WORDS: Paul Mitchell
When we last spoke to Swedish singer-songwriter Jackie Tech for issue 1 of Women In Pop magazine, she had just released her first single ‘You Can Have It All’ – quite possibly the best debut single of 2016. After a lengthy period of silence she has just released the follow-up single ‘Heart on Replay’, a laidback, soul-infused jam which is the perfect late-night wind-down after burning up the dancefloor to ‘You Can Have It All’. We recently caught up with Jackie to see what she has been up since we last spoke – and to ask her why she took so long!
Hi Jackie! It’s been almost a year since we last spoke to you. What have you been up to?
Hi Women In Pop! Since I released my last single I’ve been what we here in Sweden call a “studio rat”, writing and recording loads and also prepping for live stuff. But back in March I had a cold and you know how they say you’re not supposed to sing when you have a cold? Well, when you are a songwriter and a singer it’s really hard to not start singing. So I accidentally, or kind of recklessly, got nodules on my vocal cords recording the next single. Because I’ve never had them before, I didn’t even know they existed, and I didn’t recognise it in time. So I was ordered to be quiet until the nodules on my vocal cords went, or risk having surgery. My voice means the world to me, so I chose to be silent until they were gone. I ended up having to be quiet for about two months, and that sucked pretty hard!
How did you manage to be quiet for so long?
My voice is so important to me. It was a matter of life and death. I couldn’t imagine a life without my voice so I was really motivated to be quiet because I kind of had to. It was very frustrating, though; I had to communicate with messages on my phone and by writing things down on a pad and showing it to people. It was really depressing, too, because I’m a really talkative person. I kind of felt a bit secluded from society, but I just immersed myself even more into songwriting. Quiet songwriting of course – I had to just imagine the production and how my voice would sound in that space.
Are you okay now?
I went to a check-up at the beginning of August and they said everything was okay. That was like the best freaking moment of my life! And my voice is back to normal, exactly like it was before, which is awesome. I’ve always been kind of reckless with my voice because I’ve always taken it for granted; I think you do until stuff like this happens. So now I have better routines when it comes to my voice and taking care of it more.
Your new single, ‘Heart on Replay’, was released on 17 November. What is the story behind the song?
I actually had the song ready back in March – everyone was pretty excited about it and then [the vocal nodules] happened. It’s kind of a euphoric love story, I guess, in the first part of a relationship, an aspiring relationship, when you realise, “Oh my god, I’m so into this person!” and you can’t stop thinking about them. It’s more soulful than what I’ve done previously. I’m very inspired by soul. It’s the kind of song that just makes you want to close your eyes and dance around to.
Do you have a songwriting process?
I write the song with chords and words and melodies, and then my producer Alexander produces the song, together with me of course. We’ll discuss melodies, but he’s the mixing genius behind everything. When it comes to songwriting, I need to do it alone. I never write a song among people; my inspiration comes when I’m all by myself. The American style of writing a song with ten other people in the same room is kind of daunting. When I think of that situation I see myself running out of the room saying, “I need a piano – everybody leave me alone!”
You recently did some live shows in Sweden. What was that like?
It was amazing! I realised that I need to do more live gigs. It was an awesome crowd. When you’re faced with a big, happy live audience, it’s hard to not want to do that more often. It’s not until I actually perform that I’m like, “Oh I need to do this more often.”
What music are you listening to at the moment?
There is a lot of good Swedish music around – I’m not partial of course! And Norwegian music as well. It’s fun that the Swedish songwriters have been centrestage for a while, but now I’ve been really inspired by a couple of Norwegian singers as well, like Sigrid and Astrid S. I’ve been listening to Astrid S for a while and there’s something about her voice that’s really delicate and strong. I’m also infatuated with Léon – she’s doing a lot of soulful music right now and she totally appeals to my taste. And also a songwriter friend of mine, Clara Mae, released a single called ‘I’m Not Her’, which I am totally obsessed with.
What’s next for you after ‘Heart on Replay’?
I have a bunch of other songs that we were originally going to release back in March so I’m looking into doing an EP. I love the concept of EPs because you have three or four songs that are kind of a little world of their own. I want to do an album eventually, but right now, after my months of silence, I’m just excited to get music out again. ‘You Can Have It All’ inspired an EP [in 2016] which we didn’t release so I am also looking into releasing those songs in another way. I have so many songs lying around that I just need to find other ways to release them, either by rewriting them or turning them into new songs.
Congratulations on ‘Heart on Replay’ – it’s a fantastic song and we hope it goes well for you!
Thank you! I hope people will love it as much as I do. I love the refrain so much – I was totally rocking out when I wrote this song. So my hope for this is that people feel the same as I did and will be happy when they listen to it.