Hot on the heels of her debut single “No One” released just a little under a month ago, Toronto, ON emerging artist Jane Mathew follows up with another stunning track shared exclusively here with us today. For the Oman-born, and Ontario-raised singer-songwriter, “What Fire” not only serves to maintain the momentum of that first single, but further demonstrates the natural ease in which this young artist opens her soul to bare her innermost and deeply personal life experiences.
Recorded and produced by Simon Ng at Signals and Noises Studio in Scarborough, ON, and mastered by Ethereal Mastering, “What Fire” is a beautifully constructed song where the perfect blend of acoustic, bass and electric guitars, synth pad, drums, organ and piano wrap around Jane’s captivating vocals. With her soft-spoken voice, similar in both sound and style to folk-pop artist Megan Bonnell, Jane’s lyrics narrate a heart wrenching story of a close friend that went through an extremely difficult time and lost a big part of themselves: “I know you’re trying but I / Can’t bear to see you drowning / Let me be your life vest, your lighthouse, and your net / Just reach out.”
Verbalizing her sense of guilt and wondering if or how she contributed to those struggles, and maybe even over-analyzing her own doubts of how they were handled, cue the timely arrival of piano keys which quickly elevate and accentuate Jane’s own thoughts and recollections of such painful memories: “How did I miss the signs / I should have seen it coming / Countless times you’ve fallen off but I never would have guessed / This would be the last.” Those keys and accompanying guitar strums add to the intensity of an artist reminiscing on the good times they had, whilst increasing the emotional acceptance of how that moment in their lives has since disappeared for good.
The common thread binding both singles is that Jane based them on letters she wrote to different people in her life that have impacted her in really beautiful, not-so-beautiful ways. “I started writing these songs so I could vent out my frustrations but at some point, it turned therapeutic for me to be honest with myself about some difficult experiences,” she explains. This theme shall be integral to her forthcoming debut album, “Such Perfect Lives,” set for release later this year; itself a response to the increasing inauthenticity seen in everyday life amplified through social media. “Was it something I did or I said / That it pushed you right over the edge / Oh what fire we once yearned with / Too bright to long burn / Now the ashes are all that remain.”
Jane Mathew may not yet be a household name, but having been exposed to music her whole life, the passion and fire to write, create, and perform runs in her blood. Starting out like many aspiring singers that came before her, Jane spent several years busking legally in the labyrinths of Toronto’s subway system, where her gradual promotion from street performer to professional recording artist was prompted by an impromptu encounter with a casual passer-by who heard her perform, and offered (of all things) to be her producer. Unbeknownst to her, as fate would have it this casual passer-by happened to be Bob Wiseman, the JUNO award winning musician and a former founding member of Blue Rodeo. Wiseman navigated Jane through the maze of grant funding opportunities to help finance her upcoming album, and although he did not go on to produce it, she remains forever grateful for his guidance and impact on furthering her career.
“Oh what fire we once yearned with / Too bright to long burn / Now the ashes are all that remain / Oh what fire we once yearned with / Too bright to long burn / Now I’m left with its ashy remains.”