New Zealand singer/songwriter Jenny Mitchell has dropped the single Somehow and its accompanying video, her first release for new label home, Cooking Vinyl Australia. Produced by Matt Fell, Somehow is the start of a fresh chapter for Mitchell, a unique musical offering with a dark Americana feel to it, exhibiting a slightly different side vocally to what she has delivered on previous records. It showcases a haunting banjo part from Fell alongside Jenny’s soulful vocal. Jenny reveals more about the single to Hi Fi Way.
How was the build up to the release of the single Somehow?
The lead up to the single was so exciting. Somehow is definitely a new sound for me, bigger vocally and a chance to really explore that darker Americana sound. We filmed the music video over a year ago now and I was just to blown away with Natalie Exeter’s (my friend who stars in the clip) performance. It was such a thrill to work on a project I felt so connected to.
What is the story behind the single?
Somehow is my musical version of how it feels to watch somebody you love struggle with mental health. It’s about watching those hard times from the outside and wanting to help but now quite knowing how. I suppose it’s a song of solidarity that recognises that ultimately all we can really do is be there for others when they need us. Be ready to listen and to walk alongside them, rather than to try to ‘fix’ them.
How hard has the last 12-18 months been as a musician and trying to make new music?
From a writing and recording point of view, I’ve loved having the time to really focus on the creative side of my work. But I’ve realised that my end goal is always playing live, connecting with people through music. So, the creative process has felt empty when there’s no gig at the end of it all. Like everyone in the industry, I’m just really looking forward to a day when I can play a gig and know that everyone in the audience is feeling comfortable and safe.
How important was that introduction to Cooking Vinyl from Fanny Lumsden?
Very important! Fanny is such an incredible artist, kind friend and generous mentor to me. It was so humbling to know that she believed in my work enough to tap Cooking Vinyl on the shoulder and tell them to check out my songs. There’s no better compliment really.
What are the go to albums that get you feeling inspired?
I’ve always got Tami Neilson’s CHICKABOOM, Maren Morris’ HERO & Gregory Alan Isakov’s This Empty Northern Hemisphere on rotation. Miranda Lambert’s Revolution has been a hugely influential album for me too.
Are there plans for more music in 2022, maybe an album or EP?
Lots of plans for new music in 2022. I’ve loved digging my teeth into creating music videos in the past year, one of them being the clip we’ve just released for Somehow. I can’t say too much more at the moment, but I’m am very proud of what we have in the pipeline.
Are feeling more optimistic about more regular touring this year?
I am yes. I’m still able to play smaller, socially distanced shows at the moment so I’m just making the most of what’s in front of me and continuing to pencil in big plans for the second half of 2022.
What’s next for Jenny Mitchell?
More stories, more songs and hopefully more shows!
What’s something that most fans wouldn’t know about Jenny Mitchell?
My secret recipe, according to my flatmates, is a blueberry muffin featuring Whittaker’s Berry Biscuit Chocolate (a kiwi special).
Interview By Rob Lyon