With a voice that couples the intimacy of personal experience with the distance of wisdom, Jill Andrews’ songs feel like confessions. Her songs combine perceptive insights into the human condition with an ear for melody that makes these sometimes bitter pills easy to swallow. Though they are sometimes forlorn, her songs are never devoid of the healing powers of love and vitality.
She has been working on a new project that has taken her sensitivity to songwriting and honed it in brave new directions. Her new release “Rust or Gold” is haunting, sweeping, and gloriously hopeful. If this song is any indication, we can expect great things to come.
NYMM: You just wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign. How was that?
JA: It was a big number, and I was nervous about trying to raise that much money. But when I looked at my budget, I had to raise that much. There was a period when I thought we might not make the goal, but as soon as I started freaking out a little, people just started coming out of the woodwork. It was awesome.
NYMM: Tell us a little about the new project.
JA: This has been the longest period of time that I’ve spent working on something. By the time it’s all done, it will have been about a year of working straight through with almost no breaks. I really wanted to spend time with the songs. We whittled the record down to 13 out of around 40 songs, and it took a long time to figure out which were the best ones. I wanted to experiment with them and not just do the ordinary thing. My previous songs have been kind of folksy and stripped down, led by acoustic guitar and vocals. I’m proud of those, but this time we wanted to do something a little less traditional.
NYMM: Are there some specific things that tie these songs together?
JA: There’s a common thread that runs through all of my songs. There are a lot of similar themes. A lot of the songs revolve around new beginnings. When you’re writing a song, you know what it’s about in that moment, but as you sing it over and over, you can kind of forget that. So I went through and listened to them closely, and they all had an element of new beginnings.
NYMM: What’s different about this than previous projects?
JA: The past few years have been different, because I’ve worked with a lot of people. Before, music for me was an isolating experience. When I wrote, I would shut my door and be really quiet until I was finished. Now, I enjoy being creative with other people. Making this record has been a group effort.
NYMM: How long have you been writing like that?
JA: I didn’t start writing songs and playing guitar until I was around 19. I always wrote stories and poetry when I was a kid, but I never really thought I was artistic. I remember drawing something in high school and a girl said to me, “You’re not very creative, are you?” I kind of wanted to punch her in the face [laughs]. When I became a musician, I really just thought of myself as a singer. I always wanted to be more like Joni Mitchell, someone who could sing and write and play.
NYMM: Do you have some songs that have been difficult to write?
JA: There’s one I wrote about two of my family members passing away in a year’s time. I was so in the moment about it, I wrote it in about an hour. It sounds really depressing, but I swear the album’s not depressing. That’s the beautiful thing.
NYMM: Is music an outlet for you when going through that sort of thing?
JA: I’ve realized that I have to have a way to express myself creatively. I can’t sit still. In the studio, when we’ve been working, I’ve been sewing these crazy stuffed animals just to keep my hands busy. I know that once this album is done, I’m going to be looking at doing the next one.
NYMM: What’s been one of the highlights of your career so far?
JA: I’ve had several songs on TV, which is great because then I can show my parents that I’m actually doing something [laughs].
You can find more Jill Andrews at:
Photos Courtesy of: Jon Karr
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