Jade Helliwell and Kezia Gill combine for Brighton gig

Two of the best country singer-songwriters around combine for their first visit to Brighton and a gig at The Brunswick on November 26.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 6:05 am
Jade Helliwell

Jade Helliwell is a singer-songwriter from West Yorkshire. Her style is a British blend of pop and country influenced by the likes of Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton, as well as contemporary artists Maren Morris and Cassadee Pope.

Midlands-based singer-songwriter Kezia Gill has been singing professionally for more than 15 years. Her country rock and country blues will work well alongside Jade’s country pop.

They will offer individual sets and also combine for duets in the show – all part of the great delight of finally being back on the road.

“It’s part of our Girls Country Tour,” Jade said. “We have got about eight dates and it is my first tour for two years. I didn’t do a full tour in the year running up to Covid. I was still gigging and building things up to this tour that is happening now. Originally, we were doing this tour in 2020. We started planning the tour in February 2020 for later that year and obviously it didn’t happen. It was awful.

“At the start we were just thinking that it was going to last a couple of weeks maybe and then we would be able to come back. The longer it went on, the more we were thinking ‘How long is this actually going to last!’

“But I started doing a livestream straightaway in the first week of the lockdown, and the reaction was amazing. We ended up doing it every week for 63 weeks. The way we ran it was like getting people to ask for requests so that kept me going financially and also mentally! People would put money into a PayPal as a tip for their requests and that made it different every week. The moment that the Thursday night show ended one week people would start making requests for the following show the following week.

“We stopped doing it earlier this year as things opened up. We started going out and doing proper live gigs and we had to keep cancelling the Thursday night live stream because gigs were coming up and in the end we said ‘Well, let’s just see you in person!’”

Jade thinks there is still a place for live streams and she may well do one over Christmas. “People get used to sitting back at home with a drink listening to music!

“But we really were missing the live work. It’s just not the same. You can see the odd comment coming up but I love to have a room full of people that you can chat to and just react to and see how they react to you. At first it was really strange just to be singing into a tiny camera on your laptop but it worked at the time but now it is just really, really exciting to get back to doing it properly. We were joking about how it was going to feel to have the sound of the audience after a whole year of just silence. But the first real gig that I did was a festival and that was a good way to come back. I could do it with a full band and it was a bigger audience.”

The tour sees Jade working with Kezia. Originally it was to be with an American singer who couldn’t make it across and Kezia was happy to step in: “Kezia is from Derby. I met her in 2018. We were both picked to go on a tour in Australia and we became really good friends. We did a couple of things together and sang together at events and it was great. When the American singer couldn’t make it, I asked Kezia if she wanted to do it. It’s great that she can do it. We have been waiting a long time!”