Jo Schornikow is a Melbourne, Australia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and pianist with a backstory rich of unexpected and profound experiences: Beginning as a church organist and jazz-trained pianist, Schornikow eventually relocated to New York, where she worked as an accompanist for the likes of Hugh Jackman, Bobby Rydell, and Lana Del Rey among others. She has also collaborated with King Creosote, The National, and Kelli Scarr before settling into a steady role as a touring member of Phosphorescent.
With her partner, Phosphorescent’s Mathew Houck, Schonrikow had two children in quick succession in 2014 and 2015. The longtime musician-turned-mom took to songwriting to deal the life-altering and dramatic changes within every aspect of her life, including a new set of priorities and schedules, a spontaneous move from New York to Nashville — and perhaps most important, openly admitting and confronting the fact that for her, motherhood wasn’t the immediately satisfying and fulfilling experience that many describe; that for her, motherhood was centered by wonder, fear and compromise in every aspect of her life. Schornikow’s forthcoming, full-length debut Secret Weapon is informed by and was created in the heavily weighted wake of motherhood — and sonically, the album’s material reportedly falls in the intersection of pop, shoegaze and ambient experimental music. In fact, the gorgeously restrained album single “Ghosts” is built around subtly swelling synths, shimmering guitars and Schornikow’s serene vocals — and while being a decided contract to the chaos of being a mother of two young children, the song evokes a complex and messy array of emotion: joy, wonder, guilt, remorse, awe, fear, and the feeling of being a ghost stuck in one’s past.
Animated, directed, and edited by Michael Hughes, the recently released video for “Ghosts” is a gorgeous and subtle take, displaying mundane aspects of daily life — gatherings of friends and loved ones, cooking and chatting with a loved one in the kitchen and so on with a smoldering sense of loss of all the small things one once enjoyed.
Schornikow’s full-length debut is slated for a March 29, 2019 release through Keeled Scales/Secretly Distribution. But in the meantime, Schornikow will be touring to support the album with sets at this year’s SXSW and two NYC area dates — March 28, 2019 at Baby’s All Right and a March 29, 2019 in store appearance at Rough Trade. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.
March 15 | Austin, TX @ The Townsend (official Keeled Scales SXSW showcase)
March 16 | Austin, TX @ Batch (Aural Canyon Tejas Sessions)
March 17 | Los Angeles, CA @ Love Song Bar
March 18 | Los Angeles, CA @ House show
March 28 | Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
March 29 | Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade Records (6pm instore)
March 31 | Philadelphia, PA @ TRUCK (house show)
April 07 | Nashville, TN @ 5 Spot