In conversation with Greta Jaime

Eighteen is a strange age to be: newly legal and, to an extent, newly liberated, it is easy to feel trapped in a liminal position, hovering between the confines of adolescence and the freedom of adulthood, tip-toeing back and forth over the invisible line. Whilst many struggle to harness the newfound independence and responsibilities that accompany this transition, Greta Jaime is ahead of the game. The recently turned eighteen year old singer-songwriter seems to have it on lock, refusing to let the burdens of school get in the way of crafting intricately layered alt-pop songs from her family home in North London (and “driving the neighbours crazy” in the process). And with just three singles publicly released and an almost-absent internet presence, she is still very much under the radar, Greta’s tracks are testament to her maturity and hearing her dissect her writing process reiterates this sense of strength and potential.

With an early introduction to the guitar at around the age of six, the stringed instrument seems to be Greta’s main passion, although it is her voice that takes centre stage on her latest track, ‘Computer Games’. Her strong yet breathy vocals flutter around languid riffs, R&B-style beats and washy synths, creating a delicate, dreamy sound that feels like an appropriate accompaniment for slow, beach-spent evenings. Some comparison between Greta and NZ teen-dream icon Lorde or indie rock enchantress Florence Welch (aka Florence + the Machine) can certainly be drawn as she channels their intensity with flecks of vulnerability and stirs a similar ethereal feel. Unsurprisingly, then, Greta cites the former as an inspiration behind her songwriting, alongside Alanis Morisette and queen of cool St Vincent — a guitarist whose cohesion and sheer “genius” she remarks on.

According to Greta, ‘Computer Games’ attempts to explore “mind games”, likening the technological pastime to the complexity of human relationships. Technology appears to be a prominent theme throughout our discussion: she reveals that a long-standing curiosity and fascination led to exploring music technology at school and learning the process behind “slowly building a song”. It seems fitting, then, that the track started as a mere title typed up on her mobile phone. Within a few weeks, however, this notion flowered into a chorus, and so on. Greta is personally responsible for the home-recorded vocals and guitar parts; she was also closely involved with the production process, refusing to let her age stop her from being “adamant” and “restless” in the studio.

Her determination is certainly something to be admired. Recently finishing her A-Levels, Greta has been juggling music and school since she started writing songs at the age of fourteen. Naturally, maintaining this equilibrium was far from easy, particularly towards exam season, but Greta didn’t let the claws of the education system pinch her chances of pursuing her creative endeavors: in response to her teachers’ suspicion over the occasional absence (“well you don’t really look or sound ill”, she light-heartedly recalls), she concludes that “a missed lesson or two was worth finishing a song—at least in my opinion, haha”. This shows that, essentially, she is just like any other eighteen year old.

With weekends and holidays often devoted to her music, Greta’s time away from the studio is spent engaging with her local scene, which she describes as “cool” and “eclectic”. This too feeds into her music: “there are always things happening in London that can spark inspiration or just help get your mind off what you’re stuck on”. Thus, there is no hesitation when I ask about who she admires in her community; she praises fellow Gen. Z babes Nilufer Yanya and Ama Lou with particular enthusiasm.

Though Greta’s songs aren’t groundbreaking or unorthodox in style, they are promising, exhibiting a measure of sophistication that obliterates the teenage stereotype. Not only do her songs demonstrate that she has the potential to develop her sound further, but her gutsy character and resilient tone show that she also has the drive to fulfil this. Her recent support from BBC Introducing London and Spotify seems to be a step in the right direction.

So, what’s next for the budding singer-songwriter? A busy summer of upcoming releases, live shows and a potential music video doesn’t trouble Greta, but excites her, consolidating her ambition and marking her as one to watch.

Safi Bugel

Image: Mystic Sons PR

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