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Jessie Dipper: Songs that make space for people

Thanks to our wonderful patrons, we’ve given a grant to folk-grunge singer-songwriter Jessie Dipper, who recently completed a UK tour supporting Scouting for Girls. As is often the case for lesser-known artists, Jessie had to raise her own funds to join the tour, and we were delighted that we could help her seize this opportunity. We talked about songwriting as hospitality, putting others first, and growing in collaboration.

We love to support artists of faith simply trying to make an honest living in the messy world of the creative industries. Join our Patrons scheme for as little as £5 / month – and we can keep supporting great artists like Jessie as they progress.

Hi Jessie. Who are you and what do you do?

Hey, I’m a folk-grunge rock singer-songwriter and performer. I live in Wales, play guitar and write songs!

What one song in your back catalogue best sums you up as an artist? (And why?)

I released a song called Little Miss London on my latest album Sticky Floors and to this day is one of my favourite released songs to date. It was written on the last train out from London back home to where I was living at the time (Birmingham). And I met this incredible woman, who I coined the name ‘Little Miss London’. She had an incredible way of drawing people to her with raucous conversation, and we soon got chatting. We talked about life and the universe with each other and those around us.

It soon became apparent to me that beneath this bravado of bright red lipstick and fur coat, she was a woman quite on her own, and vulnerably still working out what life meant. A week later I finished the song I had begun writing with and about her, and Little Miss London was born. This song sums me up as an artist because I think there’s a Little Miss London in us all – we all dress ourselves up and go about our day hoping people don’t see through us, but beneath it all, we’re vulnerable and questioning, and I have a great hope that kindness is what brings our true selves to the surface, just as this song demonstrates.

You are presently supporting Scouting for Girls on tour and we’re delighted to have been able to support you with some of the tour costs through our patrons scheme. How did this come about and how has the tour gone so far?

The tour came about through some connections I had made over the last few years, through my producer who put me in front of an independent label and bookers. The management of Scouting For Girls saw what I did and were interested In having me on, and thus had an agreement drafted up for me to buy-on to the tour (a common arrangement for up and coming artists).

This was a great commitment to uphold as it required a significant amount of funding, which I chose to crowdfund over the months of July through to September. Incredibly, we were able to hit the target, thanks to everyone who decided to partner with me in supporting this major step. I was so grateful for Sputnik’s contribution, which provided direct financial support in covering additional costs such as accommodation, travel costs and food costs for my team whilst touring the UK. Although we hit a few stumbling blocks along the way, I can say with certainty that we achieved everything we set out to do, and it gives me great hope for my career ahead.

You recently taken on music full time. How have you found that transition? What lessons have you learnt so far?

I’d made the transition before back in 2018, and was able to support myself from then until May 2020 when Covid-19 impacted everyone’s lives. So I’d done it before, but I knew the path was not easy, and it felt like starting all over again. It was a difficult transition to make, but in September 2022 I was finally able to make the move once again back into full time music.

It continues to be an act of faith, to rely on income earned from my work in music to support what I do and increase my capacity for connection. But this was a necessary step. I am convinced that in order to step into this calling of a career in the ‘sticky floor-ed places’, and to achieve a level of success where that career is sustainable, I need to give myself wholeheartedly to it. I’ve had to learn to continually hold things lightly, to not take things too seriously, and surround myself with people that I can trust and will get the job done. Even when a decision seems to be easy, it doesn’t always mean it’s the right one, and thus the discernment process for this is of absolute importance.

Follow Jessie Dipper on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or her website.