A QUICKIE WITH...
Singer-songwriter Jude Adams
She released her first album at the age of 57 despite being diagnosed with ME just a couple of years earlier. DIVA caught up with Jude Adams, whose album This Girl, This Woman is on the (digital) shelves now, to find out more.
DIVA: Hello Jude, it’s lovely to chat to you! You’ve said that you’ve always loved singing, but it began as something which was “absolutely behind closed doors”. How did you first come to sing in front of a crowd?
JUDE ADAMS: My wife, after years of trying to encourage me, eventually said: “Ok, you have your 50th birthday coming up in six months’ time and we’re going to have a big party and you can sing at it – won’t that be an amazing thing to do!” And that was exactly what I did. I sang in front of a hundred very unsuspecting friends and family! [laughs]
Just a few years after you began singing publicly you were diagnosed with ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy). How did that affect your ability to perform?
In short, I had to stop. So that was all pretty devastating. ME is a debilitating and very cruel illness – and my diagnosis was only mild. It affects people in very different ways, but extreme and extraordinary fatigue is the overriding symptom. Your battery just completely runs out.
You’ve said that with ME “peace, tranquility and solitude is actually really helpful”. How did your recovery help you begin to write your own music?
One of the things I was encouraged to start doing was to keep a journal, which was a way of getting what was in my head down on paper, and I found some of the things that I was writing were slightly poetic and thought: “Oh, perhaps they’re a bit like song lyrics?” And that’s basically how the album eventually came about.
Do your songs reflect your own experiences?
The reality is, whilst I don’t like to [let my illness define] me, this particular album is inextricably linked with my health issues and age. And of course, the fact that I’m a gay woman is really important. Don’t Judge Me No More is about prejudice and inequality; in writing it I drew on any discrimination I’ve experienced as a gay woman, because of my age and certainly about my health, because there is still a stigma and a lack of understanding about ME.
Why do you feel it’s important to share your story?
In the humblest possible way, if my story can inspire other people to step outside their comfort zone into worlds that are totally unfamiliar to them, then that would be fantastic, I would love for that to happen.
What have you got lined up for the rest of the year?
I’m going to be appearing at Pride in Canterbury in June… and of course, there has to be a second album in the not-too- distant future!
For more about Jude, visit divamag.co.uk where you’ll find the full interview. And to keep up to date, visit her website judeadamssings.net.
“I first sang in public at my own 50th birthday party”
MEET THE SINGERSONGWRITER WHO IS PROVING IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START SOMETHING NEW