Home FeaturesFront Deck Boom Box Front Deck Boom Box: Jamie McDell

Front Deck Boom Box: Jamie McDell

by Mallory Arbour
Jamie McDell

Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, Jamie McDell recently dropped her new single, Dream Team from her forthcoming new album, due for release in early 2022. Produced by Nash Chambers, McDell wrote the single while sitting on the bathroom floor of her partner’s boss’s apartment after having just finished watching the last episode of the Netflix series, Chernobyl. As well as the first single, Dream Team, the album contains her most brutally honest moments, in both writing and performance, while the musicians and production take you on modern journey through 70s folk and country, blended with a healthy dose of roots and rock.

Born in New Zealand, McDell has achieved a prolific amount in her formative years. Being signed to EMI at age 16 sparked the beginning of a successful musical journey, making her a household name across the nation. With the release of her debut album, Six Strings and a Sailboat, she went on to achieve Gold album sales, receive three NZ Music Award nominations, winning ‘Best Pop Album’ of 2013. Her sophomore record, Ask Me Anything gained global attention, seeing album track Moon Shines Red featured on American TV series, Pretty Little Liars. In 2019, she released The Botox EP.

We caught up with Jamie McDell to find out what songs she’s listening to for this week’s Front Deck Boom Box.


Madi Diaz – Resentment

Only just released, this track by Madi Diaz stopped me in my tracks. It’s so raw and honest. Separation, leaving, heartbreak – these are topics we lean into as songwriters often and it’s always so thrilling to hear an artist share their perspective in a way we’ve never heard before, especially when you start to wonder if all the phrases around this theme have already been said! Not for Madi. 

Julia Jacklin – Head Alone

Over the last few months, I’ve been living with my friends on a remote island in a beautiful part of British Columbia helping them renovate their house. I’ve spent days painting, getting time and space to listen to albums as a whole. Crushing by Julia is an album I play as loud as possible. In this song I love to scream the bridge lyrics the way she does “you can love somebody without using your hands” – this is one of those lyrics I’ll always wish I wrote.

Clairo – Alewife

Sometimes I can’t even get my head around Clairo’s bravery and vulnerability. It’s so exciting to hear young women in music today breaking boundaries and opening up uncomfortable but necessary conversations through their songwriting. Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Joni Mitchell paved the way some time ago, but during my teenage years, it seemed there were only a few female voices sharing only a few perspectives. I’m so inspired by the stories that are being told now, Clairo is such an important part of that movement and I’m so grateful she had the courage to write and release this personal track. 

The La’s – There She Goes

I think this will be on every top song list for me. I’ve covered it many times on tour, so I needed a break from it for a while, but it’s recently had a revival in my life. I think this track paired with long drives through BC backcountry makes me feel some kind of magical way like I’m where I’m meant to be. This song also has some of my favourite production and vocal recordings ever. 

The Wallflowers – One Headlight 

My mum recently made me a Spotify playlist called ‘Jamie’s Compulsory Listening’ which consists of Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Don Henley (I think she was maybe feeling some guilt for only exposing me to John Denver and Jimmy Buffett as a child haha). I was grateful she also included this roots/rock number by The Wallflowers.


Keep up to date with Jamie McDell via her Facebook page here.
And check out some more of our Front Deck Boom Box series here.

Image: Supplied

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