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A Dirty Dozen with JODI ESSEX – January 2020

| 24 January 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “You know the feeling of refusing to do something you feel like you’re supposed to do? It is from this place of resistance the song, “Irreverent,” came to be. After years of casually ignoring God’s prompting to write faith-based music, Christian-rock artist Jodi Essex is ready to answer it boldly with her breakout single, Irreverent, set to release January 24, 2020. A fearless declaration, this song invites listeners not to rebel against God’s calling, but rather to live for Christ in an authentic way that is unapologetic to the world.”  We get Jodi to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

“Irreverent” represents an unapologetic declaration of being who we are as God intended, with total disregard for the judgment of what others might say or think about us – whether they are faith followers or not.  It implores a bold, defiant, and empowering message for others to accept, understand, and celebrate who they are.  This song invites listeners not to rebel against God’s calling, but rather to live for Christ in an authentic way that is unapologetic to the world. I think listening the first time through, the lyrics typically get missed or mistaken for other words in songs.  No real hidden nuggets in this one.  I think Irreverent is a straight-forward, rock & roll, rebel-without-a-cause vibe!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I’ve been into music for as far back as I can remember.  My dad always had great tunes on when I was a wee-little girl and he also managed a band called The Image.  I got to sit in and listen to their rehearsals and sometimes they’d let me sing.  But to be honest, I think the desire to be a musician began before then.  Those subsequent experiences just sparked it on a bit more and got me hooked.  Nothing like being live on stage!

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

There was definitely a plethora and combination of those things that may have guided my tastes.  What I always did appreciate though, were those artists/bands that just got up on stage without pyro and  any special stage effects; just themselves, the band and the music.  Just a simpler time and place.  I was drawn to the artists that believed so strongly in their music, aware of the impact they had on the crowd and earnestly delivering soulful performances, that they didn’t need anything else.  They’d simply plant their feet and wail.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Hahaha a question like this always cracks me up as it is impossible to answer for me. Well, it’s interesting because my parents divorced when I was really young and they both had very different music tastes.  I’d be listening to bands like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Journey, Def Leppard, and Aerosmith at my dad’s house, but then at my Mom’s house with my sister, I’d be listening to Christian artists like Stryper, Petra, Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, Bebe & Cece Winans, and DC Talk! And that my friend, was only a fraction on both sides.  I listened to and studied a looong list of artists.  As I got older, I began listening to Jars of Clay, Switchfoot, Pat Benatar, Sheryl Crow, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden. How about we call this “Multiples of Five” Musical Influences?!?! Ha!

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

That’s tough too! I mean on top of rock music collaborators and frontmen/women, there are some amazing rock producers out there. It would be easy to say Mutt Lange, Rex Carrol, Phil Keaggy, Bob Hartman, Slash, etc..but I think I’ll keep on with Jadan Sorenson.  He’s the up-and-comer who played on my album and he’s ridiculous! Such an incredible talent and his playing comes as natural as breathing.  He’s not a flashy-type player per se, but can shred a rock solo to shame, play a sublime blues to throw you in a trance, and silence you with his near-perfect technical skill. Oh and not to mention the biggest, most humble heart to boot! Boom.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d describe it as Christian guitar-driven rock; definitely melodic with some unique turnarounds.  I’d describe it as both energetic and anthemic, but with some laid-back, straight ahead tunes reminiscent of a classic rock vibe.  Also, wrote a couple introspective ballads that make you take pause. I’ve not heard any comparisons yet! Looking forward to them!

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Well, I’m actually a solo artist who worked with a producer named Sean Hill. In birds-of-a-feather fashion, talented as he is, he brought in his A-Team of insanely gifted musicians to play on the record.  He did an amazing job at matching styles all around.  During the writing and recording process, we had some band antics going on in equal measure. I presume that when I go out on the road, there will be more of those “moments!”

8. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

It hasn’t happened with respect to a musician yet! I’m still waiting!

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part is the live performance!  Seeing and feeling a connection with your audience is indescribable. The amazing thing is that it’s different every time! Also, hearing how your music has influenced someone is always a blessing. If I could no longer be a musician, I’d be a fighter pilot or F-1 driver!!! YEAH!

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

You asked it in question #9! Talking about alternate careers is fun! Or, I also like, “Do you personally have a favorite song on the album?” This question is interesting for most artists, as a lot of the time their favorite song is a B-side song and was never released as a single or got radio/streaming play.  My favorite song is Track #10 “Rearview Mirror.” As for the question I get tired of answering? I wouldn’t say that I get tired of answering it, but only that it can be such a complex question with a REALLY long answer, which is, “Which band or artist were you most  influenced by?” 😉

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Not necessarily single-moment specific, but when I was younger and WAY more of a perfectionist, I used to hold off on doing things until everything – the circumstances, were perfect.  I would lose out on opportunities and things would pass me by because in my eyes, things were not yet “perfect.” Hahaha…what I am grateful for is that I learned my lesson pretty quickly though.  That bad habit left the building very early on as I began traversing the entertainment industry!

12.  If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Hmmm… since I can only pick one, it would have to be Abbey Road by the Beatles.  It was their 12th and final album that they recorded from start to finish in 1969.  As you probably know, there was a lot going on with the band on top of the Beatles being the “band” as we knew them.  With personal turmoil among the members of the banding leading up to Abbey Road, they had also declared their breakup at that point and were all going their separate ways.  It was simply put, the end of an era for The Beatles.  For me and what that album represents, is that I once had the opportunity to work out of Abbey Road Studios back in the early 2000’s, so there is a bit of nostalgia for me in that respect.  Roaming the halls of ARS was an incredible experience and they had pretty much left Studio 2 as it was when the Beatles were there recording.  It gave me chills to walk around in it! Second, that album was the first Beatles album my dad ever played for me.  “Here Comes The Sun” was on it and as a little girl, I loved that song.  To me, the song had a fun, carefree vibe to it filled with a reassuring hope of, “It’s all right…”





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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