Jesse Thomas

2 Nov

“I’m not so much motivated by money or fame. I get more amped up by playing a little show and hearing someone in the audience singing something I wrote in my bedroom back to me. It’s a magical feeling.”

Jesse Thomas is no stranger here. I have posted a few things in the past and I’m a big fan of hers. Her voice is like a breath of fresh air from what is being played on the radio right now. She’s on the rise with her debut E.P. becoming one of the favorites on many peoples ITunes playlist. Originally from Covington, KY, she packed up her life and headed to LA with the hopes of making it in the music industry. She caught the attention of a producer, started writing songs and started playing for crowds all over the city. Although she is new on the scene, she is bound to stick out with her raspy voice and lyrics that make any breakup bearable.

Q. What made you want to get into the music business?

A. It started as me just messing around on guitar when I was bored. I always thought being a musician would be the coolest job in the world, but I never saw myself as someone who could pull it off. It wasn’t until recently when people started to have confidence in my talents when I really started pushing myself to my potential. One day the thought came to me like, “Hey, maybe I can do this,” and I just went for it. I’m not so much motivated by money or fame. I get more amped up by playing a little show and hearing someone in the audience singing something I wrote in my bedroom back to me. It’s a magical feeling. Little things like that make me what to be in this business more than anything else.

Q. What is one of your fondest musical memories?

A. Recently I played my CD release show at Hotel Cafe. It was a very special night for me. I moved to Los Angeles only a few years ago by myself. I remember back on how hard the first year was. I was lonely and broke. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. Fast forward to my CD release show. I am standing on stage in a room of 100+ people all there to see ME and I was putting out this CD that I made happen with my own two hands. It was so overwhelming to be standing on that stage and seeing how far I have come in such a short amount of time. I had this moment where I was like, “Holy shit, this is my life.” It was my proudest moment. The show went off without a hitch. No matter where I end up as a musician, I will never forget that night and what it meant to me.

Q. So far, you have released a five song EP, “Hazel”. Are you planning on releasing a full-length album anytime soon?

A. I would love to release a full-length album. The goal of releasing “Hazel,” was to get the ball rolling, and see how people responded to it. From here, I am hoping for one of two things. A) I gain a lot of fans, get a couple of key song placements, maybe go on a little tour, etc, and make enough money where I can fund a record on my own, and put it out as an independent artist. This would be great because I would have complete control. This has it’s challenges because without the support from a label, it is hard to get out there when you are doing everything on your own. Which brings me to B. B) Impress someone at a label enough where they want to sign me, and they would fund a record and help me release it. This would be amazing because labels have a lot of capabilities a independent artist doesn’t have. If I did sign to a label, I would have to love everyone involved, and have to be confident that they are willing to do all they can for me solely based on their confidence of my talents. I do not want to become another record label horror story.

Q. A lot of your songs are about heartbreak. Do you find it easier writing a song about heartbreak or about happy go lucky relationships?

A. Well, I don’t think one is easier than the other. I find ease in writing about what I am feeling and living. Just so happens I have spent a lot of my time in the middle of failed love. Relationships are tricky. It’s hard to find a situation that leaves you on such a high that you live it constantly. I am sure once I find myself there, the tone of my songs will change. You should know though, that lately I have written a few happy songs. Things are looking up!

Q. What was one of the scariest things you encountered when you packed up your life and moved to LA to become a musician?

A. Actually, I initially packed up my life to become a actor. Funny how it all sort of shifted shortly after I moved. The scariest moment was my first night in my new place. I remember laying in bed in a house I’d never been in, with roommates I’d never met, in a city i’ve never visited, with everything to my named scattered on the floor around me. I kept thinking, “What have I done?” I felt like an alien. You can plan and plan, and map out how everything is going to go, but when you’re there and actually living it, it is scary as hell. I never had thoughts that I had made a mistake, but I think I underestimated the challenge of what moving to a new city alone really entails. Looking back, nights like that make cool things like someone wanting to write about me in their blog that much more badass though… so… I wouldn’t change a thing.

Q. You play a lot of shows in L.A. Any plans to tour the rest of the states?

A. It would be a dream to see the world and play music. Hopefully it will happen one day.

Q. What is one of your favorite lyrics from one of your songs?

A. Ah, right. A change to stroke my own ego. Thanks! From my EP “Hazel” it is probably the line from “Shine” that says “I look just like a mannequin, you know I can fake a smile,” or a line from “Drunk” that says, “On my carpet there’s impressions from your king size bed, oh we were so happy the day we moved it in, now I can’t take my eyes off them while I’m lying in my twin, I’ll rearrange the furniture to cover where you’ve been.”

Q. If you could pick any artist to cover one of your songs, who would it be and why?

A. I want Freddie Mercury to cover one of my songs, because I think he is the greatest singer and performer who ever lived. He would probably turn one of my sad songs into some kick-ass rock ballad. It would be awesome, and I would dance. If not him, Fiona Apple, because she’s my favorite artist. If not her, maybe some irresistible four year old on youtube, holding a fake guitar and wearing a red wig.

Q. My favorite song from your EP, “Blank Page” is about a relationship that has ended and that person has moved onto someone else. A lot of artists say that writing about their failed relationships is like therapy. Do you agree or is it different for you?

A. Yeah, I would say it’s a therapeutic process. I think doing anything creative is therapeutic. Writing a song is neat because I am sitting alone in my room with my guitar, and I have no idea what is going to happen. Sometimes I end up with garbage, and sometimes I end up with a song. Either way, in that process I thought about a lot of things that I probably wouldn’t have thought about otherwise. Writing about things that make me sad is similar to bitching to a friend about what makes me sad, it just feels good to get it out, and let it go.

Q. Last question. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. Oh man, I would go crazy if I I had to listen to one of my own songs for the rest of my life. I usually listen to my own music a lot right when I get the mastered tracks back, and then never again unless I’m showing someone. Though if I MUST answer this question, I will say Lovely Love. It isn’t a song that is released, but it is the happiest song I have ever written and will probably ever write. It’s sickly sweet and makes me want to skip around like a school girl. I suppose if I am stranded on an island I’m gonna need a pick me up from time to time.

Here’s Jesse doing a cover of one of my favorites, Skinny Love (orig. Bon Iver).

 

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