Jodie Nicholson has released her new album titled ‘Safe Hands’ via Quiet Crown. Safe Hands is an ethereal yet not-so-idyllic daydream. This LP tells it how it really is.

The honest, soothing lyrics remind us of the rawness of Hozier, inside of an indie-alt-pop package that is even synth-wave at moments. Nicholsons’ music is often described as being ‘brooding chamber-pop’.

But now? Her spacious sound and pulling harmonies have matured into an even more delicious wine.

The first track “You Wanted This” starts with a lamentation of piano. Then the sweet harmonies come in, and finally, the bass and synth enter…“You Wanted This” sounds as if someone is trying to convince themselves of something… The vocal production feels very much like the work of Eilish/Finneas. It’s almost as if Eilish met Coldplay for a moment- That is, until the song transforms into electronic bliss.

“Call me when you’re gone, call me when it’s all unravelling”

Safe Hands is off to melancholy start- but where does it go?

The answer is- A “Bad Dream”. Next a detuned piano in 3 gives us a sense of unease- Something is breaking, slowly but surely…

“We go down, one by one, it’s an endless fight

I can feel your reflection turn with water’s edge

No need to question you as you circle round my head”

Safe Hands has ornamental melismatic ahs, catchy syncopated beats, and a thrumming heart of emotions. You ask along with her- Is this death, the end? Is it dreaming? And why are we still playing this game?

The third track “Another Frequency” gives us grooviness and fuzzy samples, perhaps a little taste of Elise Trouv…while the pulsating synths of track 4 “Pity You Had to Leave” feels like spellbound John Bellion.

As we make our way to the middle of an album, we feel a distinct shift. There’s a long emotive exploration (“Embers”) and a struggle with anger, social relationships…The middle of the LP seems to burn out, but then come back with a new spark. Rhodes-like keys make a cameo in track 6, and seem to mark a change – We’re halfway through the story, perhaps.

The gentle triplets in “Starlight” easily lull us into a tasty noir ballad…The second half of the album has rises and falls, and we ride along the sonic waves (which are full of vintage textures, and maybe even a pinch of Mitski).

“Cast out a line for me- always…”

Despite all of this longing, pulling and desperation in Safe Hands…we start to hear a glimmer of hope after “Limit”.

Then “Love, I’m On Fire” feels like this ah-ha moment as us listeners think…There she is, she finally found herself.

“How could I never see it unravel?…I’m on fire now”.

“During recording lead vocal takes, for a split second I couldn’t hold it together. I cried in the middle of Blank Studios, took a ten minute break, had a very nice chat with my engineer Luke (who was very lovely about it) and went back in to record a few more takes. I think you can tell my voice is a little more shaky/emotional than usual. The piano part was born from me messing around on my walk back into the control room after recording some vocal takes. I asked Luke if we could mic up the older piano in Blank, which has a gorgeous warmth to it, and dropped it in. It was one of my favourite moments/parts I recorded. I love how un-planned it was, it adds so much to that section.” -Jodie Nicholson on “Love, I’m On Fire”

In closing with “Flesh & Blood” Jodie Nicholson reminds us that we’re just human. The final strumming lax soundscape feels like home, forgiveness, and that, despite it all – Hey, we’re here and we’re doing pretty alright.

“Safe Hands is, ultimately, an album centered around self-trust and is a personal reminder to believe in myself more.”


The sound of Safe Hands feels very much like a narrative. When you were writing it, did you have a storyline you were penning? If so, what does the arc entail?

Each of the songs were written very sporadically across a three-year period (2021-23). I never intended for an overall narrative or for the tracks to link in any way, but when I started releasing singles from the record and spent more with the album as a complete project, I realised how much my experiences as a musician/artist are reflected throughout the music. From speaking on overwhelm through ‘Limit’, feeling the pressures to write ‘good’ music in ‘What If I’ and ‘You Wanted This’, considering going solo with my career in ‘Embers’, to misogyny in the music industry in the middle 8 of ‘Bad Dream’ and realizing that your worth isn’t defined by your following or engagement on social media in ‘Here I Am’.

Many of the songs are written about the different relationships we have in our lives; friends, family, with ourselves and, more personally, my relationship with music and how that’s evolved since I started releasing music myself, but I think that artist experience is, unintentionally, there providing an anchor to it all. I’m someone who often struggles to articulate and communicate how I feel, and being an artist is a very nuanced and complex experience, so songwriting and production are huge tools for me in understanding and finding those answers, regardless of whether that music sees the light of day or not.

Your words are very poetic and have a beautiful flow to them; What does your lyric-writing process look like?

Lyrics are often a stream of consciousness for me. I’ll loop around some chords that feel nice, see what melodies and lyrics come to mind, repeat until I find something that sticks and expand on a line or phrase I like. I’m quite a stickler when it comes to phonetics and lyrics feeling right to sing and suiting the song’s dynamic, so sometimes I sit and fine-tune the lyrics as the final part of the process. To an extent, especially compared to my earlier songs on Golden Hour (my debut album), I’m much lazier when it comes to lyricism now. That’s not to discredit the lyrics I have written in more recent releases(!), but if there’s a section of lyrics I really like that, one, say everything I feel needs to be said and, two, encapsulates the feeling I’m trying to communicate, I’ll often repeat it for a second verse and release that pressure to provide something new lyrically. Instead, I’ll use production to evolve the song and carry the narrative forward.

I noticed that you use a lot of keyboard-type instruments. What is your favorite instrument to start the seed of a song with?

Piano/keyboard mostly! I like to assign each of my guitars an open tuning, which I love the sound of, but you’re more prone to songs sounding the same and falling into chord shape/progression habits, so I tend to gravitate towards keys because it gives me more freedom. Every possibility is right there in front of you.

A few of the songs on ‘Safe Hands’ started out by flicking through the synth libraries on Logic, landing on something cool and using that as a springboard. Tracks like ‘What If I’, ‘Love, I’m on Fire’ and ‘Pity You Had to Leave’ were each inspired by the pads that introduce, and provide a sonic bed for, each track.

What was it like working on ‘What If I’ with Harri Endersby? What ideas did she bring to the table?

Really special! I feel very touched to have a track on the album with Harri. We met at an open mic night in Darlington in 2019 and have played in each other’s live set-ups over the years, so when we finally sat down to write together in May 2022, it felt long-overdue! We’ve become such close friends through playing music together and we’re such big fans of each other’s work (go check out Harri Endersby and ETHR), so having those factors as a foundation, before we’d even written anything, felt like a very comforting place to be.

I can’t remember specifics per say, but we bounced lyrics and ideas back and forth with each other as streams of consciousness. Harri’s particularly gifted at knowing how to articulate and navigate complex thoughts and feelings, something I struggle with(!), so she really helped shape the narrative and how we moved the song forward lyrically. I think we’re quite similar in how we respond to music and songwrite in an intuitive way. It felt like such a lush and validating writing experience, discussing and imagining how we maybe wanted a listener to feel when they listened to this song, and landing on every aspect of the song’s foundation, together! Harri also introduced the idea of adding electric guitar throughout the track (which was initially much more rhythmic in our demo!), it added so much dynamically and texturally!

How did the process of creating Golden Hour feel compared to this album?

With Golden Hour, I never really planned on making a career out of being a musician/artist. I played in pubs, open mic nights and local venues (in and around Darlington), so that album for me was really my way of giving back to the people who supported me throughout that time and, on a personal level, being able to say I’ve made an album. I didn’t have a team around me, know much about the music industry or how people released music, so I used Google and YouTube to soak up as much information as I could. Safe Hands, on the other hand, was very intentional and I really saw it as a way of progressing my career as a songwriter, artist and producer in this industry. It’s also the first album I’ve been able to work on with a team around me, so the journey to making this record has been particularly special and rewarding to share with those people.

The process for making Safe Hands was quite similar, in terms of how it was written, it being self-produced and most of the songs being built with my little DIY set-up at home, but was very different in terms of the final recordings. All of my releases up until this point had been recorded at home and produced either on my own, or remotely with a producer on Zoom, so this album was my opportunity to break that chain and start recording my music in the way I’ve always dreamt of. I went into Safe Hands with the aims to: create the final recordings in a studio, work with session musicians across the entire record and be the sole producer credited on every single track. It was ambitious for sure and a rollercoaster to get to this point, but I did it(!) and I owe the biggest thank you to my team, and everyone involved, for their trust, encouragement and support in those decisions of how Safe Hands was created.

When I made Golden Hour, I was learning how to use Logic, record my own music at home, and experiment with the basics to achieve the sound I wanted for each track. I didn’t think of myself as a producer or really understand what defined a producer within creating music, but that’s definitely the role I was taking on, on top of being the songwriter and artist! That process is still how I approach songwriting and making demos, so to people who are familiar with that album, it’s probably no surprise that Safe Hands is self-produced!

Making both albums came with their own set of steep learning curves, challenges and new experiences, but I’d like to think it’s made the music, and my confidence, stronger as a result!