Although many of the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch choices are signed to record labels, most years there’s normally at least one unsigned artist on the list. This year I’m delighted to choose an act that hails from my own home town, and her name is Jerry Williams.
Jerry first came to my attention a number of years ago when I received a text from a friend telling me that he’d just seen a new young artist play a gig and he thought she would be ‘just your thing’. He was right. Since then I’ve watched Jerry Williams develop her music to the point where, despite not operating with a label, she’s played sold out shows both in her home city and London as well as releasing a number of engaging EPs: A Hairdressers Called Sids, Cold Beer and Let’s Just Forget It. The most recent of those was awarded Best Produced EP at this year’s Unsigned Music Awards. The songs on those EPs have all performed rather well, clocking up over 3 million song plays on Spotify.
So what is it that makes Jerry Williams one to watch for 2017? In essence it's the same things that I highlighted when I first posted about her back in 2015, only now they are developed further and better. First, it’s her voice, which has a sprightful youthfulness that on certain songs reminds me a tiny bit of Harriet Wheeler from The Sundays. Second it’s her songs. Documenting her life and loves with a straight-up pop sensibility but with an indie edge they’re instantly likeable, even when they’re actually a bit sad. And third it’s her live gigs. Each show I’ve seen Jerry play has been better than the last, her confidence and class growing with age and experience – it probably also explains why she can pull off some pretty extreme clashes in the fashion department (she's a wearer of the outlandish trouser) and make them look cool.
Jerry Williams has certainly put in the ground work. What 2017 holds for her remains to be seen – but let’s keep an eye and ear out for her shall we?
Jerry Williams - Let's Just Forget It
Jerry Williams - Mother