From playing the festival circuit, to being named Radio 1’s Introducing Track of the Week, 2017 has been singer-songwriter Jerry Williams’ best year yet. The emerging artist, who rocks a unique, indie pop sound, has become one of the South Coast’s most-loved soloists, and with big things ahead, we sat down for her chat with her a few days before her hometown show at The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth.
Jerry, you’ve had a great summer playing Victorious, V and Tramlines Festival – how was it for you?
JERRY WILLIAMS: It was great! It’s a dream to play shows where you sing your own songs to people who want to listen. Travelling to Staffordshire and Sheffield were really, really long drives, but as soon as you get onstage and start playing, you know it was all worth it.
You’re based in Portsmouth. Do you feel like Portsmouth is a good place for artists who are just starting their careers to record and play music?
JERRY WILLIAMS: I love it here in Portsmouth. I’ve played in the town since I was 17, and over the years I’ve built up a local fan base, which is really important! Everyone is really supportive. All my songs are about real life and my life here in Portsmouth and my experiences, so this place has been special for me.
You release your music independently. How did you find a way to attract listeners when you first started recording?
JERRY WILLIAMS: I actually don’t know! I just put it out there. My first EP got a lot of local coverage because it was named A Hairdressers Called Sids, after a barbers down my road. So, that got a bit of interest and it just went from there. I also just played loads of live shows to hopefully get people to go away after and listen to me.
So far you’ve released three EPs. But what can listeners and your fans expect from your debut album?
JERRY WILLIAMS: Over the past year, a lot of things I haven’t experienced before have happened to me – like loss and meeting someone I love. So, there are a lot of new concepts I write about which I haven’t explored before! The sound is still quite eclectic, but also bandy and fun with some more slower emotional songs thrown in too.
What female bands and musicians are you listening to at the moment?
JERRY WILLIAMS: I love a band called Alvvays. I listen to them all the time and I love the feeling their songs give me. Lorde’s new album is amazing as well – it gives me so much feeling.
When you’re not playing or recording, how do you spend your time?
JERRY WILLIAMS: I make sure I see my friends and just do what normal young people do! I love to go out and have a little dance, and I love second hand shopping. I love going on drives along the beach as well, but music is my main job at the moment, which is amazing.
Much like yourself, in recent years there has been a wave of new artists come through who are flourishing independently. What’s your view on the music industry right now?
JERRY WILLIAMS: Thank you! I think the industry is a strange place. It’s great in some ways and a bit confusing and fickle in other ways. I think it’s amazing how music can be made so accessible now. You can record something in your room and plonk it online and people can hear it! Spotify is amazing – I discover so much new music on there and people have discovered mine through playlists etc. You can make your own industry.
If you could support or play alongside any band or musician, who would it be?
JERRY WILLIAMS: I’d love to play alongside Kate Nash, Slow Club, or Vampire Weekend!
What’s next for you in 2018?
JERRY WILLIAMS: I’m hoping for more fun gigs and festivals, alongside writing, making music and videos and just meeting more people. I love it!
Volume Two Interview by Robyn O’Mahony.
Featured Image by Phoebe Fox – Shotbyphox.