Virtually every singer-songwriter from New Jersey has been compared to Bruce Springsteen at one time or another. That's a pretty unfair comparison but it's not even close to the unjust world female musicians like Jodelle face every day. Imagine being a female musician that plays piano?
It's hard to find one that doesn't inspire comparisons with Tori Amos - regardless of what she sounds like. If she plays piano, she sounds like Tori Amos period. Of course that's as ridiculous as lumping every Jersey singer-songwriter into the Springsteen genre.
It's kind of strange because guys who play piano in the rock and roll world (names like Elton John, Bruce Hornsby, Ben Folds, etc.) are hardly ever lumped together. But for musicians like Jodelle it's a way of life.
"I think people just need a familiar artist to kind of get them started on being interested in you," said Jodelle. "I personally don't like compairing myself to anyone because I don't think I'm exactly like anybody. I'm really not like Tori Amos. I mean, she's amazing and I'd like to think of myself as talented, but I'm different than her. It's a difficult situation when you're forced to compare yourself to someone."
Tori Amos is definitely one of the influences in Jodelle's music, but she counts artists like Joni Mitchell, Fiona Apple, and Sarah McLachlan among the list as well. She believes her music is actually a combination of all of these artists and one listen to her new CD, The Adventures of Jodelle, will most likely have you agreeing.
The CD is named after a long out-of-print comic book that came out in the 1960s. She was able to find a used copy and actually tracked down the original author, who let her have permission to use the images within her CD release.
"Jodelle was the main character," she explained. "She was kind of a spy hero or wonder woman type of person. For a brief moment I thought it would be cool to take on that character and come out for my shows dressed like her. I really don't look like her actually. I have red hair, but I'm wearing a wig for the photos. But after thinking about it and talking with some people, I decided I shouldn't do that because I could get stuck with people always expecting it. It's like Marilyn Manson - he always has to walk around looking like that. It's part of his persona now."
This CD is Jodelle's first full-length release. She previously released an 4-song EP entitled "Find Me If You Can". You can hear clips of every song on each record at her website www.jodelle.net - lyrics for each song are also available online.
Her lyrics deal with loneliless, relationships, depression, hopes and dreams, desires and fears. Her words are like poetry, but not quite to the obscurity of someone like a Tori Amos. Jodelle is accessible.
Some of her accessibility may stem from a woman that influenced her work from an early age, in fact it's somebody that inspired her to reach for the stage. That person was Stevie Nicks.
"People have mixed feelings about her, but she was one of the first rock and roll women that I would listen to," said Jodelle. "I would listen to her and watch her videos and feel like, 'wow! I want to be a rock star like that!' She'd be on stage twirling around with her big cape and her big flowing outfits and it was just so cool!"
Jodelle's recent shows in New York City are beginning to get a little buzz going about her work. One reviewer said, "New Jersey's secret is now New York's discovery". Her goal is to create a buzz throughout the tri-state area and shows like her upcoming stop at the Saint in Asbury Park on May 17th should help her achieve that goal. Jodelle will be part of a special acoustic festival with other female artists like Sheryl D, April Smith, Melissa Chill, and Judd & Maggie.
Once you see hear Jodelle's music you'll discover what a great talent she really is. And the adventures for this Jersey girl are just beginning...