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This month, we’re shining a spotlight on women in music who are making their voice heard - on and off the stage. This week’s headliner? Give it up for Jillian Jacqueline! The Pennsylvania native has been taking the country music scene by storm - with features on Rolling Stone and CMT, collaborations with artists such as Keith Urban, and tours opening for country stars like Little Big Town and Thomas Rhett. And she's just getting started! With a new single titled, Wait For the Light, we sat down with the country crooner to discuss women in music, what artists she's putting on repeat, and how she's been staying creative in quarantine.
We can’t stop putting your music on repeat! Who or what inspired you to make music? Did you grow up around music? When did you decide to make a career out of songwriting and singing?
Thank you. That means a lot. And yeah, I did. My parents weren’t really musical but somehow just naturally my 3 sisters and I gravitated towards wanting to play instruments and putting on backyard productions of musicals like Annie and Wizard of Oz. And I guess I started singing along to every country song I heard on the radio in the car around 6 or 7 years old and just never stopped singing. So my mom eventually started taking me to open mic nights and auditions for things.
There wasn’t one definitive moment for me, I think I just realized very early on that I felt the most connected to myself when I was writing songs or singing. And the power of music was never lost on me. The feeling I got every time I got on stage in front of a room of people was this rush of purpose and connection that I knew I couldn’t live without.
We all have one song or one album that will always have a special place in our hearts. What is that song or album for you? How has that artist inspired your work?
Probably has to be “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. It’s the first song I can ever recall listening to on repeat in my bedroom and feeling (even as a little girl) the ache and the emotion in her voice that can only come from understanding how heartbreaking love can be. Patsy inspired me to always sing with conviction.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting female singer-songwriters who aren’t afraid to raise their voices. What’s a cause or issue with the music industry that you wish more people knew about? What’s a small action we can take to combat it?
Female producers! Hiring them, supporting them, sharing their work, etc. I’m a big fan of the Recording Academy’s Women In The Mix initiative to work to challenge the current statistic that only 2% of producers and engineers are women. I’m excited to watch this number grow in the near future because there’s no reason why it shouldn’t.
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If the Grammy nominations are any indication, it seems like women in music dominated in 2020. Is there a recent female singer or songwriter who has been a source of inspiration for you?
There’s actually two that I’ve had on repeat for the last year, Madison Cunningham and Phoebe Bridgers. Both have such unique perspectives and captivating voices.
COVID-19 has upended many industries, however, the music industry might be one of the hardest hit. How have you managed to stay creative during this difficult time? How have you been sharing your music while touring and concerts have ceased?
I’m able to view this time as a gift of sorts, even though I didn’t see it that way at first, because I was in the thick of recording my full length album when everything shut down. It obviously shifted my timeline a great deal but it forced me to really examine the songs and my sonic direction and I, along with my producers (who also happen to be my husband and best friend as well as siblings) challenged a lot of what we had already created to try to make it even better.
I also focused a ton of my daily energy on Zoom songwriting, which does come with its own downsides, but ultimately helped me stay creatively open and excited in some of the harder moments of the last year. Not being able to tour was one of the most difficult things for me. I get so much out of meeting and connecting with fans, so I really had to dive in to the world of Instagram live and doing online shows in whatever capacity I could. I also got to release a song inspired by the state of the world in 2020 and asked fans to help me make a music video for it by sending in their own home videos and art/photography to compile in to montage. It ended up being so special and meaningful for all of us.
Anything else you want to add or share about what’s next for you?
I’m really proud of the journey it took to get to where I am now, and I think it’s reflected in the songs I’m going to share with the world very soon.