After the success of her 2011 debut release Introducing… Jess Holland, the 2011 Voice of Urban Country winner made some pretty huge steps in her music career, and it’s been a steep learning curve to say the least. Jess is our Artist Spotlight this week.
Stepping away from outside employment, Jess pursued her love of music full-time and she hasn’t looked back since. The result is evident in her music, her latest album shows a more mature focus and a sound that perfectly suits the former CMAA Country Music College graduate’s incredible vocals.
Whole Lot To Say is set to be one of those career defining releases that will see Jess Holland’s music embraced by country and rock fans alike. The first single from the album Fine Lines was released to radio last year and has already garnered rave reviews. It was the perfect sneak peek of what Jess has created with Whole Lot To Say.
This is the start of something new for the Mudgee-born musician and a release that should be on everyone’s playlist in 2014. Jess says she is really comfortable with the way her latest offering Whole Lot To Say sounds. It features some rippin’ rock tunes, as well as some beautiful ballads. There are also some classic blues elements and even a bit of a bluegrass sound that truly showcases her vocal ability. “I have learnt a lot as a songwriter and artist since my first album,” she says. “I think my sound has become more definite. The style of the tracks are still brazen and feisty, however, this new material reflects how much I have matured in the past few years. I love that rockier-bluesy side of country music and a lot of my music influences reflect that. I tend to naturally steer towards this style rather than purposefully set out to write for a centain genre. As my lyrics are quite sassy, they tend to be suited to the rock-bluesy side of country.”
When it came to pulling together the tracks for Whole Lot To Say, it was something of a natural progression from Jess’ live sound. Dedicating her life – working and personal – to music also helped grow her sound to a point where she feels at home when performing the tracks from her new release. “Music has my full attention and I am definitely more settled and focused,” she says. “I know what I want, which has contributed to unearthing this sound. I think my change occurred as I matured. I have become more confident with myself and my music, so found it easier to set my personal experiences down on paper. These new songs are quite raw and hit close to home for me, but they definitely prove this newfound comfort. This time around I spent less time worrying about trying to fit into a certain pigeonhole and how I should be sounding. Instead, I wrote about what I knew and made music that I enjoyed. I have definitely found my niche and I like it.”
As a proud independent musician, Jess continues to self-fund all her music projects, and Whole Lot To Say was no exception. This time she also took out a crowd-funding campaign with Indiegogo to help raise the collateral to record and release the album. She says doing this was a great experience and enabled her to interact with her music fans. “It is a great way for people to contribute to the recording process and pre-order a copy of the new album,” she says. “There are also packages in accordance to the amount contributed to the campaign such as merchandise and specialty items. “A huge thankyou to those who contributed to this album campaign. I definitely could not have started this project without their support, so it means a great deal to me!”
Jess Holland hasn’t really stopped working since the release of her debut album Introducing… Jess Holland. The subsequent singles My Kinda Town, Iddy Biddy Pride and Cigarettes & Whiskey all received great radio support. Throughout her career, she has toured through central, western and northern New South Wales in support of the likes of Luke Dickens, Diesel and Adam Brand. She’s also a two-time Toyota Star Maker finalist and has been earning acclaim from fans and critics alike.
Gearing up for the release of her album in March, Jess is also preparing for three special album launch gigs, a national tour and is, as always, continuing to write new material. If her career trajectory so far is anything to go by, Jess is quickly earning herself the reputation as one of the hardest working independent musicians in the industry today, and she is nowhere near ready to take a rest.
Find out more about Jess by visiting her website.