Whether performing live or virtually, Jessie T leaves it all on the stage. With the mind of a songwriter and the heart of a performer, her music takes you through love, heartache and everything in between. Jessie T’s voice blends country sweetness with a “pop-infused edge” raves Coral Andrews of the Waterloo Regional Record.
How did you learn your craft – was it “formal” or “informal” music education?
My introduction & love for music started from an early age in a super organic way – even though neither were career musicians, my Dad played guitar & my Mom loved to sing. Our house was always filled with music, from neighbour guitar nights to Charley Prides’ greatest hits playing through our house on vinyl.
When I was 8, my parents put me in piano lessons. I always leaned towards playing popular music (Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ was a personal favourite) but through pursuing conservatory grading, I lost the initial spark. I was moved into vocal lessons at the same music school & picked up playing the guitar on the side. My Dad taught me my first 4 chords – after that I was hooked. I started writing wrongs, met my producer in Kitchener & then moved to playing gigs locally in downtown Kingston.
After high school, I also attended college for one year for a Music & Digital media course. It focused on skills that can assist with building a career in music – photoshop, photography, music history, ear training, etc.
My relationship with music has very much been built through formal & informal ways. I think embracing both has helped shape my musicianship & love for the craft.
Do you have a process to songwriting or when creating music? How did you get your start as a creator in the industry?
Songwriting has always been something I’ve been highly fascinated by, even as a creator. Quite often I’ll look back at songs I’ve written and think “how cool is that!” that certain lyrical ideas or melodies just found their way into that moment.
I have always been a pen to paper kind of girl, until the convenience of Google Docs came to be for co-writes. The songs I write usually come from topics I hear in conversations – talking to a friend or ones overhead in everyday life. Another common place I draw inspiration from are conversations or situations I play through in my head- reliving moments to find little details or rehaving conversations to say things left unsaid. I find it super therapeutic to write about those things.
I started seriously creating after meeting my producer Rick Hutt at 15. My Dad & I started writing and the first one we finished was called Shadows. It was about one of his friends who lost his son to cancer- “A shadow over my shoulder but no one at my side”.
The rest of my career as a creator/artist/performer has embracing opportunities and people that have come in to my path. Never be afraid to have a conversation or ask questions.
Do you have any advice for upcoming songwriters and creators who are looking to break further into the creative scene?
As stated above, my biggest piece of advice would be to network. The longer I’m in this industry, the more I recognize how small ‘the circle’ is & how connected everyone is to one another. There are so many creators out there for you to work with, try new things!
Collaborate with people who inspire you: Create a list of dream collaborations & send people messages – social media is a great thing for that! Make sure you have a solid/clean product to send & reach out.
Invest in your craft: If you’re not willing to invest in it, why would anyone else? Put the time in to learning your instrument or researching different writing techniques. The same as any business, you need to put in the work.
Embrace opportunities: Never take advantage of people or situations that come in to your path, but be ready to embrace opportunities when they come your way. People like to work with people who work hard, create good product & have a vision. Take time to learn what makes you authentically you & follow that.
Most of all, have fun: Follow paths that make you excited- excitement will generate better product! Everyone in any career is allowed to have tough days but make sure you’re enjoying your journey.