Singer/Songwriter Jo Potter Visits About Her New Acoustic/Electric EP "Rocks"

Jo answers a few questions for Coyote Music ranging from her music's production and inspiration to why the hell she wakes up so early.

Coyote Music: Let's get right to the new release! We reviewed Rocks a couple weeks ago and shared our thoughts about it but now we get a chance to hear your take. Rocks consists of 3 songs each recorded acoustically and fully electric. What led to this as opposed to just going with an 'unplugged' album or an all-out rocker?

Jo Potter: I wanted to showcase my songwriting and demonstrate how each song transcends from acoustic to electric. Each version has a different feel and warranted the different production. I also wanted to cater to my fans for those who like the acoustic and those who like the electric. I’ve never attempted a concept like this and wanted to give it a go!

CM: You recorded 3 acoustic versions of songs and put them at the end of your 2019 release "Tonight." Was that decision similar to what's led to the choices behind Rocks?

JP: Absolutely. I received such a mix of feedback with the fans for each version and I liked both productions. Seemed like an organic progression for this project.

I hate you and love you. I have never heard your songs before and you made me cry – twice!
-- Fan after "Rocks" album release, Hard Rock Cafe (Singapore)

CM: Listening to some of your discography, a good bit of it could be classified as pretty straightforward Pop/Rock (some a little poppier, some more rocker). What it is about Rocks that makes this album special for you? Or even more artistically challenging that your previous releases?

JP: I’ve always blended genres in my releases. This project was different as it’s the first time I’ve incorporated country and blues with straight up rock done both acoustic and electric.

CM: You've performed all over the world. Your bio mentions Montreaux, Korea, Miami Beach, and now you're living in Singapore. How have you built your music career such that you've been able to travel and perform around the world?

JP: When I lived in the US, my band toured through many different places. California, New York, Nashville, and Miami to name a few. Truth be told, I have a day job (most musicians do) in corporate sales and I have a medical background/formal education. In my day job, I meet and work with many surgeons and physicians – most who are also musicians themselves!

I’ve travelled around the world with various positions with my day job (corporate sales for global MNC’s) and have always made time to not only record and release albums (Tonight was recorded in Singapore, Japan, and Thailand), but also find amazing musicians to play with and perform at amazing venues.

Jo and her longtime trusted friend
Jo and her longtime trusted friend

CM: You had an album release party just a couple weeks ago for Rocks at Hard Rock Cafe Singapore. How'd it go?

JP: It was amazing! We only did acoustic music from my previous albums as well as the songs from the new release. It was more of a storytelling show where I described the songs themselves and some of the process of how I write.

At the end of the show, a listener approached me and said, “I hate you and love you. I have never heard your songs before and you made me cry – twice!” This connection she had with me and my music is what motivates me to continue. It’s a lot of work putting your soul out there and as an artist, there are doubts when you release anything – i.e. what if no one likes this? Is this the right place for a harmony? It’s really a labour of love but there are definite times of significant reservation – like, what am I doing?!

When she shared this with me, it reminded me why I do what I do.. and it meant the world.

CM: That's just about the best feedback you can get from a fan. Wow! And while we're conversationally in Singapore, what is it that led you there (in 2015?) and has been special enough to keep you there?

JP: Singapore is one of the most amazing places I’ve had the privilege to live in. It is a first world country that is state of the art, safe, clean, well-organized government. The food is unbelievably amazing and the people are lovely. It is a true diverse melting pot of so many different cultures and nationalities.

What keeps me here is that my children are being raised in Singapore. I don’t worry about their safety or well-being. They can go to friend’s houses, to a playground, or go to the store to purchase things on their own and I don’t live in fear that anything will happen to them if I’m not there to supervise.

It also is located in the middle of Southeast Asia and is perfect to travel quickly to places like Bali, Phuket, and one of my favourite countries, Vietnam.

CM: Do you have a favorite among songwriting, recording, or performing?

JP: Wow.. ok this is tough because they all have different skills and attributes I love.

Songwriting – there is really no better feeling when you write something that makes you cry or laugh. I’m most proud of my songwriting as it’s what connects me to others.

Recording/Producing – This is where I feel my skills have developed exponentially. I produce all vocals and the harmonies/backup vocals and work independently. I don’t think many people understand how many decisions go into producing a song. Do I put a three-part harmony here? Do I harmonize this one line or through the entire chorus? The choices are endless and you can most definitely overproduce if you’re not careful – yah, that’s happened to me (several times ☹). I’ve had to go back and peel away the layers.

Performing – This is where I feel most comfortable because I truly feel like I’m connecting with the audience.

CM: Do you have a favorite performance from the entirety of your career--either the best crowd, stage, lineup, or just the feeling you got from the show itself?

JP: It’s not necessarily one show that is my favourite, but it’s the experience that happens at the show. Sometimes, I will see people singing my song back to me in the crowd and they are feeling it! Many times, people have met me after and said, “I feel like you wrote that song for me.” And it’s such a beautiful memorable experience because I know that I’ve truly connected with them.

CM: On the heels of releasing Rocks, what do you have in store for your fans throughout the rest of 2024?

JP: I’m aiming to play a couple shows through Southeast Asia. But mostly, I want to use this time to finish writing my next album.

CM: Do you mind sharing what a typical day looks like for you these days?

JP: I usually wake up at 5am every morning and hit the gym by 6. I HATE it. I’m not a morning person and I find no joy in those hours. The only reason why I do it is because it’s the perfect time to go to the gym – no one is usually there so I have it all to myself. Once it’s out of the way, I have the rest of the day – which ultimately feels like the longest day of my life. The amount of things I am able to accomplish is insane, but still I don’t have to like the early part (yah, still hate it).

I have breakfast with my kids, send them off to school. I work from home, so there’s emails and calls. Right after lunch, I’ll either run a few errands and/or work on music. I greet the kids home in the late afternoon when they arrive from school. We eat dinner together at our dining table with no phones/devices. That’s a big rule in my house. We talk about our day and random various things. Then it’s back to work or music after dinner and tuck the kids in for bed.

CM: Any plans to return to the U.S. for touring or a short string of shows?

JP: Not at this time… but now you’re making me think about it! If I do come back, I’ll be sure to post it on my website or socials. Happy to hear from fans if there are venues they would like me to play! 😊

CM: What else is on your mind?

JP: My sole purpose is to create music that deeply connects with you.

CM: Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. And for readers who are just now discovering Jo Potter, where should they go from here to learn more about you and your music?

JP: I’m on all streaming services (Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, YouTube), and on socials. I post sporadically on Instagram, but answer all my DM’s there. So if you’ve got a question or comment, let me know. I’m always happy to receive a message! 😊

Posted on 5/14/24