MW / Home / Articles / INTERVIEWS - JJ WILDE (SEPTEMBER 16, 2020)




The new sensation from Canada has agreed to look back on his journey and the obstacles that have littered his career... until today, at the microphone of Music Waves!
DARIALYS - 18.11.2020 -
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Last year, she released her first EP. This year, the young Canadian native from the Ontario region is releasing her first album, "Ruthless". If the musician is successful today, she hasn't forgotten the ten years of hard work that preceded her to get to this point. Wanting to give up, looking for B-plans, the rocker's path wasn't all mapped out until she met her manager who accelerated things. Today, the career of our interlocutor is well and truly launched, and we invite you to discover it. 

We like to start our interviews on Music Waves with the following question: what is the question you've been asked too often and are tired of answering?

JJ Wilde : (Laughs) Well... "What are your influences ? I get asked that all the time. It's understandable, so I'm not fed up with it, but it's really the one that I'm asked the most ! (Laughs).

In 2019 you released your first EP, and this year, your first album ("Ruthless", editor's note). Your single 'The Rush' finished 1st in the Canadian charts. In a few days, you will be on the most popular TV music show in France. How do you explain this rise in popularity in such a short time?

I don't really know how to explain it... I really think that the music I play comes from the heart. It comes from my personal experiences. I write with passion. I don't know if that explains something, but maybe it's something that people like, this true and honest side. But to tell the truth I don't know! (Laughs).

Do you think you have something more that other bands don't have that would explain your fast rise ?

I think it's important to grow your audience in an organic way, to play all the gigs, the good ones, the bad ones, even the smaller ones and the ones where there are not many people. I've been playing concerts since I was 18 years old. I have played in front of nobody, in front of 5 people, 10 people...


You've gained a lot of experience, and as you say, you started when you were 18, 10 years ago. What was the trigger for your rise in popularity?

I played a lot of small concerts. It didn't really work but I liked it. I almost stopped playing music because I played for a long time and it didn't take off. That was about 4 years ago. I had 3 jobs: bartender, waitress and receptionist. I was also playing 3 concerts a week and I was exhausted. I was living in an apartment that I didn't like, I had all these jobs to manage. My family was very supportive and eventually told me that maybe I needed a plan B, but I didn't have one and I didn't want one! But I ended up considering other options. I thought about going back to being a mechanic who specializes in old cars, or in carpentry to make nice furniture. I met someone at a university and told him about my plans. I should have felt some excitement but I wasn't feeling well in reality. I had a big weight on my shoulders. I didn't feel like doing all this in reality.

In fact these alternatives were never really options for you?

Exactly. I knew I wouldn't be happy going into this. So I made the decision to continue in the same direction, wherever it takes me. And no kidding, a week or two later, I met my manager! I had decided to open myself up to all opportunities. At that time, I was preparing a duet with another band I was playing in. We made a video on Facebook to talk about it, and my manager saw it and he thought, "Who is this girl? ».

Today everything is going well for you, but looking back, isn't it frustrating to say to yourself that it was luck that turned everything around?

Yes it is frustrating! I think it's a pity because there are a lot of talents that are not discovered. You have to do your best, but even when you do your best, some are never discovered.

Do these complicated years explain why you are trying to go fast today, to make up for lost time or in any case to avoid falling into oblivion after having experienced this ascension?

It's not really that I think. I've been waiting so long that now I have a lot to say. I have a lot of songs written that are ready and my new songs are always my favorites, so I like to write continuously and release songs on a regular basis. But it's not out of fear that it's all going to stop. It's just that I had this chance that came to me, so I'm taking it! (Laughs).

You play rock in the era of rap. Why did you choose this style?

I like rock. My first influences came from rock. It's also the music of my older brother and my parents. My love of music comes from them. I was raised with Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and a lot of bands like that. I found my style with folk, picking, and so on. So when I wrote my own music, I picked my own folk influences. In terms of instrumentation, I played in bands but I never wrote bass or drums. That's something we worked on with my producer. We wrote everything together.

How did you compose these songs ? Listening to this album, it seems to have been written the old-fashioned way, with a guitar and a notebook at hand.

Yes! (Laughs). That's how I proceed. I always write my ideas in a notebook. As soon as I feel influenced, I take my guitar, I record it on my laptop. I play 3 or 4 times my ideas and I improvise on it. Sometimes it's very sporadic notes, sometimes it's a whole song that will come to me. But in any case that's what works with me! (Laughs).

Don't you sometimes find it hard to understand what you wanted to write when you got the inspiration for a new song?

Well, that's why I try to write and improvise at the same time. Sometimes I have an idea, but I can't write it down and I know it's not going to work. So I sing the melody and record it just in case before I forget it.

Your voice is often close to Amy Winehouse's, especially on 'Trouble'. It is really impressive. Do you practice a lot, or is it something quite natural for you?

It's natural. I don't do any training, I'm not good at it! (Laughs). Sometimes I'm tired so I should train to avoid that. I smoke, I drink whisky... (Laughs). My voice wasn't the same 10 years ago.

But it's also something that people like! Maybe by practicing more and becoming more technical, it wouldn't help your pieces.

That's true. I think it comes from the heart. Now that I'm playing more concerts, I have to pay more attention to my voice, warm up, etc. I think that's what I'm doing now. My manager is asking me to do that! (Laughs).

There's one song that's different from the others and has a bit of an adventurous side to it. It's called 'Wired'. Can you tell us about it? Does this song have something different for you ?

It's a song I wrote on one of my first trips to Los Angeles with my producer Fredrick. It was a digest of everything I had felt over the last couple of years. It captured the frustration and despair I could feel at a time when I didn't know how to get what I wanted. The album as a whole is about that, but even more specifically about this song. I think that's why this song is a little bit different. There's also anger, rage, sadness. That's what I wanted to say in the first place, and this piece is a good illustration of that.

This album is influenced by your complicated years. Now that you've had the chance to see things take off for you, aren't you afraid that you might have less to say?

I've already thought about it but I don't think so. I always have something to say about something! (Laughs). There are so many things in life that can inspire me. You just have to know where to look. I've talked about all this on this album, but I've always lived very passionately in my life, in happiness and in pain. I think you can always find inspiration in yourself. You just have to know how to take advantage of certain situations you've been through and use them in the right way. If I happen to have put myself in this situation to be able to write about it! (Laughter). It may not be good for my personal life but making good songs! (Laughs).

In the future, do you know in which musical direction you want to go ?

I don't know, I think it will come out spontaneously, like this album. I didn't do things intentionally. Some things were intentional, but things come out spontaneously, overall. I don't know how things are going to evolve. I'm going to experiment new things. Whether it's rock or folk, there are things that I like as an artist that will come out in the album. In any case it won't be an album of piano ballads! (Laughs).


In the clip of 'Funeral For A Lover', you get naked both literally and figuratively. Do you consider your music as a therapy?

Yes, absolutely. I write about the things I'm going through or have gone through. In this video, I'm in my most vulnerable form and that's what I was trying to express. Like that nightmare where you're at school and you're naked. I did that intentionally because it's something that was difficult for me to do at first. Because I find myself in a vulnerable position and I get naked to talk about it, it shows that others can do the same thing. A lot of people wrote me after that song thanking me for it because it echoed in them for different reasons. But yes, music is a therapy for grieving and overcoming stages.

Some of the photos of you that are found on social networks are very evocative and seductive. Is this something important in your art?

I guess so. That's just the way I am. Some people like to create a character for themselves, but I wouldn't want to show a side of myself that doesn't fit me. If people like it, so much the better, if it doesn't... (Laughs).

You answer my next question which was : aren't you afraid that some people will focus on your image rather than on your music ?

No, because I think that if they do, it's their choice. That's something I've learned from my experiences. People always have an opinion, whether you like it or not. No matter what you do, someone is going to judge you, no matter how hard you try. So it's best to be honest. If some people only look at my pictures without listening to my music and judge me on it, that's their problem, not mine! (Laughs).

We are living in a special period, but many artists have taken advantage of that to compose. Is it your case too?

Yes, I was very inspired. I think I was inspired by all the cancellations and the uncertainty. The ideas came out of themselves and I found a creative state of mind. When you go on tour, you think you're going to have a lot of time to write, but I never really write much. And when I'm back from touring, I want to see my friends and everyone. It's never easy to find the time to write. I didn't have anything else to do. If I wasn't creative, what else could I have done? (Laughs).

Do you think this virus will have been an obstacle in your promotion, even if you are here with us today?

I think there are two ways of looking at it. Of course, it would have been great to play gigs after the release of the album to make the music talk. But at the same time, people listen to a lot more music in this period, because they have more time maybe. People are streaming more. Some will try to discover new music. In that sense, it's all positive. But concerning the concerts, it's regrettable, so it's a mixture of two different feelings (laughs) !

We started this interview by asking you what was the question you had been asked too often. Finally, what would be the question you would like me to ask you ?

I had never thought about that one! The question I would like to be asked... (She thinks). I think it's a good question! (Laughs). I don't really know. Maybe: "What are you afraid of? "or "what are you passionate about? ».

Which one would you want to answer? Maybe both?

About my fears... I think I'm afraid to miss something, an opportunity if it scares me. I'm afraid that fear controls my life, that's what scares me the most. It may sound weird! (Laughter). I'm afraid that my fears are governing my life instead of facing it.

And what are your passions?

Apart from music, it would be interacting with people, conversations, the energy you get from people. That's what I prefer, I would say.

Merci beaucoup  !

Merci !

And thanks to Newf for his contribution...

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JJ WILDE: Ruthless (2020)

JJ Wilde delivers with "Ruthless" a promising first rock album despite his youthful flaws.
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