Fresh from her long awaited first UK tour at the back end of November, acclaimed multi-genre singer songwriter Jill Andrews is preparing to release her fourth full-length record in 2023. A prolific songwriter, who has achieved over 100 million Spotify streams, Jill’s music has been featured on hit TV shows, including This is Us, Nashville, Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife, Wynonna Earp and Beauty & the Beast whilst in addition to her solo career and craft as a songwriter she has also had considerable success as part of the everybodyfields and Hush Kids. Andrews released her latest project, “The Parthenon Sessions” (listen HERE), in June 2022. The EP was recorded in Centennial Park’s Parthenon, which is the only full-scale replica of the ancient Athenian temple in the world, where she reimagined some of her most beloved songs with the added benefit of a strings quartet. During her visit to the UK, Jamie headed down to Guildford to hang out with Jill to talk about her first UK tour and some details about her upcoming album release.
It’s great to have you here and I suppose I can add FINALLY here, so I guess let’s start with the million-dollar question of how has it taken you so long to come over to our little island? “The most pragmatic answer that I can give you is that I didn’t have a booking agent over here. I’ve been wanting to tour over here in the UK for so long and I finally got someone, they made it happen then here I am and I’m not leaving.”
We’re talking at the back end of this tour so have you found that it lives up to what you were expecting and what you had heard from people about the audiences over here being very different and something people are not used to? “It’s not for me because I’m kind of used to people being quiet when I play because I play pretty quiet music so it kind of makes sense in the context, but it does feel like people have a really genuine respect for music over here in a different way I guess, it feels a little deeper.”
Have you really enjoyed the being a tourist part too, the getting to see a lot of things like the architecture where we have a lot more older buildings that don’t get knocked down, the varied culture and the food? “That’s what we have been talking about non-stop, is how you guys don’t knock things down. You preserve your history and that is very inspiring, not that I can really do much about it but it’s very eye-opening also. Where I live in Nashville, it’s growing really quickly, and it feels that the growth is outpacing the way that we are holding dear to our history. We have lost some really amazing venues recently and historical buildings that are important to the city are now just gone and I hate that. Then I really, really, really, really hate losing trees and that’s what I have seen so much of here, just huge green growth. Sycamore’s towering over so many parks and it’s really inspiring, and I feel like that is what we need now and going forward because those trees are important.”
It’s really cool to see how much of the country that you have been able to see on this trip and you have played different places that not everyone gets to visit. So many artists come and just see London then go to Manchester, to Birmingham and Glasgow but you went up to places like Bangor in North Wales. “That was amazing. It honestly was one of my favourite shows, I think that they don’t have a lot of music that comes through there and especially people from America. They have an amazing café there that I played and it’s a built-in audience, but it felt like everyone in town was there and it was amazing. They were so grateful to hear the music and I felt it, it was awesome.”
I saw that you had a couple of cool ladies from over here opening up for you during the tour. You had Emilia (Quinn) playing a couple of the shows, which I’m guessing means that you met Tammy too, so well done for surviving those two as it’s always a fun experience ha-ha. They are amazing and I love them both, Emilia is so talented and so is Katie (O’Malley) who played the show too but what have you thought about the girls that you have heard playing country and Americana over here? “They have been great, they have been so good. It has been awesome to hear them, and they have just welcomed me with open arms, been so sweet and brought their friends, their family and that’s awesome for me because it is my very first time here. To be able to play with them for three nights in a row was so cool and by the third night it was like we were old friends and hugging each other and stuff so that was great.”
Then looking forward into 2023, we have got a new record on the way. “Yes, that is the plan. It is getting mixed as we speak, I have made two music videos for it already and I just got done with the photoshoot for the album cover and all that. I haven’t seen any of the photos yet because I did it just before I flew over here. My producer is six hours behind me right now so he will send me mixes and I’ll send them back at different times in the day. “It’s amazing, my producer was sitting with the mix engineer in person, and I was listening to the live stream of them tweaking the mix one thing at a time like when they were ok let’s mute the drums right here and everything as they are doing it whilst I am way over here so it’s really incredible that we can do that.” Prior to the new record, the most recent thing you put out was the sessions from the Parthenon earlier this year. It’s a beautiful building, right in the middle of Centennial Park that I’ve actually been to, but I always feel like I’m saying it wrong but how did the whole thing of getting to record there with the string quartet, did someone just say hey do you like the idea of trying this?
“That is pretty much how it worked, partially it was a fundraiser for the park systems in Nashville. Centennial Park is an amazing park in Nashville, it’s expansive and then there is this replica of the Greek Parthenon sitting in the middle of the park. I don’t really know why myself, there is a reason, but I can’t tell you what it is myself. I was asked to partake in this session where it is very collaborative, we hired an arranger to arrange a string quartet to your music, then I got to play at the foot of a forty-three-foot golden statue of Athena in this amazing room. The ceilings are so tall, I mean the statue is forty-three-feet, so I don’t know how tall but taller than that ha-ha, it just sounded incredible in there. The arranger’s name is Bobby Chase and I sent him just a guitar with vocal voice memo of the songs that I chose. I chose a variety of songs from different eras of my career that I thought would sound cool with the string quartet, then he arranged them and sent me back his thoughts and we worked on it together. It was very cool. I mean it was all live, we had sheet music and I had never done anything like that before, so it was a very unique experience for me.” Over the last couple of years, you have put out a number of different EP’s as different projects either on your own or as Hush Kids, which is actually how I became familiar with you as an artist and your music. Does the focus nowadays on streams across the DSP’s and listeners almost becoming more expectant of regular music affect how you have been releasing music?
“For me, with the EP’s a lot of it was during the pandemic thinking what am I going to do? I released two EP’s myself: “Vultures” which is kind of an electronic EP and one called “Ellen”. They both served a different purpose for me. “Vultures” like I said was more electronic and I had been doing a lot of co-writing in my career where I had all of these songs sitting around that were really cool and I just wanted to put out there to let them be heard. Then “Ellen” had more older songs that felt more Americana per say, some of the songs were written and recorded when I first moved to Nashville, so it felt like a harkening back to an older version of my music. It was like yeah, I have these sitting around and I love them so I’m just going to put them out there and they were both kind of soft releases. Then with Hush Kids, Peter (Groenwald) and I just love writing together, we both have families and we’re both really busy with our own careers, so it is kind of really whenever we get a chance to do something together, we try to do it and we just released two Christmas songs. Also, Peter wrote three of the songs with me for my new album, so we just love collaborating basically.” Talking about Hush Kids specifically, from what you’ve said, is it not a case of you and Peter set some time to sit down and work on writing something for that project, it just kind of happens. Like if you are working on something you are doing then and when you write something, think that it could be a better fit to move over here and similarly when Peter is working on what he is doing? “It kind of depends, I would say that we both have different focuses at different times. When we released our full-length record, we were both in the Hush Kids mould and I had to kind of set my project aside for a few years and he hadn’t really started on his solo career yet, so we were both very focused on that. After that came out, I had to get back to my thing and so I worked on “Thirties” where he sang all over it and was a huge part of “Thirties” honestly. He wrote some of the songs with me then I wrote a companion book for the record, and he is in a lot of the pictures. After I released “Thirties” it was like OK, let’s get back to some Hush Kids stuff so it’s kind of a shifting of the seasons and all of that stuff.”
The Parthenon Sessions from Jill Andrews is out now and available HERE. Her fourth studio album is on the way in 2023 which you can stay in the loop to find all the up to date news with Jill by checking out her WEBSITE and following her socially on INSTAGRAMTWITTER & FACEBOOK.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks