People We Become
Date: Feb 3rd
Award-winning singer-songwriter Jo Harman announces a 3rd February 2017 worldwide release date for her much anticipated second studio album, 'People We Become', the follow up to her critically acclaimed and commercially successful 2013 debut 'Dirt On My Tongue'. Recorded in Nashville, at Sound Emporium and other noted studios, with acclaimed producer Fred Mollin (Billy Joel, Jimmy Webb, Carly Simon, Joe Cocker, Johnny Mathis and many more) the album features Michael McDonald on the first single 'When We Were Young'.
Here is Jo talking about her new album
The album can be pre-ordered via Pledge HERE
You could describe the album as Blues,Soul and Gospel all mixed together with a pinch of Balladic seasoning.
Think Larkin Poe,Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Joni Mitchell, Karen Carpenter, Eva Cassidy and Carole King and now think Jo Harman.
Jo Harman has a voice that simply gives you goosebumps. I love the way she so subtly emotes; sure, she can let rip, but it's the restraint and control she uses that fully conveys the emotional impact of her songs. And the songs? There are broad brushstrokes of gospel, soul along with rhythm and blues all over this album, but it's the superb quality of the songwriting that makes it such a wonderful album. Each subsequent play brings forth a different nuance in her voice and, indeed the songs.
"I'm not trying to fit in anywhere," admits Harman, whose super-sized voice fills the record's 10 tracks. "I'm just trying to write classic songs, and present them with classic production. When you try to chase what's going on at the moment, then it's going to sound old very quickly."
Released worldwide on February 3, 2017, People We Become marks the biggest leap of Harman's career. To make it, she headed overseas to Nashville, Tennessee, where she found a trusted collaborator in producer Fred Mollin. While a winter storm raged outside, Harman and Mollin holed up inside the city's famed Sound Emporium Studio for three weeks, focusing on a warm sound — full of upright piano, Rhodes, unaffected bursts of electric guitar, and the soulful sweep of Harman's voice — that contrasted with the town's snowy weather. In March Jo will return to Nashville, a fitting start to her first American tour.
Poignant and personal, tracks like “Silhouettes of You”, “Changing of the Guard”, and “Person of Interest” find Harman moving through the stages of a breakup. Heartbroken one moment, forever reminded of a relationship that's fizzled out, and empowered the next, eager to explore what lies ahead with emboldened purpose. Other tracks cast a broader net, with the stomping, percussive Reformation taking influence from Harman's work with Amnesty International. Backing her up are some of Nashville's best musicians, whose contributions bounce between smoky, soulful ballads and brassy, Motown-tinged anthems.
People We Become features award-winning players Tom Bukovac, Greg Morrow, and Gordon Mote — as well as a guest appearance by Grammy winning Michael McDonald (Doobie Brothers). McDonald lends his harmony vocals to the Seventies-worthy soul of “When We Were Young”. The most striking instrument on the album is Harman's voice, sharpened by her years on the road, and sounding better than ever.
"I've learnt how to express myself a bit better, and to convincingly put across the stories that I'm telling," Harman says. "It's a natural progression. My voice has matured, in the same way that the songs have matured, and the production has matured. I've only ever tried to be me, and that's what People We Become is. It's me."
I also had the privilege of asking Jo some questions:
Who are your musical influences?
My fathers record collection (eclectic mix of classic 60's/70's English bands and singer songwriters) plus the great black American female voices from Ella Fitzgerald through to Jill Scott and Lauren Hill via Aretha and Mavis etc. That plus more classical musical education all helps inform my own style I think.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
What mistakes? Seriously, one just carries on as if nothing has happened and if, for example, the music is wrong I just adjust what I sing, accordingly. Albeit not so much with my own band who are very professional and hugely talented. As a professional singer for hire, long before I had my own originals career, though, I've pretty much seen it all and many a time I've had to sing the right words over the wrong chords, safe to say! You get to learn that if you style it out, 90% of the audience will never notice anyway. If not, a bit of humour can go a long way, as a back up!.
What can fans expect from your shows?
Hopefully, a musical and emotional journey. When it really works we can all get transported to a magical, mystical place of human connection and shared emotional journey.
What are your future plans and goals?
To make my own music, tell my own story, on my own terms and earn enough money from it not to have to give up. Everything else, particularly other peoples (well meaning) ideas of 'success', is all bullshit, by and large.
If you could be a superhero for 1 day who would you be and why?
Batman, if only for the rubber.