One to watch: Jetta

The Liverpool singer-songwriter shifts effortlessly from alt-R&B to melodic, country-tinged pop

“You can be very creative using very little… I actually prefer having less to work with because that way you need to use more of your imagination,” the Liverpool-born Jetta told The Line of Best Fit last month. That spareness and sense of freedom is audible in her work, which she writes, records and produces herself. Her sound recalls the alt-R&B of Kelela or the xx, or the intimate balladry of Jessie Ware, but where mere copyists would hang endlessly on a yearning chorus and a dark blue mood, Jetta knows when to shift it up with a smart melodic left turn or a deft change of pace.

Now based in London, she’s been singing since she was four – her father was a recording engineer, her mother a choirmaster – and performing solo and singing backing vocals for the likes of Paloma Faith since she was 17, streamlining the powerful, punchy, soulful pop of her 2014 EP, Start a Riot, to a subtler, smokier style. That experience tells in her rich voice, the versatility of which recalls FKA twigs or Martina Topley-Bird. She switches easily from the bruised and contemplative Friend to the popping UK garage bop of Livin’ to the country-tinged, compulsive chime of forthcoming single I Wanna Know: a world of sound in a formidable one-woman operation.

I Wanna Know will be released by 3Beat on 5 June

Watch the video for Livin’.


Emily Mackay

The GuardianTramp

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