Build Your Song – Jade Hendrix

Jade Hendrix holding guitar
This singer-songwriter shares sources of inspiration and tips for the song writing journey

Jade Hendrix’ musical journey has included opening for Judy Collins, an artist Jade adored since she was a teenager. She’s also done backing vocals for the legendary Dave Mason.

We just love Jade Hendrix’ originals and her unique, powerful delivery. And it’s not only us: Jade won Artist of the Year at the Ventura County Music Awards several years ago and continues writing, singing and sharing her music in venues throughout California today. We asked Jade to share sources of inspiration on her singer-songwriter journey…

A favorite quote that inspires you

“The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”  -James Baldwin

A key turning point in developing your own unique vocal work? 

When I started gigging at a steady pace, averaging 3-4 gigs a week in tandem with writing sessions, recording sessions, and rehearsals. My voice really developed and got stronger in those days because I was really working it, learning it and developing it.

Jade Henrix recording her single “Purpose” at Scott Frankfurt Studio in Los Angeles, CA.

A key lesson you learned about vocal health?

That self-care is essential to a healthy, happy voice. Getting lots of rest, staying hydrated and in the right headspace can make all the difference.

What is that headspace – and what do you do to get there?

The headspace I need to get into to have a productive, creative recording or performance experience is one that is focused, open and balanced. I get into that headspace by clearing my mind of the whims and struggles of the day. It’s almost meditative to close my eyes, tune into my breathing, and let it roll off my shoulders. 

You’ve written many moving pieces – is there any pattern to your songwriting process?

I jot down errant lyrics or ideas daily, either on my phone or in a notebook. So, when I’m playing my guitar, and I find a chord progression or melody that I like, I’ll refer back to those lyrics and ideas to see what fits. It’s like putting a puzzle together. Sometimes inspiration strikes and I’ll hear music, melody and a lyric all at once and it’s off to the races. But it’s usually a matter of slowly building a song, piece by piece.

What kinds of activities help nurture your song-writing creativity?

Deep conversation with loved ones, the kind where I learn something about their life view, or discover something about my own, often inspires my songwriting. 

A vocal artist who inspires you? 

Laura Nyro is a constant source of inspiration.  I find her music and voice to be incredibly passionate, almost unbridled. Fearless. She sets the example for the kind of artist I’d like to be.

An object (at home) that inspires you in your musical work

The photos that my wife and I have hanging around our apartment. They ground me and center my focus. Everything I do, I do for the folks that I love.

Jade Hendrix with her mother, singer & recording artist Sharon Hendrix

What’s a lesson with tech that’s helped you share your music?

I’ve learned at marathon gigs, the ones where you’re singing 3-5 hour-long sets, that reverb is your best friend!

What was your first performance?

My first performance felt pretty high stakes for me at the time. I’d just finished my first album, and my producer Dan Voss scored me a gig opening for a band at the biggest theater in town. To that point, my only experience with live performance was singing at some of the local open mics and jams. I was scared. But I was also determined to step into that spotlight with courage and confidence. It was a great night.

What did you learn from that performance?

I learned how to lean on the pros around me for advice and strength. I was a newbie, but the players in my band were pros. My mother, who is a phenomenally accomplished backup singer, sang with me. I understood acutely that every show is an opportunity to learn from the folks around you.

What are you currently working on in terms of your music-career?

At the moment, I’m knee-deep in the process of writing a musical. I’m also developing a children’s book and recording inspired by my grandfather’s soulful version of “Rockabye Baby”. I’m dedicated to stretching beyond my comfort zone, and for me, that starts with exploring other mediums that interest me.

See More about Jade on Instagram | Bandcamp | Facebook

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