Sunday, April 21 2024

Annika Jayne is a seasoned musician who crafts heartfelt compositions spanning three languages. Her works delve into real-life stories with a touch of romance and create subtle yet impactful melodies. With her discography expanding since her 2010 debut album ‘Fabulous Sceneries,’ she has also added the EPs ‘Time To Spread Your Wings’ and ‘Nostalgia.’

Her latest single, ‘Un Livre et un Café (‘A Book and a Coffee’),’ features lovely chord progressions and masterful guitar playing accompanied by a beautifully clear vocal. The track stands out for its clean and crisp production, reflecting meticulous recording efforts. The song’s relaxed and mellow vibe draws listeners in through its compelling and personal style.

What sets this piece apart is its bilingual composition, seamlessly sung in a mix of French and English, highlighting Annika’s versatility. In softer moments, her style resonates with echoes of Joni Mitchell, reminiscent of ‘Little Green’ from the ‘Blue’ album. The vocal delivery also draws parallels to Yoko Ono’s warmer and sweeter distinctive stylings, particularly evident during the ‘Double Fantasy’ period. And, additionally, the influence of Suzanne Vega’s ‘Close Up Volume 1-4’ albums may be evident, as Annika’s stripped-down approach adds a vulnerable quality to further enhance the listening experience.

The complexity of the composition and the evident crafting suggest that ‘Un Livre et un Café’ can’t have been an easy song to record, but the effort was worthwhile. As we delve into Annika’s creative process below, we gain deeper insights into the inspiration behind this captivating musical piece and the broader themes defining her as an artist.

Annika Jayne Singer Songwriter

Hi Annika, thanks for taking the time out to speak with us. Can you tell us about your latest song?

In September I released the first single from my forthcoming album ‘Cats & Coffee Cups’, a song called ‘Un Livre et un Café’ (‘A Book and a Coffee’). The idea for it came to me in the summer of 2020 while sitting in a beautiful garden with nothing more than a book and a coffee – and that was all I needed at that moment. While the original idea for the song came to me in French, I spontaneously mixed English and French while writing the lyrics of the verses. Since most of the books I read are either in English or French, it makes perfect sense!

From where do you draw inspiration for the lyrics and melodies?

Actually it’s the lyrics and the melodies that find me. I might hear a few lines in my head – both lyrics and melody. It’s never the whole song, just a bit that could go anywhere in the song – it could be part of a verse, the chorus or the bridge. I never know until I actually start working on the story and structure of the song. Inspiration comes from everywhere – books, places I’ve been, things that have happened to me, things I believe in, things I dream about, things I’ve learned. My songs are really a reflection of all that and they are mostly autobiographical.

Is there a particular environment or setting that fuels your creativity?

Not really. The ideas can find me anywhere at any time. On my bike, when I go for a walk, when I do the washing up or the laundry. But I have noticed that when I fall asleep, in that space between waking and sleeping, a huge portal opens up. It’s almost as if my mind goes to another dimension and any blockage is gone. And yet my mind has to be open to receive these ideas, and that’s not always the case – sometimes my mind has to rest, and that’s when I write the ideas down, but leave them on my hard drive for a while before I work on them. The actual work then takes place anywhere at any time. Once I get into a creative mode, my mind can’t stop – so I might finish a song while I’m in the supermarket or at the hairdresser’s.

Annika Jayne Singer Songwriter

Who would you say is the biggest musical influence that has shaped your work?

I grew up listening to classical music when I was little. So my first influences would be Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. How I admired them for creating such beautiful music! I knew then that this was what I had to do in life. When I was a teenager I discovered pop music and later singer-songwriters – singers who sang their own songs and were just as creative as the composers I admired. Big influences are French singer-songwriter Francis Cabrel, followed closely by Suzanne Vega, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jim Croce and The Beatles, to name but a few. Of course, there are also some German singer-songwriters who have influenced my work, such as Reinhard Mey, Element of Crime and Dota Kehr.

What’s the most significant lesson you’ve learned in your music career?

The most important lesson was that the journey is far more important than the destination. I used to have a very fixed mindset, thinking it was all about talent and if no one liked my music, it must mean I didn’t have any. After taking a break in 2018, I’ve discovered that while talent is useful, it’s far more important to constantly work on your skills. It might sound exhausting, but it’s actually much more relaxing and can be a lot of fun. I started networking with other indie musicians, collaborating with them, writing new songs, learning how to record my songs at home and releasing them. During this journey I learned that there are always opportunities you didn’t know about and that connecting with an audience is so much more important than how many streams you get.

Can you give us a glimpse into what you’re currently working on?

I am currently working on an album called ‘Cats & Coffee Cups,’ a purely acoustic album (just guitar and vocals) that is meant to spread comfort in difficult times. Last year I launched the ‘Garden of Creation‘ on Bandcamp. The Garden of Creation is my subscription service where I release acoustic or unplugged demos of songs I’ve written or songs that haven’t been released yet. So, when I launched the Garden of Creation there were a couple of songs that I had started to write but never finished. So the launch was quite a creativity booster! I started writing song after song after song, but instead of releasing single after single after single, I decided to release an album. Most of the songs were written in early 2022, but I also included some other unreleased songs that fit the same concept.

Café Leitstelle Open Mic Annika Jayne Singer Songwriter

Is there a specific message or theme you’re aiming to convey in upcoming releases?

The main purpose of the songs on the ‘Cats & Coffee Cups’ album is to spread comfort in difficult times – that was the aim of the songs I wrote in 2022 when I was desperate for comfort when it seemed there was too much going wrong in the world.

The album title came to me rather spontaneously, as there happen to be a lot of cats and coffee in these songs. There are other comforting things on this record that didn’t make it into the title, like wine, books, flowers, and records. But I thought if I had to choose, I’d go with cats and coffee. 

In fact, most of the songs are in a minor key – but they are not necessarily unhappy or sad. Some of them have a wonderful, lively, jazzy feel and radiate happiness. And yet, in this happiness, there is a sense of melancholy and longing in most of the songs. This feeling reflects the melancholy I have been feeling since 2020 when Covid started. And yet the melancholy and longing was coupled with the hope that things would eventually look brighter and return to normal, maybe even a better normal. And yet – just as Covid was coming to an end, a war broke out in the middle of Europe. And by early 2023, the climate crisis had reached a new peak. How do you find comfort in such troubled times? I try to remember that it is often darkest before the dawn. So, while some of the songs are melancholic, I also hope that there is some comfort in the lyrics.

Finally, do you have a favourite song from your discography, and if so, why is it special to you?

What a difficult question! I guess my favourite song is always the one I am writing or recording. However, if I had to pick a favourite song out of the blue, ‘Praying Hands’ has a special meaning to me. It is a song from the ‘Time To Spread Your Wings’ EP. It’s not really a religious song – it’s more a song about a friendship that transcends all geographical boundaries. I wrote it for my best friend when she was leaving our hometown. I was looking for a metaphor that would express the bond we had and came up with praying hands “when one hand is mine and the other one is yours.” So “praying” in this song is more in the sense of ‘thinking of someone you care about and wishing them well.’

Thanks so much for talking with us Annika.

To find out more, check out Annika Jayne’s social channels below:

Facebook / Instagram / Spotify

Review

Summary

Annika Jayne, a seasoned musician, unveils her latest single, ‘Un Livre et un Café,’ a bilingual masterpiece that weaves diverse influences. Delve into her creative process, musical journey, and the anticipation of her upcoming album, ‘Cats & Coffee Cups.’
83%
A Beautiful Song

Rating

Song Quality
Vocal Performance
Lyrics
Instrumentation
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About Author

Matt Warren

Matt Warren is a Cheshire based musician who studied contemporary music and composition. When not writing for The Indie Grid he enjoys watching 'Breaking Bad' on continuous loop and going to gigs. Since a youngster his fave band have been 'The Beatles' (with 'Cardiacs' in at a close second)... and this still applies to this day.

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