Posted On 15 Jun 2018
Metaphora is the new album from Jill Barber. It’s the celebrated folk and jazz singer’s first foray into the world of contemporary pop music, and will be released on June 22nd on the Outside Music label.
She recently premiered the lead single “Girl’s Gotta Do” with CBC’s Q, and called it a “challenge to the patriarchal status quo as we usher in a new era of equality.” The song was added to several official playlists on Spotify, and went to #1 on the Singer-Songwriter Chart on iTunes in Canada.
Listen to “Girl’s Gotta Do” Here: https://soundcloud.com/outside-music/02-girls-gotta-do-mastered-jcjb07mar18/s-E94xU
One of Canada’s most recognized voices, Jill Barber has sold over a half million albums over her career, earning multiple award nominations and performing throughout the world. Feeling inspired by the women in her life, Jill set out to craft an album touching on female empowerment, the challenges of being a woman in male dominated industry, and her own personal experiences of love and loss. The sound is different, the unmistakable voice is still front and centre. She co-wrote most of the album with hit makers Ryan Guildemond of Mother Mother and Maia Davies (Serena Ryder) and recorded Metaphora with heavy hitter producers Gavin Brown (Billy Talent, Three Days Grace, Barenaked Ladies) and Gus Van Go (Arkells, Whitehorse, The Stills).
Jill is also the the author of two best-selling children’s books, and released The Family Album with her brother, singer-songwriter Matthew Barber, in 2016.
Learn more about Jill Barber in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
I am sitting at LAX en route home to Vancouver from a Women’s Retreat in Palm Springs where I was invited to facilitate a workshop. I led 45 women in a live collaborative musical piece. It was very experimental and outside of my usual musical headspace. It felt good to stretch creatively like that.
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
2017 was a year dedicated to the creation process, so it was very inwardly focused, and with 2018 comes the launch of Metaphora, the album that culminated after this dedicated writing period. So my big goal is to properly roll out the album and make sure it gets ears on it because I am eager to share it with the world.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I knew early on that music would play a big role in my life, and sure, I dreamed of being a rock star, but it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties and started to achieve some success that I really thought I could make it work professionally. I listened to a lot of Paula Abdul when I was a kid. She was my first musical idol.
How do you think that your hometown in Canada has influenced the kind of artist that you are today and the kind of music that you make?
I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto and had a lot of access to all ages shows in the city. Most Saturday afternoons my friends and I would take the train downtown and see our favorite local bands live. So my early musical education came in the form of live and local music. I think it’s informed my business ethos, if not my music. I really believe in building audiences and markets one fan at a time by touring and playing live and making that in-person connection.
What was it like making your newest album, “Metaphora”? Did anything surprise you about making a collection that was more pop focused? What made you decide to move away from folk and jazz on this collection?
It wasn’t a conscious decision to move away from folk and jazz so much as it was a choice to move closer towards my art being a truer representation of who I am as a women. I feel that I’ve really evolved, changed and become more empowered as a person and as an artist, and I wanted to use my platform to say more. And I realized that I needed a more contemporary musical vehicle in which to deliver my message.
How do you think your already released track “Girl’s Gotta Do” prepares listeners for the rest of your forthcoming album? What was the inspiration for this song?
Girl’s Gotta Do felt like an obvious lead single because it is so punchy, empowering and fun. It also serves as a good soundtrack for the current Women’s Movement, so it felt timely. I think it invites you to check out the rest of the album but it’s not necessarily representative of the album as a whole. It’s a pretty dynamic album.
How do you think you have grown as a musician over the years? What has remained the same about the way you put music together and write songs?
At the end of the day I will always be a singer-songwriter, that is to say a person who sings the songs that I wrote for myself. Regardless of genre or production style it’s the songs that need to stand up for themselves, and I really believe that. What’s changed is that I’ve opened myself up to collaborate with new and different people. I’m no longer afraid to go somewhere challenging or uncomfortable when I’m writing. And I think that has come with confidence and a lot of practice.
I’m looking forward to returning to the US for some select tour dates. I don’t tour stateside very often, so it will be great to get back to play New York, Boston and Chicago this fall.
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
Well I’m doing my best to add my voice to a growing chorus of people raising their hearts and their fists to call out for political change and action. Music has long been a way to inspire people into action. It’s a privilege to take a stand and make a statement using art.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
I think it would be cool to do a collaboration with Drake. I admire the longevity of artists like Joni Mitchell and Neil Young who keep pushing themselves into new artistic territory. I think it’s part of the key to a lifelong career as an artist.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I hope that they will take away whatever serves them in their own lives. That’s the beautiful thing about music and art. Songs don’t carry agendas, but people do. We all resonate differently with music based on our individual needs. Where the magic happens is when a song can show us something we didn’t even know we needed.