Rushden singer-songwriter Kelly Jane has been away for a while, but now back with fantastic single ‘Runaway’. New Boots spoke about the past, present and future.
New Boots: Where are you from, and where are you based?
Kelly Jane: I’m from Rushden in Northamptonshire. A small but wonderful town also known as Rushvegas, ha! I’ve lived in London for the past six years, but am back in my hometown now for a while at least.
How did you get into singing and playing?
I have always been surrounded by music at home, my dad was a drummer back in the punk days, so I started going to gigs when I was about five. I’ve always loved performing ever since a very young age – whether it be musical theatre, dancing or singing. But it was when I picked up the guitar at the age of 13 that I began to create my own songs, and straight away I fell in love with the writing process. It felt so natural, and I knew that I’d do it for a very long time after. It was so amazing at a young age to be able to express my feelings and experiences through writing music; it really is an incredible outlet for your emotions.
How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
It’s hard to describe, but I would say my sound is mainly a mixture of pop and soul with some influences of jazz in the chords I use. My influences are Lianne La Havas, Corinne Bailey Rae, Jack Johnson.
What was the reaction like to the 2017 ‘Took Your Time‘ EP?
It was the first time I’d ever self-released music, and the whole thing was a great experience. But I’ve learned a lot as an independent artist since then, and I’m so excited to move on to new music with more knowledge of the ‘DIY’ process.
Tell us about this new single ‘Runaway’.
‘Runaway’ is about the confusion and anxiety of being thrown into adult life in your twenties and being totally lost. It is my first release in three years! The track was written on my electric guitar in my tiny SW London flat six months after graduating. At the time I was frustrated, lost and had no idea what to do next. I don’t think anyone can prepare you for your twenties: you’ve had everything mapped out and then suddenly, bam you’re in the adult world. This feeling triggered my need to ‘runaway’ travelling, and I booked a flight 10,000 miles to the other side of the world [the best three months of my life]. ‘Runaway’ is me expressing the unknown and confusion of these years. The lyrics are real, honest and express the invasive emotions you go through when stepping away from the ‘mundane life’ and trying to find out who you are. The chorus lyrics are “I don’t know where I wanna go/Where I wanna be/If I wanna stay/I don’t know who I’m meant to be, /Who am I, help me find a way”.
Is the playing live thing important for you? I guess you miss it right now...
Absolutely. Playing live is such an amazing feeling when you get to connect with people through music you have written. I usually earn a living from gigs, so this year has been difficult and I’ve missed it so much, but I’m excited to form a band and eventually start gigging my music again.
How has lockdown 2020 been for you? Helped or hindered your creativity?
Lockdown has had its ups and downs for me definitely, as I’m sure it’s the same for everyone else. I did a lot of writing and started improving my production skills early on, but then as the months passed I struggled with creativity more whilst being at home all the time and not being able to get out and play live.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Bruno Mars To Let a Good Thing Die. I’ve listened to the whole album countless times and it’s absolutely beautiful. I’m still not bored of it as I hear new details in every song each time I listen.
What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
I really want to play festivals when they return! I’m hopeful that when the live music scene returns fully it will be thriving. I also want to travel much more, busk all over the country, and one day buy a camper van so I can have a home wherever I am.
‘Runaway’ by Kelly Jane is out now via the usual digital platforms. Kelly plays The Black Prince in Northampton this Sunday [Nov 1st] at 5pm [free entry].