FEATURE: The Jess Hall Band “”Basically David found me on the internet, on YouTube, and a few months later signed me as a solo artist.”

“Basically David (Steele – the band’s manager) found me on the internet, on YouTube, and a few months later signed me as a solo artist. Then he asked if I would like a band and I just said yes.” Jess Hall is not just another YouTube phenomenon. Rebecca Black may have set the bar for ‘success’ earlier in the year with her unexpected super flop “Friday”, but not everyone who uses the interactive video site is quite so calculated in their approach. Though Black may have hit the headlines for her autotuned attempt at pop success (in her defense she is no more or less talented than many of today’s autotuned pop starlets out there), just a quick listen to any of Hall’s home-made clips and it becomes clear as to why she was so quickly snapped up. Boasting a crisp, colourful vocal, Hall oozes effortless appeal and bursts with irresistible charm. However, the modest teenager from Swindon was far from seeking the solo spotlight as she knew her closest pals were equally talented. She continues, “I knew exactly who I wanted, so it just went from there.”

“They are like my comfort blanket.”

“It is much more fun, to be honest. It is so much better. I get so nervous on my own. I need them. They are like my comfort blanket,” giggles Hall. With best buds Alex Stone (Guitar/Vocals), Andy Vincent (Bass) and Stefan Pysanczyn (Drums) firmly installed by her side, it is obvious for any onlooker that their genuine love for each other is at the core of the project.

With the core ingredients having blossomed beautifully, the quartet have found themselves suddenly thrust into the limelight ahead of time. Having won praise for their debut single “Play Shy” (lifted from the EP of the same name) having come to the attention of BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 1 wasted no time in giving the track its first championing forcing the group to settle on a name – The Jess Hall Band. Hall explains, “We tried for a different band name but we got given a time limit and it was before Radio 1, but we couldn’t think of anything. We didn’t want to settle with a rubbish one so we just whacked band on the end of my name.”

“I wouldn’t want to do it without these guys,” explains Hall when asked about what the boys had brought to the table. Veering away from the specifics, she smiles at her co-writer Stone to respond in detail. He is beaten by Vincent, who interjects, “bass” causing the quartet to descend into giggles before Stone offers, “It gives it a fuller sound. We bring different ideas to the table.”

“I am really not sure how it all happened.”

Talking about the track that has brought them all the attention, Hall explains, “we wrote Play Shy with Guy Sigsworth, who writes with Madonna and Bjork. We co-wrote that in May and then Radio 1 liked it. I am really not sure how it all happened.” Whereas Stone is happy to explain the process, “The de-de-de-de bit is something I wrote a long time ago. I was playing it at the sessions in Fulham and I was told to turn it into a song, so I wrote a verse and at the next session we worked together to turn it into a song.”

“Songs like ‘Grace’ were mine before I joined the band. I gave them to Jess, but all the other tracks were co-writes between Jess and other people.” With their debut EP all ready to be unleashed, Stone and Hall are happy to share the writing credits. In a band without any ego, the enjoyment is apparent. The Jess Hall Band are just four talented teenagers from Swindon who are embarking on the ride of their life.

“Play Shy” is out now on iTunes.

Words and Images: Jeremy Williams

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