On the song “Show My Light” Jackie Venson has lines about shining her consciousness into dark places within our society. She strikes chords that show a powerful awareness. Her words echo pertinent questions and a poignancy that isn’t always found with today’s artists.
Interview By: Heather Johansson AKA “And Textually Active.”
Heather Johansson: Thank you for taking the time to do the interview. Can you tell me how would you describe the music that you create?
Jackie Venson.: Soulful and intense and constantly blending and changing genres.
Where do you call home?
Austin, Texas baby! Born and raised, one of the few.
What are your fondest musical memories of concerts and performances?
When I was a child my mother brought me to at least 6 Broadway (touring) musicals per year. This had an incredible impact on me. It was a mixture of theatrical performance and musical mastery and I was watching it and soaking it all in. Each musical was a different thing altogether, anything from Little Shop of Horrors to Phantom of the Opera, to Sweeney Todd. My mother and father combined kept music in my life constantly
Are there musicians in your family?
Yes, my father and brother are both professional musicians. I grew up listening to my Dad’s various bands rehearsing in the back room. He always told me, “if you want to be the leader of the band, have the PA system and the rehearsal space.”
That’s awesome. Where/what was the start of your musical influences?
My father was my earliest influence, constantly watching him work with his bands and also listening to the musicians play in a band, working together to create a cohesive sound. This experience was priceless, I learned a lot just by being around it.
What are some of your most beloved songs that you have shared?
One of the songs I enjoy performing the most is “Show My Light”, I also love “See What You Want.” There’s something special about the energy of these songs, perhaps it’s where I was when I wrote them. Honestly I love performing my material and it’s hard to pick favorites.
Where do you draw your artistic inspiration? Do you have a muse?
I really love Stevie Wonder and how expansive and versatile he is. I listen to him and it’s like the equivalent of an athlete stretching and pumping up before a competition, I get this creative burst of energy and excitement.
What made you realize that music was your path?
When I was younger and going through school I just realized that a regimented life was not for me. I also had the first hand example of how a career in music can work because I spent so much time observing my father and how he managed his career. I was just always like “hey, I can do that.”
Can you tell us about the evolution of your songwriting?
For years my songwriting revolved around jamming for hours until something came out. I got a lot of great songs this way however lately I feel like I have exhausted this method so instead I’ve been reflecting on my life experiences and have set out to add an aural stamp onto said experiences. For example I have recently gone through a few break ups
Have you written all of your songs or do others contribute to the process of creating songs?
I have written all the music and lyrics to my songs however there are a few songs where I feature a rapper, the rappers I feature write their own lyrics however the music behind them was written by me as well as the lyrics I sing.
Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
Not anymore, I’ve done it too many times at this point and I’ve been through the worst. I’m nerve free!
That’s great to hear. So what advice would you give to emerging artists who are new to performing in public?
Perform as much as possible, even if that means you’re not getting good pay. The first year I performed with the guitar I did anything from open mics to karaoke to divey club gigs. I hardly made any money but I gained experience that got me to the point where I could be qualified to demand money.
What is the most interesting or odd situation you’ve had with fan(s)?
Sometimes I encounter people that latch on to me and send me a lot of fan mail, almost like I’m their long lost best friend. It’s interesting, not bad but definitely interesting.
Can you tell us something about you that typically people would not know?
I have a gigantic family, 8 siblings and over 400 extended family members. Family reunions are wild.
What’s next on the horizon for you as a musician?
More fans, more great shows, more awesome experiences, more music!
“Jackie Venson Live” will be released on 09/16. And Venson is having an album release party on 09/18 at Antone’s in Austin, TX.
If you’d like to know more about Jackie Venson click HERE to visit her website.