(photos: Clara and Carmen)
Potty Mouth Brings Wild Energy to SGRRC
Potty Mouth, though it is a funny band name, blew my mind. Their stage presence made the whole crowd start jumping. Their hair flips were crazy. The singer sang with hair in her face and she held a guitar over her head at the same time she was playing it. This band is sensational. I absolutely recommend it. This band is awesome. I love Kate, Ally, Abby and Victoria.
Q&A Roundtable Discussion
Sophia: What’s your process for writing songs?
Abby Weems: Usually I will come up with a basic version of a song on guitar and write some vocals and lyrics. I’ll make a demo in GarageBand and show it to my bandmates then when we all get together we learn the parts and figure out, like, which parts should have bass, or which parts should be quiet or loud or fast or whatever. Once we’re all together, then we figure out all the dynamics.
Qwynn: Do you guys play any other instruments or have any other musical interests besides this band?
Abby: My first instrument was cello, actually. I really wanted to learn how to play drums. I can kind of play a simple beat. I like bass and guitar. Those are my two lead instruments.
Aurelia: Do you have any inspirations?
Abby: It’s interesting because when we first started the band, we didn’t really have any idea what we wanted to sound like. We didn’t even have a singer picked out. We were just like, let’s get together and make sound. It was very loose. I got into music because of Green Day so I think my songwriting leans in that direction of fast, punk music. I know Ally was really into hardcore at the time. We all have different influences.
Ally Einbinder: I think, in general, the inspiration for the band starting was probably very similar to the inspiration for a camp like this. We really wanted to just see what would happen if four of us got together and played music. We didn’t even know Abby until our very first practice. We had met her through mutual friends. We all wanted to play in a band with all women and just to see what would come of it. We didn’t have any huge goals. We were just like, let’s see if we can do this, and then we just kept doing it.
Clara: Have you always, since you were little, wanted to play music or be in a band?
Kate: Yeah! I saw the movie Freaky Friday with Lindsay Lohan and I saw that band. I had always wanted to play music. I had always been a music fan. I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s so cool.’ That actually inspired me to go into my dad’s office and steal his guitar and learn a song.
Abby: I never thought that music would be something I would do. I was always a visual artist and I thought I’d go to school for painting, and then we started this band and just kept getting asked to play shows and go on tour. So then I was like, okay, music it is.
Ally: I didn’t imagine myself in music. I grew up going to a lot of punk shows and watching my guy friends start bands like it was nothing and go on tour and put out records. It just seemed a lot harder to me than it actually is. That’s why it wasn’t until I was 21 that I started playing bass and then my ideas for my life just changed because I began to see other options for myself besides what I just thought I was gonna be doing, which was basically going to more school and choosing a different career. Like Abby said, we just kept going because we just kept doing it.
Carmen: What is your goal on the popularity level? How famous do you want to be?
Abby: I wanna be famous, I guess. I just want our band to be successful in a way where I just want to be artistically known and be able to work with other people and not have to have a day job.
Ally: None of us want to have to work another job on top of this band. This band is a job. It’s become a job and that’s the goal, I think, is to be able to support ourselves through our music and have that lead to other things related to music. The band did start out as a hobby but then we all moved to L.A. together and decided to see what would happen if we could really make it a career for ourselves so that’s the goal.
Clara: Do you tour a few months during the year, or do you have a specific time of year that you tour?
Abby: We usually go on tour a few times a year and it’s never more than six weeks, I’d say. There are particular time that are better to tour. It’s hard to tour in the fall and the winter because of all the holidays. Students are home with their families. No one’s really going out. So we tour a lot in the spring and fall and we’re doing this summer tour.
Camden: How many times have you gone on tour?
Ally: A lot. Honestly, I don’t know. I wish I was the type of person who started keeping track of how many shows we played from the first show we played so that we could be one of those bands that’s like, ‘We’ve played 500 shows!’ I’m sure it’s…
Abby: Definitely more than that.
Ally: It’s a lot. But we actually haven’t toured outside of North America, so that’s a huge goal. We really wanna get to other parts of the world and that’s definitely something that we’re working towards.
Qwynn: What’s one of your favorite places to tour?
Ally: We’re from Massachusetts, so it was really fun to be in that general area, in the Northeast, like playing Boston and New York, playing Western Massachusetts where we started, playing Philadelphia. Those are all really good shows for us because when we first started touring we would just do small tours just to those places because they were all super drivable and close to us. We always like going back there. Honestly, it’s just fun to be anywhere where we can meet people and there are people who want to come out and see us. This is great. This is my new favorite show that we played, today.
Aurelia: How many songs have you written?
Abby: I don’t even know. Maybe 100 songs, at least. We haven’t been able to put all of them out just because recording is expensive and record label stuff is complicated. We have a lot of songs but I think maybe there are 30 that are online.
Qwynn: What kind of music and songs are on the new album?
Abby: Almost all of the songs we played today are on the new album. They’re all pretty fast-sounding pop rock.
Camden: How did you discover the style you wanted to dress in when you came on stage?
Ally: These are our regular clothes.
Abby: We sometimes dress up more for shows. It’s hard because clothes get really smelly because you’re sweating so much. I have a bag of, we call them ‘show clo,’ that’s all my fancy clothes that smell really bad. Then I have a bag of separate clothes that are day-to-day stuff like this.
Ally: We’ve been on tour for exactly a month today. I know I’m at a point where I’m sick of all the clothes I have with me, but it’s just, like, so hot that I can’t care too much. It’s just getting hotter the further South we get.
Carrigan: What inspires your style? What decade?
Ally: Right now, I’m just really into animal print. I love zebra print. I used to play a lot wearing platform shoes because I’m so short and it’s fun to be taller. But it’s also hard to jump around in platforms. I’ve been trying to wear more comfortable shoes on stage.
Kate: I’m inspired by Blondie, her style, and by wrestling gear. I’m a huge wrestling fan.
Abby: I’m definitely inspired by ‘90s fashion, like Kurt Cobain’s style.
Brandon: Do you have any disagreements within your band? If so, what are they about and how do you solve them?
Abby: It’s all about communication.
Ally: Yeah, it’s all about communication. Of course there are disagreements all the time. That’s just the nature of working with any group of people. What a band is, is it’s a group project. You take three or four different people and you put them together. You’re like, okay, now let’s run this business together. It’s hard. There are so many decisions you have to make on a daily basis that you don’t even think about. It’s all about communication and realizing the communication that happens internally within you is the most important because, especially, if you’re in a band, you’re gonna have all of these people from the outside what they think is best for you. They’re gonna have people who wanna manage you or say you should do this, you should do that. I think the most important thing when those conversations and those decisions come up is to check in with the people. This is the band. We are the band. Anyone we’re choosing to work with is just someone we’re choosing to work with on the outside. I think you need to trust yourself and trust that the decision has to be a group decision more than a decision that’s made at the influence of someone from the outside.
Aurelia: How do you make your hair do those cool flips?
Abby: Lots of practice...and IcyHot pads on my neck.
Carmen: How do you want to be remembered?
Abby: This is just who we are. We’re just women. We play music. I just want to be remembered as an example and not a character version of an ‘all female’ band.
Ally: I just want to be remembered for things like this, by someone like any of you, who can remember, ‘Oh I had this experience where I saw this band,’ because that never happened to me. I can’t think back to being younger and thinking, ‘Oh wow, I saw this band that was all women that looked like something I could’ve done too.’ I never had that.
Abby: I wanna be remembered as being real people.
(photos: Carrigan and Sophia)
The Watson Twins Sing Us Home
The show performed by the Watson Twins was very warm and welcoming. The two sisters have been performing for around 13 years and their stage presence clearly reflected this. Their colorful matching clothing and interactions with the hooked audience matched their folk-like style and brought their listeners right up to the stage. The first song the Watson Twins performed was describing Nashville and the southern spirit, showing how much their home means to them. The songs were short and sweet, bringing us home.
The Watson Twins Give a Stunning Performance at SGRRC
The first thing I saw about the Watson Twins was their style. They were identical and wearing the same outfit—the only difference being that one was a jumper and the other a dress.
Their music style was folk-pop and was very positive, even when the songs were about breakdowns or heartbreaks. Another aspect of their music was their harmonies. They would alternate between harmony and melody which made their sound very beautiful. However, on their new record, they decided to sing everything together.
Additionally, before every song they would give a description of what the song was about or how they wrote it, which really captured the audience's attention. Another thing that got their attention was when they went off-stage to sing a song in the audience. Their interaction with the audience gave lots of friendly vibes to the performance.
In conclusion, the Watson Twins gave a very interactive and amazing show.
The Watson Twins Bring Joy to SGRRC
The Watson Twins are a cheerful country and pop band that visited Southern Girls Rock Camp on July 10th, 2019. They were just two women with guitars, but they surprised us all. They had a friendly vibe to them, and were relaxed as they introduced themselves. Then the twins, Leigh and Chandra, began to sing and play.
Major chords on acoustic guitars flooded the room. The twins harmonized beautifully and astounded the audience. It was a happy and upbeat song, a pump-up jam that I wanted to dance to.
They played a few more songs, and the audience was hooked through it all. The songs made us all happy, and brought joy to SGRRC.
The Watson Twins
The Twins amazed the crowd by having a friendly presence. Everyone loved it when Chandra and Leigh Watson came into the crowd and turned in circles so everyone could see them. Their style is like a mix of country and pop. Their songs were on the softer side, but they were wowing. We loved the warm and welcoming Watson Twins.
The Watson Twins Perform at SGRRC
The performance today was by the Watson Twins. Both women, Chandra and Leigh, wore similar clothes and colors.
They chatted with the campers before getting started. Their welcoming sense of humor and smiles were definitely a great start.
They started the performance with an original song where both of them played the guitar and sang. They harmonized in all the songs, each one alternating melody and harmony. One of the songs they performed was a cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven", but they put their own style to it and made it theirs. Their music was a mix of country and pop.
At one point, the Twins decided to come down from the stage and, while the campers were sitting around them, they sang a beautiful song without microphones and they rotated so everyone could see them.
Towards the end of their time with us, when they finished all of the songs, they had a little bit of Q&A time where they answered great questions about their life and career.
The Watson Twins
The Watson Twins are more Southern-like than one would think, especially because they lived in Los Angeles. They bring a calming sensation to any room with their amazing voices and guitar playing. They play semi-country music and always interact with their audience instead of just playing their music. Therefore, I 100% recommend their music for any person.
The Watson Twins Perform at Southern Girls Rock Camp
The Watson Twins performed at an auditorium for the Southern Girls Rock Camp on July 10th, 2019. Their appearance was similar—they had the same hairstyle, makeup, and identical clothing patterns. They also sounded and acted alike; the Twins were warm and welcoming. Their songs were short and described real experiences with an urban folk-pop sound. The major chords gave the songs a cheerful vibe. The two interacted with the audience, making sure everyone could see them when they went off the stage and into the crowd. Overall, the Watson Twins' performance at Southern Girls Rock Camp was entertaining and upbeat.
The Watson Twins Gave a Stunning Performance at SGRRC
The Watson Twins gave a stunning performance at SGRRC on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019. The Twins gave a warm and heartfelt show for everyone. Their voices contrasted very well, making it hard not to enjoy. They said their main inspiration was Dolly Parton, and it showed in their music. At one point, they even stepped off the stage and came to interact with everyone in the audience. They definitely gave the full experience. I would definitely recommend them to people. 10/10 ❤
The Watsons Wowed the Children of SGRRC
The Watson Twins are a group of two twin sisters named Leigh and Chandra Watson. Their music consists of urban folk songs such as "Hustle and Shake" and "Rolling Thunder". Being performers for 13 years, they have released 8 different albums, and have been in a few songs with singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis.
On July 10th, 2019, the Twins performed at the Sarratt Auditorium at Vanderbilt University in front of roughly 65 SGRRC campers. Leigh and Chandra wore a dress and a jumpsuit with matching patterns, and matching snakeskin boots. They each played acoustic guitars and sang beautiful harmonies that complemented one another. During the performance, they interacted very well with the audience. One song they played, "Give Me a Chance", was done in the middle of the audience and without amplification. Overall, it was a wonderful show.
Every day during rock camp, we have an artist perform for the campers, and it's one of our favorite things about camp. Yesterday, we saw an excellent performance from local synth legends HR Lexy, and the students in our Music Journalism workshop documented the experience. See their photos and reviews below!
(photos: Qwynn and Aurelia)
I walk into the auditorium and I see a lady in a white flowy dress and a man in a white robe with long hair on one side of his head—the other side is shaved off. The lady has flowers in her hair which makes her look like Frida Kahlo. She had really good stage presence. She smiled at me as she danced around the stage. I love that she has a unique style. Her dances and her dress were so flowy—I thought it was beautiful.
When I first walked into the auditorium, HR Lexy gave off a very heavenly, godlike presence. After introducing themselves, they began to play music with an indie techno type of vibe. Overall, I enjoyed the performance.
When first seeing the setup that HR Lexy had prepared, I was shocked by their bright white clothing and unique physique. The thickness of the singer's voice and how she accented her partner was very soothing and almost otherworldly. The way they incorporated a techno style into their songs fit well with my overall impression of the peaceful yet full and intense music. Each song had distinct changes in intensity which kept it unique and interesting.
My first impression was that HR Lexy had put a lot of effort and thought into their appearance. The white dress and rose crown that the singer wore were very elegant and beautiful, reminding me of something peaceful, like a swan. The keyboardist's hair was very long but not messy, and he performed very well.
When HR Lexy was on stage, I got a very spiritual feeling from the way they dressed, acted, and talked to the audience. Once they started singing and playing music, my spiritual feeling was proven correct. The performance was light, spiritual, and peaceful. It delivered a safe feeling to me. I personally don't listen to this type of music, but I would recommend it when you are stressed.
When we all walked into the auditorium, HR Lexy were already on stage preparing the instruments and themselves. The two members of the band were dressed all in white. The singer, Arlene, was wearing a long dress and had big red flowers in her hair. Justin, the other member of the group, was playing the keyboard while Arlene sang and used other electronic devices to make the beat and other sounds.
Their music is very unique and in a different style than I'm used to. It's also very peaceful to listen to.
When they got to the last song, Arlene came down from the stage and danced while singing. She had very good stage presence.
The lyrics to the songs seemed important to them and they wanted to send a message of peace. It was a magical performance in general.
When I walked into the auditorium, I noticed that HR Lexy was wearing all white clothes. The set was white and covered with ruffles. The musicians, Arlene and Justin, performed music of operatic voices and synthetic keyboard sounds. Arlene bared a floral headdress resembling Frida Kahlo. She stated that she was a huge fan of Frida and that she was going to see some of her art soon. The song "Ready" will be released soon, with an album following in September. Overall, I thought that their performance was otherworldly and peaceful.
When I first walked into the auditorium, I saw a man and a woman both dressed in white. Their unique style made me wonder what their music would sound like. Surprisingly, their electronic music was pretty intense. It grabbed your attention and seemed to take you to another world. While the band was performing, the singer's stage presence was wonderful. She would dance around and make you feel something. So all in all, HR Lexy's performance was pretty great.
HR Lexy is a band that came to play at Southern Girls Rock Camp on July 9th, 2019. When I sat down and cast my eyes onto the stage, I didn't know what to think. A woman who looked like Frida Kahlo with a wreath of flowers in her hair was helping a man who looked like Jesus set up a keyboard. A synthesizer was in the front, and microphones were set up above it and the keyboard. I quickly picked up on the fact that they played electronic music. I hoped that it would sound good, and not screechy and pounding.
Sadly, I was disappointed. Their first song did, in fact, sound screechy, starting out with a series of high-pitched noises and a simple keyboard part. The noises screamed at me, and made me cringe and recoil. The lead singer, Arlene, started to sing, and I knew I didn't like this. Her voice sounded very strained, like she was trying to sing as loud as she could. The strained tremble of her voice gave the music a shrink-back quality. Whining noises filled the background and did nothing to help the song.
In the end, I didn't end up favoring HR Lexy. It was intense and sharp, and actually scared me. My hope of a good performance was not rewarded.
Hey everyone! We're super excited to announce that Love Local Nashville will be hosting some special guest writers this week. Southern Girls Rock Camp (one of our favorite local nonprofits) is running a Music Journalism workshop where campers are learning all about how to write about music, and we're dedicating some space here to publish their work. We'll be posting updates as they come in, so check back for interviews, features, and photos from the campers!
Here's an introduction to the team:
Born in LA, Qwynn was raised in Nashville. As an East Nashvillian, she is very involved in art and music. She plays electric bass, cello, ukulele, and is the lead singer in her indie rock band, Lunar Eclipse. Her favorite musical artists include The Offspring, The Regrettes, Nirvana, Lizzo, and Billie Eilish. In her spare time, Qwynn likes to sketch and paint watercolor. In the future, she plans to have a career in music.
Aurelia is a 10-year-old singer and musician who lives in Nashville. She also loves acting and drama. She likes music because she feels like she is in another world when she sings—this world is calm and has no hate in it.
Camden is a 13-year-old drummer, artist, and dancer. She lives in East Nashville with her parents, her younger sister Addy, and her two dogs Emma and Molly. She loves spending time with friends and riding her bike around her neighborhood. She also loves listening to music. Her favorite artists include Twenty One Pilots, Green Day, and Billie Eilish. She has participated in the band (ISH) and has been playing drums for two years.
Carrigan lives in Nashville and likes to play music, draw, and paint. She mainly likes indie music, but also more popular artists like Billie Eilish. She likes to ride her skateboard around and listen to music. She is also in the band (ISH).
Thalia is an 11-year-old writer, songwriter, singer, and musician. She lives on a quiet street in Nashville and loves its creative vibe. She enjoys playing music, writing, and doing anything with her friends. Thalia wants to be a half-famous songwriter and wants to change the world with her stories. She is highly ambitious and has a lot of energy. There's no doubt about it—she's going to be AMAZING.
Sophia was born in Massachusetts and currently lives in Nashville. Her dad is a big influence on her musical interests. She has been playing guitar for just over a year and hopes to learn the drums as well. Some of her favorite musicians include Theo Katzman, ZZ Ward, Johnnyswim, and Heart.
My name is Cathleen. I heavily enjoy metal, screamo, rock, and some indie—but I prefer it loud. My favorite bands are Korn and Pierce the Veil. I also enjoy Marilyn Manson, and Poppy and Ken Ashcorp are my favorite independent musicians. I'm into horror, and I frequently draw. Feel free to talk to me about dark art and gore.
Clara is a 15-year-old girl from Barcelona, Spain. She has been singing for over five years in different music schools and choirs. Last year, she learned how to play the guitar. She has loved to dance since she was 4 years old and has also been in a few plays in her town. Music has always been in her life, and she loves it.
Carmen was born in 2006 and is someone who prefers the indoors. They enjoy reading, writing, music, video games, manga, and anime. Their favorite musicians are Cavetown, Billie Eilish, and Twenty One Pilots. They currently live in their hometown of Nashville with their parents, three cats, and two small catfish.
Currently lives in: East Nashville
I love K-pop, cats, hot food, and anything Mexican. I've been into music since birth and photography since I was 8—and I have been ever since.
Saturday night brought us a fantastic show via Saintseneca—whose gigantic sound and enthusiastic fan base really kicked things off—and Hop Along, who were celebrating the release of their latest album, Bark Your Head Off, Dog. Needless to say, riffs were riffed, harmonies were harmonized, and jams were jammed all the way to heck and back. See our photos below and catch them on tour if you can!
WHAT: Songs Not Silence along with Broads & Brews Comedy
WHERE: Cobra (formerly FooBar), 2511 Gallatin Pike
WHEN: 8:30 PM
HOW MUCH: $5
WHY: Because you're not getting in to Lady Gaga
At this point, it's the worst-kept secret in Nashville: yes, Lady Gaga is playing a set at The 5 Spot on Wednesday night to promote her new album. And yes, when I heard this I experienced the same emotions as you—a frantic rundown of ways I could get in, strings I could pull, favors I could call on. The rush of seeing a Super Bowl-level performer on a stage that I've played shows on would be incredible.
But I'm not going. And if you don't already have a ticket, I don't think you should go, either.
You see, when these once-in-a-lifetime moments happen, it's usually at the expense of another event. When Louis C.K. shows up at Zanie's, the local comic is going to get bumped so he can work on his material. When Metallica played The Basement, whatever was supposed to happen there that night got canceled. This isn't a criticism of that practice. It's just the reality of it. And in this case the event that was supposed to take place at The 5 Spot on Wednesday is a vital part of Nashville's charitable community and something that is worth your support.
I'm talking about Songs Not Silence, which has been going strong for around six months now. It's a charity event hosted by Joanna Barbera that focuses on raising money for women's causes in Nashville. It's a great night of music and not only is it $5 (where can you see a $5 show anymore?) but that money will be going to people who need it—in this case, The Oasis Center.
In addition, this month features the talents of Broads & Brews Comedy. Great music AND great comedy! Come out and show your support. Invest in your local community. Events like this are what make Nashville special, and they depend on people like you to be there.
Look, you're not getting in to The 5 Spot tomorrow. (Unless you're my friend Salina, who gets into literally everything. And you're not, so you won't.) Even if you do get in, you'll be sandwiched in between hundreds of people while Lady Gaga plays a few songs and then leaves. She won't be there to mingle. I'm not saying you'll be disappointed, but you will be.
Do yourself a favor and come to Songs Not Silence. You'll have a good time, and you'll be making a difference.
Jess Nolan is releasing her EP today. It’s called Strike a Match. Jess is a New Jersey native who studied music in Miami before setting her sights on Nashville. Today marks the culmination of a year’s worth of writing, rehearsing, and recording and Jess is ready to celebrate tonight at Soulshine Pizza Factory where she’s performing as the Lightning 100 Artist of the Week. (7pm, free)
We met up at Cafe Coco where we talked about everything from growing up in New Jersey to making it in Nashville. Jess has the ability to see a clear path for herself and isn’t afraid to do what needs to be done to get there. “I’m strictly independent. It’s overwhelming, making all these decisions,” she said.
You can hear the result for yourselves right here. Cue up the EP and listen while you read about how and why it was made.
LLN: How long have you been here?
JN: A year.
LLN: New Jersey by way of Miami, right?
JN: Yeah. I grew up in New Jersey, went to school at University of Miami.
LLN: How did you like Miami?
JN: I loved it. The music school was an amazing place to learn and develop. But when I graduated, it was time to go somewhere where I can actually do what I want to do.
I was deciding between here and New York. I started looking at places in New York and realized very quickly that it wasn't going to work. Nashville is affordable, the scene here is growing, and honestly I think it's the best decision I could have made.
LLN: It's a good place.
JN: I love it so far. I wasn't sure, because I'm a northeastern girl, and I've just never been around southern culture, ever. I was a little worried about it at first. But this is a good mix of people.
LLN: A place like this, you get to choose. You can keep the parts you like and ignore the rest.
LLN: So growing up in Jersey—what part of Jersey, by the way?
JN: Central, near Rutgers. A small town called Highland Park. It's right next to New Brunswick.
LLN: What were you listening to?
JN: I listened to a lot of pop music. I was listening to Alicia Keys. Her album The Diary of Alicia Keys was a turning point for me. I was taking classical piano lessons at the time and I hated it. My mom switched piano teachers for me, and my new teacher was like, "Let's do what you want to do," and so I started writing when I was 13.
I actually never performed my original music until I went to college. I had never played with a band. I didn't have any experience with performing until I was 18.
LLN: You were focused on learning and writing.
JN: I was locked away in my room, writing. I had no idea if it was something I could do full time. For me it was a hobby and a dream. And then I got into music school, and everything started becoming real. And here we are now.
LLN: As you went through college, how did that shape your experience?
JN: I was in the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music program at Miami. It's all contemporary, original music. So for four years I was writing songs in a classroom setting, learning how to chart, playing with bands, and figuring out how to bring a song to life. Miami was an amazing place for me. I don't know where I would be without that school.
LLN: It's musically diverse, right?
JN: Totally. I was around jazz kids, classical kids...there was a lot of different music going on. Playing with jazz musicians is so elevating, musically. Some of them, the skill level they have on their instruments is intimidating. It motivated me to try and keep up. It was a good environment.
LLN: This EP is your first recorded project. How did that come about?
JN: I had been writing and playing with a backing band in Miami, and I was doing little gigs here and there. I met these two producers in Brooklyn and we did a single together.
LLN: The one that's on Soundcloud?
JN: Yeah. That was my song that they produced. I was going to do more with them, I almost signed an EP deal, but then I reconsidered because while electronic music is great, it's not what I do in my live shows. I like writing horn parts, I like doing live arrangements. So I regrouped, spent this year figuring out what my sound is and what songs I wanted on the record, and then—I don't know if you know the band Dynamo? They're a funk-soul group in town. Their musical director heard me and encouraged me to make an EP. So together we co-produced this record and it's awesome. I think it fully represents what I do in a live show. It feels closer to who I am as a writer and artist. It's a good start.
LLN: Where did you record?
JN: Sound Emporium—Alabama Shakes did their record there. At first I thought I should wait for a while. I wasn’t in a hurry to record. But people kept coming up to me at shows and asking where they could get my music. So I took a chance, and used my savings to make the EP.
LLN: Now—especially here—you can do it any way you want to do it. You can go to a huge place, or a little place, or somebody's house, or whatever. There's a ton of choices.
JN: I’m strictly independent. It’s overwhelming, making all these decisions. I don't have a manager right now. But BMI has helped me a lot, and Lightning 100 is featuring me as Artist of the Week, so their showcase will also be my release party. There's a lot of people supporting me. I just don't have a deal signed.
LLN: That's good. It puts you in a place where you don't have to settle.
JN: I'm hoping that more opportunities will come from this. I have a lot of songs that are ready to go.
LLN: How would you describe your music?
JN: When people ask me what my sound is, I tend to use the term "soul-pop"...a lot of my melodies are pentatonic. I like catchy melodies. But I also really love lyrics, and I feel like I'm a poet first. I listened to Joni Mitchell and Carole King growing up. I think of writing as storytelling.
But then in music school, I was listening to a lot of jazz. And I love Alicia Keys and Corinne Bailey Rae and a lot of R&B singers. I think what I do is a mix of all those elements.
LLN: It's not something you typically hear in Nashville.
JN: I was worried when I first moved here that my sound was going to be too different, but I think it's played to my advantage. I just try to be myself as much as possible. My songs are real and personal and come from personal experiences. I don't try to be anything I'm not.
LLN: Your video [for the song “Your Gravity”] was shot at The End, right?
JN: When I moved here, that was the first venue that I had a show at.
LLN: It's a really good first venue.
JN: It is! I played there probably 4 times in the first 3 months I was here. That's how I met people. So The End was my start.
LLN: It's got a history to it.
JN: I remember when I was playing there, looking across the street at Exit/In and thinking, "One day!" Then back in March I got to play there, and it was awesome. I love how accessible the venues are here. The people who book the venues, they just want good music. It doesn't matter to them if you have a label deal or whatever.
It was really hard to get gigs in Miami. At least for original music. I was gigging there a lot, but it was all cover gigs. Restaurants, hotels. I was having a hard time getting my original music off the ground there and that's one of the reasons I came here.
LLN: It's definitely easy to play original music here. It's a little hard to get paid for it.
JN: That's the main difference. In Miami, I had steady gigs, I was making money. Here, I have steady gigs but I also have to have three part-time jobs.
LLN: What are you planning to do after your EP comes out? Will you tour?
JN: I was planning a tour for late September, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. I’m going on tour with Dynamo in early December, opening for them. I think we're going down to Florida. I'm hoping to tour next year as well, to really start getting my music out there, because I've never toured. So that's the next step.
You can see Jess tonight at Soulshine Pizza Factory, at 7pm, for free. You can also catch her at these upcoming gigs:
9/12: Foobar, 8pm (with Anna Rose, Clarity, Kat Milk Blu)
9/16: Acme Feed & Seed, 5pm, free
9/19: The Basement, 8pm (with The Pollies and Madeleine)
A great show tonight courtesy of Sugar/Spice Booking & Promotion, whose stated goal is "to increase representation of women and non-binary artists," something Nashville desperately needs.
Roman Polanski's Baby: "Female-fronted, the band blasts out sarcastic songs dripping with The Cramps-like sexual innuendo, layered over fiendish, distorted guitar tones and booming drums."
Femignome: "Melodic lo-fi from the Enchanted Forest." (in or near Atlanta, GA)
Butthole: "The Taylor Swifts of Fudge Rock."
Soccer Mommy: "Chill but kinda sad bedroom-pop jams."
Tonight at Meal Ticket! They don't make shows like this for $5 anymore. This is a lineup every venue here should be jealous of.