Emerging Australian artist JEFFE caught our ear recently with her second release Undecided. Where her dreamy debut – Whoever You Love, I’m Cool – ascended gently from the depths, the new tune is its flickering, moody sister, emotionally caught between spilling onto the dance floor and shutting away in a bedroom.
We were intrigued, so decided to find out more about this promising new talent…
SYNC: Please tell us a bit of the background and how you got started on your musical path.
JEFFE: From five years old I was always singing. Music has always been my first love. I was in a few different musical projects growing up. I started playing piano from a young age and played saxophone in the school band. I also experimented with different sounds and bands ranging in genres from folk to alt-pop to indie-rock. I think deep down I always wanted to go solo though. I met my producer Dave Hammer at the start of 2016 and JEFFE was born.
SYNC: Your music sounds incredibly complex in terms of arrangement. How does your songwriting and recording process work, and what has the journey been like to enable you to achieve your current sound?
JEFFE: Dave the producer comes up with some mad little production snippets before our sessions, when we meet up he plays them to me and I pick which one I like then we work from that. I come in with some ideas for lyric concepts and we pick one and have about an hour or two ‘therapy’ sessions with each other, nutting over every aspect of the situation or feeling. Then we combine all parts and go over every single detail until we feel like it’s perfect.
SYNC: It seems like there must be a whole range of influences at the heart of your music. Who are some of the artists that have most inspired your own creative process?
JEFFE: I’m inspired by so many different styles of music it’s hard to know where to start. I think my main influences though would have to be Amy Winehouse, Jeff Buckley, Joni Mitchell… I love their way of songwriting and the way they put their lyrics together. I’m obsessed with artists like Etta James and Otis Redding, their vocals and storytelling is just phenomenal. I get inspired a lot by recent artists as well, the ones that I connect with are those who have something to say and know how to say it.
JEFFE – Whoever You Love, I’m Cool
SYNC: You’ve performed at a number of festivals in the recent past – what have been some of your live performance highlights so far?
JEFFE: My biggest highlight was supporting Australian artists Alex The Astronaut and Stella Donnelly. I’m a huge fan of both of them so it was an absolute pleasure being able to open the show for them. The crowd was just so incredible as well, I’ve never had people scream and woo before, just because I hit a high note… that was pretty cool, and not something I’ll forget any time soon.
SYNC: As a debut, Whoever You Love, I’m Cool was a pretty jaw-dropping way to make your mark. Tell us a bit about that track, and also new tune Undecided.
JEFFE: Whoever You Love, I’m Cool is about letting go of feelings and memories you have with a person and allowing both them and yourself to move on.
Undecided is a song I just love because it’s me to the tee. I’m a ridiculously indecisive person in what feels like all aspects of life and deeply tied up in all of the lyrics that is described pretty well. It’s like ‘I don’t really know what to do or what I’m doing, but screw it. Things are scary and hard but I’m just gonna do whatever seems right at the time and let’s see how that goes!’
SYNC: Finally, what are the plans for the near future? Any new material or live dates on the way?
JEFFE: I’m currently on tour with No Mono which has taken in most main cities in Australia. In the middle of that I did two nights at Bigsound Conference in Brisbane earlier this month. We’ve got plans for another single release in November and after that an EP. Then I’ll be heading back over to the UK for October/November!
JEFFE – Undecided