For the past few years the majority of artists to breakthrough into the mainstream have been female. That was a great leap forward, but we now think it is time for male artists to start making a comeback. One act likely to achieve this more than any other is Joe Worricker, a husky voiced smouldering torch singer for the 21 st century. Joe will be the special musical guest at this year's Iris Prize Festival award show 14 th October. Ahead of that prestigious performance we thought it was time we find out more about this promising young singer.
You have a classic soul voice. Where did it come from? Is it something you have developed over time with singing lessons etc?
I started singing jazz songs from musicals when I was very young, but noticed a really big husky mess of a voice when I was 14. This is how I sound naturally but I am also influenced from everything I listen to and love so it's a combination of my instrument and what I want to achieve musically. I have had some singing lessons to help with technique so I know how to support and breathe correctly, but I haven't been taught to sing this way
Your voice seems to have more in common with voices from the past rather than the present day. What sort of artists have inspired and influenced you?
Ah thanks. Lots of artists - Sarah Vaughan, Amy Winehouse, Erykah Badu more recently Chaka Khan, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Mariah Carey
You were/are signed to Rough Trade, not a label you would necessarily associate with a singer like you. How did that come about and what is the current state of play?
I released 2 online EPs with Rough Trade Records after they saw me at a show in Soho and wanted to work together. There are no plans for any further releases with Rough Trade, but I am currently writing my debut album which when finished I will be releasing on a different label
It is notoriously hard these days to become established in the music world. What keeps you motivated and who are the people working with you to make it happen?
Well I've got to a point with my writing now where it comes out so naturally it doesn't need too much motivation, which is great as it never use to be that easy. It's tough to keep an unwavering belief in yourself. Things that keep me motivated; my emotional reaction to beautiful music which inspires me to recreate that feeling for other people and myself and the support of my best friends who almost all work in music, fashion, art and performance, so are on a similar journey to me
You appeared on an Arthur Russell tribute album a few years ago. His music was very different to your own and was often experimental and avant-garde. What did you make of his music when you heard it and how did you approach the track?
Yeah I loved doing that track; his partner heard the song in New York and thought it was him, which is quite amazing. I love his 'Habit of You' song; I kind of fell in love with him a bit when I saw a gorgeous picture of him in a cowboy hat combined with his beautiful heartfelt tone. I just went for it when I recorded it; there wasn't a huge thought process behind it
You have worked with Green Gartside of Scritti Politti fame on a track 'Bobby Blue'. How did that come about, what was it like working together and can expect more from the pair of you?
Rough Trade boss Geoff Travis represents Green and adores his work and wanted to introduce us. Green is a very chilled and cool guy, it was a very relaxed process; he played guitar and I came up with the melody and lyrics. His production skills are very artistic which has made that track extra cool. Yeah hopefully we'll do some more stuff together in the future, he's busy on his next album at the moment so won't be anytime too soon
You have appeared on stage with some great artists such as Boy George and Paloma Faith. Tell us about those experiences.
That was the first time meeting Boy George which was very cool and I use to go to Paloma's shows drunk off my face before she became famous, as she had a big London following before her record deal. Was really fun they both have great stage presence and a flamboyant clothing style so I had to up my eccentricity dress wise
You are appearing at this year's Iris Prize Festival in Cardiff. For those that haven't seen you live before what can they expect from your performance?
We will be performing a stripped guitar, piano and voice set of all original songs about my life. My songs are very storytelling and colourful & are themed in classic styles of jazz and soul
Finally, what recording/live plans have you got for the year ahead?
We have full band shows once a month in great venues in London for the rest of the year, we are playing a fashion party in Moscow in September & playing a Shoreditch House Sunday Session after that. All new events will be posted on www.joeworricker.com/news & my twitter & facebook pages www.twitter.com/joeworricker & www.facebook.com/joeworricker I'm busy recording more new material which will be posted online soon. Looking forward to playing Iris Prize Festival
Joe Worricker plays the Iris Prize Award Show on Sunday 14 th October. For more information go to: http://www.irisprize.org/