The response to her latest single and video release, Fight, has overwhelmed Jody Direen.
The most personal song she has ever written shows a different side to the New Zealand country artist, but it’s also provided an empowering outlook on the way she approaches her music in the future.
Released on August 17, the song’s about love, being confused in love, and when your heart says one thing and your head says another.
“Historically, I’ve released party and upbeat songs, and I love to make people feel good,” says Jody.
“But, releasing a heartbreak ballad is kind of new to me. It’s been a while since I released a darker song and the response has been that it’s a really nice contrast to what they have been used to.
“People really connect with it and it’s the most personal song I’ve ever written. It’s very real, raw and honest.”
While it gives her the confidence to continue producing music that cuts to the bone, she also knows she’s onto a winning formula, with fans loving last year’s album release, SHAKE UP.
With its strong pop leanings, it also allows her to create different styles and sounds within her music.
“Like, my song Bad Girl is just a fun, cheeky, fantasy song, then I’m back to Jody,” she laughs.
For the Fight video clip, Jody worked with Snorkel Productions to come up with the unique double exposure theme.
“It’s a little bit different. Everyone seems to love the video. I used minimal make-up and it’s the most organic video I’ve shot.”
Hailing from the alpine town of Wanaka, Jody began touring as a solo acoustic artist at 20, releasing her debut album, HERE WE GO, in 2011.
The success of the record, saw her secure a coveted guest spot performing at the CMA Festival Global Artist Showcase in Nashville.
She stayed on to write and record her next album, and during this time, US-based talent management company, Bear Grylls Ventures, managed and supported her.
Under their guidance, her first single Loud, off her second studio album, BREAKS OUT, was released with an edgier sound.
“Nashville country music is why I started writing country and writing with them is really inspiring,” she says. “It’s another level up. I remember writing three songs a day while I was there.”
LOUD launched straight to #1 in the NZ iTunes Country chart, remained in the NZ TOP 20 for two weeks peaking at #14, and succeeded across the ditch, too, debuting on the Country Music Channel (CMC) at #10 and #13 on Australian Country Radio.
The album, BREAKS OUT made #1 on the NZ iTunes Country chart and peaked at #10 across all genres as well as making its debut at #12 on the Official NZ Top 20.
Jody, who has signed with major record label, ABC Music and partner label Universal Music, has, during her career opened for country greats, such as Kenny Rogers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more recently, LeAnn Rimes and Scotty McCreery.
Her third studio album SHAKE UP, which won the Tui award for Best Country Album at the 2017 NZCMA's, featured Gimme the Beat and received more than 80,000 video views on Facebook.
“I am so grateful for my journey so far, the people and fans who continue to support my music,” she says.
“My goal now is to keep releasing music that is real, and oozes positivity. Music that is fun, and reflects my own personal experiences. So that I can connect with and help others. Help them see happiness and hope during hard times, help them dance when their out at night or in their living room, help them create amazing memories influenced by my songs. Help them realise they are not alone in the world. That is what I want my contribution to the world to be.”
Fans can now look forward to seeing Jody at more than 30 summer tour dates incorporating both Australian and New Zealand gigs, and she can’t wait.
“I’m a self-managed artist, but a music career can be a 10-year build to the pinnacle,” she says. “I’m not there yet, but my fanbase is growing.”