Jo Birchall – Something To Say
Reality TV has become a public obsession, driven by the media together with society’s desire for rags to riches success stories. Perhaps it’s a way of living out our own dreams through others or maybe it simply gives us all hope that we too can fulfill our ambitions.
In 2004 Jo Birchall found herself on the road to achieving everything she could ever have desired. Having enjoyed a successful run in the first ever edition of Pop Idol, she had secured a record deal with industry giants Decca and was close to completing her first album.
It was close to the perfect scenario.
“I was in a very good place,” said Jo. “Hard work and a huge amount of self-belief were getting me to where I most needed to be. I had sent a demo to Gary Barlow of Take That and he signed me to his label before Decca offered me a deal. Next thing I know, I’m touring with Westlife and being flown out to the US to record my debut album.
“Then almost overnight a succession of events unfolded that led to a complete turn around. Before my very eyes I saw everything I had worked so hard for unravel and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.”
Decca became involved in a company merger and Gary Barlow found his energies directed towards reforming Take That. Simultaneously events at home hit a low point when both of Jo’s parents were diagnosed with cancer.
“I descended from a state of euphoria to a state of utter shock. Family has always been so important to me and my parents in particular were constantly supportive of everything I as doing.
“They were back in Liverpool at the time and I was down in London and I was regularly travelling back and forth to see how they were getting on.”
Although her mother recovered, Jo lost her father to the disease.
“When you lose someone who is so important to you it changes your outlook on life. I think of dad every day and part of me believes he’s looking down on me now. Wherever he is I hope he is proud of me now.”
With her career in turmoil Jo found herself having to start afresh.
“I moved down to London permanently and was forced to work in a pizza restaurant but I still believed that I could make it.”
Then a chance meeting on a London street brought Jo into contact with the former head of Warner Music and the former Chairman of Universal and before she knew it, her career was back on track.
”These were the same guys who helped guide the careers of Madonna, Michael Buble and James Blunt and now they were backing me!”
‘Something To Say’ was released in August 2011, following the well-received first single ‘Wonderful’, an uplifting song that encapsulates the optimistic spirit of this aspiring talent.
“It was the culmination of years of hard work and I was pretty emotional when the album finally hit the stores. It had been with me through the good times and the bad and I naturally thought a great deal about my dad and the fact that he wasn’t here to enjoy the moment with me.”
In memory of her late father Jo wrote the song ‘Unanswered’, underlining her desire to write songs that come “from the heart but from a good place”.
“I had a hand in the writing of most tracks, although there are a couple of cover versions of three of my favourite songs, Rod Stewart’s ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It’, Toni Braxton’s ‘Woman’ and Olivia Newton John’s ‘I Honestly Love You’. Each of these artists has a profound connection to me and I wanted to put my own take on them.”
With so much going on in her life, does Jo have time to relax and if so, what occupies her time outside of her work?
“I like spending time just relaxing at home with my husband when I can because the nature of our careers mean we sometimes don’t have as much time together as we would like. A home cooked meal and settling down to a nice movie is really something special that we both look forward to.”
And are there plans for a second album.
“Certainly. I have lots of ideas. However, right now I am still enjoying the fact that my first album is out there. I’m still on a bit of a rollercoaster and its really only now that I can start to enjoy the ride without fear of the future.”
If nothing else, Jo Birchall represents the true spirit of determination in the face of adversity and proves that with enough self-belief you really can meet your ambitions.
Jo new single, ‘Don’t Let It Go To Your Heart’ is released on the 6th February and you should tune into Talk Radio Europe on Monday 16th January when you can catch Jo being interviewed as part of the Women Talking collaboration with The Hannah Murray Show.
If you want to know more about Jo Birchall then visit her website at http://jobirchall.com
To win all you need to do is answer the following question:
Who was the co-writer of Jo’s first single ‘Wonderful’?
Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org ensuring you put the words Jo Birchall in the subject header and also include your Women Talking username with the submission.
Please note this competition is only open to Women Talking subscribers and any entry without a valid username will not be accepted.
Please note this competition has now closed.