lot can happen in the space of ten years and this is most certainly true of singer JILLIAN RISCOE. When ROCKWIRED first became acquainted with RISCOE in 2009, she was an unabashed pop rock princess armed with a soulful delivery and a punchy sound that was heavy on pop psychological heartache and all of the drama that goes with the territory. Yes, her debut album ELEVEN:ELEVEN was the first hopeful sign of an artist on the rise. A star was born, yet surprisingly RISCOE defied conventional divadom and chose to share the spotlight with a band. In 2010, she formed the THE 21RST CENTURY and played stages at all of the right festivals and workshops and toured the country. In 2013, RISCOE put THE 21RST CENTURY behind her and formed RED VELVET CRUSH which continued her issuance of pop rock gems that spoke to the ups and downs of life and romance. Up until two years ago, we had every reason to believe that RED VELVET CRUSH was going to be here for the long haul with the release of two amazing EPs but 2017 saw the end of that band.
Two years on and ten years into a career full of artistic twists and turns, JILLIAN RISCOE is back as a solo artist in a musical environment that is way more digital and way more social media focused than it was back in 2009. How fitting that her brand new single BREAKING POINT is as epic as the parting of the Red Sea. With a little help from MATT RICHARDS of AVENUE RECORD COMPANY, RISCOE's musicality has reached dizzying heights on an epic rock ballad that is all about the very persistence and resilience that has marked RISCOE's career. ROCKWIRED had a chance to catch up with JILLIAN RISCOE regarding her new single and her return as a solo artist. Here is how the interview went.
From a distance it looks like you have come full circle from being a solo artist to forming bands such as THE 21RST CENTURY and RED VELVET CRUSH and now you are back as a solo artist with an amazing new single. What kind of reactions have you been able to gauge since the release of you new single?
In comparison to what I had put out before as a solo artist or with my last band, I had a lot of people personally messaging me and putting stuff on their instagrams about the song and how much they liked it. The positive feedback in general from people has been amazing. It's been coming from fellow musicians as well as some friends and even random people and that is really exciting to see. I've never seen this kind of a reaction before. As an independent artist you are always trying to promote yourself and submit your songs to this platform or that platform and share your songs with as many people as possible. Sometimes the feedback is a lot and it's great but sometimes you are just sitting there and hoping people are listening and assuming that they like it. Getting this kind of initial right out of the gate reaction from a lot of people online and personally is just really nice. It is just really nice to see it.
CHECK OUT JiLLiAN RiSCOE'S NEW SiNGLE BREAKiNG POiNT!!!
This new single you have is really an epic moment for you. It makes sense that this is your first release as a solo artist after ten years. Who did you work with in putting this song together?
I'm a big believer in collaboration. I love the whole DIY ethic. I think it's great and I think people should do that but I also believe that collaboration is key and that there is a lot of power in that. There doesn't seem to be a limit to what you can do when you collaborate with someone. I worked on this song and the next single, which will be coming out in January, with MATT RICHARDS of AVENUE RECORD COMPANY. He's based right here in Kansas City. MATT and I have known each other for years. His old band and my old band had played a handful of shows together. He and I probably met around five years ago at this point. He's been doing a lot of great work in his studio and he's been working with a lot of incredible artists from around town who are doing some really great stuff. He and I collaborated on this song. He really helped to bring the song to life. I also had TAYLOR MEAD come in and he recorded drums and then MATT did both the guitar and bass and I did a little bit of acoustic guitar and all of that other stuff.
Why was it important for you to reemerge as a solo artist with this song as opposed to continuing with your previous band RED VELVET CRUSH?
It was an empowerment thing for me. I ended RED VELVET CRUSH two years ago. I had come to the realization that music has always been my love and it's been my passion since I was a child. If there are people who are not willing to be in a band with me then I can do this on my own. Realizing that was a moment of strength and power for me. I realized that I can do this on my own and of my own free will. That was really what it was. Being in a band is cool and it may be fun to be able to do that again in the future and have that kind of setting, but at the same time it has been truly empowering for me to step out on my own as a solo artist again.
What is the difference in being solo now as opposed to ten years ago?
Well obviously there is a few years difference (laughs). Ten years ago I had a completely different team around me. The support system was different and not in a bad way. Back then I had family and a management team. Now I'm doing everything on my own. I've got people that I'm working with and collaborating with on things like design and the recording process and all of that good stuff but everything is very DIY and on my own. It's been interesting to navigate this whole thing going from being a solo artist ten years ago to being in a band setting to being a solo artist again. Since I was last a solo artist, things have changed so much in the music industry and in technology and it's crazy. It's cool because there are a lot of tools that musicians now have at their fingertips.
And what was the inspiration for the song BREAKING POINT?
BREAKING POINT actually emerged out of an online songwriting challenge. My friend SARAH SPENCER who is a songwriter out of Nashville does this songwriting prompt and challenge. She even has a book out on songwriting. So I started doing some of these exercises where I would use certain words or certain prompts to help me write a song. The exercises are to help with writer's block. For a long time, I felt pretty lost even with my last band in terms of music and my passion just wasn't there anymore. I was in a really negative situation for a long time but I pulled myself out of it. That was what inspired the song BREAKING POINT and that is what I think the song signifies. It's about finding strength and hope after being lost for a really long time in life and with yourself. It's all about that process of finding yourself again and coming out stronger and wiser.
Are you just going to focus on releasing singles or is there an LP or an EP that we can expect from you in the future?
Right now, I'm just focused on singles but my plan is to hopefully put out an EP some time next year. I love the thought process and the allure and magic of an LP and a full album. I think every artist loves that. It's just that these days it's not the most cost effective thing to do right off the bat. But I hope that I'm able to get something like that out again. Right now it's all about releasing singles and then make my way towards releasing a new EP on my own.
And will you continue to work with MATT RICHARDS?
Yes. Matt and I collaborated on the two new songs. He has been incredibly helpful. I credit a lot of the sound of these songs to him in terms of production. I plan on working on some more music with him soon and hopefully those songs will turn into the EP that I would like to release in 2020. That is my hope and plan.
And what about music videos? In the past you've released some great music videos.
For BREAKING POINT I'm not sure. I know that a lyric video is on its way before the end of the year. I have a good friend who is amazing at design who is working on that lyric video with me. I will have a lyric video for BREAKING POINT for sure but for the next song I release, I am really tempted to toy around with the idea of making a video. When you make a music video for a song sometimes you aren't sure where you are going to take it visually but with the next song I think there is going to be more to go off of. But who knows. I might just wait until an EP comes out. It all has to do with time money and creativity.
What is the big takeaway with a single like BREAKING POINT?
I've been posting about this a lot on my social media. I hope that strength and encouragement are what they come away with after hearing the song. I would like for them to know that everyone goes through dark times and looses their self and feels confused about life but that it is important for them to realize that they are going to come out of it. You just have to keep trying. I sound like a total cheeseball right now (laughs) when I say things like that but it's true. It is something that I have to tell myself everyday because everyone has dark days and everyone has happy days. I feel it is a constant back and forth that people go through in life. That is what I hope people walk away with. A little bit more strength and some hope and encouragement.
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