THIS is a bit of a delayed interview...
but I have been speaking with Jackie Venson about her current single, A Million Moments. She talks about her musical tastes and what her plans are for this year; whether she has more material coming and a rising artist we should get behind.
I ask which artist she’d support on the road if possible; a few albums that mean the most and whether there are tour dates coming along – she ends the interview by selecting a bit of a classic track.
Hi, Jackie. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! I'm great, thanks. I've been working really hard in the studio this week with some incredible musicians and producers. Can't wait to share what we've been up to with you!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Jackie Venson. I am a singer/songwriter/guitarist born and raised in Austin, Texas. My music is at the intersection of Rock, R&B; Pop and Blues.
A Million Moments is your latest single. Can you reveal the story behind it?
I recently fell in love and found my life partner and, when at first after we had finally found each other, we were having a conversation about all the crazy little events in our individual lives that led us to meet each other. That led him to say the words “a million moments” which sounded so much like a lyric I couldn’t escape it. I also feel like many people can relate to this, even if it is something else that isn’t related to finding love.
Is there going to be more material coming soon?
Oh, yes. I have a full length album releasing in early-April; the release show will be the biggest venue I’ve ever headlined in my career. The album will be called Joy and will include some singles released in 2018 as well as a whole batch of new music.
Can you remember when you got into music? Was there a particular artist that inspired that?
I was eight-years-old when I started piano lessons. My father and my brother, Andrew and Andre, are professional musicians and growing up in a household with them primarily influenced me playing music and furthermore pursuing it as a career. Having direct exposure to career musicians made me confident that it was possible for me too.
You have had a great year. How do you think you have evolved as a songwriter since the start of your career?
Yes, absolutely, and I believe it’s for two reasons: I introduced a sampler and other electronic instruments into my sound; I also started working with producer Chris ‘Frenchie’ Smith. The combination of new instruments as well as a collaborator with a fresh set of ears and a whole lifetime of musical experience has changed my sound and songwriting in wonderful ways.
Do you already have plans for this year?
Oh, yes. I will be performing several times at the FAI conference in Montréal. I am very excited for that. I also will be releasing another full-length album and having a subsequent tour surrounding it starting at The Paramount Theater in Austin, TX! It's a venue that's always been iconic in Austin, TX and it will be the largest venue I ever headline.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Yes. When I started playing the guitar I hung out with these two guys, one of which was an incredible guitar player. We actually ended up starting a jam/Psychedelic band together where I played bass and we were jamming around town as well as hanging out and jamming in our rehearsal space. It was this crazy incubation period for me where I was soaking up all this new information just like a really young kid would. I still am seeing how much this time period influenced my playing and my musical ideas.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder; The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill and Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City by Kendrick Lamar. These three albums have sparked so many song and melody ideas I can't even keep track of it at this point. I'd say my music lies in between all three of these albums.
As Christmas has just been; is there a present you didn’t get you’d ask for now?
I've never been one to obsess over material things so, if I had to ask for one present, it would be more hours in the day!
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Stevie Wonder, for sure. He's my hero. As for my rider, I'm pretty easy - chocolate chip, cookie dough ice cream and a six-pack of beer! Boom!
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Oh, yes. I am going to be all over the world this year, especially in the summer. I will be on the East Coast, West Coast; Alaska, Europe and the U.K.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don't ever give up. Don't ever despise the days of small beginnings. Good ideas have lonely childhoods. Don't compare yourself to others. Keep jamming and keep moving forward.
IN THIS PHOTO: Aaron Stephens/PHOTO CREDIT: Eric Morales
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Yes, Aaron Stephens. I am obsessed with his album, Focus.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not much because music is often how I unwind as well. I love practicing and jamming in my rehearsal space. However, when I need to get away from all of it, I like playing video games and spending time with my dog.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that)
As by Stevie Wonder
Follow Jackie Venson