Jetta

By
Photography Mari Sarai

Published April 22, 2014

JETTA IN LONDON, FEBRUARY 2014. STYLING: KAREN CLARKSON. JACKET AND BODYSUIT: TOPSHOP. STOCKINGS: FALKE. NECKLACE AND BRACELETS: FOUND AND VISION. RINGS: FREEDOM.

“When I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut,” recalls 24-year-old British singer-songwriter Jetta John-Hartley. “Now I really want to do a gig on Mars.” Space may have to wait as the songstress known simply as Jetta juggles the upcoming release of her debut full-length album (on Republic Records) and a North American tour with John Newman.

John-Hartley’s brand of rock-and-soul-infused pop was shaped, she says, by growing up with a musical family in her native Liverpool. “My mum was in an a capella quartet, so there were always three other women in my living room singing harmonies. My dad was a sound engineer, so there’s definitely the vocal and the sonic side.” A fascination with the likes of Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, and Annie Lennox, along with a little parental guidance, swayed the young John-Hartley to join the family business. “For my 16th birthday, my mum bought me a laptop with Logic, the music software,” she says. “I spent the rest of the summer holed up in my room writing songs and producing.” Later that year, the day came to give her first live performance “in a little bar in Liverpool, with my mum on backing vocals.” John-Hartley’s powerful voice soon drew the attention of the tour manager of singer Paloma Faith, who enlisted her for a string of backing gigs. “One of the most valuable things I learned from Paloma is how to walk in seven-inch heels,” John-Hartley says, describing her own style as “DIY-meets-Blade Runner.”

John-Hartley, who struck out on her own in 2007 with a move to London, distilled her coming-of-age lyrics into the EP Start a Riot last year. The achingly catchy title song has the ambience of London Grammar with the rawness of Florence + the Machine. “I went through so many different emotions when writing the album,” John-Hartley says, “so all the tracks have got a little piece of me.” Fittingly, she made her first music video herself—shooting her bandmates and friends on a free-spirited road trip from London to Liverpool entirely on her iPhone. “It’s all about a feeling first and fine-tuning later,” she says. “I knew what I wanted to do, and I wasn’t second-guessing.”

COSMETICS: NARS COSMETICS, INCLUDING EYELINER PENCIL IN BLACK MOON AND SATIN LIPSTICK IN ROUGE BASQUE; CHANEL, INCLUDING LE VERNIS IN ROUGE NOIR. HAIR PRODUCTS: BUMBLE AND BUMBLE, INCLUDING HAIRDRESSER’S INVISIBLE OIL, AND PREP AND FINISHING SPRAY. HAIR: ROKU ROPPONGI FOR BUMBLE AND BUMBLE/ SAINT LUKE. MAKEUP: JAMES O’RILEY/PREMIER HAIR AND MAKEUP. MANICURE: AMI STREETS FOR CHANEL/LMC WORLDWIDE.