Universal/Motown recording group JADA – which is Spanish for Healing Stone - consists of members Jacyn Tremblay, Lauren O'Keefe, Elle Wine, and April Forrest. The vocalists/dancers are currently putting the final touches on their as-yet untitled debut album, I caught up with them to talk about their favorite songs, manufactured girl-groups, love & sacrifice, working with A-list musicians such as Wyclef Jean, Nate "Danja" Hills, The Clutch, Jonathan "J.R" Rotem, and so much more … Enjoy reading and don't forget to post your thoughts :)
Hamada: - Tell us about your musical beginnings? And what made you choose the name "JADA"?
JADA: We have all been performing since we were little girls (performing for our stuffed animals and such! haha). We came together as a group through the artist development company Bristol Entertainment in Boston. Ric and Laura Poulin, our management team, put us together. We all came in with vocal abilities, but Ric, as our vocal coach, trained us in the pop/gospel method that he developed. He has helped us tremendously!!
We love groups like En Vogue and Boyz II Men and wanted to create a power house group like them!! We all put together some group names and even polled our fans. The name JADA won hands down! It's just a short sassy name that is memorable and fun!
Hamada: - Describe your reaction when you first got signed to a major record company like Universal/Motown?
JADA: - We pretty much all started crying, jumping up and down, yelling out some words that aren't fit to be printed (haha) and hugging each other. It was so surreal to us when we first found out. We felt this huge sigh of relief, but at the same time, we knew that we were going to have to work harder than ever! So there were a lot of emotions and tears and that kind of sums up what went down that crazy day which was actually Jacyn's birthday! One present was a piece of paper saying that we were offered a deal with Motown! Best birthday present ever!
Hamada: - When is your debut album coming out? And have you decided upon a title yet?
JADA: - Our album is coming out early summer 2008. We can't wait!! Our first radio single should hit the airwaves this spring! We have not decided on an album title yet, but thought "JADA Takes Over the World!" lol!!! Just kidding. That would be funny though!
Hamada: - What are some of your favorite songs so far?
JADA: - Let's see.... It's hard to say. We just recorded a couple new ones with Carl Sturken & Evan Rodgers (Rihanna, Christina Milian) that are really amazing!! One is a really classic mid tempo about traumatized love called "Shattered" and the other, "It Ain't Like That" is a sassy tell-em- like-it-is kinda song with classic girl group flavor.
And collectively we absolutely LOVE our songs "Me and My Shadow" and "I'm That Chick". "Me and My Shadow" is a song we wrote with producer Toby Gad (known for "Big Girls Don't Cry" -Fergie). It's very personal to all four of us and it's a really strong, epic type of a song. It is one of those songs that just hits you right in the heart, and we're really proud of that.
"I'm That Chick" is an up tempo song that you just want to dance to! It just got released on the BRING IT ON 4 Soundtrack in December so we're really excited about that. We recorded it out in L.A. with Jonathan "J.R." Rotem (Natasha Bedingfield, Leona Lewis, Britney Spears, Jesse McCartney, etc.) and Sean Kingston is featured on it. He's so great! We had an amazing time recording it and it definitely makes your speakers bump! The studio that we recorded the song always has lots of artists working there and we got to meet Chris Brown! He was so nice and Lauren got to do push ups with him! Well, maybe she was showing off a bit there :)
Hamada: - Nate "Danja" Hills, Jonathan "J.R." Rotem, Wyclef Jean, Toby Gad, and songwriting team The Clutch are among the A-list musicians you've had the privilege of working with on your debut album. Whom did you enjoy working with the most? And how important it is for a new artist to have big names attached to the project?
JADA: - It's funny because it was a huge incredible learning experience working with each one of them! We got to co-write with some like Toby Gad and Ric Poulin and learn from true pros and even legends like Wyclef!
Wyclef was really spontaneous and fun and his crew were creating on the spot with him and jammin' out and dancing like crazy so they were a blast. Other sessions were maybe more serious, but we always manage to keep the fun factor going.
We look forward to having songs from each production team on our finished album. Each one is so diverse-we promise it will be musical craziness!
Hamada: - If you could duet with any male artist, who would be your first choice?
Lauren: I would have to say Stevie Wonder because he is such a legend and has taught me so much vocally. If he's booked, then D'Angelo or Musiq Soulchild :)
Jacyn: Johnny Depp! I see he sings now. And he's desperately good looking ... Hmmmm.
April: I would love to work with Chris Brown. He is amazing and I have a lot of respect for him. Plus, he's hott like fire. Haha ;)
Elle: Hmmm ... Justin Timberlake would be amazing!! I love Rascal Flatts too so if you I could do a duet with male artists then they would be my pick!
Hamada: - Most girl-bands are accused of being manufactured; do you feel the same applies to you?
JADA: - No way! Because we were all already pursuing musical endeavors prior to JADA, thus we weren't "manufactured" at all. Besides, often that "manufactured" title is based on a group which is weak musically and vocally, and it ends up with a "homogenized" look and sound because there just is not enough talent to work with, or there may be solid talent but the management is heavy handed and not giving the artists enough voice. That isn't what our managers were interested in creating. We all auditioned for the group, and we each participate in as many aspects of the "business" as possible. We run our rehearsals, book some of our own shows, work on choreography, run our MySpace page, and write many of our songs.
Bristol Entertainment, which is our management and production company, has fostered all of that in JADA and that was the idea from the beginning. They provide us with vocal coaching, writing/recording, dance/choreography and a rehearsal/recording space as well as being our support system. The studio is kind of like the "greenhouse" we have been developing in for the past few years! We are lucky to have what we have, and we definitely work hard to keep our careers moving in the right direction!
Hamada: - When you're recording together, what are some of the things you usually argue about?
JADA: - To be honest, we don't argue! If we have disagreements, we talk it over and figure out what's best for the group. In the studio we might have disagreements on a melody line, but do what's best for the song and go with that! Hard to believe and almost weird, but true! :)
Hamada: -Tell us something that most readers will be surprised to learn about the members of JADA?
April: - I have been classically trained in ballet my entire life and have performed with the Russian Moscow Ballet.
Lauren: - I know sign language! My grandparents on my mom's side were both deaf.
Elle: - I was born in France and moved to the states when I was 8 years old!
Jacyn: I eat everything with my fingers, it's a little weird, but forks get in the way! Well, maybe not at restaurants!
Hamada: - What's your main obsession?
Jacyn: I love lip-gloss. It's a problem! I can't take all of them on trips because I can't fit them in the little plastic bags in my carry on. I collect them. It's scary!
Elle: My dog! He's a long haired Chihuahua named Peanut and he is the love of my life! He's very adorable!
Lauren: My chopstick. It sounds lame, but I'm addicted! If I run out I have to buy more ASAP.
April: Sneakers. Definitely, without a doubt, no question about it! Gotta have 'em ;)
Hamada: - What are the three things that each one of you can't live without?
Jacyn: Lip-gloss, food, and the iPod.
Elle: My dog Peanut, cell phone, and seafood!
Lauren: Chopstick, cell phone, and my family :)
April: My iPod, my cell, and most importantly – Love, haha (just kidding). Lastly, my computer as it's my connection to the world. How sad is that?
Hamada: - List the qualities that you look for in a man? And what turns you off the most?
Elle: I like my guy tall, ambitious, and honest. I don't like jealous and possessive guys; that just rubs me the wrong way.
Lauren: They have to be funny and tall!! I am a sucker for tall guys who know how to make me laugh! I really don't like guys that smoke. If I see a guy that I like and he lights up, I'm immediately
April: I need a guy who can challenge me and keep me on my toes, yet is sweet and charming. I look for intellect and ambition in a guy. I definitely secretly wish for a prince charming to sweep me off my feet despite the fact that I usually go for the "Bad Boy" type. I need a bad boy who's a closet charmer! Dudes who are too cocky or pretentious really turn me off!
Jacyn: I love guys who can sing or have some musical talent. That's a big plus for me. I don't like guys who have no passion in life. Everyone needs a dream!!
Hamada: - Would you leave your career as a performer if you found that special someone to spend the rest of your life with?
JADA: - If you truly love someone, you'll find a way to balance love and work. You have to. You can't just have one thing to the exclusion of everything else!
Hamada: - Have you thought about promoting your music in the Middle East?
JADA: We hope to! We haven't gotten that far in our process, but it's going to be SO much fun to bring our music to the WORLD!
Hamada: - Is there any message you'd like to give to your fans all over the world?
JADA: - You're wonderful and patient! Our latest album has been a long time in the making (at least to us!!), but we can't wait to share all of our tunes with YOU! It's such a great position to be in to communicate with people on such an emotional level. Music really drives us to YOU! We couldn't feel luckier! Thank you to all of our fans for all of your love and support. Check out our MySpace and our website for new videos, blogs, pictures, etc!
We also wanted to thank our sponsors James Joseph Salon in Boston, Chris Kezik for amazing hair styling, and Debra Macki for the amazing make-up! Check them all out on our MySpace page!
[Visit] Jada @ MySpace
[Visit] Jada - Official Website