In this episode of our Mid Tenn Listens podcast, we chat with Jes Justice about her newest release, influences, the technology driven music world and much more.
You can stream the full video interview below or subscribe to us on YouTube.
Jes’ newest single and video, Judgement Day, is now available.
Judgement Day (music video)
Where are you from and what style of music do you create? (In your own words, not necessarily in marketing terms or by popular genre classifications.)
I grew up in Grand Island, NY, a suburb of Buffalo and finished high school in Woodstock, CT. I moved to NYC in 2003, and Boston in 2012, back to NYC in 2016 and most recently to Nashville this year where I currently live. I started pursuing music seriously in 2005 after graduating from an acting conservatory. It started out as folk/pop and my writing was very informed by the folk and Americana scene around me in NYC combined with my theatre background. My vocal style has been heavily influenced by the country music I grew up on and belters like Janis Joplin, Martina McBride but Jewel was the reason that I picked up a guitar when I was 14 and learned to play.
I call my music modern country. My music has evolved to incorporate a big pop/rock sound while adding country elements like slide guitar and banjo. My songs are mostly self descriptive and reflect the themes I lived the last decade in NYC including alcoholism, domestic violence, depression, cheating, trauma, – actually I think that’s a track by track listing of what each song is about on this upcoming EP. I wrote this entire EP by myself and I feel that it perfectly encapsulates where I am as an artist and as a person right now, leaving behind a traumatic early 20’s and walking into adulthood more confident and sure of my sound but ready to try new things.
What led you down this path of music and what motivates you to stay the course?
I’ve been a singer my whole life and music will always be my vocation because I feel called to do it. I want to pursue it as a career because I like connecting with fans, I like saying something new, finding a unique way to say the truth, and I just LOVE to sing for people. I also love when people come up to me after shows and tell me how they can relate to something I sang about and I can connect with fans on a personal level.
What I find really cool about the music industry today is that it continues to become more and more innovative. There are so many ways to be creative and connect with fans in addition to making music, music has really become not just an art but a form of entrepreneurship.
How is your new release different than previous ones? Did you set out to accomplish anything specific?
My music video Judgement Day is the first release off of my EP “The Realest” which will be released September 14th. This is my first music video and this song is the most “rock” of anything on my album. This video is about alcoholism and moving on from harmful behavior. The song itself was written about a friend that I “broke up” with during this time and I came up with the premise of “Judgement Day” by thinking what if the person that you were the worst to gets to decide what happens to your soul when you die. So in the song I’m deciding what happens to my friend’s soul, which I ultimately decide to save because the song is about forgiveness. It’s a spiritual message delivered via rock song: )
Do you face challenges as an indie musician in a digital age? How has technology helped you (assuming it helps)?
I started out around the same time that Myspace started so it’s always been an aspect of how music is made and distributed. I think now more than ever there’s an awesome connectivity and ability to learn from other musicians about how to make a living doing music. There’s a lot of people willing to say “here’s how I make it work” and because of that it’s much easier to find success and build a fan base without a major label. The digital age also provides exposure that was never possible until now but I suppose the other side of that coin is that listeners are inundated with artists and new music but I believe that music that’s meant to be heard will get heard.
Where can we connect with you online and discover more music?
My website www.jesjustice.com also has my blog where I blog about music, dating Trump supporters, new age thoughts, Nashville, and whatever else I’m thinking about. You can also find me at facebook.com/thejesjustice insta: thejesjustice and twitter: thejesjustice
Anything else before we sign off?
I’m very excited to release my EP THE REALEST this September! I’ll be touring across the U.S to support the release and I am working on a book that coincides with the stories behind the songs on The Realest which will also be released in September! Love and light!