Jacqueline Constance is a singer-songwriter out of Philadelphia, PA with a unique vibe powered by a unique personality. She’s garnered some well deserved attention on the innanets with her live looper performances. She’s a one-woman show that has captivated some of 2017’s Grammy nominated artists with her loop covers and certainly has a bright future. I had the great pleasure of talking with her about her experiences:
The Vince Anthony Show: So, tell me your story.
Jacqueline Constance: I’ve been singing since I was 9. My mom entered me into a talent show that I had no intentions of doing (I was like, “Mom…forreal? That’s how you feel?”). But, that was my first time performing and I’ve been performing ever since. I just love music. I’ve gone to school for music, starting with Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) High School in Philly, then I went to Wilberforce University for music.
I’m just trying to figure my life out as a musician, as a woman, as a black woman and as a black queer woman. Trying to find my identity not only in those things, but in also in art. As an artist, you have to reconcile who you are with how much you are willing to share with the world. So, yeah, I’ve been in that space lately.
My story is really similar to a lot of folks. I’m the second oldest of 4 girls. We grew up in an affluent neighborhood, but we were poor. Both parents were addicted to drugs. Statistically, I shouldn’t be where I am, but my coming up has still taken a toll on me in terms of trying to grasp who I am while having bouts with depression. All of this factors into who I am as an artist and who I am as a storyteller. My story is mine, but it’s similar to a lot of other stories, too. I’m the kid that went through hell and survived.
TVAS: Solid solid. What parts of your identity would you say come through the most in your creative process?
Jacqueline Constance: That’s a real good question…
If you ever see me perform or are ever around anything JacqCon related, you’ll know that I am terribly goofy. I’ve been goofy my whole life, but I’ve only been comfortable enough to share that with the world for like 5 years. I like to have fun and be free on stage and I feel like I don’t get a chance to be that free in other aspects of my life. When I’m on stage, I’m literally just having fun. Milly rockin’ during set up and what not. I’m just goofy!
I think a part of that is me finally being comfortable in my own skin. I’m now able to be silly and have a good time with the audience. This has definitely filtered into my creative process as well. Always crackin’ jokes in the studio, being funny, turnin’ up and just having a good time. My mentality is very “have fun and be free” and this is new for me. I used to be so uptight, all about structure. Now I just go with the flow, which is dope because it eliminates rigid expectations. I’m a super goofball. I’m a Goof Troop forreal, haha.
TVAS: Ha! I see. So, let’s talk about this #LoopLife you livin’. What sparked the idea for you to use a looper as a part of you music making?
Jacqueline Constance: I think it was 2013. I was living with a homie of mine. She was watching YouTube videos and stumbled across one of Kimbra performing at that year’s SXSW. So she was like, “Yo, Jacq, you gotta check this out!”
Kimbra was using a VoiceLive Touch, an iPad and some other stuff. I was just like, “Yo…that’s dope.” So I started researching loopers and loop pedals. I didn’t have any money at this point and was staying with a friend, so getting this equipment wasn’t feasible. But my homie believed in me so much that she bought the equipment for me! We ended up going to guitar center that night and she got it for me.
I don’t remember sleeping that night. I think I was up for 24 hours just playing with the looper and learning how to work it how I wanted to. That’s how it became a part of my life, but at the time I had no intention on using it to perform. Homie told me I should try it live, so I tried it at a few gigs and people were like, “Whoa….what is this shit!?” So after that I decided to keep it.
Over the years, I’ve been able to perfect it. I can now take my wildest dreams and transmit them through the looper. Since learning how to work it, I’ve incorporated an iPad, a synth, a beat machine and a Macbook. It allows me to super involved with the music I make. I can do what the hell I want without any restrictions. Looping is fun as shit!
TVAS: It looks fun! Cats like Bernhoft and Reggie Watts have made careers out of doing live looping. You have any new music out/on the way?
Jacqueline Constance: My single, Orange Moon, will be out soon. It’s very different from what people are used to getting from me. It’s very abrasive, very raw, very in ya fuckin’ face. Queer as shit. I’m definitely excited about it! It’s my first single in 3 years! Look out for that!
TVAS: Definitely looking forward to that! You have any dream collabs?
Jacqueline Constance: Absolutely. Top of the list for me is Kendrick Lamar. One of my more recent collabs I want to do is with Anderson.Paak. I did a loop cover of one of his songs and he actually hit me up on Twitter like, “Yo! Send the stems over!” So, that might be collab that actually happens, haha! Another dream collab that might actually happen is with BJ The Chicago Kid. I ended up getting randomly hit up by him last year about another loop cover I did. I even got to meet up with him and talk a bit. Hopefully 2017 is the year of the dream collabs becoming reality! But, yeah, those three are just like…..*excitedly grasps the air*
TVAS: That’s litty! I hope those come to fruition (churchy asf lol). Who are some of your influences?
Jacqueline Constance: Biggest influence all time: Ella Fitzgerald.
TVAS: Ella is bae.
Jacqueline Constance: Absolutely, haha. I’m such a fan of her vocal nuances, her phrasing…just her voice in general. A lot of what I do, I emulate from her, even down to some of my arrangements and how I loop things. Ella is top of the list, but I have a lot of influences.
A lot of my influences come from 1920s era artistry. The art that came out of the Harlem Renaissance. It was so breathtaking and different, so new, and it’s gotten emulated time and time again.
I also think of cats like Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
TVAS: So, in an evermore saturated music scene, what do you focus on as an artist to make your mark on this world?
Jacqueline Constance: You’re right. Music has become a lot more saturated and congested. I hate to sound cliché, but the thing I focus on the most is being me. And it’s like, “Of course, she would say that.” But, being in an industry where certain things sell (and I don’t mean just sex. It could be money, fame, the look of it all), I found that I’m getting more accolades and attention from just…doing whatever the fuck I want to do, haha. I’m not trying to fit into what like a signed person might look like or an industry person might look like. It’s a no-fucking-brainer: no one can do what I do, because I’m the only Jacqueline Constance. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m so comfortable with who I am now, I love myself so much and I’m ready to share myself with the world. Being me and being me unapologetically. If I wanna scream “fuck you” on a song, then imma do it. Just being true to who I am.
TVAS: Good shit. Not as cliché as you might think looking out at the industry! Thanks for your time, this was fun!
Jacqueline Constance: This was fun! Thanks for listening!
Follow Jacqueline Constance on Twitter @jacqconmusic and Instagram @jacqconmusic88