Jesca Hoop is everything one could wish for in a musician. The studious cynicism, blank stares and phoned-in performances that have infected so many of today's 'buzz bands' would, I am sure, be anathema to this frankly startling songwriter.

The clattering, never-quite-straightforward songs that make up Hoop's first two albums, Kismet and Hunting My Dress, bring to mind a vision of the Southern States - but a slightly deranged vision. Everything is pushed slightly out of alignment, morphed slightly out of shape, as if watching a 3D film without the glasses. Distorted percussion, screeching violins and delicately picked acoustic guitar all underpin tracks that fall directly in the centre of a triangle, the points of which are formed by Kate Bush, traditional American folk and Bone Machine-era Tom Waits.

Indeed, if you know one thing about Jesca Hoop it is probably that her already extraordinary CV includes a period as a nanny to Waits' and Kathleen Brennan's children. This connection, along with the public praise offered by Waits, has surely been no hindrance for Hoop. Thankfully, though, her unique talent is more than sufficient to stand up on its own - with or without celebrity endorsement.

Jesca now lives in Manchester. Her next single, the characteristically beguiling 'Feast of the Heart, is out on February 22nd.





Hi Jesca. What are you listening to at the moment?



Right now? Hot Chip to be precise. BBC 6Music at…11:14am.





Manchester is quite a way from Wyoming. Is this a permanent move, or do you see yourself returning to the States?



I travel a lot, like musicians do. I live in Manchester, but I keep an active life in LA as well. Manchester is a fine place to establish a base. I can't answer in regards to permanence. I am happy here, and can see myself for a good many years.





You have had some fairly extraordinary jobs in the past. Any particularly notable employment experiences?



I really enjoyed trying my hand at carpentry. I was working with a woman contractor who taught me what she could in the time we had. It was just me and her framing houses and remodelling good stuff. I loved working with the various woods and metals. We were building in redwood country. You can't beat working outdoors in redwood country in the summer time.

Another would be surveying in the mountains of Wyoming. I was working for an 85 year old man who had been surveying for 60 years. I was 20…he wanted to marry me. I didn't want to marry him. We would climb deep into the rocky mountains in the snow.





You co-produced Hunting My Dress with Tony Berg. Do you enjoy this side of the recording process? I know many artists would like to spend as little time in the studio as possible.



Not me. I like getting stuck in. I wouldn't be able to leave the production to someone else altogether. I'm protective, and I also really enjoy the discovery process that producing a record inevitably becomes.





Your music seems to skip genres, even within individual tracks. How would you like to see yourself described?



Shapeshifting…smart…beautiful…genuine for starters.





What's next for Jesca Hoop?



Right now I am working with a group of players to create a show for a UK tour starting on February 3rd. Rehearsals have been fun so far and I am really looking forward to playing the music for people.