From the second I clapped ears on Saint Jude they have astounded me. Constantly fascinated by them, I was instantly drawn to their music. Saint Jude are a force of nature and with Lynne Jackaman at the helm guiding them to new and dizzying heights, I think we have a lot to look forward to.
Although they have been tucked away tight, writing and recording for their second album, soulful songstress Lynne stole herself away long enough to meet me for a chat and a cider in the clutches of Soho to discuss the new album, family, friends and of course music.
Lynne has an incredible vocal talent, not surprisingly she started singing at quite a young age. Lynne tells me; “I always, always loved music, I’d go to boot fairs with my dad. And we’d pick up old vinyl. I’m not ashamed to say, it could be anything from The Carpenters - I think she has a beautiful voice. Right through to Led Zeppelin, to Julie London, or Peggy Lee & Ella Fitzgerald. So it’s just singers; I love crooners.”
“At one point I was getting classical guitar lessons from the age of about 10, I used to drive my tutor mad because I just thought this is alright, and it’s nice but it’s just scales, it was classical and I was really, really bored. I used to go in and just annoy him with my singing. He was going around working men’s clubs at the time. When I was about 13 -14, I used to do some writing and recording with him in his studio and I said ‘I should come out with you’ you know to have a female singer. He was like ‘OK, OK,’ so from about the age of 13-14 up until 16 I went out 3 nights a week and was just doing working man’s clubs. I was out Friday, Saturday, Sunday out gigging, then spending that money on records, and if I stayed in I would play my favourite records and just try and hit the notes that they hit, and annoy the fuck out of my parents basically. My Dad had an amazing Motown collection, as well as others, just all of it you know.”
“I’m a twin so it all really astounds me because I kind of think it’s all really odd, coming into this world together, and she could have gotten the voice.”
I asked Lynne if her sister was as vocally gifted.
“My sister, no she can’t really sing, she can draw she is really artistic. I admire her; the best thing I can draw is two circles for a cat and a stick man, that’s me!
“I often think, well, she could have got the voice, so I feel really lucky, there are ups and downs with this line of work but at least it is within the bounds of something I love.”
Speaking of things you love, I asked Lynne if she could divulge any information about the new album.
“Yeah, so this is the thing. People have been asking ‘When is the next album?’ in a very nice way, but this is a great opportunity, because essentially for me it’s about being an artist, if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no-one. So you just have to do what you do, and hope that people love it. And if they don’t love what you do, there will be other artists out there for their tastes.”
“In regards to the new album, I really want to get things in place, and I really want to make sure that this next release is very much about the songs and something that takes it to the next level, because there’s been a lot of blood sweat and tears over the years to get it this far, and I don’t want to spend my energy wallowing on that. It’s time to move forward now, to diversify, because there are a lot of different aspects to my voice. I love Blues, I love Soul, I love Jazz and I love Rock, so it would be nice to make an album that shows the diversity of that, it’s all very exciting!"
So where would you be drawing inspiration from for this album? I asked Lynne.
“I have got so, so many stories to tell now, all this time that’s been evolving between the last album and this has just been my life, so that’s why I want the next album to be, well, the stories about what you don’t get to see. The stories you don’t get to hear, and hopefully the fans will get an understanding from the stories and lyrics on the album.”
‘Diary of a Soul Fiend’ to me, is an album of beautifully woven music, intricate and delicate; as well as fierce. Lynne reflects on the making of that record.
“When ‘Diary of a Soul Fiend’ was written, we went to the states for three months; we went out to the states thinking that we had the whole album down. We were cocky and like ‘WOO HOO! We’re going to America for three months and we’re going to Nashville, Kentucky to cut a record and live it up’. We ended up pretty much only writing half of the album out there, the thing is that it’s never completed until it’s recorded and pressed.”
“I’m just trying to write great songs, just trying to come up with something. I don’t want to let either myself or our fans down, our fans are amazing. There are going to be differences on the second album, because I don’t want to make a sequel of ‘Diary of a Soul Fiend’.”
An important aspect of an artist is to constantly re-evaluate, evolve; a band might grow dull if they keep trying to sound the same. I agreed with Lynne that of course the evolution of a band over time is vital.
“Yes, I’d also like to maybe spin some surprises on people too.” Lynne laughs, “I can sing high notes and I can sing rock, but I can do a lot of really soulful low stuff as well, I have a massive range. So for me it would be nice to try different techniques too. I think it is going to be a much more mature record.”
Saint Jude have received such an exuberant fan base over the years and Lynne spoke to me about how grateful they are to be so lucky and have that support.
“If you remember we did that mini tour last year, and the whole point of that tour was to say to our fans; we haven’t disappeared and this is our headline tour, it’s only four dates but it was like working as a team, and wanting to say to our fans, you know, we’re here and thank you.”
“In today’s climate, everyone knows it’s tough out there. If you’re trying to do something of your own, and be musical, it’s a long slog and you have to really love it, it’s amazing just the amount of people that turned up. The Scala was just rammed, completely sold out!”
“We went up to Birmingham and it was a really rainy Sunday night, and you remember Chelle, we did this tour a week before Christmas, and it was a fantastic tour, the crowd were fantastic.”
Knowing just how much Saint Jude fans are looking forward to the new record, I asked Lynne roughly when they would expect the record to be released.
“Just when it’s ready, it’s very difficult to put a date on it.” Lynne said “The quality has to be the deadline. However, it will be this year, and as soon as we can, but it has to feel right, and when that happens we’ll know it’s finished.”
“Once you release a record, you live with it for the rest of your life, and the demand for it is lovely and I hope that the gigs that we have coming up satisfy their need for that. We are writing all the time and we are doing it as quickly as we can but I’m not going to sacrifice quality for that; hopefully people don’t mind waiting for it to come out.”
Have you thought of any possible album names?
“I like albums where not only does each song have a story, but the album has a concept too. So you know track 1 through to track 10, there’s a line, a story - I think that’s what I would quite like to achieve. I don’t know if that’s what we’ll end up doing, things change all the time, that’s the beauty of creativity and I don’t want to put a stamp on it. Something else might come along, and things grow in the space that you leave for it, so that’s my relationship with it. I don’t know what we’ll call it yet, it will probably be something quite different to ‘Diary of a Soul Fiend’ the amount of times it’s been called ‘Dairy of a Soul Friend’.” Lynne laughs. “I’m like some kind of milk maid or something.” Lynne continues laughing – “Some devilish milk maid.”
How many tracks do you have down for the record at the moment?
“Oh god, well the thing is what we do for an album is, that we just way over shoot it, we write as many songs as we can. Ideally it will be great to go in with 25 brilliant songs and see which ones make the recording.”
You played some new songs at the Scala gig in December didn’t you? I asked Lynne. I don’t remember the names I think it was two tracks you played. Will they be on the album? They were really good.
“Yeah, they are definitely contestants as I sit here today, but you know if I end up having some sort of moment then maybe not. I love those tracks and they have had the ‘live’ test! There are lots more songs that I won’t be playing out live before we make the record, as I don’t people to have heard too much from the album.” Lynne teases.
“I know I’m not giving away too much about the album, we are just deep down writing, I don’t want to say something as not even I know exactly what it is going to be yet, and it’s in a good place. I would like to get across the point that we wouldn’t even be where we are literally without our fans and their patience. Their love, their support it always empowers me to be honest.”
Since it would ruin the surprise to divulge too much about the new record, I asked Lynne about the work she did with The Answer on ‘Nowhere Freeway’. As you may remember from my interview with Cormac and Micky I asked them what it was like to work with Lynne, so I thought only right to get Lynne’s perspective on being part of such a fantastic song and how it all came about.
“Jesus, ha-ha, I think there was an introduction done by their manager. Cormac and I chatted, him being the main song writer in The Answer and kind of the band leader, and me being the same in Saint Jude, I think there was a coming together of minds. They asked me if I wanted to come along, as there was a track for the album with space to obviously do something a little different. Which I find commendable, after a while that’s going to bring a really different dynamic to it and I have kind of been offered things before, but for some reason, with them it just felt right.”
Lynne laughs. “So they got me in the studio, it was in North London and it was really nice. It was a really great experience. I went down. It was only Cormac there, I think the boys were up north and we just worked on it and worked on it and then I did my verse and it was all kind of my mid to low range, kind of thing and obviously people know that I can go higher and I think Cormac was sitting there, thinking ‘when is that coming, when is that coming’ but it’s difficult when you’re singing on someone else’s track. I wasn’t sure, and it’s almost like you have to feel your own way, I didn’t just want to suddenly take over, we have to complement each other, and also I was very respectful of the fact that it is their band, it’s their song.
We got towards the end and we were just trying different things out and it just came, even I don’t know how I hit that note, very, very odd. And I actually had a sore throat that day so I was sitting there with all my herbs going ‘I don’t feel very well’ so it was yeah, it was great; I was very, very flattered. The biggest thing that I respect about The Answer is that they are so hard working you know the real deal in that way. Always touring, always thinking about the next album, it’s great, I just didn’t see any negative in doing it. It was a fantastic experience.”
As well as doing the second album Saint Jude have also been confirmed to play download. Lynne tells me about what they have planned.
“Did you come to the gig at The Hard Rock?”
Yeah I was there it was so great to see you guys in that environment.
“Download is gonna be more like that. It’s an acoustic set in the Jager tent. It’s gonna be intense, but it will obviously not be as loud as an electric set, but I love doing acoustic. We are really looking forward to it.”
I think that will be quite nice, because the gig at The Hard Rock was quite limited, tickets wise as it was a showcase, so people will get a chance to see you on a bigger scale do an acoustic set.
“Well, that’s what’s going to be nice about Download; you know you’ve got the main stage which is where the music is all electric. I especially really enjoy acoustic, I think that also as we aren’t doing loads of gigs right now, if I’m going to do less I would rather give more and I think that when you’re in those intimate surroundings, people really feel that you are singing to them.
It’s so funny how you sit down with a song like ‘Angel’ and you write them as its particularly close to me and you get fans come up after gigs and they tell the stories - how they have lost a child or how this has happened, and they listen to ‘Angel’ every day and it just gets them through. You never thought when you sat down to write that it would have that effect on people. Life throws things at you and it’s not what happens to you, it’s the way you deal with it.”
Saint Jude are going strong. Their highly anticipated second album is in the works and the Download Festival swiftly approaching on the horizon, the sky is the limit for this band of incredibly talented musicians.
I can’t thank Lynne enough for meeting with me today; we have had a fantastic chat which has been very enlightening as well as emotional. I know Saint Jude will be a name on our lips for many years to come, and I am very excited to hear and see what the next instalment of their story will bring.
All articles are © Michelle Nevill