Jessica Dawn is a powerhouse of raw energy, enormous talent, and positive vibes as she sings from the heart and soul. Jessica mixes elements of Rock, Alternative, and Pop into her music that comes out sounding top notch. In this recent interview with our Webzine, Jessica Dawn speaks about her musical past and why she is meant to make music. Enjoy!
Isaac: We'd love to know about your inspirations growing up. I hear so many influences in your music. How old were you when you first discovered music? Is there any kind of musical history in your family?
Jessica: Let me start with the fact that I grew up in a very musical household. And so being surrounded by music was my first inspiration. My Mom was always singing and she taught me how to harmonize. My brother started playing violin in the 5th grade and he was always practicing. My Dad played the trombone, as well as guitar and piano. My brother and I took piano lessons in elementary school, which was my first instrument. So basically, there was always somebody making noise in the house!
I listened to a lot of Top- 40 radio and my Dad's old records so I was always listening to music. But most importantly, I discovered music through myself. I realized this gift at eight years old; I was constantly in my own little world writing songs and singing. The songs would literally just come to me, even before I ever learned piano. I would hear these melodies in my head, then write lyrics to them, and even record them on my Mom's old retro 70's tape player. (I still have some of those tapes and it's quite scary and funny to listen to them now!) So fast-forward 9 years later, when I was 17, I picked up my Dad's old Yamaha acoustic guitar. It had been collecting dust in a corner and I was instantly hooked. It was a very pivotal moment for me. For some reason, guitar seemed to click with me better than piano ever did. It became the best songwriting tool. And without sounding too dramatic, learning guitar literally changed my life. The rest really is history!
As for inspirations, it started with Debbie Gibson and Mariah Carey before puberty, ha, and then as I got older I finally felt like I could musically relate to this pool of female singer/songwriters who were popular at the time. what I like to call the "Lilith era", which included artists such as: Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Jewel, Alanis Morissette, Patty Griffin, Sarah, etc then, a few years after that I started gravitating towards bands such as Led Zeppelin and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Isaac: What drew you to pick up an instrument in the first place?
Jessica: I think because I kept hearing these songs in my head and needed some tangible way of expressing them. So piano and keyboard came first in order to do that and then when I picked up the guitar, it was like finding the perfect tool for composing; it was a catalyst in helping to take my songwriting to a whole new level.
Isaac: As you hit your teenage years, did you know that this was what you would be doing for the rest of your life?
Jessica: Yes, I was quite serious about pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter. I even knew in my pre-teens. Ha and I knew I didn't want to go to college. I just had this intuitive feeling that it wasn't for me. I really wanted to hone my craft right after high school and cut my teeth on stages …just dive right into the creative world of songwriting and performing. Everybody's life journey is different and sometimes you have to find the courage to follow your heart even if that means taking a path which may be considered unconventional by society's standards.
Isaac: Is there a performer in any genre of pop culture that you would like to work with?
Jessica: Oh yeah, there's quite a few! But here's just a short list: Sheryl Crow, Jack White, Lenny Kravitz, and Jay-Z. And what if could put together my dream band?! : Tori Amos on keys, Jimmy Page on guitar, Flea on bass, Matt Chamberlin on drums.
Issac: Who are some musicians that you really like, present or past?
Jessica: Tori Amos and Sheryl Crow are huge heroes of mine…not only because of their music but the way their careers have thrived and evolved has also been inspiring. Also: Lenny Kravitz, Led Zeppelin, Maroon 5, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nikka Costa…. And I also love a lot of rock bands that have come out more recently such as: The Raconteurs, Wolfmother, Jet, and Muse. And of course there are classic inspirations like Janis Joplin, Carole King, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder. I promise you, the list could go on and on and on…
Isaac: What is your ultimate goal with your music career?
Jessica: To take it as far as I can! And simply have the luxury of making music every day. I'd like to quit my day job and tour and record, tour and record, tour and record. I want to reach as many people as possible with my music. It's a gift that I believe needs to be shared and I just hope it will be well-received.
Isaac: What has been some of the obstacles it has taken to get this far in your career?
Jessica: I could fill up a whole book with the answers to this question. Haha obstacles are a part of life and it's inevitable that they'll arise when you're on a journey to succeed. Rejection and setbacks are part of the deal, unfortunately. To name one specific obstacle, well, it's been frustrating to realize that you can work really hard and do everything you possibly can…do your part (e.g. gigging, promoting, putting yourself out there, etc) but there's still this element that you can't control. For instance, like networking and finding the right support group and having that certain someone help you in trying to take things to the next level. I don't like being dependant on anyone so this has been a hard realization to swallow.
Isaac: Would you recommend this "field" to others who are aspiring to be musicians like you?
Jessica: Only if you feel it is your soul purpose in life to pursue it. Only if you have the passion and drive, patience and dedication needed to sustain yourself on such an unpredictable path. Only if you truly believe in your music and you can't imagine doing anything else. It has to not only be a desire, but a life necessity for you to create and be an artist.
Isaac: Describe one piece of advice you've been given to by others in the music industry.
Jessica: Don't compromise your musical integrity. Embrace your uniqueness which will set you apart. Basically, be yourself because everybody else is already taken. Be the best "you" you can be!
Isaac: What genre of music do you consider most of your music?
Jessica: Funky-Rock-Pop. Or Indie/Alternative.
Isaac: What has been your favorite piece of work?
Jessica: I would probably say "Shotgun". Not only was it fun to write and it's been a blast to perform live, but audiences seem to like it too. It's quite an accomplishment when the giver and the receivers are both happy with a song…because that doesn't always happen. ha
Isaac: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample
songs or a demo CD?
Isaac: Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
Jessica: Of course my dear friends and family and those who believe in me, they know who they are! And a special shout-out to the Lewis family for giving me a car on my birthday and therefore, I was able to sell the van I had and use that money to go into the studio to record the Graffito EP. :-)
Isaac: Any last words?
Jessica: Life is about taking risks so don't play it safe!