Interviews

Self-Love on Repeat: Jacqueline Constance Loops In Originality

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.2017-02-071
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!

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Follow Jacqueline Constance on Twitter @jacqconmusic and Instagram @jacqconmusic88

Interviews

Lee Mo: Spreading Soul From The East Coast

Lee Mo is an up and coming jazz/soul/R&B vocalist hailing from Baltimore, Maryland and currently performing out of Philadelphia, PA, two of the nation’s hotbeds for musical talent of all sorts. She’s been given a public vote of confidence from the legendary Anita Baker. Velvety, chocolatey tones and well-practiced vocal technique combine for something truly fresh but also reminiscent of iconic black soul singers of yesteryear. I got a chance to chat with this sweet soul of a singer to discuss her roots, how she’s grown since and where she’s going. Check it out:

The Vince Anthony Show: So, tell me a bit about yourself

Lee Mo: I’m a black girl from Baltimore, born and raised. I love music. I was adopted into a family headed by a religious single mother, which meant lots and lots of church, and that’s where I first started singing.

TVAS: What made you want to pursue artistry professionally?

Lee Mo: As a kid, I picked up on some natural ability to imitate singers and play melodies on the piano by ear. I kept working on it throughout the years. Pursuing artistry for me isn’t something I feel like I have a choice in doing. I would be cutting off a part of who I am if I didn’t. My artistry is my life, it is more than just singing to me.

TVAS: Could you say a bit more about how innate music is to you?

Lee Mo: It’s something I’ve always had an ear for. I remember playing on a toy keyboard as a kid. My sister taught me Mary Had A Little Lamb (I still remember the colors!). After that, I started to just pluck out the melody of any song that came to mind. It was the same with singing. I could make my voice sound like anyone. I mimicked a lot of singers as a kid, picking out their inflections and runs. It was fun for me!

TVAS: That’s really dope! Can you tell me about the music you’re performing now?

Lee Mo: Right now, I’m really into performing Sade, Anita Baker and others in that vein. Their individual sounds are very organic and that is something that I want to portray with my original music, too.

TVAS: I’ve seen Anita Baker interact with you quite a bit on Twitter. What’s that been like for you?

Lee Mo: It’s unbelievable. I appreciate her being down to earth and sharing life gems as well as regular conversation with me. My friend calls her my fairy god-mother, haha. I’ll take that!

TVAS: I’d say that’s fitting based on what I’ve heard from you. Let’s talk about your music!

Lee Mo: Okay! Whatchu wanna know?

TVAS: Any singles out?

Lee Mo: I have two singles out currently. Don’t Have A Reason and One Last Chance.

TVAS: Both of these seemed to be received really well! What was the inspiration for these two?

Lee Mo: It’s humbling to see and hear people express such great feelings about the two songs. They are basically about different points in a relationship. One is about being unsure about the faithfulness of your partner, and the other is about forgiveness with a stern warning that they better not mess up again.

TVAS: Those are some deep yet relatable topics. Your beautiful voice helps carry the message just fine.

Lee Mo: I try, haha. I can relate as well. I want my music to express things that we’ve all been thinking and feeling And I want to do it in a simple, palatable, relatable way.

TVAS: Mmhm. Let’s talk about your recent trip to Europe. What were you doing over there?

Lee Mo: I ended up in Europe through a Facebook post, really. My friend shared that she was looking for a couple more singers for a European tour, and I was the first to respond. She had me contact the company with my bio, some videos, and they replied almost immediately saying that they would like to have me. We worked out all the necessary business and that’s basically how I ended up in Europe. It was an extremely eye-opening experience for me. For one, I hadn’t realized how real it was for black people to live in Europe. I met so many black singers making careers in Germany and in France. I hadn’t really thought of that as a possibility for myself. I needed that.

TVAS: Can you see yourself making music out of Europe?

Lee Mo: Absolutely. I mean, they do things kind of differently there, but it’s definitely possible to make a living there.

TVAS: Dope. Are there any artists or producers you’d like to collaborate with?

Lee Mo: Hmm…I hope to get up with Cory Henry and do something. I think that’d be dope. If I could get with Stevie Wonder, Pharrell or Frank Ocean that’d be dope too!

TVAS: Nice wish list! What advice would you give to aspiring artists, specifically singers?

Lee Mo: I would say…make sure you really like what you’re doing. Keep striving to like what you’re creating. Don’t be afraid to start over. And don’t be afraid to wait.

TVAS: Lee Mo, it was great talking with you!

Lee Mo: Well thank you! This was really fun

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Check out Lee Mo’s music @ www.leemomusic.com and Soundcloud

Follow her on Twitter & Instagram @Musica_LeeMo

Lemme Putchu On

Lemme Putchu On: Thundercat – “Show You The Way” feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins

Thundercat returns with a single from his upcoming LP, “Drunk”. Borrowing grooves from 70s era rock and soul is nothing new for Thundercat and this time he took it a step further by having former writing partners Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald offer up their iconic vocals, bridging the gap between the 70s and the 2010s. Lemme putchu on:

Follow Thundercat on Twitter @Thundercat and on Instagram @thundercat_music