Following the release of her debut single earlier this year, we caught up with artist and songwriter Kristi Jacques, to find out more about her music, her lyrical depths, her aspirations, and plenty more. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Kristi, thanks so much for the interview – a real pleasure! Your debut single emerged in June of this year, but by the sound of the musicianship and writing, this wasn’t the start of your musical journey.
What’s your first memory of playing or making a song, and how has the feeling of that changed over time?
I actually started out with singing, not playing. I sang at family reunions, as requested by my mother. I sang in church standing next to my dad who had a booming, beautiful baritone voice. When I started high school I joined both band 101 and then chorus. I started taking voice lessons with a former opera singer after and it all grew from there.
The guitar came in the late 80’s early 90’s when I was in college. I even took a song writing class in collage. That is my first memory of really crafting a song with lyrics, music and melody. Of course, I wrote pages and pages of lyrics which I held on to.
You later took a significant hiatus from the guitar – what prompted that, and how does it feel to reflect upon that time in hindsight?
I took a hiatus from all of it. I believe that to put it simply, life itself got in the way. I had too many things, good and bad, going on. I made many mistakes, took some wrong turns.
At times I find myself regretting the hiatus. But to be honest, I don’t think that I would be where I am now if I hadn’t taken the wrong turns that I did back then. I had to go through everything in order to be the person I am now and write the music that I have.
What were your feelings upon returning, any trepidation at all, or just excitement and relief?
2020 was such a hard time for everyone, but personally I am grateful for that time. I don’t believe I would have found my way back to my first love of music without it. At least not the in the way that I did. I am so excited to be doing what I truly, truly love.
Mosaic is a great single, poetic power-pop with a gritty rock edge. What can you tell us about the song – how did it come together, and what does it mean to you?
It kind of sums up who I am, what I am all about, and about my music in general. Like I said before, I am a product of my life experiences, all of my mistakes and bad decisions.
My music doesn’t really fit into a specific genre, because I listen to just about anything and everything. I sang with a country band on occasion, I studied classical music and opera, and then there is my love of rock. I have so many influences. All of those little pieces form that mosaic that is my music and is me.
Are you generally lyrics first or melody and music?
I am the lyricist. I find other musicians to work with who are good at the music and melody. I am trying to get better at writing the music, but really, I’ve only been doing this full time for a little over a year.
I am always looking for new co-writers as well. I love collaboration. I learn something from everyone that I’ve worked with.
Then with In Plain Sight we get a more nostalgic, dramatic presence – mellow and reflective, still with those lyrical depths and poetic frames. What was different about your mindset or mood when writing this one?
I have lyrics just pop into my head randomly. They can wake me up in the middle of the night and I have to write them down. I always have my phone near me so I can put the words in my notes.
I will say that with everything going on in the world, I felt the need to get the frustration out. Writing is very therapeutic for me.
‘We need to come together for the future to be brighter’ – this line resounds and lingers – do you have hope that we can do this, or that perhaps we already are in many ways?
I always have hope. I believe that there are people who are really trying. That’s all we can do though. Do our very best. Be our best self, treat others with love and respect. Can you imagine what it would look like if everyone would do that? I always have hope.
It’s an inspiring song, powerful and quite euphoric at its peak. What do you hope people take away after listening?
It’s up to us to make a change, to do better, to be better.
You mentioned that another artist inspired you to get back to your real self. Who was that other artist, and what was it about them or their music that flicked the switch?
I think he already knows this by now, but it was Myles Kennedy. When 2020 happened, I had all this free time and I went down the YouTube rabbit hole. I was already a fan of Alter Bridge and his work with Slash, but it was his solo work. I found all of these videos of just him with an acoustic guitar. He is such a prolific songwriter, and his lyrics always seem to inspire and uplift. Not only that, but the emotion he puts into everything he does is what drew me in. I decided then and there that I wanted to do that. After listening to him for a few days, I picked up my 1960 Gibson ES 125T that had belonged to my brother, had it restrung and found a great teacher.
That inspiration changed my entire life for the better and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
What’s the live set-up like – full band or solo acoustic, sometimes both?
I actually haven’t played out yet. I am currently home-based. I have some chronic lung issues that prevent me from getting out there and performing. I am working every day to get better, and I am getting stronger. Once my lungs are better, I will be more than ready to get out there. I will probably start with open mics until I get my performance legs again.
The album is due in September – what can we look forward to from that?
I have eight tracks, all originals. Every time I think about it, I am shocked that I was able to do this. I have a third single that will be released in August with a real music video to go along with it. I am beyond excited about that. The songs are all personal, some more so than others. I hope that people can connect with them.
What else do you have planned for the coming months and years – will you tour, make more videos? Any collaborations or festivals in the works?
I am already working on the second album, because I can’t seem to stop writing. My focus right now however, is getting my health back so I can really pursue my dream.
Is there anything else we should know?
I just hope people enjoy the music. Thank you so much!
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