Interview by Scott Preston
She recently released her debut LP The Light In Me,out now. Handpicked out of 2,000 other independent artists, Venson is currently performing in the Belk Southern Showcase held in support of major country and folk acts Jason Aldean, James Taylor and Tim McGraw. She has also been featured on Soul Bounce, Austin Woman Magazine, Austin Statesman, and has performed live on Time Warner Cable TV and more.
Falling in love with music at an early age, Venson studied piano, singing and songwriting, with an intensive focus on guitar. It was the young singer’s knack for songwriting that caught the attention of producer Eddy Hobizal, who, along with fellow seasoned, lifelong musicians, Gilbert Ayala (drums) and Alån Uribe (bass), completed the vision of Venson’s self-titled project.
Be sure to check out “Always Free”, the latest video from Jackie Venson’s debut LP The Light In Me, and catch her upcoming energetic live shows in North Carolina, Texas and New York City this fall.
Jamband News: What kind of musical background do you have? Did you ever want to be anything else?
Jackie Venson: I began learning the piano at age 8 and studied classical piano for about 13 years, I thought I’d never break out of the box until I starting singing for a living and learning the guitar at 21
Jackie Venson: Ideally I want to be at my house, phone off, PJs on, lounging. In this environment I grab my computer and start listening to all of the ideas I have recorded that are incomplete, or I rapid fire record new incomplete ideas to work on later. It’s a process. I have written on the road before and it’s interesting to do that but it’s key for me to find a way to feel like I’m at home. If I am not comfortable in that way it’s very difficult to write.
Jamband News: Have you performed with anyone that you “geeked out” over?
Jackie Venson: No, not yet. I look forward to doing that!
Jamband News: How would you compare your new album “The Light In Me” to your two previous EP releases?
Jackie Venson: Evolved. The songwriting is more concise but not just that, the singing has gotten stronger and the guitar parts/leads have gotten more intricate. The most special thing however was the fact that I was able to record it with the same producer as the last two EPs so it’s not just me, you can hear the evolution of his production skills. It’s like we grew together.
Jamband News: What caused you to pick up the guitar after playing the piano for so long?
Jackie Venson: I was bored and depressed. I didn’t know how to get out of the funk I was in so I did something drastic and took on a new skill, which is really just like moving to a different world. Committing to learning a new skill is overwhelming but the way I saw it my life in that situation was much more overwhelming. I thought if I could focus on something I could block out all of the crap I had to deal with.
Jamband News: How do you feel about how the internet has changed the way business is done in the music world?
Jackie Venson: Same as it ever was just a different process. No matter what it’s difficult to “make it” in music, it’s difficult to be heard over millions of other people with the same goal, it’s overwhelming to think about the path ahead, and one must work their butt off (almost obsessively) for years upon years to achieve desired goals. The playing field is different, the game is the same.
Jamband News: Are you working on any new projects?
Jackie Venson: I have an ongoing YouTube series where I release original music videos once every month or two. I just released a live performance of my song “Always Free” and the next release I am planning for November is called “See What You Want”. I don’t see myself coming out with another album for a little while, I want “The Light in Me” to have some room to breathe, but I am always writing new songs so I use the YouTube series as an outlet for that. The series is called Truth in Music (youtube.com/user/jackievenson)
Jamband News: What advice would you give someone just starting out in music?
Jackie Venson: Relax, go with the flow, do exactly what you want to do and don’t waste your energy wondering about what other people think or worrying about someone else’s career and the cool stuff they’re achieving. Follow your own path and accept your path for what it is. There are a million different paths to being successful in music and your’s will be totally unique from everyone else.
Jamband News: What has been one of the more stranger things you have seen on the road?
Jackie Venson: The tours have been pretty tame but I will say it’s very interesting seeing how people in different states react to live music. I’m so used to Austin where it’s an everyday thing so I go to a town where it’s not as easy to find and people act like they’re at a zoo or something. Pretty hilarious.
Jamband News: What shows coming up that you are excited about?
Jackie Venson: On December 30th Belk is flying me up to Charlotte, NC to share a show with Miranda Lambert, I’m pretty pumped about that. I also have a really cool concept show planned for my birthday next February, I’m looking forward to that as well.