Jade Castrinos’ soul seems to be as soft and sensitive as her voice. Many people may know Jade from her time in the band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Now, Jade is blossoming as a solo artist. Her passion for music was largely inspired by her parents. By 11 years old, she was making music in a band with her father. She is a down-to-earth person with strong family influences and cravings for Cheetos. Oh, and another thing about this spiritual and thoughtful lady: she knows the importance of loving oneself.
Where did you grow up and what was it like?
For the most part, I grew up in Las Flores Canyon in Malibu. It was a beautiful place to be as a little girl. I would do cartwheels on the beach after school and pick roses on rainy days with my childhood best friend. There were a lot of natural disasters happening in California at the time—fires, floods and earthquakes. I experienced all of it through the eyes of a little girl and in some ways, that whole season of natural disasters felt adventurous.
What most reminds you of home?
The sound of my mother’s voice and laughter and the way a canyon smells the day after a storm.
When did you first pick up a guitar?
I think my earliest memory with a guitar was carving my name into my dad’s old Les Paul at about six years old.
Who influenced your love of music?
My mom always knew how to light up a room with music. I can remember her opening up the curtains flooding the house with natural light and playing Joni Mitchell records and cooking.
My dad really enjoyed showing me the bands that changed his life. He wanted me to know what he knew, while letting me have my own experience with all the different bands he passed on to me.
I know the first band you played in was with your father. Let’s talk about that.
Well, I started writing songs and singing in a band with my dad at 11 years old. It was a time in my life unlike any other. My dad would play guitar and let me run free, using melody and lyrics as catharsis. My innocence allowed me to express myself without second thoughts or reservations.
How has your musical style changed and developed throughout your life?
I have been a lot of different people and lived a lot of lives in this particular lifetime. So, I can’t really tell you how my musical style has changed and developed, only that it has changed and developed—quite a lot, and is still doing so. Every time I pick up a guitar in the morning I have a completely blank canvas. I delight in that.
You spent some time opening for Cat Power, who you’ve been quoted saying is one of your “all-time favorite singers.” What was it like working with her? What have you learned?
Yeah, she’s actually one of my all time favorite human beings. I really love her. It really is beyond all words to be encouraged and accepted by someone I’ve looked up to for years and years. She didn’t have to be one of the kindest and most generous people I’ve ever known but, she was and is exceedingly so.
She never said this outright, but she taught me that I am enough simply because she is enough. She empowered me to be myself because she is herself. She is a way maker and a light bearer in my life and the lives of so many others…. Words don’t do the experience justice. Also, she gets it. There is so much about me that she understood that nobody else could.
If you could have dinner with any three artists, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Heath Ledger—apart from being one of the most talented actors to walk this earth, he was one of the first people who championed Edward Sharpe at the very beginning. To say that Heath had a huge impact on me is an understatement, he truly changed my life.
Second seat goes to a Siamese cat named Lena. The truest artist of them all. She had grandmother energy—I had the privilege of knowing her towards the end of her life and in the very brief time we spent together, I think she knew and loved me better than most people ever will.
So far I seem to be inviting really intelligent, kind and empathic beings to this dinner so I have to say that the third seat goes to miss Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power).
That’s beautiful. What would be on the menu for this sentimental trio?
I think we would eat pizza because Lena really loved the stuff.
What's the one thing about you few people know?
I’m a Jeopardy freak.
Share a guilty pleasure.
Starts with Flamin’ and ends with Hot Cheetos.
Share one of your most memorable moments from touring.
I met one of my dearest friends during a European tour I did with Edward Sharpe. Alex went into the crowd during a song at a festival in Bilbao, Spain and everyone in the crowd sort of followed him around except for this one girl who stood facing forward looking right into my heart.
There was some kind of wordless communication that occurred because we burst out smiling and laughing for no apparent reason and I think I ran to her and gave her a hug right then and there. We spoke after the show and she gave me a purple scarf. I tied it around my wrist—or maybe she did. Either way, I don’t think I took off the scarf for something like a year. I saw her again by chance in Paris after a show at the Olympia Theatre. And we spoke like two people who had known each other forever. There’s much more to that story, it never would have been written if not for those tours...
What song or artist had a major impact on you?
My dad had a bandmate named Jason Grisell. He was the first poet I ever met. It was actually his pocket knife that I used to carve my name into my dad’s guitar when I was a little kid. I remember happening upon Jason one sunny day. He was writing in his notebook and periodically pausing to look up toward the light and then writing again. I asked him what he was doing and without the blink of an eye he kindly said, “I’m receiving.”
Another time, I came to him asking about how to harmonize. I was looking for very concrete and instructional answers and he just sort of smiled and said something like “if you listen for them, you will hear them.” I was perplexed at the time, but to this day I still appreciate that he never made himself any less poetic or enigmatic for me just because I was an inquisitive youngster. From a very early age I was mesmerized by the artistry possessed when he sang. He is still one of the best songwriters I’ve ever known and a guiding light in so many ways.
What song would introduce you in a movie?
Well, if I had any say in it I would pull for "Tezeta” by Mulatu Astatke.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I don’t know. I just want to hug her and tell her that she’s beautiful and make her laugh and promise her that it’s all gonna be ok. I would also give her a copy of Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
What are items in your closet are most special to you and why?
My Lily Ashwell clothes, duh! She’s one of my most treasured friends and I love the beauty she creates with her art and clothing.
What’s next for you?
Writing, recording and heading to Tribeca Film Festival this spring to perform for a really special project that I’ve been part of.
(Interview by Adriana Gallina, Photography by Brittany Bogan)