Clumsy Love is available at:
7th February, 2016
The E.P., Clumsy Love, is available at:
THERE are few solo artists that are playing with such a distinct…
voice and way of working. My featured act has been lauded due to her incredible tones and immersive, beautiful music. I shall come to her shortly, but for now, I wanted to look at the vitality of a unique voice; artists of the West Midlands- completing with a bit about making your way in music. I have encountered a great deal of musicians that stick too firmly to their idols and current heroes. There is a real problem in modern music: too few artists have their own style and truly original voice. I find- even in 2016- that necessity to replicate others burns strong. This is a point I have raised a lot: it is an ever-apt argument that gets to me. In the modern climate; musicians have to work harder than ever to find success and longevity. With so many artists flooding the market; there is a constant battle for survival and growth. For that reason, it is paramount to consider the vocal you are putting out: if it sounds like someone else; are you going to have long-term support and appreciation? Those musicians that do not work on this- content to sounds fake and over-familiar- will always have a hard time of thing. In the mainstream, there are some culpable musicians. We all know the sort: singers that remind you of legends past. Whilst it is hard to create a completely original vocal: there is no excuse for being lazy. Alexandra Jayne has been compared with Stevie Nicks: to be honest; the young musician is one of the most standout vocalists I have heard in a while. You can tell how hard she has worked to craft that vocal.
Touring and performing widely: with each year, she grows in confidence and adds new beauty and layers (to the voice). Before I continue on my point, let me introduce Alexandra Jayne to you:
“Alexandra Jayne is a singer-songwriter from the West Midlands who recently supported James Blunt’s ‘Moon Landing’ tour at the NIA in Birmingham. See footage of her at the NIA via BBC Midlands Today.
Two of her songs have been BBC Radio Shropshire’s Song of the Month, firstly ‘Who I’ve Become‘ and most recently her cover of Wizzard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.’ Last year, whilst based in Liverpool she won the Liverpool Acoustic Songwriting Challenge with her song ‘1969‘.
A classically trained singer, Alexandra first picked up a guitar at the age of 15 and has since crafted her own distinctive songwriting. Her acoustic style is complemented by a strong, soulful voice which has led to comparisons with Joan Baez.
Alexandra gigs regularly and has previously performed at Liverpool’s world famous Cavern Club and at festivals including Oxjam, Threshold Festival and Shropshire’s Rock n Bowl Festival. She has performed live on BBC Radio and is a regular on BBC Shropshire Introducing”.
Quite a glittering and impressive career (so far) from a musician that is set to get stronger and more successful. Clumsy Love is a four-track E.P. that showed what a proposition we have. Whether you see Alexandra Jayne as a Stevie Nick-cum-Joan Baez Folk/Pop singer, you have to admit: the sound she produces is very much her own. There is that special and personal vibe- you get listening to the songs- that emanates from a very distinct personality. Although she touches on common themes and ideas- struggling with love and overcoming heartache- the way she does it is both charming and wise. There is a mature mind at work: someone who has a young heart that has experienced some pain. Having featured a load of London acts recently- another common theme on mine- it is nice to stay away from the capital. Being based in Shropshire- located in the West Midlands- it allows me to explore the musicians that made the area famous. From The Specials to Electric Light Orchestra; Black Sabbath and The Beat: quite a line-up of stunning talent and legendary bands. Judas Priest and Duran Duran, too: such a mixture of sounds has emanated from the West Midlands. Given that fantastic legacy, one would imagine media minds would be focused here: trying to unearth the best on show from a prodigious and fertile musical landscape. The truth is, it is down to local press/stations to promote the good word. It is a sad sign of the times there are few media sources that get their heads away from the big cities. I just know there are some immense bands located in the West Midlands. The truth us, unless we happen to live in the area, how do we discover them? The same can be applied to the solo talent: again, how does one unearth the best and brightest here? Alexandra Jayne is one of the brightest and most celebrated young artists emerging from the West Midlands. Having travelled around the U.K., I wonder whether she will remain here: will the lure of London or L.A. seduce her? I can imagine her fitting nicely into Los Angeles and playing her music to crowds there. The same can be said of London: she would make a big impression down here. With Alexandra Jayne, there is a mix of intimacy and quirkiness; universal truths and raw power: an intoxicating blend from a stunning, hard-working musician. What impresses me about Alexandra Jayne is how she has remained passionate and committed for quite a few years. I have been following her work since the early days and impressed by how far she has come. Too many artists get ahead of themselves and assume recognition and success will come straight away. They may have dreams of fame and fortune; set unrealistic expectations and goals. Our heroine has a level head and has kept her feet rooted to the ground. Beginning from humble and modest roots- performing locally and to the home crowds- she is getting stronger; gaining new acclaim and showing immense promise. After supporting James Blunt; it seems the future is very much hers. To succeed in music, you need to keep plugging and show that dedication- no matter how hard times get. Alexandra Jayne has her sights set on bigger things- I can see her being a mainstream act of the future- but knows how much work and commitment are required. A young and wonderful musician with an incredible sound: if you have not discovered what she has to offer; you are missing out on one of the best upcoming artists in the country.
Clumsy Love is the latest offering from an artist with a prolific and impressive back catalogue. Early songs like I Won’t Break and Troubadour showed what a beautiful and entrancing voice (Alexandra Jayne) possessed. Although these were her first moves in music; that confidence and sound were already crafted and assured. The rich, emotive compositions and personal lyrics sat alongside absolutely beautiful. Stamping out a distinct personality and style: here was an artist that arrived with a huge band. Not just limited to tender reflections: the music could be skippy, uplifted and energised (Troubadour is a case in point). Alexandra Jayne showed how agile and nimble she was as a songwriter. Few musicians would be able to stretch themselves and still remain focused and authoritative. Clumsy Love builds on that early promise and shows an extra level of confidence and assurance. Amazing and fully-realised out the box: there was no huge need to improve and grow. What we have- with her new E.P. – is an artist who has grown in urgency and shows what a proposition she is. The songwriting is more varied and the four tracks demonstrate what a unique and sensational voice she possesses. This development and strengthening mean future records will provide new insight and possibilities. Clumsy Love gives insights into the life of Alexandra Jayne: things that sit in her heart; things that compel her mind. There are maturity and fragilities; you get wisdom and hurt: ingredients and components the modern listener desires in their artists. Unlike most other artists; there is huge originality and nuance to be discovered. You cannot spin Clumsy Love and be unaffected. The first play (of the E.P.) hits you and gets straight inside the mind. You then find yourself revisiting it and unearthing new sides and joys. Music this rich and rewarding does not come about that often: for that reason, Alexandra Jayne deserves a huge amount of support and affection.
Clumsy Love’s title track begins with a plaintive and gentle-strummed acoustic opening. The introduction is short and sweet- the vocal arrives with clear intention and passion. Whether compelled by a past (and extinguished love) or taking from the experiences of others- you have a love song with a twist. There is “nothing interesting” about the hero: the duo are through and things have reached an end. Despite the realisation and reflection; the vocal has a chocolate-rich soulfulness and a gorgeous sound. Gorgeously breathless and tongue-stiffening mature: it is hard to define that voice and get to the bottom of it. I am hardly surprised some Stevie Nick comparisons have been made. You can tell Alexandra Jayne has spent time with Fleetwood Mac and old vinyl: immersing herself inside the voice of some of music’s most arresting examples. When listening to Clumsy Love unfold- you fall in love with that treacle, soul-teasing soothe. Our heroine has a tinge of reflection and sadness in the voice; she is contemplative and separating herself from the bond. This clumsy love has seen its good moments, but only natural that it ends. In the early stages, you wonder whether the relationship is through; maybe they are just on a break and taking time apart. With pillow firmly over her head- blocking out the sound and memories of the boy- you get a very vivid and involving song. You picture the scenes unfold and are gripped by the wonderful performance. Not hearing a word the guy said- closing her ears or taking her mind elsewhere- you get a mix of wit and honesty. The poorly-coordinated relationship seems doomed but strangely meaningful. As I mentioned: I am not sure whether this is based upon personal events. From the strong and meaningful vocal, you would have to say it was. Few singers are able to emote and captivate as much as Alexandra Jayne. The way she deploys the lyrics; giving certain phrases and words extra emphasis: twisting others to create huge resonance and meaning. In the first moments; the composition remains supportive and tender. The percussion and guitar bond and ensure the lyrics are given appropriate backing and dressing. Soon enough, the song kicks up and a gear and things get a lot heavier. The percussion and guitars race whilst the vocal gets a lot bolder and inflamed. It is two in the morning and things are just the same. Those age-old arguments and conflicts are rearing their head. Our heroine wants to see promise and potential in the romance: in honesty, they are going through the motions and treading water. There are some things “you should know”: sentiments to suggest there were an imbalance and innovativeness between the two. The boy (was perhaps) lackluster to the needs of our lead: that dissatisfaction and annoyance are tangible.
Once more, Alexandra Jayne contorts the words beautifully. Repeating and echoing some syllables; changing pace and course: at every phase, the song sparks and displays new colour and force. I have heard few singers that put as much attention into the vocal and reading. Lesser acts would sing the lyrics and not spare much attention to how they are presented. Alexandra Jayne brings emotion, intelligence and drama into the song: making sure each line hits the mark and sticks in the mind of the listeners. Maybe the duo was on different pages. Memories of “fooling around” are attested- certain seriousness inside carefree submission- and each lover had different ideals and objectives. It is refreshing hearing a love song so original and against-the-tide. Artists tend to put their heart out there- cliché lyrics and the same old stories- or get angry and accusatory. Alexandra Jayne has a superb way with words and is a wonderful storyteller. The chorus is a short and concise thing- essentially the song title sung- and it keeps coming back in as punctuation. This is a chapter unfolding with the characters drifting apart: our narrator has no regrets but is looking for answers. In spite of my protestations and lustful arguments about originality- our heroine is truly one-of-a-kind- you could see Clumsy Love appearing on Rumours, for instance. It has the same dynamic (as many of the album’s tracks) and a sublime, Stevie Nicks-esque vocal. A modern day amalgamation of Go Your Own Way and I Don’t Want to Know: a ‘70s-influenced number that will resonate with listeners who grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac (and the legends of Folk). Standing “here in the pouring rain”; you cannot help but give your heart to the heroine. She is not giving up on her sweetheart or tossing their history aside: she wants things to work and is assuming the best. Here is a young woman who has faith in love and believes it will work out; in her mind, she realises the same patterns will emerge. Asking an important question- “Was it real or show?”- one can detect that bubbling anger and disillusionment Ensuring the song never loses momentum and swing; that fifth gear composition hardly relents: Clumsy Love is a song that gets you singing along and hypnotised by its energy. When the mood calls for it- towards the final stages- the spotlight is raised and things become tender and reflective. “I won’t be the one to leave” are the most heartbreaking and assiduous lyrics on the record: the testament and peak of profession and declaration. It is here you get to see that voice at its most beautiful and heart-stopping. You are not given much of a chance to swim in that luxuriant and divine purity: the composition sparks back and our heroine drives it home. Constantly keeping you on your toes and guessing: a song that builds; switches and weaves.
It is amazing to think the song has not hit 1,000 YouTube views (the official video). Not only is the video beautifully shot and engaging- seeing the heroine walk through town/scenes with heart balloons; thinking about life and walking away her troubles- but the song is one of the finest of this year. A wonderful insight into the E.P.: the title track is a hugely impressive and wonderful statement. Other artists- with songs that do not pack the same punch- have accrued millions of YouTube views. It is a sad reflection of the age when so-called ‘stars’- who produce mediocre music- gain millions of views and comments. Genuine, ‘proper’ artists like Alexandra Jayne have to work a lot harder. Her music is far superior to most of the stuff out there: she deserves endlessly critique and appreciation. Clumsy Love is a song that will bounce around the brain and cause you to smile- perhaps against better judgement. I hope things work out and (the two) figured a compromise: a détente was reached that could salvage the romance. The heroine is never going to give in; she will batter to put things back together- an impressive and determined young woman, for sure. If you want more treasures like Clumsy Love: snap the E.P. up and you will find a musician that is incapable of anything less that complete wonderment.
Clumsy Love has been out a while but is still receiving a lot of praise and patronage. I hear a lot of artists and many do not linger in the mind- it is just one of those things. It is hard to distinguish yourself from the crowd and really make something big. Huge competition and short attention spans are making things a lot tougher for musicians now. It is not good enough to come in and play: hope people will love you and success will come your way. It takes something wonderful and stunning to remain in music and remain essential. Alexandra Jayne may be unfamiliar to many of you but that will change in time. If you are immune to that beautiful, emotive voice- can’t imagine how you would be- then the captivating songs will win you over. Clumsy Love is an E.P. that is perfect for the new listener. The songs have a familiarity to them yet sound original at the same time. The warm and rich vocals from our heroine get inside the heart and will remain there. I keep playing the songs and find new textures and meaning every time I investigate. I have high hopes Alexandra Jayne will continue to gain confidence and new followers. Clumsy Love (song) is a stunning achievement from a young musician that has immense confidence and talent at her disposal. So where does she go from here? I know she will be performing and continue to enthrall local audiences. I can well see Alexandra Jayne get requests from big venues and festivals very soon. My heart goes out to musicians that are starting out right now. It is a tough time to make a living. I hear- on social media and through contacts- how challenging the daily life can be. Not only is it hard to make money- with music able to be streamed for free- but there are so many competitors around. Many musicians have that passion but find it can extinguish: the harsh realisations get to them and they call things quits. Alexandra Jayne is not someone who will give up on music; nor should she. Having performed since a teenager; she has played a number of different festivals. Her music has been played on the radio; the social media numbers are increasing. All positive signs from a musician with few equals. I get tired of hearing same old singers who lazily sound like everyone else. If you want a career and long-term success; why bother ripping someone else off? The best singers from music’s history are defined by their originality and personal take. Alexandra Jayne has figured this out and pulled off a wonderful trick. Little shades of others can be hard- Joan Baez and Stevie Nicks for instance- but you would never bring them too closely to mind. Riding high in the mix is the sound of a young woman doing things her own way.
The West Midlands has provided us some of the best bands and acts of all-time. Over the past few years, there has been an over-reliance with regards London and the music emerging here. As I said earlier: there are not enough media outlets breaking rules and highlighting musicians from other parts of the U.K. One of the great things about my blog is the fact I can travel (figuratively) around the world and find music that few others have. I hope attitudes change and more people are given the chance to hear under-the-radar musicians. My discord and annoyance aside, let’s just be thankful for the artists we have right now. I have stated (on countless occasions) how female solo artists are ahead of their male peers. There is just something about them/the music they make that has that edge and drop of quality. Bob Harris has played Alexandra Jayne’s work and I can see why. Each of the E.P.’s four songs has such a wonderful smile and personality to it. You are treated to a sumptuous, gorgeous voice that oozes passion and honey. There are some rougher edges- as though our heroine has lived a hard life- that gives the tones a maturity and well-worn touch. The compositions mix Folk traditions with Pop/Alternative freshness: so much colour and diversity can be discovered. A truly special young artist with a loyal and dedicated fanbase: Alexandra Jayne is going to go on to wonderful things. Few musicians work harder to get their music to the people; this endless devotion will pay dividends soon enough. If you have not discovered the Clumsy Love E.P.: I cannot recommend it highly enough. Its title track is a gem that will make you smile and cause you to think and reflect. Play the song and close your eyes: let its magic take you somewhere wonderful and safe. I just know there will be more material from Alexandra Jayne this year- I cannot wait for that! She has created a wonderful body of work so far. But the real truth is this: the best and most successful days are…
STILL ahead of her.
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