LUM: Hi Jesca – thanks for spending the time to answer a few questions for Listen Up Manchester. You’re originally from North California, but relocated here to Manchester in 2009 off the back of a suggestion from Guy Garvey. Can you tell us a bit more about how you got to know Guy & what made you think a move to Manchester was the right thing for you?

JH: Guy and I became fast friends over a phone interview that he instigated as content for his radio show on BBC 6music ( i wasn't expecting his call and he caught me bathing ... it was a sudsy conversation on the air that night). Guy's journalistic style is very telling. He loves a good banter. He showed real curiosity about my work and made me feel comfortable (also aided by the bath). Our first conversation was a clear indicator that there were and are many more laughs and heart felt exchanges between us. I was unaware of his work when he called that first time and I got to know their music on tour with them. They brought me out to open for them for two or three tours. My admiration for him and his fellow band mates has blossomed and grown through a handful of years getting to know them all as people and enjoying their music from that standpoint. I am proud of them. I can't give guy all the credit for my move to the UK however.. I mean he's a charming fellow and and all :-) Guy was my entry point true.. an usher of sorts. He collected my ticket and walked me down the isle... but it was what was beyond the velvet rope that lead me to uproot and move myself from the sun to the candy flossed skies of Manchester. To answer your question.... Life... i saw a fuller Life open up for me when i peeked beyond the curtain and so here i am.

LUM: You have a gig lined up at the Deaf Institute on the 11th April - do you get to see much live music yourself when you are in Manchester?

JH: I catch the odd gig here and there. To be honest with you , when I am not touring i am making very small circles around my home territory. My life on the road is so very social that when I am home I stay home. I do come out for special occasions however. The last gig i saw was HAIM friends of mine from LA.

LUM: Where are your favourite venues, both to see live music, and to perform in?

JH: Favourite venues .. oh dear !!! you are asking me to use my memory !! I have just seen 25 venues in month and honestly the names are all a blur. I am still dizzy from the flight .... and well.... this is just brain scanning overload !!!

Interview By John Cooper
LUM: Your recent album (Undress) is a new acoustic version of your second album “Hunting My Dress”, you have also previously done something similar with your first album “Kismet” – is it something you enjoy doing going revisiting your old songs and creating new versions of them?

JH: I sort of consider it a service of a sort. These stripped back records are for the kind of listener that has a taste for something more simplistic or would like a listen less dense than my studio work offers. Making these records to represent my stage performance gives a chance for the audience to walk home with an album that sounds like the live performance.

LUM: You have a good number of guests who appear on your album – including Guy Garvey and Willy Nelson – and you have sung backing for Peter Gabriel – you seem to enjoy recording with other people? Do you have anybody who you would absolutely love to record with?

JH: Willy Nelson... ha ! I wish !!!! I"ve got the next best thing though... WIlly Mason is the fine chap who features on Whispering Light and sings the lead vocal. Yes Guy joins us for murder of birds. Iron and Wine joins me on there and to be honest I would like to record more with Sam Beam ( Mr Iron and Wine himself ). Maybe if I make a wish, that wish will come true !!

LUM: Who are your musical heroes & who have you been listening to lately?

JH: I said I would draw the line at answering this particular question 1,000,000 times and I am so sorry to say that this is the 1,000,001'th time asked. So close !! So sorry ;-)

LUM: Going back to you coming from North California, did you have a particularly musical upbringing?

JH: My Parents brought us up singing yes. We were in choirs and theatre from an early age. My mother says i was able to harmonise at the age of 5. Well this is because i loved her and looked up to her and wanted to sing just like her and so i was eager to learn how. We sang in the car to pass the time. Singing together was a family favourite. It seems we only do it now at funerals.

LUM: How did you get into writing songs in the first place?

JH: I started writing songs on my long walks to school. All of my walking skating and biking was fuelled by my imaginative musical meanderings. Around the age of 15 I began discovering my original melodic sense and realised i had a real individual take on it and an ability to innovate words and melodies to create songs that are quite unique.

LUM: Do you find songwriting something that comes with ease to you? How do you go about writing?

JH: The writing experience is different every time a new song is started and the songs unlock for you each at a different rate. There is no saying. I go about writing in a disciplined fashion and i avoid relying on inspiration. You could wait a long time if you are going to wait for a spark. It is a reliable method to start banging rocks together rather than waiting for the shooting star.

LUM: Do you have any new songs you’re working on, and will you be performing any new material on your upcoming UK tour?

JH: I have recorded a new album of new Material and It is in the mixing phase right now. it does not have a name yet. I will be playing some of the songs off that record yes !!

LUM: We hope that both the album & tour goes well, and thank you for your time.

Jesca Hoop will be performing at the Deaf Institute on Friday the 11th April in Manchester - for further details on Jesca & her current tour please visit: