Interview with SheBeat

SheBeat is someone who I have known for a while through social media and it was about time that I introduced you all to her music. When we first connected she had released her self titled EP ‘SheBeat’. This release has an authentic charm which makes her music stand out above the flood of acoustic singer songwriters that is out there today. I like how this collection of songs ranges from a fun tone which ‘Freaky Crazy’ has to offer but then flows to a softer beautiful tone brought to you by the track called ‘Mine’. The EP is definitely worth a listen.

So, who is SheBeat? This is the name of a project by Jodie Schofield who shares music which she describes as ‘tales of romantic misadventure and perfect portions of hum-a-long acoustic folk pop’. Don’t be limited by this description as there is so much more depth to what she creates. To help explain more about the world of SheBeat, I got in touch with Jodie to ask about her musical beginnings and more. I am happy to say that my questions were answered and this is what she had to say:

What was it that inspired you to become a musician and who helped to inspire your sound?

The desire to make music, I think, has always been there – untapped. I always enjoyed singing when I was younger; at home, in school, I even entered a few talent contests here and there – but in hindsight, I think I lacked the patience for learning an instrument. I wanted to be amazing, instantly! I did write poems though, I did well in English class. I am a natural writer and storyteller, so lyrics came easiest for me.

Eventually I borrowed a dusty, unused acoustic classical guitar from my mum (she had tried to learn before but never kept it up) and learned a few chords via a work friend. This was in the mid-noughties, I remember I wrote one good song and then lots of rubbish ones, which somehow put me off bothering again for a while. My inner critic was fierce.

Then, in 2010 I chose my first guitar – it was a birthday present. It was a black, electric Epiphone Les Paul copy and I wanted to rock out! I had lessons! It was 3 or 4 sessions in Brum where I lived at the time, with a lovely bloke who put me off playing for 6 months! Back to the drawing board, then. In the following year, I finally found my way into something more recognisable as the SheBeat sound. I was back on the acoustic and strumming gentle tales of heartache. I was also just coming out of an 8 year relationship and suddenly this 6-string therapy was a tap I couldn’t turn off. I’d hit pay dirt as they say! I also had a lot of time on my hands, which always helps with songwriting. I had relocated and I didn’t know many people outside of work, so my extensive back catalogue took shape on lonely nights in a Liverpool bedsit. So far, so not very rock and roll. I wrote over a dozen songs and started performing the good ones at open mic at the end of 2012.

My sound is hugely influenced by my love of sixties pop rock, and also the indie pop of my formative years in the nineties. And probably a load of stuff in between – I love music. It’s been such a constant influence in my life. It’s been the back story for everything in my life, from my job to my friends and relationships. My first job was in the cloakroom at the local nightclub, followed closely by a second-hand record store. Music is life.

When you write new songs, do you have a set process or do you go with the flow?

I definitely don’t have a set process. I usually start with a bit of a lyric. Or a bit of a melody. Sometimes they come together. Sometimes they are done in an hour. Other times they take months to finish. I do need a clear head though. I am easily distracted like most creative people! I have struggled to get the head space and time I require for writing over the last year or so, which is a source of frustration for me. But it’s on my list of things to sort out for 2017. Girl gotta pay the bills in the meantime!

Talking of songwriting, which is your favourite song from your collection and why?

It feels strange to admit to having a favourite, like I’m betraying the other songs somehow! I do love Always on the Run. It’s about a Todd White painting of the same name. It was on my wall (which is a quite a story in itself if you ever have time to hear it!) and I was really poorly with flu, on antibiotics and very feverish. Essentially I was out of my normal head space and wrote a killer track inspired by the character I saw in the painting. Then my friend Peter Jackson from We Are Catchers, offered to accompany me on keys if I wanted to record it with his producer Darren Jones, so I decided to go for it. It sounds so sixties and awesome – I just love it!

If you could time travel to see any musician perform, who would you like to see and why?

Can I choose two? I would choose The Beatles, just before they made it big, so 1961 maybe? To catch them during the Hamburg Star Club days would be most hair-raising I reckon! I am a huge fan. Before my Beatles love, though, came my Elvis worship. To see him at the ‘68 comeback – oh my! That would be something and a half! And like John Lennon said, without Elvis there would have been no Beatles.

Finally, what are your future plans and goals for your music?

Here another Lennon quote springs to mind, namely ‘life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans’. I want to keep making music and playing to new audiences. I recorded a vocal for a film soundtrack this year – that was fun. So more collaborations ahead I hope. I have plans to record more videos – seems that the best way to grow your audience as an independent singer-songwriter, is to record cover versions for YouTube in the hope they’ll then watch one of your own songs too. So I shall have a go, DIY style. I’m looking forward to exploring my new South West patch, lots of festivals and folk clubs down this way. I also just started working with Sofar Sounds which is exciting. I want to write some new tracks and I also want to do more recording, but perhaps with some help, feels a little lonely sometimes, so I’m looking for backup! I’m also thinking about taking up the Uke Bass! Just not sure I have room in my tiny flat…

I want to talk a little more about the music of SheBeat and her latest EP ‘Feels Like’, which is a short but sweet 3 track release. I would normally complain about how short this is but when you are given quality over quantity then I shouldn’t really grumble.

‘Feels Like’ sets the trend of what you can expect from this EP which is the type of foundations that I personally love. This is something which is no frills as it involves the musician and their six string friend with nothing else in support. This and the following track ‘Rainproof’ let’s you soak up this winning formula as her gentle vocals have a warmth which is simply captivating.

This all ends with ‘Yours Sincerely’ which caught my attention on the first listen and continued to get better with each one after that. It was the line ‘sincere in a cynical world, wear my heart upon my sleeve’ that stood out for me as it perfectly symbolises what this track and the rest of the EP offers to the listener. It is a collection of songs which is honest and full of heart. I know from speaking to SheBeat on many occasions that what she expresses within her music is all genuine and to me, helps to give her art that special quality. Overall, this EP ‘Feels Like’ is something that you really need to listen to and you can do so by heading over to her Soundcloud or Spotify pages.

It sounds like the future of SheBeat is going to busy but exciting and I am looking forward to see what this adventure brings. I’ll be checking in to her blog (ThisisSheBeat.blogspot.co.uk) which is a fantastic insight into her world of music including new songs and shows. You can also find out this information through her social media sites at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

As always, the usual reminder that independent artists really need the help of their fans to help them grown. So, if you are a fan of the music from SheBeat then help spread the word about her TODAY!