One of LA's best-kept musical songwriting secrets for over a decade -- collaborating with the likes of Sondre Lerche, Jim James, Moby, Sarah and Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), and Mikael Jorgensen (Wilco) – Jamie Drake moved to the front of the stage with the 2019 release of her debut album Everything’s Fine (AntiFragile Music). The album, peppered with indie-folk-pop stylings wrapped in lush orchestrations, drew critical praise from around the world.
On New Girl, the sophomore album coming from Drake, her love for early 1970s Laurel Canyon folk unexpectedly meets Rio de Janeiro. Across the LP’s 11 tracks, the listener finds a raw and emotionally brave follow up that once again displays her ability to evolve as a dynamic artist. New Girl’s bossa influence came as a surprise - inspired by Getz/Gilberto '76, the live album by Stan Getz and João Gilberto, which Jamie discovered for the first time in 2020 while living in upper Ojai, California. “I listened to it every day while riding my bike around Meiners Oaks with my dog Moxie and a JBL speaker in the basket. I knew those songs had gotten into my marrow when I met and wrote ‘It’s A New Life’ with (producer) Rich Jacques as it’s the first song I’ve ever written with a bossa feeling to it. I knew I would make my next album with him after that. The feeling of that song was the world I wanted to keep living in musically.”
In the fall of 2021 Jamie and Rich reconvened along with artist and multi-instrumentalist Austin Myles Grant to start working on the new album. The trio was invited to record at a private residence set in the Santa Monica mountains. Seeped in the quiet of nature, they could fully unfurl and connect musically. In two weeks, New Girl was born.
This purity and connection can be felt in the recordings. Drake bravely asks one of the most human questions in “Is There Something Wrong with Me?” And contemplates that “life feels undeserving when the whole world is hurting,” synthesizing the guilt many felt across the globe in early 2020 with clarity while still maintaining hope and purpose in “When John Prine Died.” These heartfelt tracks are magnificently balanced by other offerings like the comically recorded Bossa influenced, “New Girl,” which depicts Jamie’s gypsy-like childhood with a twinkle in her eye. And then there’s “Sing,” a song that can lift the heart of the listener into a fantasia of imagination and wonder not unlike Julie Andrews. It’s this childlike awe Drake maintains that draws even the youngest of fans to her. Hits like “Easy Target,” remind us of Carol King in “It’s Too Late,” and feel as if it was recorded around the same time. The album becomes hypnotic with “It’s A New Life,” which takes us to a world where Drake’s vocals feel like a cross between Astrud Gilberto and Sade. “Lifted by Love” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” bring the listener to their heart center where anything is possible and the world is still filled with hope and wonder. Taken wholly, New Girl is melded together by Jamie’s mesmerizing and unique vocal melodies and songwriting, bringing a fresh perspective on Folk and Bossa Nova that is uniquely her own.