Electro-pop writer, vocalist and performer; Darla Jade has been making her mark in the scene since 2020. Her first two EPs have profoundly situated her sound within the pop world and turned heads globally. Her sound is an hypnotic take within the genre and transports you right into the room with her.
Following the release of her unforgettable projects, Darla has blessed us with her latest offering, “Buy More Time”. Touching on the struggles of making her self-funded music career a reality, travelling to all corners of the country and whilst maintaining her personal life, time is few and far between for the artist. Co-written and produced by Josh Noble and Karl Ziegler, Darla’s velvety lyrics and melodies will have you infatuated in the first five seconds.
The singer-songwriter has once again dazzled us with her raw take on the industry and what it takes to stay afloat. Aside from this, this is a song of love and how the industry bides no time for it. Darla’s struggles translate through flickering, silky synths and heart-achingly beautiful beats, whilst maintaining an upbeat groove you can’t help but bop your head to.
We caught up with the rising star to discuss the progression of her sound, the unexpected freedom behind writing for other artists, and longing for your loved one on the road.
Listen to “Buy Some Time” here…
Now for the interview…
Who and what inspires you?
Musically, I’m very inspired by Julia Michaels, The 1975, MUNA and PVRIS to name a few – for me a big thing is killer melodies as well as thought out lyrics and all of these artists/bands do both of these so so well! When writing, I take inspiration from everything really; personal life, films, tv series etc!
How did you first develop a passion for writing and making music?
I’ve always had a big passion for performing and singing since I was little but writing and making music came a lot later. I started writing when I was around 18/19. When I was 15 I started gigging (doing cover gigs) all around the U.K. and I think after a few years of doing that, I just loved the idea of writing some of my own music! At the end of 2018, I went on my first songwriting camp, which was based in Thailand, and it was there really that I knew that this was what I wanted to do. Being a part of that songwriting camp made me realise how much work I would need to put in to make it happen and I’ve just been going at it since haha!
How would you define the essence of your sound?
It’s electro-pop, kind of like a futuristic version of 80’s music, so lots of synths but I have added more guitar in this next body of upcoming work, which is super exciting!
How has your style and approach progressed since your earlier work?
I think my style has changed a lot mainly because it’s a lot more refined now – in my earlier work everything style wise was a bit all over the place because I was just trying to find my sound I guess. I also used to approach songwriting a lot differently too, as I would mainly focus on lyric ideas before melody whereas now I focus on melody first and lyric after!
What do you think the music industry could do to help independent artists like yourself
I think it would be great to have more opportunities for independent artists, some parts of the industry feel very closed off unless you have a label. An example of this are festival opportunities – it would be so cool if there were some festivals purposely put on to showcase independent artists!
Why do you write for other artists?
I love the freedom of it – it sounds silly because you would think I of course get all the freedom in the world for my own music, which I do, however I of course have my own way of writing lyrics and writing melodies and I have a sound that I wanna keep refining – so sometimes when I’m writing for myself I’m constantly thinking ‘is this how I want to say it?’ Or ‘does this production feel like me?’ – whereas when you are writing for someone else you are just chucking ideas into the abyss and seeing what sticks which I find just really interesting!
What’s your advice to any singers who struggle with songwriting?
Collaborate! As much as you can, and find your people who you love writing with! I think sometimes we all have this idea that we must do things on our own – but that’s not the case at all! Collaboration can feel a little daunting at first, but if you have any musician friends I would definitely recommend starting there. It definitely gets easier the more you collaborate!
We love your live album from earlier this year, how did that come about and what drew you to Metropolis Studios?
Ahh thank you so much!! I love performing live – it’s probably my most favourite aspect of being an artist! I feel in a live setting that’s where you realise people’s connection to your songs which is always mind blowing to me! When I perform live, I perform with a band, so the live show is an extension of the studio versions for me – they are more energetic and there is just way more dynamic! So I always wanted to have a live version of a single or something at some point.
This all actually came about because I won the Amazon ‘Breakthrough Booth’ competition at The Great Escape last year, and because of that Amazon gave me the chance to do a live version of my EP ‘Only The Paranoid Survive’ at Metropolis Studios. I’m so so grateful because I would have never have been able to afford it otherwise! I’m so glad we got the chance to record there, as it’s such an incredible studio and some of my all time favourite artists have performed there! It was great to also work with Paul Norris, who has mixed the likes of Little Mix and Ed Sheeran – it was such a great experience!!
Talk us through the creation of your new single, “Buy More Time”?
I wrote “Buy More Time” last July with a writing and production duo called SOAP, who are based in Manchester. I remember us carving out the melodies first and then after that we were just mumbling lyrics with the melody and when we were figuring out the chorus. I remember singing “Buy More Time” and instantly we knew that was the concept for the whole song!
What are the main themes and motifs you can focusing in on the tune?
Theme wise it’s about being away from your partner for periods of time! There are a lot of travelling aspects mentioned in the song like ‘90 down the motorway’, ‘the dust that’s on the windscreen’, ‘I saw the needle pass 101’ – this was again to show that time apart and always being on the road or travelling back and forth! The middle 8 has a bit more of a longing feel compared to the rest of the track; this is mainly to show the hurt of not being able to see this person!
Where do you want to take your artistry?
I would love to one day do a concept album – I’ve always been fascinated with how much thought goes into them! As it’s not just the songs – the visuals and everything has to fit and make sense, you just can’t half arse them! So creatively that would be so much fun to go through that process! Melanie Martinez was one artist in particular who really inspired me to first start making music and she takes her concept albums to the next level!!
What’s to come from you in the short term?
Short term I have plenty more new music to come!! I’m also focusing on more live shows too over the next year or so, which is really exciting!