Sad. Sexy. Soft. That’s how London-based artist Jaydonclover would describe her music in three words. Jaydonclover’s smooth sound is unmistakable; her ethereal voice glides through her songs while jazzy instrumentals and occasional layered vocals align to create dreamy tunes that are uniquely hers.
Last year, Jaydonclover released her debut EP, Recovering Lover. The project is a reflection of past situationships that follows Jaydonclover’s journey to self-rediscovery as a Recovering Lover. The EP set the tone of quiet confidence in her sound, and with each new release, she builds on that.
So far this year, Jaydonclover has dropped two songs that match her blissed-out mellowed aura. Callme, featuring South London’s Danny Sanchez, captures the feelings of longing enveloped in wanting someone to what you. Secondsin, her most recent release, shows a new side to the artist. The song’s sexy, racy beat and sensual lyrics provide the perfect soundtrack to fall in lust.
Recently, Jaydonclover spoke with NBGA about the challenges of breaking into the music industry, the feelings that inspire her writing, and the separation of an artist’s image and their true self.
What inspired you to get into music?
As young as I can remember, I was always listening to old school R&B and literally being brought up by music. And then I remember doing the Nativity plays at school, and I was always the angel. So since then, I’ve always just kind of been involved in music. And when I left university, I was like, okay, I want to do my own thing now. I’m tired of reading other people’s songs or scripts — I want to do me. Feeling boxed in inspired me to want to do my own thing. In university, I was in a predominantly white course, and being a Black woman, I just felt like I didn’t fit in. So I had to make sure that when I left university, I did something that made me feel like I belong. And thankfully, my music does.
Which artists have influenced you the most?
Definitely Kate Nash. Others are Jhené Aiko and Eliza — back then she was Eliza Doolittle — Kehlani, Beyoncé, Tink, TLC and Aaliyah. The list is honestly endless, but Kate Nash definitely takes the number one spot. I remember being like 13 or 14 and listening to Kate Nash’s Merry Happy, Foundations, Mariella, and wondering like, how is she singing in her accent, but telling a story, but rhyming to a melody and a beat… how is she doing that? I have always been kind of stuck on Kate Nash’s music. She just made me think that I wanted to be able to tell my stories in my accent that authentically, honestly, naturally and effortlessly.
What has been the hardest part of breaking into the music industry?
To be fair, I still feel like I’m trying to break into the industry. I don’t feel like I’ve broken into it yet fully. The whole journey has been difficult, because I remember starting music, and my sound was very different from what I do now. I just remember not being able to find where I fit in or find people to support me and my sound, and then I remember I met Dylan (@dylantheinfamous), who produces now everything for me. And now, I feel like there’s a space for me, and it’s not that the space has been made; the space has kind of just opened itself for me to sit in perfectly. But it’s still difficult, and it’ll probably always be difficult until I’m more established.
You mentioned feeling closed into different boxes, do you find that’s something you continue to struggle with?
Not anymore, because I don’t really care about boxes and labels anymore. I don’t even know what genre my music is. I know some people say R&B, some people say neo-soul, but it doesn’t really bother me anymore. Because at the end of the day, when I’m making my music, I don’t have to sit in that box. I get to sit in my room, alone, comfortably, and create. So I guess the boxes come externally from other people, and not internally from me.
How do you feel you grow and progress with each new release?
I think my voice matures with each release. And I just get to have fun with it as well. Secondsin is very different from anything I’ve released before, and it goes back to me wanting to do my thing and me wanting to put my stamp on it. With every release, I get a bit more snug in my shell, and I understand what I’m here to do, what I’m here to create, who I am as an artist and the sounds that inspire me.
What’s the most challenging part about sharing your thoughts and stories in your songs?
I would say it’s when guys ask me if the song is about them. It’s like, ‘No. None of my songs are about you.’ It comes with a bit of entitlement, and it’s kind of like they think they hurt me, so I’m going to write a song about them. But no, you’re not that special. And people also say to me, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry that happened to you. Like your whole EP, I’m really sorry that happened to you.’ And I’m like, ‘Nah, it’s honestly art, it’s music.’ And if I had been through that, it was a very long time ago. I’m kind of portraying a younger, naive, no-emotional-intelligence version of me.
You’re specific about your artist name, Jaydonclover, not having spaces. What’s the significance of making your name one word instead of two?
It’s to differentiate between me as an artist and me as a person, because Clover is my middle name. But then it also shows that I’ve got no space for anybody’s bullshit. On the EP, in Fallingfalling, I mentioned, ‘There’s no fucking spaces.’ I meant that in the sense of there’s no space for a guy to join me on this journey of finding myself of being a recovering lover, but it goes for my name as well. I also think it just looks a lot nicer and a lot cuter that way, because the big “C” just isn’t for me.
It’s something that you’ve made distinct to your name, which is a cool because it’s a unique identifier for you and your music.
I like to think that, but people still put the space in, or like capitalize like the “C” with no spaces, but it’s just one capital “J” and that’s it. It’s a bit cheeky when people mess it up. Because it’s like people think that I’ve written my name wrong on the platforms, but no, my name is spelled like that everywhere. So I feel like when people do that it’s because they’re trying to correct me, but no – my name has no spaces.
Your music has such a specific softness to it. Is that something that comes naturally to you?
It comes naturally to my voice when I talk, so that translates to when I sing. It helps with the delivery of the song as well. In some of my songs, I can say harsh things, but the delivery makes it a softer blow. They go well together, because for example with the lyric, ‘I wish you were as nice as you think you are,’ if you said that to somebody in an argument, and you were quite aggressive with it, it would come off more harsh than how I sing it in the song. Even when I say ‘prick’ at the end of HER > me, again I’m delivering that softly. All the messages are delivered softly, but they do have a heavy meaning. My tone translates that, so then it makes my genre and my sound soft too.
I loved MRNICEGUY from Recovering Lover. I feel like you really encapsulate a familiar feeling that comes from being taken advantage of in relationships. Is there one thing in specific that inspired you to write that, or was it a culmination of events and feelings?
A stupid boy inspired that one. I just remember he kept feeling sorry for himself at every opportunity. And I really liked him at the time, but he just kept feeling sorry for himself. And I was kind of like, ‘I’m trying to appreciate you, but you’re making it harder because you’re saying woe me, woe me.’ So it was something that I needed to speak about. It was also inspired by one of my friends’ little sister, who did an article on the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. She totally broke down the character of Scott Pilgrim and just kind of explained who he is and the traits of his character as a nice guy. When I read that, I was into that ‘nice guy,’ and I was like, wow, this is exactly him. The article talks about manipulation, the choice of words that they use and how they approach situations with a partner. I was like, well, I need to address this. Since the EP touches on the lack of emotional maturity when dating, I wanted to make sure that something was in there to call that out and make people aware that it’s not normal. We shouldn’t kind of be okay with that. The whole EP is kind of like my diary, and I’m explaining the process of realizing that someone’s a bit bullshit with MRNICEGUY.
What made you move from Birmingham to London, and how does where you grew up influence your art?
I’m moved because a lot of my listeners are in London. And I just don’t feel like my music translates well in Birmingham, which is a shame. I did want to stay at home, but I had to make the move, especially if I wanted to progress in my music. The only way being in Birmingham inspired my music was the boys there, and the stories that they made me want to tell and talk about, and of course, my accent as well. I like to try and stick to my accent as much as possible when I’m writing and when I’m singing.
My friends and family members and situations that they’ve been in also played a part in writing the EP, because a lot of the life lessons that I’ve learned, I’ve learned through other people. So sometimes I haven’t even actually made the mistake myself or gone through it myself, but I played such a huge part in supporting the person that I’ve kind of lived it through them. Especially the song Sober, drink about you, I’ve seen that happen a lot of times: friends fall for a person, and they turn to a substance, which isn’t always good.
What’s a song of yours that you hold especially close to your heart?
I don’t actually know. I think there’s none I hold close to my heart, just because at the moment I talk about guys a lot. I do want to touch on more personal things in the future, but I find it quite difficult to talk about that in my music. But in terms of my writing, my delivery and my creative side of the song, I’d say Lovers Anonymous, Lulla-bye and Sober, drink about you.
In general, I hold the whole EP close to my heart, because it came so effortlessly when I was writing and working on it. It just came together so well.
It’s interesting to hear you say you necessarily hold any songs particularly close to your heart, because at the time it’s about guys and relationships. Do you find that your music is like a cathartic, creative release? In other words, after you make a song, is the emotion that you’re feeling released from you?
Definitely. And I don’t realize that until after. The song Goodthing was written about someone, and so was Two Years, I Wish You, MRNICEGUY, and HER > me. They were all written about guys. But some of them I didn’t actually realize it was about people or situations until after it was made. It’s kind of like word vomit to myself in songs, and I’m just writing and writing, and then I realize it’s about a specific situation.
A collaboration you’re hoping for in the future?
Oh, there’s so many. I’d love to work with Orion Sun. She is amazing. Lyrically, the choice of sounds in production, her vocals, everything. I’d love to work with at Etta Bond, Kate Nash (obviously), and Syd from The Internet. But I also want to do a lot of writing for people as well. I kind of want to branch out and be international, as well as a UK artist.
What do you want people to know about you?
I think this could probably be said for all artists, but we’re living our lives too. I choose what to show on the internet and in my music, and that doesn’t mean I’m a sad person. I’m not a sad person. I’m actually really fun and really bubbly. But there are sides to people that they don’t choose to show. What I choose to show you isn’t everything, it’s literally just the tip of the iceberg of me as a person and as an artist. Everyone goes through battles. So be patient, I’d say. Be gentle with us. And enjoy the art.
What can we expect next from Jaydonclover?
You can expect more great music, consistency and collaboration.
With no spaces for anyone’s bullshit, Jaydonclover makes sultry music for moments of self-intuition and reflection. She uses her music as a cathartic release of intense emotions and feelings — but make no mistake, she’s not sad.