NYC’s rising soul singer/songwriter Jessie Davis premieres the music video for “All Gonna Work Out,” the second single from her newly released ‘Nebraska Jones Experiment’ EP. In the somber but optimistic clip, the purple hair songstress lets her guard down as she delivers sultry and colorful vocals about a daunting situation.
We also spoke with Jessie about the visual and her new project; check it out:
Tell us about your inspiration for the EP? What was the creative process like? Where did you pull the content from?
The EP is a reflection of change, and how certain experiences, places, people, relationships, love, and loss can affect your life. ‘All Gonna Work Out,’ for example, is a song that came to me after a dear friend passed away. He was a perfect example of the type of friend who comes into your life and changes you for the better. I wrote the song on my balcony with tears and a ukulele. It was one of those songs that wrote themselves; I just had to open myself up and let the music flow through me. But the process really helped me work through my grief and turn a loss into something beautiful. ‘Howl At The Moon’ was also written on my uke, however, it came to life on a rock in the desert. I went down to southern Utah a couple of years ago to escape the city and clear my mind from a string of shitty jobs and relationships. I felt like the city had changed me, and I longed for someone or something to come into my life that would give a deeper meaning to my life, art, and work. ‘Howl At The Moon’ is like my ode to the desert, a love song to the Colorado River, as well as a cry to the universe to send me love and fulfillment. (It kinda worked cuz shortly after I met my love, life partner, and videographer who helped me create these beautiful videos).
The songs developed over time as I brought them to life on stage with different musicians. I’ve been lucky to work with some really talented people who added their flavor to my music, so the songs continued to evolve as we experimented with different textures, grooves, etc. When I went into the studio, my producer Jesse Fischer spent a lot of time helping me finalize the arrangements of the tunes. He built skeletons of the songs in Ableton Live, and then we brought the musicians in to record live instrumentation over the top. I’ve always loved harmonizing and vocal arranging and had a lot of fun with Jesse coming up with vocal parts in the studio as well.
Watch Jessie Perform “It’s All Gonna Work Out” Live:
Tell us about the concept for the video
As I mentioned before, ‘All Gonna Work Out’ is inspired by the death of my dear friend, Hiawatha Rutland. For the video, I wanted to pay tribute to him, as well as to somehow illustrate my grieving process or realize what was going on in my head as I came to terms with it. My creative team, Marton Daniel Gabor and Al Malonga helped me to develop different concepts I had in mind. For example, the scenes in the studio with the visual projections are meant to signify what it was like to be inside of my head at the time. Have you ever seen a little kid throw a tantrum and feel like, “I get you kid. I feel that way too, but I can’t throw a fit right now cuz I’m an adult.” Dancing around in the studio and destroying flowers and throwing myself on the ground was kind of like my opportunity to throw that tantrum. Marton was really great at capturing these things as they happened in the spur of the moment. We also wanted to use elements that sort of represented Hiawatha. For example, we chose to shoot part of the video in Harlem at Riverbank State Park, which is where I used to go bike riding with Hiawatha and where we held a memorial service for him after he passed. He was my neighbor in Harlem when I first moved to NYC, hence the uptown connection. I also wanted to put a positive spin on things. Hiawatha was someone who helped me through some dark and difficult times when I first moved to NYC. He would always say, “it’s all gonna work out the way it’s supposed to.” He lived life to the fullest and was a one of a kind human being who had a positive impact on a lot of people. So I also wanted to capture some of the fun and magical elements of him.
Who or what inspires your artistry? When did you begin singing and when did you decide to make it a career.
I’ve been inspired by so many different musicians and singers. At this moment, my biggest inspirations are singers like Kimbra, Sia, Erykah Badu, and story tellers like Joni Mitchell. My parents were really into artists like Paul Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Raitt, Janis Joplin etc, so I know I was influenced by these artists at an early age. I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah as a classical pianist, so I was kind of in a bubble for most of my childhood and adolescence. I never really ventured outside of the classical world until college, but always knew I wanted to make a life out of music. I studied at Berklee College of Music after my freshman year for their five-week summer program. It was like a crash course in jazz, R&B, pop, latin, and hip hop music. I came home and was hungry for more. Soon enough, friends I met at Berklee brought me to Atlanta, where I wound up finishing school in Jazz Piano Performance. Atlanta has a really rich and diverse music scene, and I dove straight in and continued stretching my wings in different musical genres. I always sang, but never really thought of myself as more than an instrumentalist or side woman. I started collaborating with songwriters in Atlanta as a producer and instrumentalist. That was when I really started getting into songwriting. Eventually, I took everything I learned and started writing and performing for myself. My style as a songwriter is definitely eclectic, and I guess you can say its from all the different styles of music I learned how to play as I was discovering my voice. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Gemini :P! As I mentioned earlier, the musicians I’ve been fortunate enough to work with have also inspired my writing and arranging. One thing I’m sure of is I will continue to evolve as life, music, and people inspire me.
Listen to Jessie’s Nebraska Jones Experiment EP and purchase if you dig!