by Peter Wilson

I heard about Spark last year when she was lucky enough to support Marina and the Diamonds. Just 18 years young, this girl has some serious ambition.  She’s been all the hype on Twitter and is well on her way to rocket to stardom with her catchy intelligent pop.  In this EQ interview with Spark – we talk about signing her first autograph, the X-Factor, her brilliant single “Revolving” and what lies ahead for the bright starlet.

EQ: Jess “Spark” Morgan! How are you on this fine day?
I am very well, thank you!

You toured with Marina and the Diamonds back in May. What was your best moment from it?
It’s tough to pick a favourite moment from the tour with Marina, I genuinely loved it all. I did a big, long (too long) blog on it afterwards which is still up somewhere, but if I had to pick just one special moment it was maybe after the first gig in Birmingham when I was asked for my autograph for the first time by people I didn’t know – it doesn’t count if family and friends want your autograph.  That was pretty special.  I was like “Who? Me? Are you serious?” all looking behind me to see if they were talking to somebody else!
What artists have majorly inspired or influenced your work?
It’s funny because I think rather than ever having an idol or specific people I wanted to be like etc, I feel like the fact that I like so many different styles and types of music is what comes through more than me liking someone and sounding like them. It’s usually been a case of people telling me I sound like someone and me having no idea who they are, I look them up and then fall in love. That happened with Alanis Morissette, Kate Bush and so many more.  But I’m also influenced by a lot of hip hop and rappers.  Not because I’m a rapper – clearly I’m not, but just because rappers use words and syllables and rhythms in ways that singers don’t, and I love that. I think in places that comes through a bit. Then also I love just straight up pop.  Everyone loves a bit of pop.
Is there any artists that you would really like to collaborate with?
I would seriously love to collaborate with Eminem. That would be the one. That’s a bit of a dream and obviously thats some high aim!  Literally just went straight for the best in the game. But I’m being honest, I think that would be a seriously incredible collaboration.


What is your opinion on the conveyor-belt shows such as X Factor?  Is it right that these people are launched into stilted fame overnight?
Really, I think it has it’s place. I think that it works for some people – Leona Lewis: proof.  Alexandra Burke: proof.  Will Young: proof. Success has a lot to do with timing, I feel. I love and believe in the idea of serendipity and feel it has a big part to play in so many things.  Sometimes timing doesn’t work out for people, so there are shows like X Factor to give opportunity to those people. I don’t really have a big, strong opinion on it.  It works for some people, for others it doesn’t. That’s all there is to it.
How does it affect an artist such as yourself who works hard and long at their career?
I don’t feel like I’m being cheated or trodden on by these shows.  Like I said, they have their place. Obviously I work hard for my career but I think being catapulted into fame is a different type of hard work.  I write my music and perform my music, that is something these shows don’t really express an interest in.  But that’s okay, clearly the millions of people that watch every week don’t mind that and neither do the contestants, so I think all the people that go crazy about the shows and slag it off all the time should just relax.  It’s not hurting anyone.
Have you ever considered/applied for those types of shows?
I never really had a need to. That’s what I mean about timing and serendipity.  I was fortunate enough to meet my manager, Jess, when I was 16 and then things have just been slotting into place since.  I went on the tour with Marina the day after I left school, got back, signed a record deal, I’m recording my album, it’ll be out this year – you know?  That’s like a dream!  It doesn’t always happen like that.  And so there are shows, like X Factor, for the people that doesn’t happen for.  Obviously, like I said it’s a result of a lot of hard work and determination and all the rest of it – I don’t believe in luck.  I wrote my first song when I was 12 and have put a lot into building my career, that’s ultimately why I’m here now, nothing has ever been handed to me.. But either way, X Factor is what it is!  I don’t have a huge problem with it.
I read your song “Revolving” is a deeply personal track about being controlled and manipulated. Is this drawn from your own experiences or an observation of others?
Well that’s only half true. All of my songs are in some way very personal to me, sometimes I write literally word for word about a specific situation. Other times, I take an idea or a theme and create some metaphorical story around it. That’s what “Revolving” is.  I’m not a doll, I don’t have a key in my back that can be wound up – obviously!  It’s just a story around the idea of control and manipulation, but it’s not about me being controlled or changed or altered or any of that.  I never have been, so there’d be no need to write a song about it!  People assume that’s what it’s about, but it’s not.  It’s is always okay for people to interpret what I write in whichever way they want though, I have no problem with that – that’s what it’s for!
What’s the end game for Spark?  Is there a specific way you want to evolve, or are you taking it as it comes? And what’s the craic with an album?  Any deets you can share?
End game?  Slow down there horsey!  I’ve only just started!  [laughs] I don’t have a game plan.  This isn’t X Factor!  This is my life, and I’m putting everything into it, obviously.  In terms of how I evolve, who knows?! There are so many things that factor in to changes in someone – I’m still growing, my opinions are changing, I’m meeting new people, seeing new things.  Maybe by album two I’ll be in love and write some sort of Valentines album!  No one knows, we just have to wait and see.  I’ve already changed from being an acoustic singer/songwriter/guitarist so could definitely change it all up again, maybe even go back to that at some point. It’s exciting to not know!  Definitely taking it as it comes.
And album?  Not really many deets to share, I’m recording it as we speak with a very talented gent called Amir Amor – he’s amazing. I already have a four-to-the-floor club banger, a 10-part harmony, a ballad – and there are many more exciting things to come!

“Revolving” is out now on iTunes.