Divine Magazine is delighted to welcome Jodi Pederson, better know as ROYAL, to our Interview Lounge today. We caught up with ROYAL to find out more about this wonderfully complex and emotional artist whose latest release “Vessel”, feat. Tiera Skovbye and Jordan Connor, is making waves on YouTube and Spotify.
ROYAL grew up in Vernon, British Columbia, and moved to Vancouver to immerse herself in the music industry. As well as her highly creative original work she has done some gorgeous covers, like Ella Fitzgerald’s “At Last”.
We chatted with ROYAL to find out more about the woman behind the great music, asking her a few silly questions and some more serious ones as well.
What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Wow, I really love ice cream! My name is ROYAL and I’m an ice-cream-a-holic. Seriously, I never used to be a huge ice cream gal but one day it just hit me and it hit hard! My absolute favorite flavor is salted caramel. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and salty, satisfying all of the flavor cravings!
What animal always makes you smile?
Llamas. They are hilarious.
What favorite item of clothing have you worn so much it has holes in it?
Hands down, my red and white AWOLNATION t-shirt that I got at their show. It’s puuurfect!
What superpower would you like to have?
Oh, to have a superpower – how amazing would that be?! I would be SUPER GREEN WOMAN. I would spend my days ridding the planet of all the toxins and pollutants that we’ve created. With just a snap of my fingers, the oceans would be free of plastics and harmful stuff and with a soft whistle, I’d make the air fresh and breathable everywhere. I’d clean up the planet and grow enough great food to feed everyone.
So, Super Green Woman, what’s your top tip for saving the planet?
Stop using so much plastic! When you go grocery shopping, use a reusable bag that doesn’t take 1000 years to decompose. Just take a minute to look around your home and see what you can cut out or re-use. It really is simple, folks!
Talking of planets, the video for “Vessel” uses a fascinating metaphor of being lost in space – how did it feel to actually be inside that space suit?
Thank you! While setting up for the official filming, I wore the space suit so that the crew could run the final lighting and equipment checks. On one hand, I had never felt so cool, but on the other, I was ready to melt out of it. Those suits get hot – real hot – and are exceptionally heavy. Tiera Skovbye is not only an amazing actor and person she is also crazy tough. She wore the space suit for hours at a time and repeated the same slow-motion movements over and over for the camera to capture all of the different angles and emotions. I am so blown away by her.
Your music is a distinctive indie-pop sound that references a lot of genres from straight indie to cabaret. How did this evolve?
I’ve always listened to a very diverse range of musical styles. I owe that to my parents. Growing up, we listened to a lot of Billie Holiday, Bob Dylan, Queen and other awesome artists in pretty much every genre under the sun. We always had music playing and so it became a natural fit for me to pull inspiration from so many different artists and styles.
On your latest album, your voice is sensuous and ethereal and shows a significant progression from your earlier music: how did you develop that distinctive and effortless sound?
Looking back at my earlier music, folk-pop seemed to be a good fit because I wrote all of my music on acoustic guitar. Once I broke away from that comfort zone and started to explore different sounds on my own I could craft my new sound. I traveled a lot during those years and I think that also affected my writing style and sound. Living in Australia, I was introduced to a completely foreign instrumental form that motivated me to experiment even more. It definitely didn’t happen overnight, but it was more of a gradual progression helped by life experiences and just growing up.
Your latest album, “Heart of Shadows”, has some great people on board for the vocals and production. What collaborations would you like to do in the future?
I’m in the midst of working on a few different writing collaborations that have been a lot of fun, but I’d love to do more and team up with artists who I really admire like Imogen Heap and Lorde.
You’re more than a singer, aren’t you? You play bass and guitar and you grew up singing harmonies with your sisters. How do you think that helps you as an artist now?
I’ve always been a singer but I feel that writing has always been my number one. I play a few different instruments and love singing harmonies but writing is really where I feel most at home. Diving into the different areas of music has helped shaped me as an artist. The more I learn, the more I feel I grow creatively. It opens my eyes to different melodies and song structures that – had I not learned to play bass or guitar or piano – might not have come to me.
You often talk about being an independent artist, how important is that for you and how hard do you find it to follow that creative dream in an industry based on big names and lots of hype?
Being an independent artist is definitely challenging, but it also forces me to keep on top of things I might not otherwise care to do. For example, learning what grants are available, when to apply for certain music festivals, how to create social media content, etc. Now that music is so accessible it’s a good reminder to stay true to your own sound. If you try to mimic everyone else you’ll just blend in but if you stay true to your own style then you just might have a chance to stand out and rock someone’s world. It’s also way more satisfying as an artist to do your own thing. Once I realized what made me happy as an artist, I began to focus my time and energy on that. It’s helped to navigate my journey as an independent and I worry less about what everyone else doing.
For more info on Royal be sure to visit