Jo Harman – Interview



In a genre defined, playlist building, download era, it is hard for an artist to stay true to their own sound and vision. Once labelled it can be difficult to break free, but Jo Harman is a singer/songwriter who refuses to be categorised and is set on writing classic songs with classic production.

A former student at BIMM she has built a career on solid song writing with echoes of Carol King, Janis Ian, Julia Fordham and Anita Baker, encompassing, soul, blues, gospel and the tang of the Deep South. Her most recent album “People we Become” features a duet with Michael McDonald and was created with long time song writing partner Mike Davies.

Jo is returning to Worthing this week with a set built around her fantastic voice and piano, great tunes played in their purest form with twinges of Americana, folk and a little bit of country.

Fresh from playing a few gigs in France and a well received live album we can expect an evening of music dipped in the delta and oozing with soul and a live act polished by sharing the stage with the likes of Patti Smith, Joan Baez, Van Morrison and Sinead O’Connor

I caught up with Jo prior to her gig on NOVEMER 30th at ST PAULS WORTHING

What’s your connection with Worthing; you studied at BIMM didn’t you?

Yes, although I am from Devon I actually used to live in Worthing so this is a homecoming for me. I remember coming to St Pauls to see bands and just recall that it was a great intimate venue.

What can we expect on the night?

Well it’s me and a piano and a selection of songs, there will be a lot from the current album and some old stuff and even some covers

Your last album was recorded in the U.S.A what was it like recording with all those great session guys in Nashville?

It was amazing, you take your songs, your demos in and within minutes they get it, they bring their own feel to it but they get exactly what you are looking for. They have such brilliance they just put you at ease straight away. When the album was finished it was just as I had imagined it to be when we set out to record it, so proud of it.

And you worked with Michael McDonald on that album, what was that like?

Just amazing, I couldn’t really believe it and he has been so nice about my music, it’s just unbelievable and I think the song works really well.

Did you record the session together?

No sadly we couldn’t get the timing right so I did my bit and he came in and did his afterwards, it would have been great to record it together

How do you write, what’s your method?

It varies, I work with a brilliant song-writing partner called Mike Davies and sometimes we just have a bit of a melody or a tune and we pass it back and forth, for me the lyrics are the really important part so that’s the part I do last, it’s the part that means the most to me

What does 2018 hold for you?

Well I am writing some new stuff and I have a plan for next year, this is a bit of an exclusive I am working on putting together a show for next year with a string quartet and some new material which will be really cool

Highlight of the year so far?

Going to New York, really love that place I did a set in this really cool venue called Joe’s Pub to a great crowd (indecently readers, this venue is currently hosting Judy Collins)

Can you recommend a book and a record to our readers?

The record is easy Aretha at Fillmore West, such a great album, and book, ha lets see, that’s a hard one, I think maybe girl on a train

The music business has tried to label you, you know the whole “New voice of Blues” thing, winning the 2014 best female blues singer award, what is your take on that?

I don’t really think of labels, its all about the songs, the music, its what the songs needs so it might be bluesy or be soul or gospel or Americana., but it’s the song that come first, I don’t want to be pinned down to a single genre.

Be sure to catch Jo Tonight – Thursday 30th at St Pauls, ably supported by Thomas White, member of Brighton bands The Electric Soft Parade and Brakes and a fantastic solo performer in his own right as well as being a trusted session player with the likes of Sparks, The Levellers and British Sea Power
Doors open at 7.30 make sure you get there good and early to see two superb acts perform in one of the best venues in Sussex

Tickets available here or on the door.

Rob Kelly
Catch my blog at WoMu- A Worthing music blog (

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