Jodie Abacus Q&A: South London artist talks Standon Calling festival and how music is good for the soul

'I'll Be That Friend' singer is set to perform on the Laundry Meadows/Independent stage this summer

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Monday 22 May 2017 13:47 BST
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Jodie Abacus is one of the many talented artists set to play The Laundry Meadows stage in partnership with The Independent at Standon Calling this year.

The British singer-songwriter hails from south London and incorporates a beautiful blend of R&B, funk, pop, soul and electronic into his music, which positively beams with good vibes.

We caught up with him ahead of a Standon Calling showcase taking place in London on 10 June - read on below:

Q&A with Jodie Abacus

What are you listening to at the moment?

I've literally spent my whole weekend listening to Serge Gainsborough, Fela Kuti and Mos Def

Do you feel like people/the media have finally clocked how rich the music scene in south London is?

I believe so. It's been a long time coming and now it's way more mainstream than it used to be. There are many talented artists in south London, and all over London for that matter, raising their head up and being noticed because the music industry is evolving righteously.

Are there any new/emerging artists from that area that you think people should check out?

You should definitely check out these: MUDDYLOOP, Wilson Sings, Kadija Kamara, Dead Man's Knee & Blue Lab Beats.

You've spoken about being pretty low when you wrote 'I'll Be That Friend' which is such an uplifting song - do you tend to approach music as something that can heal and make people connect a bit more with their emotions?

Totally! I believe that this state that you are in when you're writing a song is very important as your spirit emotion and subliminal mind can be injected into a song you're creating at the time. It's very important to me to tell the truth in my songs, as the saying goes: “The truth shall set you free”.

There's been a lot of discussion about mental health in the music industry lately but not so much about what music can actually do for your mental health - do you think artists underestimate the power their music can have for their audiences?

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Music is way more than just something to listen to, you take it into your heart and into your soul and it's no game. Music can affect people's moods and emotions and judgements and this cannot be taken for granted. A violent song can adjust and sway the mood of a particularly violent and volatile person.

An emotional song about a breakup or death can make someone cry. A song about making love....well...I’m pretty sure most of us were conceived while baby making music was on! I like to dabble in the field of genuinely making people happy and uplifting people if I can, because music is a healer.

Is there anyone on the lineup at Standon Calling you're really looking forward to seeing?

I'm hoping to stay the whole weekend. Really looking forward to see Grace Jones, Akala and Idris Elba play a DJ set.

Apart from Standon Calling, what have you got lined up for this summer?

I'm releasing a second EP soon so I'm just getting ready for that as well as flying out to New York in a couple of weeks on a secret mission.

What was the first gig you ever played and what's been the best so far?

My first?...Probably one at back in the day in collage for a Fourier concert no one was expecting me to come out and sing at!

My best?... I haven't had my best gig yet. But there was this one time...in Berlin supporting Jamie Woon...now THAT gig was amazing. It was my first support tour and everything just came together on the night. We had such a great time on stage and off.

The Standon Calling Warm-Up Party takes place on 10 June and will include performances from Jodie Abacus, Strong Asian Mothers, Tangerines and Average Sex - tickets available here (£1 from every ticket will be donated straight to War Child).

Tickets for Standon Calling - taking place from 27 - 30 July - are on sale now

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