Jesca Hoop's legend is growing in depth as each year passes. Much is made of her past - where connections are made between her more memorable life events to the nature of her music. But if a Mormon upbringing and a stint working as the nanny for Tom Waits' kids doesn't give a musician license to kook it up, we don't know what does. She released her second album, 'Hunting My Dress' in November 2009 to much acclaim. A disparate range of sounds were merged together to create Hoop's stunning freak-folk style. From the haunting opener 'Whispering Light' to the outwardly poppy 'Four Dreams', the album consistently hits the mark and has set up Hoop as one of the singers to watch in 2010. And Bowlegs caught up with her recently for a chat about her year so far, hats and Kate Bush.



Bowlegs: How has 2010 been for you so far?



Jesca: So far 2010 has been absolutely lovely. Off to a running start. It's been sunny here in Manchester. My touring has been really fun. I am writing and getting to know the UK better and better, bit by bit.



Bowlegs: It's still early days, but what's been your favourite moment and why?



Jesca: So far one of my favourite moments was playing to my brand new Manchester audience. We had a magical night at a charmed venue here in Manchester. What a special evening. My next favourite moment is one that I am about to experience. We are building for me a writing room. My own four walls, which I haven't had since I moved here. Can't wait.



Bowlegs: Are you pleased with the reaction you've had in relation to the release of 'Hunting My Dress'?



Jesca: Of course.



Bowlegs: Where did you look for inspiration when writing the album? Were you listening to any particular music or did you try and cut yourself off from distractions?



Jesca: I don't generally listen to music while I'm writing a record. I don't generally go directly to music for inspiration. I tend to look into conversations, interactions, observations, films and adventures for raw writing material. I seem to find inspiration in a cup of coffee oddly enough.



Bowlegs: Your releases have been diverse enough to avoid being pigeon-holed in any one genre by the music press so far - do you see this as a good thing? Are you happy to be grouped in with artists like Kate Bush and Joanna Newsome, or do you feel the link is tenuous?



Jesca: I don't mind. These artists make fine company. Kate Bush's music has sprung a generation of singer/songwriters who listen to their individual voice, idiosyncrasies and unique strengths. I am one of those songwriters and the first artist to encourage me in that direction was Kate Bush.



Bowlegs: Do you think we're moving into an age where it's becoming harder to define genres, as musicians are finding inspiration from so many different sources?



Jesca: Yes. It's a wonderful thing.



Bowlegs: What kinds of reactions have the songs from 'Hunting My Dress' received when you've played them live?



Jesca: It depends really. If the audience is new to the music then the reaction can range anywhere from delighted surprise to elated surprise. If the audience knows and loves the music ... well then there is a tangible love in the air.



Bowlegs: We read in one review that you said your song 'Four Dreams' doesn't work unless you're wearing a black leather crown - is this true, and if so what does the crown add to the track?



Jesca: It also doesn't work unless I am barefoot and wearing a fox-tail.



Bowlegs: What's your favourite track to perform live and why?



Jesca: Feast of the heart. It's just fun. I really enjoy the backing vocals and the overall sexy feel.



Bowlegs: A lot's been made of you being a nanny to Tom Waits' kids - do you have fond memories of the experience? How important was he in your career?



Jesca: I have books full of lovely memories. They are lovely people and I lived a lot of my life day by day with them. They were very important in setting examples for me and helping to open a few doors.



Bowlegs: Would you consider doing the same thing and hiring a musician as a nanny? Anyone you've got earmarked for the job?



Jesca: If they were respectful of my home, yes. I don't have any kids though ... and I don't really need that kind of looking after, so no.