Nineteen year-old Jade Harrell is bringing a little soul, a lot of funk, and even some pop to her debut album, Class Reject (Revolution Art). From songs like the dance track “Me & My Radio to Jade’s cover of “What a Fool Believes,” this album is full of varied styles that appeal to fans of many genres. It’s impossible to listen to Jade Harrell’s music without going into full-on dance mood (or chair groove for the uncoordinated). Jade was kind enough to take the time to “Take 5” with Backseat Writer. Read on to learn more about this dynamic and talented young singer!
*Your debut album is called Class Reject, but you seem like anything but a class reject! What’s the story here?
I grew up somewhat as an outcast. Even since elementary school and all throughout high school, I was picked on. It made me feel like I didn’t belong. So as I was brainstorming for a title for the album, those memories came to mind. Then I realized that the reason I felt like I didn’t fit in was because God meant for me to stand out! As long as you’re a child of God, you’re going to be rejected by the world, and life is nothing but a huge classroom; therefore, Class Reject.
* “Me & My Radio” is a fun song. I remember the days of sitting in my bedroom as a teenager rockin’ out to my radio (and dancing badly). What do you think of when you sing this song and why did you write it?
Well, when I first hear it come on, I say to myself, “Holy smokes, this is me!” But I wrote this song because I find myself rockin’ out to my favorite jams when I’m alone in the confines of my room! It happens to be more fun that way
*I love your rendition of the Doobie Brothers’ song, “What a Fool Believes.” What is it about this song that you like?
It tells a story, which is something I feel that today’s music doesn’t really do anymore. It’s the kind of song that when you cut it on, it just makes you wanna groove. (If you can’t tell by now, I love to dance!)
*You’re a young artist bringing a whole new set of beats to Christian music, especially R&B/techno—so what challenges have you faced working in a genre that isn’t as defined as others in the Christian industry?
Some people don’t take my music seriously, or they call me a sell out. It doesn’t bother me though because I know my target audience can relate to me and that’s what matters the most! It’s really about them.
*On your MySpace page you cite Michael Jackson as one of your influences. Since Jackson’s death, we’ve all been thinking about what his music has meant to us, but how has his career influenced and/or inspired you?
MJ definitely made it clear that there’s no age restriction to having a music career; he started out so early! For me, that leaves no room for excuses. He inspired me because he made both music that made me want to dance and music that had a message. He was an awesome songwriter and vocalist–he was just simply amazing!