Otis Robinson 20th January 2018
Under a new name, Heather Jayne sports a deeper red full-fringe than when we first saw her on The Voice, as Heather Cameron-Hayes, in 2016. Now refined, renewed and grown, the singer-songwriter has released her debut single, The Power. Unlike the talent show song choices that were belted to audiences on the show, it is instead an electronic, dark, empowering song about taking back control of her life and music – but the singer also hopes the lyrics encourage a variety of interpretations and connect with her audience.
The song, which was released on 11 January 2018, boasts a loud, haunting build-up to three choruses, in which the singer chillingly sings “this is the hour, and I have the power”. Lyrically, the song depicts a determined Jayne, overcoming forces that work against her: “Maybe you’ll never learn, but you’ll get what you deserve.”
The lyrics just came one day, she says, and after writing them down before briefly forgetting about them. “Then, I was creating this beat, and those lyrics just popped into my head. The song kind of wrote itself from there.
“The Power is about trying to [take back control] of my music and sound, but I like when people draw their own meanings from my songs.”
The debut and the aesthetic of the single artwork – which depicts a lush array of purple and red flora – coupled with the singer’s new Twitter profile picture – where she sports deep merlot coloured locks – revealed to her fans a dark twist to her first foray into music.
“My style now is the kind of music which I love to listen to,” Jayne proclaims before I ask what we’re all eager to know – when we can expect to hear more. “The Power is the darkest of them all,” she says, referring to the EP she plans to release in early summer. “My plan is to release two more singles over the coming months. [The singles] get progressively less dark, with the EP combining a mixture of themes.”
The performer’s style has shifted from the piano ballads we knew her for on The Voice.
“I still enjoy writing piano and vocal ballads – that is how a lot of my songs start out in their infancy – but then I start playing around with synths and electronic beats.”
I am not currently signed to anyone; all of my tracks have been written and released solely by myself
Jayne’s musical process reflects her demeanour and represents how a person can grow without losing contact with where they came from. I’m reminded of something she has said at the start of the interview.
“I lived in a few different locations growing up, but we always seemed to end up back around Berkshire.” As her new songwriting style remains in contact with her ballad beginnings, so does she with her home life. It is this determined yet humble attitude that is reflected in her music: “I am not currently signed to anyone; all of my tracks have been written and released solely by myself.”
On her influences, the young star does not cut herself short, stating Banks, Vera Blue and Tove Lo as some of her idols. “The more modern, electronic, left-of-centre pop artists,” she calls them. “I am also inspired by artists such as Kate Bush and Florence Welch.” It’s not difficult to hear this in her music. Her single blends the spine-tingling lyrical content and sound of Florence + the Machine with the empowering electronic beats of Tove Lo. Jayne explains that she tries to combine who she is influenced by and inspired by to create a mix and her own personal sound, and you can hear it in The Power, too.
Jayne also talks about her home life and experiences since The Voice. She was 16 when on the competition, and says she has grown a lot as a person over the last two years, hence The Power was chosen as her debut – a confident declaration of her position in the music industry.
“Before I entered The Voice, I was really conflicted about pursuing music as a career,” Jayne confesses. “The arts don’t have the most sustainable job options.
“But the show enabled me to learn about music and the industry. From that, I left school a year early and started a degree in songwriting and creative artistry to refine my skills.”
The lyrics aren’t all sunshine and rainbows
The singer-songwriter’s experiences in the industry and studying the art form are visible when she explains how her music has evolved: “I don’t think I will write a happy song but I have been writing upbeat stuff. The lyrics aren’t all sunshine and rainbows, but who knows the kind of songs I will be making five years from now. Anything is possible!”
Her experimental attitude towards artistry keeps Jayne growing and among those to watch. Despite this, Jayne remains close to her roots.
“While I was growing up, music was always played in the house by my mother – we always used to leave the music channels on the TV in the background and I think, subconsciously, that’s where my love for music came from.”
Jayne perfectly exemplifies how something small can be planted and grow into something much larger, much more powerful and influential. “My great aunt gave me piano and theory lessons while I was growing up,” she says, citing this as one of the only things she worked on as a child. This, along with her nine-month experience on the talent competition, has taught Jayne a lot about being on stage and working within the music industry, mainly how busy it can be: “My life post-show has been work and music 24/7.”
Despite the dark nature of her debut, the songwriter has a bright future ahead of her. She advises other young artists to take their time before releasing work: “Make sure you have really good songs that are well produced so that you are putting out good quality music.
“Make sure you like what you put out there – if it’s something that you would listen to yourself, there’s a good chance that other people will like it too.”
Otis Robinson 20th January 2018