A quick introduction: The daughter of a concert pianist, Jess has music in her bones. School and extra-curricular choirs nurtured her love of singing, while the gift of a second-hand guitar in her teens jump-started her on the songwriting path. While studying for her Master’s at York University Jessica had an epiphany; she felt the irrefutable call to a creative life, one in which music would play a large part.
What got you into music? I’ve played music my whole life; started piano lessons at age 4, picked up a second hand guitar at 14 and taught myself. But I always had extreme stage fright and never pushed myself to perform. It wasn’t until after my younger sister died in a car accident that I started to perform in public. Writing songs became a way for me to deal with the pain of that sudden loss, and the more music I wrote the more I felt I wanted to share my music with the world outside of my bedroom. So I pushed myself to begin performing at open stages all around the city. And the more I played music the more I wanted to do that all the time. A little over two years ago I left grad school to pursue music even though I hadn’t even played my first show yet!
What are your sources of inspiration? I’m really inspired by nature. The beauty of the world is something that constantly inspires and astounds me. There’s just something about all the colours in the sky, in the trees, on the ground that I find to be always different and wonderful. I am also inspired by art, music and poetry. I am lucky to have an immense number of very talented friends that inspire me daily with the amazingness of what they are creating.
Dream gig? I would love love to open for Sharon Van Etten, anywhere, anytime, any day. I became enamoured with her music just before I really dove into my own music so she has been a strong female singer/songwriter who I really look up to in the world of sadsong songstresses.
Your thoughts on Canadian Music Week? Stoked to be part of it this year! My first, yay!
Interesting points others don’t know about you? The first ever audience to my music was my tent mate at camp. When I was 14 and 15 I would bring my guitar to camp and serenade my friend Chantal in our tent. She would close her eyes while resting on her sleeping bag and I would play covers of Joni Mitchell, Ani Difranco, and Jewel. Chantal was the first person (who wasn’t my mom) to tell me that she thought I was really talented.