Catch up with Austin based artist Jackie Venson and look for her forthcoming live album, Jackie Venson Live, to be released Fall 2016.
What got you started in music?
Jackie Venson: My parents actually got me into music. My dad's a professional musician, but my mom signed me up for music lessons on the piano when I was 6 years old and she told me that if I hated it I could quit and I didn't like my teacher at all so I quit. Then two years later I ran into another teacher who was a substitute at my elementary school and I guess he was asking all of us if we had a piano teacher and I brought his card back home to my mom and my mom called him up and set it all up; I took piano lessons from him for 12 years after that.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
Biggest influences for me would be Stevie Wonder for songwriting and overall musicianship and I really love Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston, how they sing; they're so free when they sing, they just open their mouths and let it out. That's always been inspirational to me, any musician that can just free themselves on stage.
Is there anyone you're hooked on right now?
I've been listening to Buddy Guy's new album and I love it. He's always been a good guitar influence for me and he just came out with an album the last couple of years and I've just been listening to it and I love it. I've been kind of hooked on that.
How would you describe your own sound?
I don't really like describing my songwriting but, as far as the performance goes, I always tell people it's Amy Winehouse meets Buddy Guy, that's kind of the best way I can describe it and, as for my songwriting, I just kind of let people put their own interpretation on it, it's hard to pin it down.
What was the inspiration behind "Back To Earth"?
I changed my guitar down to Drop D for the first time and I was just kind of messing around in Drop D and that chord progression and those riffs and that rhythm kind of came from that. The song topic actually came from a rather tragic death of a friend, so I wrote a song about questioning life and purpose, so the song topic is about that. The music is just kind of a product of me practicing and just playing the guitar.
That track's off your forthcoming live album, Jackie Venson Live, could you tell us more about that?
Well the live album is exciting because, ever since the last album, I've changed up the instrumentation of my band and I've changed up the players in my band, so we've played songs like "Back To Earth" and other songs that are going to be on the album and the players are totally new, the sound of the songs are completely different, the arrangements are different. The video for "Back To Earth" is a solo performance of it and I just can't wait to record and capture and share the band arrangement of some of these songs that we're doing. It's almost like it's a different song.
Is there a track that you're most excited for your fans to hear?
Yes, I'm excited for them to hear the live arrangement of "Always Free". I'm going to include that on the live album and I'm super pumped to show people that, because this band has just taken that song and done something completely different with it.
What do you hope your fans and listeners are able to take away from your music?
I hope that they're able to take away how passionate I am about creating and performing and growing with music in my life. I hope that people can maybe take away the main thing, that I love this, that I don't have some ulterior motive; I'm playing music because I honestly love playing music, and I write for the same reason, and I just wish that that would be more common place in the world, that people would do things just because they loved doing them, not because they think that they should or they want to be cool or whatever. I think a lot of things would have more depth with that.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I just want to thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed and thanks for sharing my music. Of course, thank you to anyone who's been following me and listening, I really appreciate any love you've sent, and check me out.