We have had the pleasure of catching this little beauty at a couple of festivals last year and already had her tipped as one to watch. With last weeks release of her debut single, Feel Loved, it’s about time a couple more ears pricked up to the dulcet tones of this northern rose.
Feel Loved is oozing in soulful disco groove from the outset, as the hand clapping drums come in accompanied by the pulsating heart of Jessica Rose Hancock’s soaring vocals. The nostalgia inherent in the track is approached tastefully and establishes itself with integrity and passion rather than feeling like a gimmick. As Marky Lewis’ bass begins dancing delicately upon your inner ear and you start to absent minded tap your foot to the rhythm, you can start to hear how layered and well produced this track is. Tiny little laser beam guitar strums streak across the soundscape, followed by chittering spine tingles of ambient disco stock used to impressive effect. It all comes together in a cataclysmic supernova of pure unadulterated funky release, it almost makes your ears feel a little dirty.
JJ Rosa wears her influences completely on her sleeve and you can hear Prince, Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix, Micheal Jackson and Nile Rodgers, all taking turns contributing to this orgy of excellence. Whilst if handled improperly or by someone without Jessica’s pedigree of musical talent it may come across as merely a homage or a copy of her influences, this track manages to shed the skin of that uncomplimentary tagging quickly through passion and grit alone.
Another thing that is easy to miss or simply not be privy too whilst listening to Feel Loved with it’s easy radio accessibility or pop sensibility is just how talented a musician Jessica is herself. The track could easily lead you to believe that this is simply another talented vocalist with an overpaid producer behind her but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Jessica can play the guitar with all the technical prowess and heartbeat of her predecessors Hendrix and Prince. She plucks on the strings turning it into a work of art, like a cherubim, only with much cooler hair. Don’t believe us? Check out this cover of ‘Little Wing’.
Lyrically the song is a simple analysis of the fakeness surrounding your average life of the party. At least that’s what we’re taking from it, our conclusion hinging around the ear worming chorus of “how does it feel to -feel- loved”, she didn’t say “be loved” did she? JJ is capable of peppering her lyrics not only with fantastic funk and soul from her incredible vocal chords but also with a poetic abstraction mixing with blunt reality our favorite line being ‘so you’re a superstar, riding on laserbeams’.
It’s hard not to fall in love with JJ Rosa, with her beautiful big doe like eyes, nose ring and bright hairdo. Her scarlet lips spinning golden wove lyrics over a juddering guitar riff plucked by her own dainty fingers. There is nothing sexier than a girl than can play guitar better than pretty much every dude you know.
If you can stay out from under her spell for long enough to critically analyse her music as we have, and try to find some flaw with this track you might be tempted to say “well it’s a little repetitive I guess” which would be the only real complaint you could even possibly grasp at, however the tangibility of that thread of criticism quickly falls apart when held up to inspection due to the fact that this song is never really doing exactly the same thing. It’s twisting and grooving and it has a constant thread throughout but it’s a very fluid one. The chorus could possibly be overly repeated… but if it’s done over a breakdown such as the one that starts at around 2:45 then we’re all for it, listen to the screaming guitar under the lyrics and you’ll understand what this act is all about.
Go like JJ Rosa on facebook to stay up to date with the band
Check out this live version of ‘Feel Loved’ below for a little taste of what you’ve been missing.
Words by Matt Miles