When Samantha Jade decided to do an album of disco covers she didn’t know what she was letting herself in for.
With a desire to do something fun, disco seemed like the perfect genre to tackle after her deeply personal album Nine, which she released after the death of her mum from cancer in 2014.
But she was pretty stunned when she delved into the lyrics of familiar songs such as Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff and I Feel Love, which she realised were overtly sexual.
“Some of the lyrics, when you actually get into reading them, oh my gosh, some of them are very full on. I was shocked,” Jade told AAP.
Both songs made it onto her new album, Best Of My Love, but with some modifications.
“I didn’t do the moaning part in I Feel Love because that’s a lot,” she said.
“But I feel like you play a character – that’s how it’s like acting. In a way, with music, you play a character in every song. If you do a covers record, it’s like you’re playing a character.”
Jade’s deep dive into the era of disco introduced her to what it meant when it originally emerged at a time of burgeoning sexual liberation in the late 1970s.
“It started off in underground clubs in New York. It was kind of like this movement of the people and they’d just get up and they’d DJ and sing and perform, and it became something that was kind of this word-of-mouth thing that blew up and became really commercial,” she said.
“And people were also being overtly sexy and it was becoming kind of OK. I think that gave women a bit of a ‘yeah I can be out here and I can be sexy and comfortable with my sexuality and do it in front of the world’.
This sentiment feels particularly relevant to Jade now, at a time where movements such as #MeToo and the Australian not-for-profit organisation, Now, are helping people speak out against workplace sexual harassment, intimidation and abuse they’ve suffered.
“I feel like with today’s climate, with girls being strong and coming out and speaking their mind and talking about all these issues that have been underlying for a long time, I feel like it’s better than ever to sing songs like I Will Survive. They just mean a lot more now,” she said.
And it’s even changed how she sings these songs.
“I think that when I sing I Will Survive it comes from a different place,” she said.
“I used to sing it in karaoke and never ever thought about the lyrics, never felt them in that way. And now I sing it from a different place and I feel like I’m singing for all those people. I Will Survive and I will soldier on.”
*Best of my Love is out now.