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Under The Influence: Being A Rhythmic Soul Artist With Jessica Jolia

It is easy to get enamored with singer Jessica Jolia’s sound. She flawlessly wears an impressive number of creative hats as an artist, songwriter, producer, and engineer and it pours into her art. In her unique sound of Rhythmic Soul, you’ll find a blend of R&B, Hip Hop and other sonic influences. You’ll find catchy hooks and Jolia’s seemingly never-ending soulful vocals to carry you throughout every song. Letting go of negativity and anything else that doesn’t help someone grow is a strong unifying message throughout her catalog. As a songwriter, Jolia mines that truth by reflecting on her life experiences from heartache to pure joy. A Sacramento, CA native, the artist is more than proud of where she comes from. Her track “Noise” showcases the mixture of her sound by honoring West-Coast Hip Hip roots.

Jolia is no stranger to the industry, having recorded, performed, and toured with the likes Dr. Dre, Megan Trainer, Eric Benet, and many others. She’s surely making her way on her own as her debut single “Sometimes” was featured in the film Sister Code, while she has also made top Spotify playlists. There seems to be no stopping for Jolia since she has released a litany of singles, her most recent being “DNT ND U.” Reflecting on her life lessons, Jessica Jolia allows Steereo a deep look into how healing her musical journey has been as well as the influences and motivations behind her work.

 

Listen to “Sometimes” by Jessica Jolia

As an artist who has recorded and toured with a number of notable musicians, can you share with us what got you into music and what keeps you inspired?

Since I was a young girl, music has always been a big part of me. My Mom says she remembers me being no more than a year old, playing with my dolls and making them sing to each other. What’s funnier is that apparently, I made them sing in operatic voices, perhaps a prelude to what would come later in life – me studying Classical Vocal in college.

People, places, hopes, ambitions, memories and even pain…those things inspire me to create. I’m grateful for having a formal music education and for being able to connect with others through my art.


You’ve worked with the likes of Eric Benet and The Chainsmokers, can you tell us what you’re music career has been like so far? Has there been an unforgettable moment that you can share?

Music has truly taken me all over the world. I’ve been blessed to experience so much in just a few years, including working with those I truly adored and grew up listening to. Although each artist I’ve worked with to date has been incredibly gifted and talented in his/her own right, working with Eric Benet was special to me because he’s always been one of my favorite singers and songwriters. Added to that, he’s a very down-to-earth person with a great heart and that is what makes him so remarkable.


There seems to be a cultural shift in music where many artists are moving away from large genre’s like R&B or Hip-Hop and carving their own path. What is your opinion on this subject?

I think it’s important for every creative to remain authentic. When I listen to music, nothing disappoints me more than hearing songs by different artists that all have a similar general sound. While the larger genres continue to dominate the charts, there is certainly space for new styles and approaches to rise in a complimentary way. It’s pretty cool actually because it allows new artists to emerge without immediately being compared to another artist with an established fan base and sound.

 

Which artists and/or groups are major influences to your style? How have they impacted your music or career?

My taste in music is quite eclectic. On any given day, I can listen to anything from Tupac to Whitney Houston to Parliament to Bon Jovi to Cardi B. I love song arrangements that feature live instrumentation, beautiful ballads sung by singers with great diction, and aggressive IDGAF anthems too. Listening to and enjoying such a wide variety of music really just reminds me to create from an honest space. That doesn’t mean that every song that I write is about my life, but it does ensure that every song is full of life, intention, passion and purpose.


Your songs have a mixture of hip-hop, R&B, and soul, how do you define your sound?

When I’m creating, it’s always about the feel. I incorporate a lot of syncopation, whether musically, lyrically or both. You’ll often hear different influences from the various artists and genres that I listen to, but I’d say Rhythmic Soul is a great way to describe my sound.

Photo Via Facebook

You have released many great singles, do you have one that resonates the most with you? If so why and what do you want listeners to take away from it?

I think “Noise” was my favorite single of last year because it’s a great representation of my artistry and sound. In the second verse of the song, I pay homage to my hometown – Sacramento, CA – which was really important for me to do because so much of who I have become is the result of all that I cultivated there. In a sense, the song is about making noise for my city and I’m both proud and honored to represent it. 916!!!

 

“Sweet Love” is a wonderful blend of R&B and soul, what inspired you to create the song?

At the time, I was revisiting past moments I hadn’t taken an opportunity to write about. “Sweet Love” is the product of the many reasons and times I chose to hold on to undeniably dead relationships. It embodies the challenges we face when we care about someone so much that we are willing to do anything we can to salvage the relationship, even when we’ve long past the expiration date.

Listen to “Sweet Love” By Jessica Jolia

Your song “Good Stuff” is another stand out track with your vocals and instrumentals, can you share with us what went into the creative process of the song?

I had a lot of fun working on “Good Stuff”. The track was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Jonathan Richmond, who happens to be from Memphis, Tennessee and has quite the knack for Soul music. I was in a very Motown kind of mood and specifically wanted to create something that incorporated background vocal arrangements a la Marvin Gaye – rich, silky and lingering. When I’d nearly finished recording, I thought it might be cool to add a rap verse so I called my dear friend J. Ali to join me on the track. We wrote the verse together in a few minutes and his delivery complimented the song so nicely! The final touches were just a few sprinkles of my favorite floaty soprano notes and the rest was history!


Were there any intentional lyrics featured in one or more of your songs? If so, what are they and what is the meaning behind them?

Every single lyric in “Sometimes” was personal and deliberate. I had just gone through a bad breakup and was dealing with the emotions that come with letting someone go and re-learning how to become comfortable being alone. “Sometimes it hurts to say your goodbyes, so I’ll say hello to heartache for a little while,” was exactly how I was feeling. I wanted to accept the fact that I was hurting and allow myself to grieve, which was difficult for me because I’m very much a big-girls-don’t-cry kind of person. But ultimately, the grieving was a necessary part of my healing and I’m grateful that so many others have been inspired to process, grow and move forward even stronger as the result of my openness and vulnerability.


What can we expect from you going forward? Are you working on any new projects?

This year, I’m kicking things off with my single “DNT ND U” (Don’t Need You). The track was produced by Eric “Boots” Greene and dropped on Valentine’s Day. Far from the typical loving sentiment, this song takes a new twist on the holiday and serves as an anthem for those getting rid of anyone or anything that serves no purpose for them. I’m very excited to share it, and looking forward to releasing a full project in the near future as well.


Is there anything else you would like to share about your career, music, or yourself?

The most important thing for me to share at this stage in my career is that I’m very grateful for all the gifts that God has blessed me with a loving family, supportive friends, incredible mentors, patience, tenacity, stick-to-itiveness and of course my very sweet fans. I’m so happy and incredibly grateful to be exactly where I am today and look forward to even better tomorrows.

 

Listen To “DNT ND U” by Jessica Jolia

 

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Kai is a Los Angeles-based writer, lover of entertainment, art, and film.