The Frequency of Jodie B.
By Shane Collins
(Photos and story by Shane Collins)
When I first met Jodie Bruce, a.k.a Jodie B, it was at Doc Willoughby’s back in 2019. She was performing with her sister, Nique Blue. Even her Dad made a guest appearance that night. I recall it being a boozy evening, myself and some friends were in attendance and, as always, I had my camera along with me. Little did I know it would be one of the last shows I photographed before COVID-19 showed up and ruined everything.
Well, it’s been a few years since then and when I heard Jodie had won a few awards for her upcoming music video, ‘HUMAN,’ I gave her a shout and asked if we could sit down for a chat.
I met up with her in East Kelowna at the winery and recording studio, Frequency. It’s an interesting place. The wine makers there would use different frequencies of sound to create wine. They built a studio where the concept of not only the music of the artists but their energy as well is fused into the wine. Nowadays, however, there seems to be more music than wine being produced in the building. Jodie welcomed me with a smile. She had been working all day and I caught her at the end of it.
Wine bottles line the walls in this studio. A large mixing board sits with mic’s set to the side. Vinyl records dangle on strings overhead. Large computer monitors are alive and music softly plays as Jodie brings in some tea. I ask her when she first started playing music.
“I was about 3 years old when my dad had my sister and I busking in Calgary. I’ve been making music ever since then.”
You can tell. She seems very at home within the studio space. “Do you know what all these buttons do?” I point to the array of knobs and blinking lights patterned across the sound mixer behind her. She looks at the board and then to me. “Yeah, man. It’s what I do here.” I stand in front of the thing then peer to the drums and studio space behind the glass wall. “I’m curious. How does working in a winery/studio where they use sound to create wine help shape you as an artist and musician?”
She sits down and holds her tea, pondering her answer. “I guess it really is the energy of this place. The wine is alive, right? The people I get to work with here help create their own unique experience. I get to record music and the musicians literally harmonize the wine. I think that energy is unique and sometimes finds its way into my music.”
In 2020, Jodie B self-produced her first album, ‘Equanimous,’ which is a word she learned during a 10-day meditation. It means to be calm and composed. This contemplative energy is strewn throughout her music.
“I was going to ask you how the whole pandemic thing has been on you? Seems like you made good use of the time.” I sip my tea and burn my tongue. Wincing, I say, “It must be scary relying on your art to keep the lights on. Especially during a pandemic”
She exhales and nods. “I’m a ticketed scaffolder by trade. I could have kept doing that and make way more money but when it came down to it I just couldn’t live that life.” she waves her hand across the room. “This is what I need. Full time.”
It’s not just the music, though. Jodie is also a visual artist, creating paintings, music videos and reflecting on her own spiritual journey.
The risk seems to have paid off because Jodie is clearly on the right path. Her newest music video, ‘HUMAN,’ won the Grand Jury Award and Best Music Video in the Oniros Film Festival and in New York at the NYIFA. Jodie is also collaborating with other artists. The dirty bass, razor sharp hooks, groovy beats and lyrical poetry sums up that hard work paying off with her new group, MANTEASAH.
She plays a sample of her new music. I can’t help but feel my entire body move to these beats. They’re bangers. Try them for yourself. From Busking on the streets of Calgary as a kid to blowing back crowds of music festivals like Shambala, Astral Harvest and Fozzy Fest, she’s taking on the concept of a new approach to the studio as well. “I want to see this space one day be a place for female artists and producers to work on their art. Sustainable living and its practices are interests of mine as well.” To top it all off, she has also been picked up by Danio Management, home to artists like STICKYBUDS, FORT KNOX FIVE, KLAB and more.
I hold a lot of respect for artists who dive all the way in, regardless of the consequences. All of the folks I interview seem to hold their destinies like fire in the night that guide them forward, no matter what might stand in their way. Whether it’s painting for a living, teaching dance, opening up a climbing gym, guiding people across the Jordanian desert upon a camel, pursuing art, fighting fires and making music, there is a passionate belief that pushes them forward and they find a way. I see that spirit in Jodie and you can hear it in her music.
Like a bottle of wine, Jodies music is full of complexity. Fused with the blues her father brought into her life, there is also a blend of her sister’s saxophone, the lyrical breath of spirit, love, nature and life compose a sweet nectar that pairs well with her electronic hooks and beats. Known for her purple bass, harmonicas and looping wizardry, Jodie B has found her sound. Her family and peers by her side she moves forward, leaving the static behind and continuing into the night, riding within a frequency of her own.
As I write this new restrictions have been implemented due to the rising numbers of COVID-19 and its variants. Concerts and their future are once again in question. I have a suspicion, though, that Jodie B and her crew will find a way through the darkness, one beat at a time.
Watch for her HUMAN video in early 2022. Jodie might not be touring for a while but she’ll be recording artists in her studio, creating music and art and I for one will be keeping an eye and ear open for whatever she comes up with next, regardless of whatever obstacles might stand in her way.