't want to do that to my family, because they always want the best for me and everything.

I think my parents love Chad now more than they love me! [laughs] My Dad is big on respect, and the first thing Chad did when he rocked up was, he rocked up with a carton of beer and shook my dad's hand. I was like, “You are like son in law of the year!”

[We] met online, as you do, just before covid. And being we hadn’t physically met, covid made us become pen pals for the first three months, which I thought was special. We love that time we had learning about each other and calling on the phone. It was like dating back in the olden days. Now, we’re renting a little place together, and we'll hopefully have a little home by February. Fingers crossed.

They say, the best couples always have the best meeting stories.

I think so too. Considering, based on my music, as you can tell, I hadn't been the biggest fan of men for quite some time [laughs]. So, it was very nice to have a nice little surprise come out of covid as well.

A lot of your songs are about heartbreak, love found, love lost and things of that nature. In terms of inspiration for songwriting – would you rather break up with someone or be dumped?

This sounds weird, I think I'd rather be dumped. I don't know if I have the heart to hurt somebody. I don't get a kick out of being dumped, but it makes for good writing material and good therapy sessions. I have been dumped and cheated on before but what I think it does is, when you feel that pain and it hurts, it's like a reset for you. I think it reminds us that we're all human and it's okay.

I personally think it's okay to love again in a sense, [but] I think people are really scared of that. I have some friends that are more than happy to stick with their lying, cheating partners because they're petrified of being hurt and alone. I mean, it's horrible to deal, but I would rather be dumped and be single. [I’d rather] be content with my own company than be in a bad relationship.

Is songwriting the best way to get over a relationship ending?

Yeh, songwriting for me personally. As well, I probably exercised a lot more when I went through any tough times in my life – that’s my thinking time and where I've done most of my songwriting.

My single Drive Thru, I literally wrote as I was, I had broken up with someone, and they were trying to come back into my life, little bit by little bit. I said to this guy, “You can't just rock on by whenever you feel like it. This isn't happening anymore! Don't call me anymore. This isn't a drive thru.”

And I started writing this song. I remember calling my friends in Nashville saying, “I've got this song. I can't wait ‘til I come over and we'll write it.” And that was the first song we wrote. Every single one of us went, “Holy crap, that's the song! That's the first single.” We hadn't even written any other song for the album yet. We literally were like, that's it, done.

Drive Thru hit more than one million Spotify streams on the same day that Do It Right was released. How is it having a song grow to such extreme heights?

I'm extremely grateful, because it's certainly not something I ever thought I would be able to achieve. Obviously, people like that song, and that's really cool that one of my life experiences has hit home for somebody and they decided to put the song on repeat.

It's very cool to think that bunch of people wanted to listen to that song that many times, because I was born in the bush [and] I taught myself to sing and play guitar after watching YouTube. To think that I came from a little town of 5000 people and a million people have listened to my song, it doesn't really compute in my brain. Like, I can't even count to a million! [laughs]

You mentioned earlier that Do It Right is the new sound for Jade Holland, no more sad songs and embracing that empowerment side of things. I know you’re currently have plans for a new album for next year – is this the direction and theme we can assume you’re going to go in?

I am feeling it out as I go. I've been able to let go of things in the past. The first album, Leather & Les Paul and then the second one, there's a couple of sad songs on there, and I don't think I need to have them in my life anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love those albums, but I'm excited because I am the ambassador for the Mental Awareness Foundation as well.

I've learned a lot from doing the Walk for Awareness and looking at mental health and suicide prevention this year, which was special to me. So, I want to incorporate mental wellness and things like that into this next album. It's going to be more uplifting. It makes me feel good, so I would like to think that it could make somebody else feel good too.

The Mental Awareness Foundation’s mission is to support charities that are working directly with communities who are implementing strategies to raise awareness of depression and mental illness, while supporting the preservation of life. They’re all about delivering fun, exciting, informative, exhilarating experiences and events within communities, including their flagship event Walk for Awareness, which then enable them to support charities.
Do you have a personal connection and reason why you wanted to get involved with the foundation and in its important message?

Yeah, there is. My Dad many years ago had been suffering from some mental health issues. My Dad looks like a big scary biker [with] the big handlebar moustache, and, if anything, he reminds me of – you know that movie Wild Hogs with John Travolta? They're all the corny Dads that all look like bikers, but are really not [laughs]. So, my Dad turned into a suffering in silence person. I take after my Dad in that sense, where, if I've ever got anything going on, I don't talk about it. I'm not very good with that.

A couple of years ago, I was going through something. He goes, “Sit down. Let's talk about it” – and this was the changing point for me where I grew a whole new respect for my Dad – he said, “A few years ago, I was having a bit of a breakdown and having some mental health issues, and I went and saw somebody professional about it. It was the best thing I’d ever done, and it probably saved my life.”

I just could not believe that this big, scary looking man that's always been my rock had just told me this. I grew appreciation for the fact that my Dad was able to open up and tell me that. It was like a relationship that had just taken this whole other turn. It was amazing. He helped me through something which, if he hadn't received that help himself, he probably wouldn't have been able to help me.

The Mental Awareness Foundation reached out and I jumped at the option. I'm so blessed that they asked me because it's been amazing to be part of. The Walk for Awareness was such an incredible special day [and] probably one of the best days of my life because of how much everybody came together. They're all supportive of one another. It was a celebration of life, and it was so beautiful.

You moved in with your parents during the covid pandemic to save money to buy a house in the near future. How was it not only moving in with your parents again after living away for such a long time but also being forced into lockdown with them for so many months?

It was an interesting thing moving in with my parents during covid. Also, [before] tours were cancelled – because I finished my last show in March in Melbourne – on my drive home, I called my Nan because I didn't want her living in Sydney by herself. I said to her, “I'm going to pick you up and you're going to live with Mum, Dad and myself in Mum and Dad's itty bitty three-bedroom home. You catch public transport everywhere. It's not a good idea for you to stay there by yourself.”

So, here was all four of us, in the middle of covid, shoved into Mum and Dad's little house. It was a funny, weird thing. You could tell we got on each other’s nerves sometimes, but it was such a cool thing to be able to spend six months solidly with my Nan that I wouldn’t have spent with her without covid, and the whole family was together in the same sense as well.

You grew up listening to the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears – real pop music of 90s. What brought you over and made you go down a country pathway, instead of the pop route?

When I was learning to sing and trying to get started, I did want to go down the pop road. I [wanted] to be the next Britney Spears. But I was 11 years old, so I couldn't just go to a pub and play a gig, and, when [my Mum and I] tried to see where I could perform that style of music, there were no avenues.

So, we went to an open mic night one night for the Walkamin Country Music Festival. There was a lady on stage singing country music. I went, “This is awesome! I've got to learn how to sing because I want to do that.” The first album we bought was Kasey Chambers – The Captain, and it escalated from there.

I like the stories country music tells. They’re real and from an experience that somebody’s had. The amount of emotion you feel in country music does it for me. So, I think that's where I get most of my satisfaction in singing country music. I'm able to put my feeling into those songs because they're in a country style.

It’s almost serendipitous in a way. To think you could have ended up in a completely different genre or profession had you not attended the Walkamin Country Music Festival that day.

100% As well, my Mum was a hairdresser for 30 odd years. My Nan was a hairdresser. My Auntie was a hairdresser. My parent’s friends were hairdressers. And I probably would have been hairdresser.

I used to help in the salon when I was little, making tea and coffee for people or sweeping the floor. Mum used to pay me by putting some cash in my piggy bank and giving me chocolate. And that was probably going to be my career path if I hadn’t discovered country music, so totally different [laughs].

Keep up to date with Jade Holland on her Facebook page here.
Jade will be performing at Country on Keppel, find more information here.
For more tour dates, find out more information here.

For more in-depth interviews on CountryTown, check out here.