I want to introduce you all to an amazing new artist by the name of Jesse Thomas. Aside from having an amazing voice, she has a very quirky personality that seems to be winning everyone over. We discussed her new EP, her love life and her goals for 2010. Check out our exclusive interview and listen to her single You I Want.
The Femme: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and when did you start singing?
Jesse Thomas: Hi. My name is Jesse Thomas. I am a very small girl, from Kentucky. I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago to pursue an acting career. I moved alone, and had no friends here. The boredom, combined with having no job, and going through a break up, forced me to pick up my guitar that usually just collected dust. I had played a little bit back home, but never considered myself a musician. I wrote a few songs, and decided to play them at an open mic at the Rainbow on Sunset in Hollywood. I really didn’t expect much from it, again, I was just bored. After that, a weird chain of events happened, and the buzz from that evening led me to my current producer, Jim Roach. He saw talent in me, and motivated me to pursue music as a career. So, I did. Fast forward a year and a half later, and now I have all sorts of fun stuff happening, and turns out people like my music. Go figure.
TF: Brilliant triumphs always come from big break ups. Thats interesting you that you got back into music after a break up. You have an old school quality about your voice that sets you aside from other artist. How did your family react the first time they really heard you sing?
JT: What is interesting about my voice, is it has changed quite a bit since I started singing. When I was younger I had a very heady voice. It was an OK voice, but nothing that stood out. Once I figured out how to sing from my gut, the raspy thing started happening, and I sort of embraced it. I feel like now, the more I sing, the more I can control and use my voice to make it sound better. I also smoke three packs a day, and drink gallons of whiskey. Joking… but I do hear that a lot. My parents think I’m the best thing ever. They have told me I am the best singer and the best songwriter. . . but they also tell me I’m the best cook even though I struggle with making spaghetti. Needless to say, they are a bit bias. I don’t know if there was ever a moment where they were like, “wow, what a voice, maybe you have something there.” They just let me do my thing, and always give me great support.
TF: Thats awesome. Who are some of the people or musicians in your life that have influenced you as an artist?
JT: I have a pretty unhealthy obsession with Fiona Apple. I think she is one of the greatest musicians of our time. Everything she does, to me, is golden. Laura Marling has had a lot of influence on the stuff I am currently writing. She is mesmerizing to watch perform. I love Patty Griffin, Stevie Wonder, and Brandi Carlile. I listen to them to get the creative juices flowing.
TF: Let’s talk about your EP titled Hazel. How would you describe the sound of the album and is there a basic theme or trend in sound on the album.
JT: I would say the sound of the album sits somewhere between the folk, singer/songwriter, and indie rock genres. “You I Want” and “Say Hello” are more rockin’, but “Shine,” “Drunk,” and “Blank Page,” are more singer/songwritery, sad love songs. I don’t really try to fit in a genre. I just try to write songs that have meaning. I want to create something that people can listen to and feel something. Those are the songs that always hit me the hardest. Most of the songs are pretty depressing! As mentioned above, I was going through some stuff when I was writing for “Hazel,” and it definitely shows in the songs. I wasn’t really writing those songs for anyone but me. I had a lot on my mind, and don’t have the attention span for a diary.
TF: Your single “You I Want” is delightful. What was your inspiration for the light hearted tune?
JT: I have pretty horrible luck with love. I always find a way to fuck up any chance of being with the people I am attracted to. In life, I am pretty normal, likable, laid back, cool… but when I like someone I turn into an idiot. No game, as they say. There is somewhere right between drunk and sober where I turn into Rico Suave, but most of the time I find myself in the “too much to drink,” or “not enough to drink” categories when approaching possible conquests… or maybe it’s because I call them conquests. Anyway, I wrote “You I Want,” after another one of these occurrences. I asked someone out, they said no. The song is my message to them that I am not the idiot I seem, and to give me “a minute of your time, a chance to change your mind,” to prove otherwise. Fun fact: The song didn’t work. Dang.
TF: Dont feel bad. I have poor luck with love too. I just focus on my career. Have you started working on any new music for 2011? When can we start looking for music videos for songs from your EP?
JT:Yes! I have been writing a lot. I am so excited for the next project. We are doing a full album, and much of that album is already written. In my opinion the songs are better (and not nearly as depressing). We are going to start recording when I get back from SXSW in April. W’e’re going BIG this time around. There is a music video coming out in a day or two for “You I Want.” I am so proud of this video. I came up with the concept, and super talented Jen Rosenstien at Pretty Bird Productions brought it to life. The concept is me putting a message in a magical Lite Brite, and then leaving it on my love interests doorstep. It’s pretty badass and you can’t really argue that… it’s a Lite Brite for gods sake.
TF: Lol. Lite Brite’s are great. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
JT: Hm. I don’t shower very often. How’s that?
TF: LOL. Your wild. I like you. What is your ultimate goal or dream you hope to fulfill while your performing music?
JT: I want to wake up, make coffee, walk my dog, grab a guitar, and write music. If I can do this and make a living, mission accomplished.