With Play, Moby made it acceptable to license songs to TV shows, movies and advertisements — and Jem thanks him for that every day.
Like the electronic-music mastermind did with his 1999 breakthrough album, she too has licensed every song from her 2004 debut, Finally Woken.
“I’m like prostituting myself,” Jem joked. “No, I think it used to be a sort of dodgy thing to do, but I mean as far as I’m concerned, as long as it’s done creatively … I don’t want my music on like a dodgy food ad or something, but I think that I’m really flattered and its catch is huge. I did write the album to be heard.”
Back when Finally Woken was released (see “Jem Out To Make People Forget All About The Holograms” ), “The O.C.” was the first to use her music, eventually inviting her on to the show to sing at the wedding of two of the main characters.
Since then, songs like “They,” “Just a Ride” and “Finally Woken” have appeared in “Six Feet Under,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Without a Trace” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” and the release of her second Stateside single, “24,” has been tied in with the show of the same name. All the while Jem has watched her record sales slowly climb.
“Honestly, it’s not even a money thing,” she said. “I don’t even see that; it goes straight to [recouping] the record. It’s funny ’cause my brother gets publishing [checks] on some of my songs and he’ll call, ’I just got blah blah blah,’ and I’m like, ’You bastard!’ But it’s a good way with a country this big to get it out there.”
In England, Jem’s home country, she’s been able to go the more standard promotional route, releasing a string of singles and videos, with the third, “Wish I,” dropping in September. She’s also been getting her name out there the old fashioned way in both countries through relentless touring.
“It’s fun jumping back and forth, it kind of keeps your feet on the ground,” she said. “Over there, they’re like putting my head on billboards and I’m one of the top 10, but then it’s nice ’cause there’s something about America where it’s a slow growth, but it’s so real life.”
Jem hopes that some of the videos she’s made for her U.K. singles get released in America, but she’s also ready to move on to her next record.
“I’ve got almost a second album ready but with the touring unfortunately the writing [time] does suffer a bit,” she said. “Eminem once said if he doesn’t write songs he feels like sh– and I was like, ’Totally!’ The last song I’ve recorded on my own in a studio was last January and it kind of cripples you a little bit.”
Time will tell where Jem goes with her follow-up, but she expects it won’t stray too far from Finally Woken.
“I think the next one’s going to be pretty similar and maybe the one after that, but I think at some point I’m going to lose my mind — whether on purpose or not on purpose — and just go a bit crazy,” she said. “But the next one I really like the mix of the upbeat stuff, ’cause especially when you’re singing live it’s a lot more fun, but I like every now and then to have a real soul kind of feeling song that’s beautiful and acoustic.”
In the meantime, Jem has “kept sane” by collaborating with Jurassic 5 DJ Cut Chemist on a track for his upcoming solo record.
“It’s way sexy,” she said. “We tried to tone it down, but I seem to either write pure filthy sexy songs or very sad ones. I’m like, ’What’s happened to my head?’ It must be being on tour. It makes you go a bit weird.”
Jem recently wrapped up a U.S. tour with Josh Kelley (see “Josh Kelley Forgoes The Booze For Sophomore LP, Almost Honest” ) and will kickoff a run of U.K. shows this month.