Whilst the sate of the world and the global pandemic played havoc with a vast number of freedoms and the ability for artists to tour freely, it did offer opportunities for connection, creativity and collaboration in ways that may not have been possible under the way we once knew things. One such example of magic happening during this time was when two of the most exciting females in Americana music developed a fast-growing friendship which led to a collaboration between Jade Jackson and Aubrie Sellers uniting as Jackson+Sellers. The duo made their first appearance during Americana Fest, last month in Nashville where we were able attend Jade and Aubrie’s showcase thanks to the amazing Sara Douga who was covering the event for us and you can read her review HERE. This was ahead of the release of this upcoming debut album as a duo titled “Breaking Point” which was recorded in late 2020 at The Cabin in East Nashville and will be released on October 22nd through ANTI- Records (save/pre-order HERE) Jamie recently caught up with them to hear all about it and how they came together as a duo. Let’s talk about this record which I suppose has been this little baby that the two of you have kept hidden away and then Americana Fest happened with this great big hello and showing everyone what you’re all about: “We actually met; I say this every single time that we met but I played before her at Americana Fest in 2019. That was the first time that we came in to contact but we didn’t actually speak, I played before her and you’re running around so you don’t actually get to speak but we followed each other on Instagram and she reached out to me later about “Hush” which is on the record and was the first song we worked on together. We sent it to the label and thought we would do a song or an EP but they loved it and we ended up doing a whole record, which was about a year ago exactly that we recorded and here we are.” (Aubrie)
So, was it as simple as that? Jade sending over a message asking about working together on a track and things just grew from there? “That’s exactly what happened and it grew quickly. I reached out to her and she messaged me back within like a minute, then I drove down to see her three days later where we met for the first time and we gave the song to the label that night, then two days later it was can you two do an album in two months? We were like argh OK?” (Jade) “The same day that she came over, she ended up staying the night because she lived about three hours away and we recorded a demo of “Hush” and also a demo of “Has Been” because that had been a song that I had wanted to record, so we had those two songs and that’s what started the album.” (Aubrie) “I showed up at her house with my guitar thinking we were just going to work on a song and then we sat in her office saying listen to this song then I played her “As You Run” which is one of my favourite songs that I’ve written on the record, the she played me “The World Is Black” and most of the things we showed each other are now on the record. I think that was really great that this happened because when they were like get to the studio right now, if we hadn’t done that and spent the time together hanging out and getting to know each other in that space, I think we would have been like we can’t!” (Jade)
It must be so cool for a project to come together so organically where you weren’t trying to make songs for it but you just put things to each other and they just worked? “Everything about this project from the very beginning came together super naturally. It evolved into what it was, we didn’t think about maybe recording an album together and figure out what to do, it happened the exact opposite way. I think that’s great and part of why it happened so naturally and why the sound got created so naturally.” (Aubrie)
As solo artists you have been typically associated with Americana and through the festival was where you had your first introduction to each other and where you recently showcased. The way to pinpoint what exactly “Americana” sounds like is not the easiest thing to describe beyond that it has too much influence from something else to be a pure fit for something but this album is definitely a lot heavier that what we commonly find in the genre, so how exactly would you define your sound as a duo? “I think both of our solo projects fit more into the Americana genre but both shared a common rock influence and, on this record, we feel that alternative radio is more embracing of it because it is more rock. It still has a little bit of us in there in that if someone was just listening to straight rock music that wouldn’t necessarily be what this record is but it is pretty rock and we were influenced by a lot of sixties and seventies but not on the more folk side. You could say some glam rock but also Nirvana, we grew up on that style of rock so there’s a little bit of that in there and I think we took all of our rock influences and a little sprinkle of something else in there which is kind of what has made that sound. It’s organic the way that we made it in the studio and was kind of experimental so we did go in with this idea of what we wanted it to sound like but also allowed room for things to happen naturally.” (Aubrie) With the album, it is ten tracks in total where seven are original songs that one of or both of you had written together, which has three additional tracks that the two of you have interpreted. What made you feel that these enhanced the project as opposed to an EP purely of originals? “I love doing covers and reinterpreting them in a fresh way but Jade hadn’t really done that before.” (Aubrie) “When people ask what I do as a job, I’m always hesitant to say a performer because I see myself more as a songwriter or at least that was what I aspired to be when I was first starting and I think I was reluctant to do covers because if I didn’t do my original material, how the heck would it be heard in the world? I always felt I had to stand up for these song babies that I had created. With the collaboration and it happened super quickly, even though I didn’t know Aubrie or Ethan who co-produced the record really well, I had this like intuition, trust and respect for them that if they wanted to do this, let’s go! At the end I felt really happy that they made that suggestion because I feel that these songs came to life in a way that represents us but also shines light on the fantastic women who made those songs originally.” (Jade)
Looking at these three tracks, there is one from Julie Miller, another from Shannon Wright and also a version of Suzi Quatro’s “The Wild One” but what was it about these three songs in particular that drew you to them? “I think it was all about timing. I had recently seen a documentary about Suzi, discovered that song and really liked it. Ethan and I had done a covers EP before so we had a history of taking songs and reinterpreting them. Julie is probably my favourite artist ever and my favourite songwriter, so I’ve known that song forever and it was if we were to do covers what would we do? We came up with that and I thought I didn’t know how we would do it, then he started playing the riff in the way he plays in on the record and I was instantly in love. I recorded a voice memo of it and sent it to Jade who was open and cool about trying them. She is used to planning and likes to play every note so I told her don’t freak out! If we get in the studio and you don’t like it, we don’t have to do it but I promised her it would be OK and it would be great so we were just open to experiment with them.” (Aubrie) How different has the process felt with regard to thinking about how you are making and recording music compared to when you have been working on a solo project? “The last couple of records that I did with my label, I mean I did a couple of projects when I was younger but they don’t really count I guess when your thinking about getting the record deal and your debut record. Both of those records, I was and still am under contract and I’m going to do my next solo record with one of my heroes so being in the studio with someone that I grew up kind of listening to quietened my voice in a way where I may not of understood what was happening because what he was doing and how he was guiding the ship, he had already done what I’m trying to do and had been successful at it. This was a different experience for me in that I felt like I had an equal voice and could contribute where I could offer suggestions that were maybe a little weird or strange that would always be heard. Not that my old producer would look down on but I just didn’t have the balls to use my voice on those things, so now looking to the future and going back into the studio to record my third record, I’m very excited to sit alongside him after having made this record and voiced my opinions, so I think something real cool could happen because of what I have learnt working with Aubrie and Ethan.“ (Jade)
Then lastly, I suppose we should talk about getting to play this record live which may not have been as easy had you been bringing it out this time a year ago. How are things looking over there right now for you being able to play this for people? “Basically, us not being on tour was what enabled us to come together and make this project so that’s the silver lining, things aren’t completely back to normal yet and we’ve had a tour cancelled this month but we are playing some shows. We did Americana Fest and played a show in Alabama but we’re also planning some other things like a livestream on the 24th which will be with the band from the record and in the studio where we recorded the record at. That will be super cool because that’s something that you can’t do live when you take it out to people but they can come to you. We’re doing some things like that so we still get to play the record live for people whilst things aren’t completely back to normal so we’re just doing what we can and it feels good because it’s not like we don’t get to play any shows.” (Aubrie)
“Breaking Point” Tracklist 1. The Devil Is An Angel 2. Breaking Point 3. As You Run 4. The World Is Black 5. Waste Your Time 6. Hush 7. Fair Weather 8. Wound Up 9. The Wild One 10. Has Been
The debut album “Breaking Point” from Jackson+Sellers will be released on October 22nd via ANTI- Records which you can find to save/pre-order HERE.