INTERVIEW: Jealous Tina Frontwoman Rosie Patton on "Interim" and the Power of Personal Creativity
Since releasing their debut single “Interim” on the 13th March 2020, Bath based neo-soul band Jealous Tina have received around 30,000 Spotify hits and a whole lot of love for their sweet, sun-soaked grooves.
The 5-piece consists of Jay Harris on guitar; Mike “Metronome” Whittemore on drums; Josie Marchant on bass; Jackson Clark on keys; and delightfully quirky front woman Rosie Patton, who celebrates the new age of soul with her one-of-a-kind voice and honeyed saxophone solos within the same breath.
Drawing inspiration from powerful female artists such as Mahalia and Amy Winehouse, Jealous Tina are a harmonic cluster of transcendental jazz and vibes - and at their live shows, the audience is welcomed like family coming home. I sat down with front woman Rosie Patton to talk about her past, present and future as a creative, and how “Interim” ultimately came about.
TSM: Hello Rosie! How are you? How are you keeping busy and keeping in contact with the rest of Jealous Tina?
Rosie: Hello! This is very strange. I have some lounge jazz going on in the background because my parents are in the garden and they are loving the music!
Yeah lockdown has been a really weird time, but equally it has been kind of refreshing, and to an extent I’m still finding it good to have that time away from routine and daily life to be able to do a lot of the music and creative things that I’ve been wanting to do for, you know, coming onto years now! So it’s been really lovely.
Like most people, the band have a Jealous Tina group chat that we’re all talking rubbish on and saying how much we miss each other and really miss being in the studio and playing together. But you know, I send demos and we’re bouncing ideas back and forth on there.
I think something really fortunate about Jealous Tina is that everybody has their individual projects that they’re involved in, so Jay the guitarist has The Manatees, Mike our drummer, aka metronome Mike, has Genuine Panama, Jackson our keys man has Doghouse Outhouse, which I play in as well, and Josie has TAMASUSHI - so it’s really nice to be able to come together and have this kind of collective to communicate across various social media platforms.
TSM: Jealous Tina are writing some brilliant stuff. How old were you when you first got into music and what was your background like?
Rosie: So my background in music is possibly quite different to what most people expect. I grew up in orchestras, jazz bands, school choirs, stuff like that - I was never necessarily in a band except from ones that you make as kids, but up until the age of sixth form I had convinced myself that I wanted to pursue my love of musical theatre and acting, so I was always involved in youth theatres and school shows, which I absolutely loved. It was only really when I decided that there’s another pathway for me that was music that I thought I’m probably not cut out for that musical theatre life.
I wrote some pretty rubbish songs when I was younger on my ukulele, but I knew that was never really my sound. So I think I’m really lucky having being brought into this space at university doing commercial music where everybody is so cool and hip and knows all about this music world that I had just never even knew existed, you know - all of these names that I’d never even heard of are now influencing my creative output, and the songwriting and the style that I write in now has only really been in my head for the last 2 years. It’s a big mixing pot of everything I’ve been brought up with, so yeah - it’s interesting!
TSM: Well it’s really working out for you now! We all know Rosie P as our saxophone queen - how old were you when you started to play the saxophone? Did you get lessons from a young age?
Rosie: Interestingly, I learnt saxophone all wrong. I began music when I was really small on a recorder, and went to a summer school called Music Makers which I’m now lucky enough to work on actually. There’s an infamous video somewhere of me playing a recorder solo to In The Jungle in our Lion King themed week and it went completely wrong, but anyway, eventually I got onto playing clarinet and I had clarinet lessons in junior school and then onto secondary school, but I was told at secondary school that I couldn’t start playing saxophone until I had grade 8 clarinet - because my teachers at the time were, very selfishly, worried that I was going to ruin my clarinet technique if I picked up a saxophone.
So the way I got into saxophone was that I changed teacher from a Hampshire Music tutor to an external one in Salisbury called Nigel Ellis who is literally the best guy ever and taught me everything I know, and I started playing baritone sax in a wind band in Salisbury. I remember walking out of the rehearsal with this tiny clarinet in one hand and the massive baritone sax in the other, and my parents saying “how the hell are we gonna get this in the car”! It was really funny having to ferry that around every weekend for music things. But yeah I learned the saxophone in the complete wrong order because typically you’re supposed to go alto, tenor, bari, but I went bari, alto and then tenor since coming to uni, which is sort of now my main instrument.
Rosie Patton fronting on sax
TSM: Your parents seem so supportive and it seems like you’ve had a great background in music! In terms of what you’re doing and writing now, what does your music aim to say?
Rosie: This is a really tricky question - I think a lot of the time my songwriting comes from nonsense words or things that I’ve misheard, equally balanced with personal experiences and whatever inspires me on the particular day that I write. In terms of what it aims to say or the message, I think it’s so subjective to every person how it’s received, and I think that’s more important to me than what I’m trying to say, because a lot of the time I don’t really know what I’m trying to say! I do think it is important to have a message, but the motive for writing a song doesn’t always have to be that you have something you want to share - a lot of the demos and tracks I’m making at the moment are just free and don’t really have a complete message to give out.
I think on a surface level, my music is aiming to say that anyone from any background can make music, and it doesn’t have to be completely theory based and built round loads of harmony which was how I was convinced when I was younger - and now I’m finally in this atmosphere where yeah I have a decent knowledge of academic theory but you don’t always need that to portray things musically.
TSM: That’s such a lovely way to look at it. So what is your creative process as Jealous Tina, from starting to write a song to releasing it? Of course you are the front woman - how much do you take control of this creative process?
Rosie: So the majority of the time, the Jealous Tina songs will come from a hook or an idea that I’ve recorded on my phone or written on my notes page.
TSM: And was this the case for “Interim”?
Rosie: Interim came from me sat in my university room with a songwriting deadline, thinking oh my gosh I have so much work to do, I really need to get this song out - so Interim’s lyrics were born from me just rattling around in my head, coming up with some words that I liked the sound of and creating this random nonsense narrative. I think more recently it’s come to mean different things, and it’s interesting how the subject of a song can change and progress over time, but a lot of the time I really like writing from random words and phrases.
The harmonic content of songs usually comes from the band sitting in a room just playing away for a while. One song we do in our live set is called “Sweet Eyes” and I think that’s the first time that a song for us was written in the complete opposite way - Jackson had these chords that we were working on together, he laid those down, and then Mike - gosh I feel so sorry for Mike - basically every time we go into rehearsals or the studio, I sing a beat at him whenever I have a new idea and it just annoys him so much so Mike I am so sorry! But yeah it’s a very collaborative thing putting the songs together, whether it’s me bringing in a Logic demo or all of us just jamming and seeing what comes out of the session.
Josie Marchant and Jay Harris in the studio
TSM: What about your visual style? Your single artwork is beautiful. Do you do all of your artwork yourself? I’d love to know about your inspirations in art and your creative direction in terms of aesthetic.
Rosie: Thank you, I’m glad you like it! So I do all of the artwork myself on a combination of platforms. That face [on the cover art for “Interim”] actually came from some work that I had done on an art foundation year in Bournemouth before I came to uni, and it was a trace of a drawing of my face doing monotonous everyday tasks, so I had pictures of me taking off makeup, brushing my teeth, and I think that the one that’s made the cut is the one of me brushing my teeth, which is really funny because everyone thinks the artwork of Interim is a cool or slightly distorted face but it’s actually just me brushing my teeth.
I like to get involved with the art side of my music, because I think it’s absolutely impossible to ignore that everything is linked in the creative industries today. In terms of merchandise, I love being able to make and create things that aren’t necessarily generic merch that’s been printed in a factory, so I’ve just bought a screen printing kit that I’m gonna have a go making some t-shirts with at home.
Art, to me, is a broad term to describe my creative stuff - and a lot of my inspiration comes from the people that I work with. I’m really lucky in music because saxophone is quite a transferable instrument into a lot of different genres, so I get to play with a lot of different people - to name a few, Doghouse Outhouse, CHARLSTONRAY, and just writing tracks with people that they send over to me. I take the majority of my influence from what the people closest to me are writing, and I think that’s definitely highlighted in what I make and produce in my artwork.
"Interim" cover artwork, designed by Rosie Patton
TSM: What gave you the brilliant idea of painting plant pots as DIY merch? Do you make all the hangers yourself?
Rosie: I have no idea where this came from! Painting plant pots… well I think since everyone is stuck inside at the moment everyone has been baking and creating and a lot of people have turned to gardening! I was trying to grow some sunflowers and I thought how can I disperse some merch into the world, because its the first time I’ve done it - so I decided to do some plant pots. The main reason I think was because I want to make sure that every piece of Jealous Tina merch is sustainable or kind to the planet in at least one way; so these plant pots are all repurposed because I managed to find them in charity shops, or from wherever it might be, so it’s giving them a second lease of life.
And the hangers yes I do make them all myself! I got a macrame book for Christmas and I have been absolutely obsessed with making plant hangers - I’m looking up right now to this arch we have in the house and there’s just two hanging down in progress. I just cannot stop, I’m obsessed!
Jealous Tina's DIY merch, available to buy through their Instagram
TSM: Tell me about your creativity in terms of live shows - how do you get through to your audiences? How important are your clothes, actions and backdrops in comparison to the music?
Rosie: Our live shows - we haven’t done loads, but the ones we have done have been so fun. We were lucky enough to support the Girls Support Girls organisation, and one of our best gigs was playing the Komedia Bath Arts Café at a GSG gig, which was really really crazy fun.
Everyone always asks me, you know, “what do you guys wear for live stuff” - there’s not really like a uniform or anything necessarily, I more or less just say to people just wear what you feel comfortable in. So when I’m on stage I always usually wear the same pair of tights - I mean usually it’s just a fluke because when I’m planning my outfit I just think I have no clue what to wear, so I go for my funky leopard print tights because they make me feel funky. We all just wear what we feel we can create in.
In terms of audiences, I think it’s not necessarily like we have to have a strategy to get through to the audience - it’s more like this is who we are, this is what we’re creating, and if you want to come along with us for the ride that would be amazing. Without trying to be super cheesy and super narcissistic, I just think the most important thing at a gig has got to be you and the music because that’s what people have come to see, and that’s the forefront of your personal creativity.
TSM: Well from experience I can also say how brilliant your live gigs are. Who are your inspirations in music at the moment?
Rosie: As I’ve said, my biggest inspirations will always come from my musical peers who I’m working with, or just my friends really - I’m so blessed in that the majority of my friends are musical in one way or another, whether that be them being musicians or they always have some kind of music to recommend to me.
I’m just going on my Spotify to see what I’m listening to at the moment - so I’m always listening to Laura Misch because one day I will have a similar set-up to her! I’d love to have a solo project one day where I’m able to create and manipulate all these sounds on stage like she does, I think she is incredible. I also love Pip Millett, I’m listening to Biig Piig at the moment, she’s got a new song out which is amazing, Matilda Mann - I love “The Fucking Best”, that’s a great song; Sinead Harnett, obviously Tom Misch’s new album is amazing, Mahalia - oh gosh there’s so many.
I feel like I’ve named loads of artists from that new soul scene that I’m trying to get into at the moment, but equally I love scrolling through Instagram and seeing what’s on the explore page from loads of small musicians like me who just put out little clips of themselves playing and what they’re listening to. That’s a good thing about releasing the Jealous Tina tune - we’ve managed to get our related artists through on Spotify so I’m just really enjoying chatting and reaching out to people who listen to these artists as well as Jealous Tina, and yeah it’s been really nice! Also I absolutely have to add Billy Joel, I just love Billy Joel - in particular The Stranger which is just the most incredible album. And Jorja Smith. I just don’t think there is a way to show how much I love her. And Luna Lake! An ex-CM [university course commercial music] band. I cannot.stop.listening to Luna Lake, I have had their songs on repeat for so long now, I reckon I know all the words.
Jackson Clark on keys in the studio
TSM: If Jealous Tina could collaborate with one musical artist right now, who would it be?
Rosie: There are so many people I’d like to work with. I’d love to work with Ashley Henry, he’s got an amazing song out called “Pressure” which features The RE: Ensemble and I just have not stopped singing it after discovering it a year and a half ago. I’d love to work with Kiefer after seeing him in Bristol which was incredible, and I want to work with Laura Misch, mainly just to be able to see how she does it. She’s probably one of my biggest inspirations in terms of being a solo musician who is able to create such a huge textured and layered sound which I’d love to have a go at and hopefully will be able to soon, as I’ve been able to get hold of all of the tech and stuff that I need to be able to do a live show like Laura Misch.
It’s really interesting how artists like Laura Misch are using their platforms to break genre boundaries - it sounds to me like her music is influenced by soul and ambient music and this and that, and I respect it so much when an artist isn’t necessarily boxed in to one genre, and I hope that I won’t be either.
TSM: We love to see it! So what’s next for you with Jealous Tina - can we look out for any new releases soon?
Rosie: You can definitely look out for new releases soon. From our last recording sessions we managed to get everything down before we went into lockdown, and there’s lots of stuff in the pipeline for sure.
I feel like I don’t want to give too much away though it would be lovely to share things with everyone, but all I can say is keep your eyes out for something within the next month, I’m hoping - something big, something fun, something interesting, something groovy, something funky, something to dance to! I’m gonna stop the list there.
Thank you so much for having me! Sending lots of love to anyone reading this at the moment. It’s a crazy time, so stay safe - and go and listen to some music.
Watch the official music video for "Interim" here:
And keep up to date with Jealous Tina here: Website