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Baker's Dozen

A Safe Place For Me: Jesca Hoop's 13 Favourite Records
Diva Harris , August 14th, 2019 08:25

Ahead of her performance at Green Man this weekend, Jesca Hoop guides Diva Harris through her 13 favourite albums, from Björk to Dylan, Cat Stevens and Kate Bush

For Jesca Hoop, the process of choosing these 13 records was largely an exercise in nostalgia. “This is a difficult career path, and sometimes I have to tune out of the game”, she says. “Right now I’m not listening to any [current] music. And I think that’s because my work is fresh in the field, this record is just doing its thing. Sometimes if I don’t want to pay attention to who’s who and who’s doing what; I just want to enjoy music, rather than what the music is doing in the marketplace. But I’ll always listen to these records – these are a safe place for me.”

Not only does looking into the past for her selections provide respite from the cattlemarket of the charts, but it also conjures the landscapes and sunshine of Hoop’s Californian childhood, many of the records she’s chosen having been taken from her father’s extensive record collection. Listening to said field-fresh work – Hoop’s John Parish-produced fifth album Stonechild, which was released by Memphis Industries last month to much acclaim - it’s not difficult to see how early exposure to artists like Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan paved the way for her own finger-picked folk (“the 70s for music is probably my favourite era” she muses, “I just think aesthetically it aligns for me”), or how the combination of serious choir singing from a young age and the discovery of experimental female vocalists such as Kate Bush, PJ Harvey and Björk, in teenagedom and early adulthood, shaped her distinctive voice and encouraged her to experiment with different styles of singing.

Many of Hoop’s musical touchstones are protestors, innovators, boundary-pushers, and this too is reflected on Stonechild – not only in its stylistic experimentation, but also in its unapologetic presentation of the hardships of womanhood – and specifically motherhood – and angry lament over the rise of white supremacy. Indeed, much like the artists collated here – whom Hoop draws together on the basis that “there’s no-one else like any of them, they’re pioneering, and opening the gates for others” – there is no-one else quite like Jesca Hoop.

Jesca Hoop plays Green Man festival this weekend, for more information visit the Green Man website. She returns to the UK to tour this October. Click the image of Jesca Hoop below to begin reading her selections