6 June 2015

Interview : Lily-Jo

Lily-Jo is a pop soul singer songwriter from Manchester, UK. She comes from three generations of musicians and grew up singing in church. After studying Performing Arts at college she went on to perform backing vocals alongside the likes of Damon Albarn, Nenah Cherry, De La Soul, Roots Manuva, and Shaun Ryder. 2014 saw Lily-Jo transition to the front of the stage as she released her self-titled debut mini EP with a gig at Glastonbury Festival and a whole range of national and local press coverage including BBC, UCB, and Premier. Lily-Jo has a passion to inspire hope within people and writes songs that she hopes will create positive vibes. 
It is truly a privilege and an honour to have her join us here on our site.
Brand new EP launch is almost here. Tell us what that means for you.
It's so amazing to finally have my very own EP! I can't tell you how many times I've tried in the past to make a project like this happen and it's never seemed to work out. There were a lot of shut doors, yet this has been so easy and straightforward to complete. That's what happens when you work with pro's! I was signed late last year to independent Manchester record label LIGHT and they've really driven the project forward. The team have really got behind me and worked really hard.
I am personally looking forward to your launch party happening on Tuesday the 9th of June here in Manchester, any other dates we need to keep our eyes peeled out for?
I am doing an EP launch party in London too at The Bedford, Balham with Premier Radio! Really looking forward to that. I'm playing a few of the festivals too. My website (here) has all the details of upcoming shows and appearances.
You have released two EP's so far in your career, any reason why that is so, any chance of a full album in the near future?
The first mini EP that I released was completely self funded and so three tracks was really all I could afford. It costs a lot of money working with producers and musicians and because it was my first record I almost needed to check it was viable and that people liked my music before investing thousands into something that wasn't going to fly. Off the back of that mini EP I got signed so it was well and truly worth doing. In this industry you really have to invest a lot of time and money for little return. Music is a very expensive hobby until it begins to pay off. The label were keen to put five tracks out and see how I went down with crowds before investing into an album. Hopefully an album will come.
Is music what you have always wanted to do?
Music is what I always wanted to do! I love music! I always wanted to be a performer. When I was 16-18 I did a GNVQ in Performing arts at college and from there I toured with a pop band called Nu Image. Those days were really fun! I never thought I'd have my own solo project necessarily but this is the way it's all turned out and I'm really happy.
Pop soul singer songwriter, where does your motivation or inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from the people in my world. My family, my friends. I also find that my work as a counsellor is really significant as it helps me to see and feel the world through numerous peoples lives and experiences. Bring me back from my New EP is a song that has most definitely been inspired by the many people I see who suffer from depression, anxiety, self harm, loss. I really hope that my music can help to bring healing & freedom to people just like my role as a counsellor does.
What does a day-in-the-life of Lily Jo look like and how do you manage to balance everything with your walk with God?
I find that I have to be super organised in order to fit everything into each day. Each day I am managing a home with a husband, two kids, and a dog, a solo career, and counsellor job. God is very much in the centre and a part of everything I do. 
 I think having a balance and an abundance of patience are real keys that help! I also have amazing support from family who live close by, without them there is absolutely no way I could do what I do. Social media is also a great tool that I use a lot which can be done from home. I try and eat well and exercise well in order to keep healthy enough to maintain the busyness.
    Live shows and radio, how do you overcome the nerves, if any?
Nerves are a pain! I do get nervous. I find smiling helps! I find talking to myself positively in the mirror helps (I try do this when no one is around! I say things like 'you can do this!' 'you've got this!' etc.
 Lastly, what would your advice be to those like yourself trying to start a career in music? 
You got to always be ready for any opportunity that might come up. It's all about good preparation, always be on top of your game. Rehearse as often as possible, keep as healthy as possible by following a really great diet, research people you love and find out how they got where they got. I like to film myself and watch it back or perform in the mirror. It's painful to watch or listen back but that way you can see your flaws and make them better. Always ask people you trust for some good critical honest feedback. Again, painful but helpful!!!!  
 Lily-Jo's brand new EP is out on iTunes Sunday 7th of June. To purchases tickets to her launch party (Manchester and London) click here. Lily-Jo is also available on (clickable links) :
 Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , You Tube , Sound Cloud , Google , Pinterest , Tumbler.
Thank you for joining us as we shared another "Hear Their Story" on the blog.
Stay inspired.
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