With her dark, mysterious good looks and androgynous '70s rock style, New York-based Jamie Bochert, a model of enduring influence, was destined to be more than just a pretty face. At the height of her career in the mid 00’s, after consistently modelling for fashion publications, high-end designers (including Calvin Klein and Dolce&Gabbana) and luminary photographers, Bochert put fashion on the backburner to focus on doing what she loves most: singing and songwriting. Performing under her stage name, Frances Wolf, Bochert, who plays both guitar and piano, often collaborates and performs with her live-in boyfriend, the actor and musician Michael Pitt, and has performed on stage with her “favourite poet,” – and strikingly simpatico style-mate – Patti Smith.
Currently working on a new album from her home in Brooklyn, which she quips she’ll release just as soon as she, “Finds someone to record it!”, Bochert is also writing a treatment for Michael Pitt’s new music video, and “being poked with pins,” in her long-standing role as Marc Jacobs favourite fit model. The last few years has also seen a resurgence in Bochert’s modeling career – it would seem her authentic New York outsider sensibility is as inspirational today as when she burst onto the scene a decade ago. Jamie Bochert talks about creating “honest” music, loving cats and playing piano with Indigo Clarke.
Hi Jamie, how are you? You seem to be doing a million things, what have you been working on in particular?
Jamie Bochert: Hi, I’m good thank you. I have been busy writing, reading, playing music and working mostly. I am writing a treatment for a music video for Michael [Pitt] that I want to direct. I just started reading a book called "Forced Entries" by Jim Carol, it’s his memoir from the 70's in New York City.
You found your way into the fashion world through modeling, how old were you and what was it like?
Jamie Bochert: I was about 23 when I did my first modeling job, and it was great to have the opportunity to travel and experience other countries and cultures from a young age.
Starting out as a dancer, did you imagine you’d find yourself working in fashion or music at a later stage?
Jamie Bochert: When I was five years old I wanted to work in construction like my dad, then I wanted to be a professional babysitter, then a scientist, then a horror film director, then a dancer, then a dance teacher, then a choreographer, then a veterenarian, then a chef… I’ve been through a lot of stages. Anyhow, I’m happy with whatever I become.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it?
Jamie Bochert: I’m not the best at describing the music I write, but I can say it’s honest.
What inspires your sound, and your lyrics?
Jamie Bochert: My sound is inspired by so many things, it’s difficult to list just a few… I love music and can’t imagine life without it. I love anything that’s honest.
What are your live shows like, do you like performing?
Jamie Bochert: I love performing live, I get really nervous though. I hope one day I don’t get as nervous, but I think its normal. The best live experience I have had was when Patti Smith invited Michael and I to play with her in Paris. That was a very special moment for me, to share the stage with my favorite person in the world, Michael, and my favorite poet, Patti.
What is Marc Jacobs like to work with, as both a model and fit-model, is it inspiring? He seems like fun, but a total perfectionist!
Jamie Bochert: I am currently working with Marc as the fit-model on his next collection. It’s great, but not easy standing in heels all day with people staring at you and being poked with pins, but I do have a lot of fun with him. I feel fortunate to work with Marc, he has taught me a lot and has been very supportive to me. And yes, it is true he is a perfectionist.
What projects are you working on right now that you’re really excited about… Are you releasing an album?
Jamie Bochert: I am releasing an album as soon as I find someone to record it... !?
You seem to be involved in so many creative pursuits, what is your favourite way to wind down?
Jamie Bochert: I love to travel although unfortunately I don’t have the time right now. Reading for me is a way to wind down and escape, I do pilates with my friend, teacher, healer Marina Trejo. I play my piano, and hang out with my cats, I love cats.