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A Dirty Dozen with JODI ESSEX – September 2021

| 2 September 2021 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “In an era marked by “followers” and wanting to be “liked” has come a time when Christ followers are unfollowing their faith. Acknowledging the fear of rejection and division may be a root cause for the reservations of thought leaders, Rock Artist Jodi Essex is fed up with rising fear-based excuses. Bearing witness to public denouncements of faith and the watered-down messages of mainstream culture, Essex implores, “Would you offend for the Gospel?” Out September 10th, 2021 with a music video, “Offend” is ready to shatter the silence through what some may call “unpopular opinion.” Written by Jodi Essex and Josiah Prince of Disciple, “Offend” is the first song in a series of songs to mark their new collaboration. Similar to her experience with Sean Hill (Jamie Grace, Clay Crosse, Landry Cantrell) for her 10-song debut album, Irreverent, Essex has described the process of writing with Josiah as amazing and positive, backed by “RADICALLY EPIC” songs that have emerged. Citing a vast array of musical influences like 80s and 90s rock legends like Def Leppard, Guns N Roses and Sevendust, Jodi’s music is never too far from her roots. With a sound that could be compared to Skillet, Fireflight and Alice in Chains, “Offend” forges a new path for Jodi that is a cross between classic and hard-hitting modern rock.” We get Jodi 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?

First, I just want to say how great it is to connect again since my last music endeavors. I appreciate your time and the opportunity to share in my new music project! “Offend,” first off, is about standing up boldly & speaking out for your deepest beliefs, even at the risk of being unliked or offending others; in this case, a call out to accountability for the truth of the gospel. Things like religion, the bible, Christianity – inherently are offensive to some people. They may be offended just by the nature of something. So, I’m not referring to the act of being “offensive,” or unkind, or brash to another, but more in the vein of standing up for what one believes even if it offends someone. How someone else feels is out of our control, so we say what we have to say, stand up for what we believe in, in truth and love, and however someone is going to feel, is how they’re going to feel. It’s not our job or responsibility to manage that. Their feelings belong to them forever and ever. 😉 SO, the track itself is heavy. And it rocks. In a MAJOR way. Listeners will definitely notice an obvious difference from my last go-round of music, in that there is less of a classic rock feel and more of a modern/alt rock feel, especially with ‘Offend.’ But not to worry my current listeners – I’m not skipping out on the trademark melodic guitar “carrots” or vocal arrangements that I love to weave in! Those are the great parts you sometimes have to really listen for based on how they’re hidden in the track! This time around, I’m also working with a new producer, Josiah Prince, who is the guitarist for the well-known Christian heavy rock band, Disciple. Inevitably I knew that his influence and style collaboration in our songwriting would charter new paths as it related to my sound and vision. Also, I want to remind everyone that there is also a killer music video for ‘Offend” coming out September 12th, just after the single release! There is just as much energy in the video as the song!

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

Ah… 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 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 myriad 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, crazy show antics with props, and/or 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. 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 front men/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… I also would love to write a song with Ben Grosse, who produced for Sevendust.  He rocks.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

Ha! I’ll try to keep this answer short! Well, I’m super athletic, so you will find me either running, cycling, swimming, paddleboarding, golfing, or knocking a tennis ball around. I used to do triathlon – up to the half-ironman distance and plan to get back into that this next year if I can find the time to train. I’m currently training for a marathon so we’ll see if I can fit that in, too! I also like to read, travel, cook, collect wine, and hang out with the husband and all our dogs!

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 heavy rock; definitely melodic with some unique turnarounds.  This first single, since working with Josiah, is freight-train-in-your-face energetic, edgy rock but with some attitude and serious “teeth.” I’ve not heard any real comparisons yet! I did have one “kind” gentleman on Facebook write a comment that read, “Your music is as good as a dumpster fire!” Hilarious! I cracked up hard at that one!

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, I’m actually a solo artist now that brings in the hired guns whenever needed. It gets a little crazy when I’m shooting a video or performing live, but I presume that when I go out on the road next year, there will be more of those “moments!”

8. When was the last time you were starstruck 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 or impacted 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 you wrote?” This question is interesting for most artists, as a lot of the time their favorite song is a “B” side song (if there’s an album), or a lesser-known single that was released. 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?” THE LIST IS LONG 😉

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 far 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?

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 amongst the members of the band leading up to Abbey Road, they had also declared their breakup at that point and were all going their separate ways.  Simply put, it was the end of an era for The Beatles. For me and what that album represents, 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 alright…”

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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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