Jess Kent is swiftly making the world her bitch.
The Sydney based singer, songwriter, producer etc has had a massive year thus far, releasing a handful of ">originals, teaming up with Paces for ‘1993 (No Chill)‘ and performing all over the country including Splendour In The Grass back in July.
Safe to say she’s been busy!
We caught up with Jess last week to get to know her a little more. We talk influences, future collaboration hopes and her debut album.
Stoney Roads: With a wide range of musical influencers, what was a moment you felt your personal style becoming defined?
Jess Kent: It was somewhere between starting to write verses like a journalistic stream of consciousness, listening to a lot of hip hop, and working out how to fuse it with my style of guitar playing. That’s the only way I knew how to write songs. And when I eventually got to jump in the studio with more electronic producers, all the points of references and influences kind of collided. But in saying that, it’s an infinite process and I’m still working to achieve that fully realised sound every day; A student of music for life.
SR: What are some messages you want to communicate through your music?
JK: I want to provoke thought, entertain and keep pushing the envelope of what ‘pop’ music means. Art is my means of expression and communication, so my main aim is always to entertain, educate and empower. And have fun.
SR: If you weren’t making music what would you be doing?
JK: I studied journalism at uni, so I kind of fell into my style of songwriting through my journaling/ social commentary style of documenting the world around me. So if I wasn’t making music I would probably still be doing something along those lines.
SR: What is your creative process for writing songs?
JK: I jam on the guitar, throw together some beats on Maschine. Actually first and foremost I meditate and then whatever hooks pop into my head, I try not to think too much and just let it flow! I’m currently writing for the album, so pretty much every day I start a new Ableton session and track some demo vocals. I want to write as many songs as possible until I have plenty to choose from.
SR: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future? Music artists? Visual artist? Video producer?
JK: The collab wishlist is huge ! I loved working with Flume. It would be cool to do a track together in the future. I think Charli xcx could be fun to write with too.
SR: In new track “sweet spot” you mention peaking too soon, is that a real concern for you?
JK: The ‘sweet spot’ is more about finding that Nirvana between where you are, where you want to be, what you already have, and what you want to achieve. It’s not so much about peaking or not, it’s more about giving it everything and fulfilling your own potential. I’m always thinking about how I can squeeze in more, and what the next move will be, whilst trying to stay present and enjoy life!
SR: The Australian music scene is very tight knit. How helpful do you think this is for upcoming artists?
JK: The Australian scene is very tight knit. I’ve been so lucky to be welcomed and everyone so far has been so friendly. I think having a smaller scene means all the best characters stick around, so just about everyone I work with is actually a legend. I think for new artists, it’s just a case of getting yourself out there, and you make friends as you go. It can be daunting on your first rodeo, but now I think it’s heaps spesh and something to cherish.
SR: On the topic of Aussie artists, who are some up-and-comers everyone should keep an eye on right now?
JK: I think Ecca Vandal is pretty dope. Looking forward to seeing what does next. I found Fortunes the other day on triple j Unearthed.. Would recommend checking them out.
SR: Who are some artists that have influenced your music? New or old, who inspired and still inspires you?
JK: I love The Police- Sting is one of my favourite songwriters and I think Andy Summers is an underrated guitarist. Grew up with all the classics- Bob Marley… Now I listen to Frank Ocean a lot. I listen to pop and I listen to house and techno. I have a Spotify playlist of new music that I keep updating.
SR: What is around the corner for you? What can we expect from Jess Kent in the near or distant future?
JK: This next few months will be a lot of touring- we’ve got the Coldplay tour in December and Laneway in January. And I’ve already got the album underway so I will no doubt be tirelessly dedicating myself to that in between!