JESCA HOOP with Iron and Wine (solo)
5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 | The Social, 54 N. Orange Ave. | 407-246-1419 | thesocial.org | sold out
It’s nothing personal, but singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop does not want to share every last detail of her life with her fans.
“We’ve lost a lot of intrigue as artists because we’re expected to tell everyone what we ate for breakfast,” Hoop laughs. “I feel that there’s a lot to be gained by letting our artists remain private in a lot of ways.”
Hoop loves her fans, and as her recent, successful PledgeMusic campaign (her second) demonstrates, she is grateful for their support and for what it allows her to do. In this case, that means recording a project called Undress, which was released in February and is an updated, more stripped-down version of her 2010 record, Hunting My Dress. But the power of social media is a double-edged sword that Hoop is not completely comfortable with.
“I have mixed feelings about the modern approach to artistry,” Hoop admits. “I love to work with my fan base to put music out in creative ways like this, but on a deeper level, it highlights the downside of social media. I think there’s something to be said for the loss of mystery.”
Fans of Hoop’s work know full well how interesting acoustic projects like Undress are for her because the results are a far cry from what appears on her records. On her most recent studio album, 2012’s The House That Jack Built, beat machines augment the handclap-happy “Ode to Banksy” and the driving single “Born To,” while a dirty, bluesy guitar pairs with Hoop’s siren-like vocals on “Peacemaker.” Hoop’s albums have their subdued, acoustic moments, to be sure, but part of the allure of doing something like Undress is going bare bones.
“[Undress] is a porch-sitter’s kind of record, where it’s just the elements that are in the room,” she says. “There’s no overdubbing, there isn’t any kind of postproduction. It’s just really simple ingredients. It’s like Mediterranean food; it’s very what-you-see-is-what-you-get, these folks sitting in a room, playing a song, and this is what it sounds like.”
Several artists perform duets with Hoop on Undress – people she has long respected. Among them are the Heartless Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom, Willy Mason and Sam Beam, otherwise known as Iron and Wine, whom she opens for in Beam’s early set at the Social this week. Hoop is always looking to make artistic statements, even if it means calling in other artists to help her breathe new life into old songs. She knows that her music, which she refers to as her “strange brand of pop,” isn’t for everyone, but this is how she plays her part in trying to better the music landscape.
“I feel like a defender of music for keeping standards at a higher level and hoping that people will avoid the crap that’s out there,” Hoop says with another laugh. “I want people to expect more from the music they listen to and get more out of it. I’m very passionate about true, unique and genuine artistry. I understand people liking the more popular music that is out there and I don’t judge them for it, but I think the balance between the two is quite off.”