Harnessing the power of raw emotion and candid lyricism, New York City and Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Sadie Jean is quickly becoming a formidable presence in the music industry. Melding confessional songwriting with infectious pop melodies, Sadie’s sound draws inspiration from acclaimed artists such as Joni Mitchell, Taylor Swift, and Phoebe Bridgers. It’s her ability to deliver detailed, relatable lyrics that resonate with listeners and cement her growing popularity.
Sadie Jean’s intrinsic musicality was evident long before her debut single, “WYD Now?” skyrocketed on TikTok and accumulated over 200 million streams across all platforms. With just two releases, she’s already selling out venues like the Constellation Room in Santa Ana, CA, the Mercury Lounge in New York City, and her first international headline at The Grace in London. While currently crafting new music in the studio and finishing a successful supporting tour with Cian Ducrot in Europe, Sadie Jean’s rise shows no signs of slowing down.
Her latest release, “Just Because,” co-written with Griff Clawson and Shy Martin, carries forward the exploration of complex past relationships established in her previous hits “WYD Now?” and “Locksmith.” Meanwhile, “WYD Now?” recently earned RIAA Gold certification and has been sampled by rapper Rod Wave, and “Locksmith” boasts over 60 million worldwide streams. Each release offers a new chapter in Sadie’s narrative, providing a heartfelt look into her journey through life and love.
Even ahead of its official release in May, “Just Because” has already made a significant impact on TikTok, garnering over 4.5 million views and inspiring more than 1,500 user recreations. Sadie Jean’s ability to connect with listeners on a deep level extends beyond her music—it creates a community. Below, we had the pleasure of chopping it up with the singer-songwriter about storytelling, transitioning into womanhood, and songwriting among other topics.
Let’s talk about “Just Because”—what does the song mean to you, what inspired it, and how does it feel to finally put it out?
The song definitely means a lot to me. I feel like all my songs are vulnerable and honest. They’re based on my life, which makes it scarier to put out because it’s like a journal entry. When I wrote this, I was going through a hard time. I was emotionally all over the place. I think you can hear that in the song because every sentence is contradictory. Just because I miss you, it doesn’t mean I want you back.
Everything is the opposite, and that’s exactly how I felt when we wrote it. I’m easily overwhelmed, so it’s therapeutic to sort out my feelings in a song and listen back to it when I feel that same overwhelming feeling. I used to listen to the song all the time before it came out, especially when my emotions didn’t make sense. It’s therapeutic, for sure.
You have a real narrative streak in your work, particularly when it comes to navigating relationships and complex emotions. Where does that come from?
I love storytelling and things in chronological order. It’s my favorite way to write, my favorite order. When I listen to songs, I love when you can tell they’re based on real life. My favorite songwriters are like Taylor Swift and Dolly Parton, and they’re all about storytelling. For me as a listener, it’s the most impactful, so it’s my favorite thing to do.
That being said, what’s your definition of love and how would you describe your love language?
Oh my gosh, I’m still figuring it out, to be honest. I believe love should make things feel better, not worse. It should be easy, not hard. Many people have said this, but I once thought love was this all-encompassing, overwhelming struggle that takes over your life. Now, I don’t think that’s true. I think it should be something that improves the quality of life and makes everything simpler. As for my love language, I think it might be words of affirmation. Is that one, right?
But really, I’m only 21, I don’t know much yet. Although, it’s definitely a primary thought and theme in my life. Not only do I think about it a lot, but many of my songs currently are about love. It’s me trying to figure it out, but I don’t have all the answers.
You’re certainly a woman of many talents and have been working since you were very young. How has the industry transition been from your late teen years to now in your twenties?
Yes, so I grew up loving music, reading songs, and singing, but I was very private about it, almost secretive, because I thought it was embarrassing. For some reason, when you’re younger, everything seems cringe-worthy. I didn’t reveal my passion until it was time for college applications. When I got into NYU for music, I had my first taste of the music industry. Even though it was still within the academic world, I was learning about it.
My first song was my actual introduction to the music industry, and it was overwhelmingly so. I was just writing with friends, not doing sessions, and then suddenly everyone wanted to do sessions and have meetings. It was like, what does this mean? I didn’t even know how to upload a song on Spotify. Everything was overwhelming. Now, I feel more grounded, with a better understanding of the industry, and realizing that no one truly knows what they’re doing. Everyone’s guessing, which makes it fun.
With the rise of TikTok, the industry has already changed a lot since “WYD Now” came out a year and a half ago. It’s becoming more oversaturated with artists, which lessens the pressure for me as everyone’s just posting their songs and trying their best. So, yes, I’m happy with how things have changed and I’m in a good place!
What would you tell your younger self, who probably didn’t have the confidence that you have now?
Honestly, I’m not sure I would want to give my younger self advice. I’m pretty content with how things unfolded. If anything, I would probably tell myself to follow my intuition and continue doing what feels right, as those tend to yield the best decisions. Maybe I would say, “Stop being so scared,” but being alone in my room for so many years, just developing things so intimately with myself, was actually nice. It was important for me to keep things secret for as long as I did, so I don’t know if I would give my past self different advice.
Also, as you’re growing into womanhood, so has your wardrobe—how would you describe your style?
I’m having a blast with clothes these days. I’m always wanting to toss out my entire closet and start anew, which seems common among my friends. I’ve been having fun with a few select pieces. I think I’m a minimalist, possibly due to frequently moving around given my indecisiveness about where I want to live. So, I stick to my favorite pieces, and I only buy things I truly love. It makes putting together outfits so much more enjoyable. I’m really into vintage shopping at the moment.
Collaboratively, what has the songwriting process been like when it comes to some of your newer songs?
When I started, there was a phase where I was in a bunch of sessions every day with different people—a kind of “session dating” phase. It’s a draining process, despite everyone I worked with being wonderful. You put so much into each session just to write a song, because I want it to be the best it can be.
On top of that, you’re getting to know someone, or multiple people, at the same time. It can be really draining. I’m pleased to say I’ve graduated from that phase. Now, I’ve found my favorite people to work with, and I can also add in new sessions to keep discovering new favorite people. It’s been a great change. I feel much more comfortable speaking my mind because I know and trust these people, and the songs are also better because of it. They’re more unique and special, which is nice.
Summer is just a few weeks away and you recently turned 21. What are you looking forward to the most these coming months?
I’m so happy that I’m 21. I’m so excited to spend a lot of time between Orange County and LA and New York, probably. I’ll likely be moving around a lot and focusing on finishing songs first, and then also having fun with my friends from home and my NYU friends in New York.