How We Met: Jade Davies & Example

'He's told me to keep my mouth shut until I'm famous'

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The Independent Online

Example, 29

Elliot Gleave, aka Example, is a singer, rapper and dubstep artist whose fusing of heavy underground beats with more melodic pop songs has catapulted him to the top of the charts with hits such as 'Changed the Way You Kissed Me' and 'Stay Awake'. He lives in London

I was approached last year by Oh My!'s label, 679, to write for them. I'd not written for anyone before so I was against the idea initially, but I agreed to meet them. When I walked into the room I felt their energy straight away. Jade's style is a bit tomboyish; sexy and sporty with quite a 1980s look. She had this huge smile and huge eyes and both her and [bandmate] Alex looked like little stars. There's not been a girl band since the Spice Girls who've had that real star quality. So when I met them and saw they both had that twinkle in their eyes, I thought, "If they get the right songs, they could be massive."

Jade was a bit shy at first and very giggly; when you've seen someone on TV before meeting them, it's always a bit awkward – I've been there myself with that. After that, she obviously read a few interviews with me slating Cher Lloyd and the Saturdays and she must have decided, "He's a bit cocky. Before he has a go at me, I'm going to have a go at him." So early on she was taking a lot of jabs at me to show she meant business.

Initially, I would write lyrics for them and demo it and Jade would nod approvingly. Now she just says, "Nah, I'm not sure about that one." She's become a lot more cocky, but I like that.

She's also very engaging. I don't know if it's her big eyes: she doesn't look away or blink when she's looking at you, and she has this stare that grabs you.

I tell her that it's important to have opinions on things. People who come off The X Factor are media-trained and answer like robots – they like everything, but it's impossible for someone to like everything. So I say to Jade, be yourself, you have to have an opinion and if something's on your mind, say it.

She came to one of my shows recently and when she came backstage, I was like, "What did you think of my show?" But she was infatuated with the fact Adele had been in the crowd and was now backstage, too. Jade wasn't even looking at me, and I thought, "She's moved on."

Jade Davies, 20

With Alex Grewcock, Davies is one half of emerging pop duo Oh My!. Their upcoming, as-yet-untitled album is being written by Example. She lives in east London

The single "Kickstarts" [which charted at number three on its release, in June 2010] brought Elliot to everyone's attention. I know the whole rap off by heart but I didn't know his face. He was working with our producer when Alex and I bumped into him when he was visiting our studio. He was carrying a load of Topman bags, so I raided the contents and sat there slagging it off. I was like, "This is horrible... this is nice... oh, don't wear this" and we seemed to get on straight away.

He's really particular about who he collaborates with – a lot of others have asked him to write music for them and he's turned them down. But at that first encounter, Alex and I did a little performance for him – it felt great watching him bobbing around to our music – and then we went for dinner.

He's given us a lot of advice. He always says, "Think about nerves, remember eye contact," and told me to keep my mouth closed for a year-and-a-half, then he said, "When you're famous you can say what the hell you want!"

But most of the time you can't take anything he says seriously. I'd read in an interview somewhere that Elliot once pissed in a bottle, so I posted on Twitter how disgusting I thought that was and he tweeted back, "Grow up, Jade." It's quite embarrassing to be told to grow up publicly, but he then texted me to say, "I'm only joking!" It's like a performance with him and he's got something to say about everything, unlike so many people in the industry who are afraid to say what they feel. But while he says he doesn't care what other people think, he's a big softie, and if you listen to the lyrics of his songs they're always about people crying.

Our music has quite a lot of bass in it, like Example's, and at gigs he always says, "Bounce" and gets the crowd bouncing, so we now have "Jump" and do the same and he says, "You've stolen my dance!" But we are quite different musically: ours is a lot more like pop and not so hardcore.

He looks like a normal guy from next door, a casual lad who doesn't spend hours getting his hair done and it's why girls love him. Do I fancy him? No, nor does Alex – we're more like sisters to him: he feels he has to look out for us and guide us in the right direction. The best thing about our collaboration? He's never going to be able to say we're shit, as he wrote it.

Oh My!'s new single, 'Dirty Dancer', is out tomorrow on 679 ( Example's new single, 'Midnight Run', is out on 4 December on Ministry of Sound