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| 21 April 2021 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Strictly Elizabeth confirmed today the release of her new album Contemporary Construction set for release on Friday May 28 digitally with vinyl to follow. It will be distributed via DashGo on Data Water Records. Recorded at Misphonia Studios, Contemporary Construction is a collaboration between Strictly Elizabeth and producer/musician Shane Soloski (Brian Wilson, Five For Fighting). It’s a deeply personal album made of hard work and dedication in the studio touching on themes of sex, grief, vanity and getting clean.” We get Jessica to discuss new music, influences, and 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 you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Sure – the latest is called Contemporary Construction. It’s a record largely about sex and grief. The nonlinear aspects of grief are really baked into these songs and that’s something that might take a few listens to grasp. It’s not really hidden but there’s a poem that’s spoken in “No New Tale to Tell.”

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

I’ve kinda always been into music. That being said there were many moments in my life when I wanted to be a musician; however there was one particular moment where I said to myself – ‘Fuck this, I’m gonna make music.’ I walked out of the office tower in SF where I had been working, put on my headphones and walked all the way back to my house listening only to “We Built this City” on repeat. That’s when I started working on what would become Shelter in Place.

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

There are so many. But in terms of an artist that really rocked my world, Joni Mitchell. Hands down. After that probably Greg Dulli.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

I love this question – okay in no particular order: Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Smiths, and Joni of course.

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

Madonna – she’s the queen. I’ve always admired her, her work, and her attitude about collaboration.

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?

A 90’s ferris wheel of folk, ha-ha. It didn’t really make me cringe per se, but it did give me pause — Trisha Yearwood.

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

Well this question reminds me of an earlier time, but these days it’s usually me, me, and me.

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

I was in an elevator alone with Bette Midler, I remember I wanted to touch her shoulder and whisper I adore you. But that would’ve made it weird, for sure.

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 freedom to speak my mind, and the joy of making that comes with using my own voice. If I somehow couldn’t do that, I’d continue making, just find another medium.

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?

I have to think about this one — I guess I always want to talk more about why I make music. I’m definitely tired of what was your first concert.

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?

About a thousand, ha-ha. But that’s not how life works, so I try very hard to stay focused on learning from mistakes and moving forward. It’s so easy to get mired in guilt and regrets. If you pressed me harder, I’d say that there was a moment in New Orleans where I was offered a regular singing gig at a popular club and I turned it down. At that time in my life, I thought if I say yes, I’ll end up in the 27 club. I’ll never know, but I am still alive.

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?

Gentlemen. Listening to that record for the first time melted my brain, and it welded me to another person in a way I didn’t know was possible.

13. BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Like September 11th, I feel there’s an innocence lost. I miss the not knowing.





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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