Jamie McDell will release her introspective Botox EP on Oct. 25, and Billboard has the exclusive premiere to the three-song set today (Oct. 23).
The New Zealander enchants with airy vocals and confessional lyrics on the title track and its intriguing follow-up “Worst Crime” featuring Robert Ellis. All the while, her storytelling is at the forefront of each song.
While “Botox” was quick to write for McDell, she says the idea draws from her insecurities over the years. Whether it was channeling her youth or being away from her native of New Zealand following a move to Toronto, she says she was “at a boiling point” and “Botox” is what spilled out.
“I’d just moved to Toronto, I’d come from a summer of surfing on the coast of New Zealand every single day, the kind of activity I find so therapeutic,” she tells Billboard of the EP’s title track. “Then I found myself sitting on the floor in my apartment thousands of miles away and it all came to the surface. From boys at school saying I was too tall or explaining that if I got breast implants I would be ‘perfect,’ to the loving relationship I’m in now with a man whose values go so far beyond physical appearance.”
Following the release of previous album Extraordinary Girl, McDell says she promised herself that she’d say what she meant on this next phase of her musical journey with producer Nash Chambers. This honesty can be heard on “Worst Crime” featuring Ellis. On the stunning duet, the pair detail how often the worst crimes in one’s life are the emotional ones.
Chambers was in the studio the day McDell penned the song and throughout the process served as a mentor to McDell. The singer-songwriter says she shares the same creative process as her producer.
“He gets that for the most part my vocabulary is most interesting when I’m writing alone and we both try to steer away from writing for the sake of writing,” she says. “‘Worst Crime’ came together very smoothly, we all fully understood the sentiment and didn’t overthink it.”
The project closes with the enchanting “Goodbye Ohio,” which came together from McDell’s love of writing story songs. Inspired in part by covering Jimmy Buffett’s “He Went To Paris” in her sets, McDell admits that “Goodbye Ohio” isn’t quite autobiographical.
“‘Goodbye Ohio’ is half fact, half imaginary,” she says. “I guess I didn’t have enough time with this woman to get the entire picture so I created the rest, and it was a really enjoyable thing to do…as a passionate roots music fan in this current climate, I’m feeling a longing for truth and authenticity in a genre that for the last decade has just felt a little polite. I am so excited to see other female artists opening doors and breaking down barriers not only in regard to career opportunities but encouraging a wider range of perspectives in our lyrical content.
“I’m still a student, still learning how to speak my truth and celebrate my own perspective and I hope people can hear that in my music,” she adds.
Hear McDell’s Botox EP in its entirety below.