We heard that Jo Harman was stopping by in Exeter at The Phoenix Arts Centre in March so we thought this would be a great opportunity to have a chat with her about life, love and everything in-between ahead of the show, read on to find out about her influences, her smelly bandmates and who'd be in her 'supergroup'....
We know you're called Jo Harman and we know that you're an awesome Soul/Blues singer, what else can you tell us about yourself?
I played bassoon (to grade 8 standard) as a kid and I still watch Neighbours.
You were voted 'Female vocalist of the year' at the 2014 British Blues Awards, how did that make you feel?
Mixed. Glad to receive an award. Worried that it might pigeon hole me as a 'blues singer' (I'm not) and I'm not sure music should be a competition anyway. I asked not to be nominated in future which pissed off my management.
What band/singer/act made you want to become a singer?
Always loved music from the early days of my Fathers record collection (Beatles, Cat Stevens etc) through to discovering Aretha in my teens. But so many inspired...
You play with a stunning band, please tell us a fascinating fact about one (or all) of them!
They all smell. And talk rubbish, constantly.
You draw inspiration from singers such as Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse, what is it about a troubled soul that makes them so appealing?
Vulnerability is a human emotion that touches us all. Maybe those singers talk to me as a listener.
What is the most embarrassing CD/Record in your collection? (don't worry, you'll never top a very famous frontman who admitted to having 'Barbie Girl' by AQUA in his car…)
Ooh, I get given lots of CD's to listen to. Some are better than others, shall we say. I can't remember any CD I purchased that I am now ashamed of but perhaps I've suppressed the memory....
You've played all over the place, do you find that your music is received better in one particular country? if so, which one and why do you think this is?
Yes, France I think. Only done about 6 big shows there in total but all were smashes and they bought shit loads of merch. Maybe they like the torch singer thing there?
Your parents instilled a huge trust in you from an early age, do you think has shaped the way you have ‘turned out’?
Yes I do. They have been very supportive - not financially but emotionally which is the best type of support
Let’s imagine you have to pick your own ‘Supergroup’, (obviously with you on vocals), who is going to be making up the rest of the band?
Derek Trucks on guitar...then most of the guys in Nashville I met on my last trip out there, those top session guys are off the hook! My own UK road band are great too, of course. Even if they smell.
I was watching an interview from back in 2013 and you said that your ambition was to write a killer second album, do you feel that you have achieved this? (or are on the way to doing so….)
No idea. You tell me next May when it comes out, I'm enjoying it though!
Desert island disc time, name me 3 albums you couldn’t live without?
Fuck...erm....fuck, let me think. Beatles, Aretha, that kind of thing....
You were in Nashville in September, recording your new album at the Sound Emporium, why this studio and why Nashville?
Best studio in the world, or one of them, best musicians in the world, or some of them, my US management are based there, some of the very best records ever made were made there...what's not to like. I consider myself very lucky to be working at the very highest levels of the music industry with what is going on with this second record.
Who is producing the new album?
and when can we expect to hear it?
Spring 2016 all being well
What are your views on these so called television ‘talent shows’ such as X-Factor?
What do you think my view is? I was asked onto 'The Voice' I was like 'are you serious?' 'Why on earth would I want to do that'. Even the X Factor people said 'we wouldn't insult you by asking you to be a contestant on the show' whilst insulting me and asking me to be on the show.
Christmas is coming soon, what would be the PERFECT gift to get you this year?
Health and happiness. And good vibes for 2016.
We'd like to thank Jo for sparing the time to chat to us and we wish her a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as well as a killer 2016. We're really looking forward to her new album due in the Spring, I'm sure it's gonna be immense!
Jo plays the following shows in 2016 (correct as at mid December 2015, check her website for up to date shows)
Feb 12 - Arlington Arts, Newbury, Berkshire
Feb 25 - Apex, Bury St Edmunds
Feb 27 - Jazz Cafe, Camden, London