Image credit: Bill Shupp
Singer Jessica reclines on the lid of the grand piano, bleeding her heart on stage, crooning soul-soaked high notes while producer Brett caresses the black and whites of the piano, laying silken notes over Jazzy drums. Dressed to the nines, the members of KARMACODA tell a story of closure and letting go. With their offering ‘Lovely’, the trio leave a trail of rose petals guiding listeners to their recently released album Lessons In Time (read our feature on the LP here), available under the Sola Musa Music imprint. Furthermore, we asked them about where they have been and where they are going:
Stream / Download: KARMACODA – Lessons In Time LP
What is the story behind your record ‘Lovely’?
Jessica Ford: It’s about a relationship where they try and try. It’s never going to work, but she tried one more time; this is the end. Too many games to continue so she’s giving up, even though it hurts, and writing him a song which is his last goodbye song. Looking back at years of breakup songs written, this one is the last one. Writing about it isn’t making the pain better or easing her sadness, so she decides to sing about it and burn up all the old lyrics and songs in an ashtray, metaphorically speaking. She’s setting her memories on fire, ripping up their old pictures and putting their last song as her ringtone. It’ll never get released to the public. She wrote it for herself (it’s one she wrote that they’ll never know)… but she thinks if she hears it every time he calls, she’ll be reminded she’s done.
Riffing on the theme of time, what advice would you give your younger self?
Jessica Ford: Always choose light over darkness. Be kind to people, you never know what they are going through behind the scenes. Work on your spiritual self and healing and dream BIG. No matter what happens in your life, you will learn from it, grow, and make it through no matter how painful it was. You’re going to be OK.
Brett: Don’t be afraid to pursue what you are passionate about. The worst thing that can happen is the answer may be no.
What are some of your earliest memories of music?
Jessica Ford: Earliest… One of the first album obsessions I remember is Olivia Newton-John in Grease, and I was also obsessed with Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. I found the album covers and photos visually stimulating, and I would listen to the vinyls on repeat looking at the pictures.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
Jessica Ford: B. sends me tracks to write to. I listen to them and see which one hits me and inspires me in the moment. I start there. I also like to challenge myself as a songwriter. B. always gives the instrumental tracks a temporary name. They are very odd names like Kindred, lovely, Deja Vu, Agency, Velvet, etc. My challenge to myself is, I make sure I either write about that word, or I make sure that word is somewhere in the song. This is also what inspires me to have a topic to start writing with. Once I’ve written a song I’ll send it back to B. for approval or “keep working on it”. This is the process when I am writing the song; B. writes some too and has his own process.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
Jessica Ford: They are mutually exclusive. We LOVE being on stage. Performing to a live crowd is always exhilarating. Being in the studio and writing is exciting on its own. However, it’s a different excitement, a different calm, a different type of zoned-in feel and passion vocally.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
Jessica Ford: Our first award stands out to me… then the second and then so many more… I never thought I’d win an award for our videos, and it never gets old. It’s always an incredible moment to be acknowledged and seen.
If you could put together a radio show, what kind of music would you play?
Jessica Ford: KARMACODA, of COURSE, mixed with CCM Inspirational music and Gospel House. Also remixes and Dance.
Name five artists and their albums who would appear on your radio show
Jessica Ford: I’ve never been a fan of specific genres, I listen to EVERYTHING from House to Country, to class RnB to music from the ‘30s. I love good singing in general and music that makes me moved. I love music that inspires me to create, and I would search for new and up-and-coming artists who need a break, need airplay, music the world needs to hear, underground stuff that needs to surface and give local talent some praise.
What would you like to achieve with your music? What does success look like to you?
Jessica Ford: Joining KARMACODA was an art project for me. I never dreamed it would do what it has done and is doing. Every accomplishment is a success, and I’m thrilled to have what we have and to be a part of what we have done. Getting our music “out there” and heard far and wide is always on the agenda. After all, that’s why we make it, to share it. I’m thrilled with what we have accomplished and, for me, that is success. Anything else is just gravy.
One last thought to leave your fans with?
Jessica Ford: Thank you for listening; we have some new music in the works!