Jehnny Beth says David Bowie’s death inspired her debut solo album

Jehnny Beth
© Jack Johnstone

The singer confirmed that her debut solo album is complete.

Jehnny Beth spoke to BBC 6 Music’s Mary Anne Hobbs yesterday about the release of her new album, which will be played live for the first time at BBC 6 Music Festival this year. The Savages singer-songwriter admitted the idea for her new album emerged after David Bowie’s death: “Every time a musician dies, it feels like a family member has died… when [Bowie] died it was even stronger because he has such a strong influence, not just on me but on culture in general. So suddenly the impermanence of life was very clear.

“I was in bed listening to his music… and I made this silent promise to myself that I was going to make a record. I didn’t know what, but it would be my record.”

Beth also admits the new record came about after PJ Harvey requested she open her Eden Project gig back in 2016, giving her just 10 days to come up with some original tracks: “At the time I had nothing. I worked for 4-5 hours a day for those 10 days and I was so nervous,” she says. “You could hear a pin drop when I played; It was a very respectful and beautiful that moment… Polly gave me that platform for [the new record], and the courage.”

She also hinted that a new song from the record would be available in a couple of weeks, offering to send it to BBC 6 Music.

As for the records’s sound, “If you like Savages, you’ll like this record,” Beth explained. “[But] it’s a bit more eclectic, and a bit of a rollercoaster.”

The album is now completed, and the artist is excited for its release: “I’ve never been more proud of something in my life. It was a battle; it’s taken two and a half years…it’s been quite the journey”

The music from her new album will be played live for the first time at the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival, which takes place between 6-8 March at various venues in Camden. “It’s my first gig so no pressure,” she said. “Live on the radio and filmed for TV… let’s do this!”

Listen to the full interview on Radio 6 Music.