Ochre Doctor Series: Beyond the Practice Pt 2
Jade Goodge always wanted to be a rock star. In fact, medicine was her Plan B. In part two of our series Beyond the Practice, we chat with the delightfully effervescent and talented singer, songwriter, performer and rural generalist at Ochre Health Walgett, Dr Jade Goodge (MBBS), (BPhysio), FRACGP & EMC.
When did you discover you had a talent for singing and songwriting?
I’ve always sung. I remember getting told off in kindergarten for always humming and singing to myself! I started learning the guitar when I was 8, and have been song writing since I was about 13. I won my first song writing competition when I was 14.
How did medicine factor into the ‘rock star’ equation?
I grew up in rural Victoria, off-grid, and my dad always told me I had to get a ‘real’ job, and that music was only a hobby. I wanted a job that was flexible, where I could come and go whenever I wanted to, and where there would always be work for me when I came back. A medical degree allowed me to do that.
And why did you decide to take the generalist pathway?
Being a rural generalist gave me a skillset that was useful and in-demand, and there are always short-term locums available, which suits my lifestyle.
Would you mind giving us a snapshot of your musical endeavours?
I moved to LA for 18 months after I finished my fellowship, and was working as a (mostly unsuccessful) songwriter, and was also in an electronic pop duo called Echo City.
My voice wasn’t really the kind of voice that was ‘in vogue’ for electronic pop music at the time, and I ended up feeling a bit lost. So I came home to Australia, and started working as a solo artist, under the name Jade Empress. I was doing a lot of gigs and some small festivals, and was all set to release my first solo single when the pandemic hit. So I went back to medical work, and have been working fairly solidly through the last 18 months, and pushed back the release to what has now become January 2022. I now have a bunch of singles ready, and a couple of EPs already produced, that probably won’t see the light of day for ages now!
How do you balance a career in music and medicine?
I set a financial goal every year, and I usually only do medical work to the point where I’m on track to meet that. Then I try to protect the rest of my time for music and writing.
You’ve a healthy catalogue of songs, what do you enjoy writing about the most?
Anything, really. I write almost every day. A lot of what I write never gets turned into a finished song. It’s pretty cliched, but mostly I write about relationships and feelings, real and imaginary scenarios. I tend to get really influenced by the places I’m in, too. I was locked-down, working, in Walgett for a long time this year, and I wrote an EP called Walgett, which, if I ever release, I will definitely go back to Walgett and Lightning Ridge to do the album artwork and visual media.
What comes first, the lyrics or the tune?
It usually comes all at once, but sometimes if I’m sitting down to do writing exercises, I usually write the melody first.
Who are some of your musical influences?
From a writing and melodic perspective: Joan Armatrading, Fleetwood Mac, Lana Del Rey, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell. Florence and the Machine and London Grammar also really helped me embrace my own voice.
Also, I did a workshop with Ben Folds a few weeks ago, and he really helped me move my song writing to the next level.
To date, what’s been your most memorable live performance?
New Year’s Eve, 2018. I was playing at a friend’s farm, and they kept joking that it was a private festival and that we were the headline act. My band was two of my best mates, and we only picked a set and played together twice before the show - we thought it was just a low-key thing with a bunch of mates, and that we would be a bit of a novelty. Then when we got there, there was a proper sound system set up, heaps of our friends, and a bunch of about 50 other random locals also showed up. We played the WORST set I have ever played in my life, because we were so unpracticed, but we had the most enthusiastic crowd ever. It was a really amazing night, and it really lit the fire for me to really get back to music performance. I ended up doing a whole heap of shows throughout 2019 as a result, and early 2020 before the pandemic.
Tell us about your latest project and release?
I’m really excited about it! The first song I’m releasing is called Golden Hours, and at the moment is due for release early 2022. I’m working my way through the release-planning, and it’s a lot of work. It’s unusual in that I didn’t write it all in one sitting, like most of my other songs. I wrote a couple of lines after I finished a shift at work on Phillip Island, then I didn’t finish the rest of it until I was back at a beach in Byron Bay. It was produced by Max Mitchell, a Gold Coast based producer, who (purely by random chance) turned out to be the son of a nurse I’d just worked with at Bowen Hospital.
Where can we have a listen and download?
As this is the first solo single I’m releasing, there’s nothing on Spotify yet. There are a few videos floating around on YouTube, from a TV performance I did in 2019, and a gallery performance in 2020, plus a few cover songs. If you head to my instagram (@jadeempresss) or my Facebook page, that is usually the first place I’ll post any new links. https://linktr.ee/JadeEmpress
Otherwise, message me, or follow along on insta or FB!
How important is it for doctors to have passions outside General Practice?
I think it depends on the person. Someone’s passion might be being a doctor, in and of itself. But for me, I couldn’t happily be a doctor if I wasn’t able to also do creative things outside of it. I would burn out too easily.
Thank you so much for your time Jade. We look forward to hearing your new single in the new year and if we’re lucky enough, to see you perform on stage in 2022.