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After "Gilded" release in 2017, Jade Jackson returns this year with her second sublime album "Wilderness"...
STRUCK - 21.06.2019 -
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You can't imagine the number of musical revelations that our label partners and others sell us on a daily basis... Jade Jackson is one of those countless artists who are presented to us as the future standard of tomorrow, so we were cautious again when we looked at his work. Doubts very quickly swept away so much the music of "Wilderness" is marked by the torments experienced by the young American woman....

We like to start our interviews with this question: what is the question you have been asked too much?

Well, I don't think I've been asked too many questions yet... because I'm relatively "new" in the business. I haven't done tons of interviews like an artist who's been in business for 40 years. So I'm not jaded by the exercise yet.

So we are lucky, so I will be able to ask you some very basic questions...


... starting with this one: you grew up in a small Californian village, Santa Margarita. How did you learn to play music?

I took piano lessons from the age of 4 until the 6th grade. And when I entered the 6th grade, my parents had started a new business and could no longer afford lessons. So I took my father's guitar and I had a poster on which all the guitar notes were referenced. And all I could learn at the piano, I made sure to find the correspondence between the note I was playing at the piano and the note of the guitar I found on the poster. I spent hours and hours doing this exercise....
And when I had a few songs, I started playing in a café on Sundays and that's how it all started...

But where does this love of country music come from?

I wouldn't say we're trying to limit ourselves to one genre, but it's true that I grew up listening to old country music. But I also grew up listening to punk and other bands like Bauhaus, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths... and I love all these bands!

But it's pretty hard to find these influences in your album. Do you think we can hear them?

I think so, yes! In fact, the composition at home is quite fast: it is the result of all my experiences and all the music I have listened to that I digest and then go up according to the emotions. And then the fact of collaborating with Mike Ness who has a more rock'n' roll background gives the result that we can hear.

You started writing songs when you were 13. What was the trigger? A desire to express yourself, a cure for boredom, a need to overcome a feeling of loneliness?

I think that writing songs gave me a sense of fulfillment that I had never felt before. I think I felt it when I played the piano when I was a child. This feeling of connection, I only find it in the music.

Your first album "Gilded" was very well received by the public and critics. Did you expect this unanimity?

I am really grateful that people listened to this album and appreciated it - because after all, you never know how the reception will be - and especially when you are the main composer, you are very humble when you share these songs you have written.

And how do you explain such a welcome?

In fact, it's inexplicable! It's just a matter of luck or not! 
Whatever it is, I know that whatever the reception - good or bad - I would still have written another album. 

And as a young composer, haven't you ever considered calling on someone more famous to help you, especially for this first album?

It's obvious that it would have helped me, but I assume that the public feels it, you have to make sure you write the most true things possible!

But it generates more stress....

Yes (Laughs)! But worry is a negative feeling, I prefer to focus on positive feelings and follow my intuition, it has worked pretty well so far and I will continue like this (Smile)!
But I hear perfectly what you say: you have worse days than others, you are anxious, which is normal, but you have to move on...

Hence the importance of the support of the people around you...

My father really helped me. I was very shy when I started writing. He told me that I was going to play in front of people, that I was a great composer, the best in the world (Laughs)... He gave me confidence and pushed me to play my songs in front of an audience!

Concerning this shyness, on the artwork of "Gilded", you were in profile picture. For the new album, "Wilderness", you are photographed from the front. Would you say that you can now fully assert yourself as an artist and that you have more self-confidence?

Of course! Of course! The fact that I have been touring for the past four years has helped me to no longer have self-confidence but to be more comfortable with myself.

With "Wilderness", you chose to face your past, especially the accident you experienced at 20 years old that almost left you paralyzed and your depression following this accident (Editor's note: After a fall that broke her vertebrae, the doctors told her that she could never walk again. After a long period of wearing braces and moving around in a wheelchair and realizing that she was becoming increasingly dependent on prescribed pain medication, she stopped taking it, plunging her into a deep depression that she called "suicidal"). Would you say that this album is a catharsis and that music is therapy?

Of course it is! Music is clearly a therapy for me! Whatever happens, you have this feeling of wanting to disappear and go to my room and take my guitar...

"Wilderness", like "Gilded", was produced by Mike Ness (leader of Social Distortion) who discovered you and helped you take your first steps in the business. How did he get involved in the production of the album?

I listened a lot to Social Distortion (Mike Ness's band) in my youth. So I'm a fan of his music. And when I started working with him, he gave me advice, directions... because I was writing in all directions. 

And since I lacked confidence in my voice, especially at the time, I used my voice to do tons of things that were not necessary to tell a story. I mean that some people can do tons of it but they can because they are talented, as far as I'm concerned, I could see that it sounded forced and unnatural like my idols Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen or Nora Jones who don't add to it but whom I love listening....

With this in mind, Mike introduced me to people I had heard about but had never really listened to, such as Lucinda Williams or Sheryl Crow. He showed me how they sang and especially how they told a story and not make tons of them with their voices. He really helped me with that!

Do you think the beginning of your career would have been the same without him?

Of course not (Laughs)! In high school, I studied at home because I played 4 concerts a week, whether in my city or in venues that were 45 minutes from home: I played everywhere! My father used to say to me, "You never know! We must seize every opportunity that presents itself because something can happen to each of them!". So I followed these tips but nothing ever happened (Laughs) until I worked with Mike and it changed everything!

We talked about this natural and not forced side of your voice that fits perfectly with this album. The first thing that is obvious when listening to the album is that you are a very talented songwriter. The compositions are delicate, well written and very melodic. Do you have a special recipe? Did you meet a shaman in the California desert?

No (Laughs)! As you said earlier, my recipe is my therapy. I grew up in a very small house with my brother, sister and parents, I didn't have my own space where I could write: so I had to go either to the bathroom or a room where no one was... and when there were too many people, I would take my guitar to hide behind bushes, behind a church to write. I wanted to be alone because when you don't, you always have someone coming to talk to you and it's like waking you up from sleep, you can rarely go back to sleep. 

Your voice is perfect to convey emotions and you have a lot of talent to compose beautiful walks. The most beautiful of the album is undoubtedly "Loneliness". 

Oh, thank you! But I can't say that I prefer one song to another, it's like saying that you prefer one child to another (Laughs)! It depends mainly on the days: some people, on stage, I feel better with a track like'Loneliness' and another day it will be another track. It's like emotions, it varies every day!

Still under the title of "Loneliness", is loneliness for you a suffering or a necessary evil to find inspiration?

I think that suffering is necessary to find a certain inspiration and this song was inspired by what happened to me after my accident. I became depressed and even afterwards - even when I felt better - I felt really isolated even though I had my group, whose members I considered my best friends; but these members already had their best friends, I didn't realize that... And when I realized it, I felt really alone, it's strange and difficult to explain that you feel alone when you are surrounded by so many people.

The future now that you are on the road to glory and therefore, finally, happy, aren't you afraid for the composition of the next album?

I see exactly what you mean and in a strange way, I think my experience has made me lonely and sad for many more years. I wanted to be a composer, my favorite album is Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" which is a very sad album... 

I don't know why, but I realized that I stayed out of social situations and therefore perhaps unconsciously isolated so I could be able to keep what you're talking about, which could disappear if I'm happy and popular... But I don't think that's necessarily true because I learned that writing songs was first and foremost writing stories and more than half of my songs come from my empathy with other people's situations and I

Despite everything, can we say that you are happy today?

(She hesitates) It's different! My life has changed a lot and my depression is far behind me and I feel happier since years but a few months ago, I woke up, I felt this very specific feeling that made me doubt again... But everything is fine in my life even if this anxiety I have known really hurts because you have the feeling that you are ruining the life of everyone around you: it is surreal because your brain tells you that you are a horrible person ! 

To return to music, the production of "Wilderness" is more refined, more modern, less roots than "Gilded". Is it a desire to reach more people and have more radio coverage?

No, but I would say that since I've been working with Mike, he's made sure that I play with a band and especially a drummer, a rhythm section for the first time and I would say that hearing this drum set over and over again has given me a better sense of rhythm. And today, when a song comes to me, it always has a rhythm which is new and it's due to the fact that I've been playing with a band for the last four years!

What are your expectations for this album? Conquer the French public?

I would say that of course such a thing would be beautiful! But no, I have no expectations, I'm just very excited to be able to share my songs and I hope we can tour and do lots of concerts everywhere.

We started with the question that you have been asked too often, what would you like me to ask you?

Um... You asked me some great questions and I don't know what else we could add...

I suggest you think about it and we will start the next promotion with this question and at the same time, you will tell us which question annoys you the most...

Okay, let's do that (Laughs)! 


Merci ! Merci beaucoup !

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JADE JACKSON: Wilderness (2019)

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