Jess McAllister is definitely one to watch as her sound strikes a pertinent chord at the moment with stand out single, ‘I Am Woman’. I had the chance to chat with her recently about the origins of the song, finding her sound and what 2018 holds for her.
I have just been listening to your single, ‘I Am A Woman’, its such a beautiful mix of eclectic and slightly nostalgic sounds, how did the song come about?
Thank you for your kind words! This one was a really funny one… I was sitting in my kitchen doing something totally unrelated (as I usually am when a song pops into my head!) when the riff just appeared in my brain. I hummed it over and over again, grabbed my guitar and worked out the riff. Then it just unfolded! It was amazing, the words just came out of my mouth whilst I was playing it, and it was structurally and lyrically complete within about 20 minutes!
Have you always known the sort of organic and natural sounds you wanted to make with your music?
No, my music has been through many different sounds over the years. My debut EP was completely piano and strings driven. The album I just recorded had a new sound, more fiery and gutsy. The song comes first, and then the ‘sound’ is something that develops once I get into the studio, and the important thing was finding the right producer to work with. Once that happened the songs developed organically as we worked on each part.
Where do you find your inspiration for your material?
Fear. When I’m afraid, I write a song! I have an irrational fear of death so that comes up a lot. Its almost like self medication, I listen to it or hum it to myself as a kind of therapy, telling myself its all going to be okay. I also find inspiration from my son, and so he brings a lot of hope and love into my music that might not otherwise be there.
There is a strength and backbone to your sound, do you seek to imbue that deliberately or does it just flow?
I suppose it’s a bit of both. ‘I am a Woman’ is a strong, powerful song through and through, so in that respect it definitely just flowed out that way. But of course I deliberately chased that, and I was really lucky to have some fantastic musicians playing on the track in the studio to get it sounding the way it does. There are a few songs like that on the album, but there are also songs which have a bit more vulnerability. Its good to have a balance, we can’t always be strong all of the time.
What touring and gigging plans do you have for this year?
I am playing a show at the Cavern, Exeter on the 11th March, which will be my single release celebration! I will also be playing gigs in Bristol, London, Stroud and various other places but dates are yet to be confirmed. I plan to be gigging throughout the year though :)
Are there to be more releases as well in 2018?
Yes for sure! I have some really exciting tracks coming out and a full length album coming out at the end of the year, so watch this space.
What are your plans further down the road?
I’m not looking too far ahead, you never know what life is going to throw at you, but currently playing and sharing my music with the world seems like a pretty solid plan!