Summer, flying by!

Heyo!

I’ve had such a whirlwind of a life lately, that it hasn’t occurred to me til just now to write a little update!  Basically, I’ve been exploring some normal everyday things, in addition to co-organizing a music festival for charity (more info to come!), and co-creating in the studio with Bryan Ralph, singer-songwriter extraordinaire (all heart, so much goodness http://www.bryanralph.bandcamp.com )

Squeezed in there, amongst family visits and friends and a new house (still in Grand Haven, Michigan!) was a little writing retreat up north, lots of new songs, and a few stellar shows.

I had the pleasure of sharing a bill with Olivia Mainville & The Aquatic Troupe, and JOE, at the DAAC in Grand Rapids – and it was a beautiful, inspiring, encouraging night of music for all.  I also had my first radio performance!! (88.1 WYCE)  And playing at the Crosshatch Center of Art & Ecology benefit at Short’s Brewing in May was a joy and an honor, among some lovely musicians and bands like Abigail Lapell (Toronto), Cold Country (Chicago), and Seth Bernard (northern MI, Earthwork).  So much talent and such a beautiful cause.  If you are missing hearing about these things and wish you weren’t, please follow me on FB – I do a better job of sending little updates there, including pics!  https://www.facebook.com/jessicaintherainbow/

Otherwise, please stay tuned for continued infrequent updates about my little writers’ life (which includes lovely piano students, fun collaborations, lots of feelings, and getting to know the musical side of this beautiful state 🙂

Love, Jessica

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Notes from a mini-tour (of mostly open mics :)

Feeling immense gratitude for my newest approach to meeting new people and playing music.  On April 1st, I set off on a week-long musical adventure of a couple shows but mostly open mics (which informally started on March 30th at Tip Top Deluxe in Grand Rapids – love that place!)  Over 7 days, I traveled to Pittsburgh, Brooklyn/NYC, and back to Michigan through country roads in Pennsylvania and northern “coastal” Ohio (quite lovely!!)

I can’t even begin to articulate some of the ways these experiences are rippling in my current perspective – from witnessing urban areas I barely knew (Pittsburgh, parts of Brooklyn) and some I knew well (Chinatown and the East Village, NYC), to witnessing nature in so many small towns and villages (after $60 in tolls en route to NYC, I decided to take all back roads home … including Punxsutawney, PA 🙂

And I met sooo many great people!  A whole crowd of musicians in Brooklyn whom I loved (regular performers at Pete’s Candy Store – great open mic!), a crew of wonderful talented people at The Acorn in Three Oaks MI including James Neary and Brittany Lee Moffitt, and even crossed paths with a fellow Michigan touring band while checking out Rockwood Music Hall (The Old Adage – check them out!)

I tried to share as much as I could in pictures and moments, without losing my dreamy introverted streak that helps me write – if you’d like to follow that side of me, please visit http://facebook.com/jessicaintherainbow – I stay way more up-to-date there than here.

The whole trip concluded with a peaceful, soothing concert at Loutit Library in my hometown of Grand Haven, MI (with Hunter Zhao on cello!) – for which my lovely bf Bryan took an hour of video on his GoPro – I’ll try to post some of those videos soon (only thing is, I narrated the show – describing my songwriting and background a lot – since they were library patrons and not my regular fans – not sure how that will come off in the video, maybe you’ll find it cute? 🙂

Thanks as always everyone for your support and love and encouragement.  I love living in a world where people can make whatever music they feel called in their hearts to make, and through all this social media, find the audiences who want to listen, however small.  Everyone matters to someone.  I hope you all connect with someone today who matters to you.

Xoxo Jessica

 

 

Michigan love.

Hey all –

Just writing to say that I was invited to be a part of a really awesome benefit in Northern Michigan, as an alum of the INCREDIBLE Hill House residency program via Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology (formerly I.S.L.A.N.D.) – http://www.crosshatch.org/

Save the date – on May 7th, there’ll be over 7 hours of music filling Short’s Brewing in Bellaire MI, featuring all kinds of wonderful Michigan talent (and some alumni are coming from across the country too!).  So grateful to be a part of this – AND to feature the guitar-stylings of Bryan Ralph on many of my songs for the first time.  We’ve split sets before and done a few of his songs together (and some covers), but this will be the first time of him adding guitar parts to my originals. Piano w/ guitar is a folkier sound I can’t normally achieve, despite my love of the genre – so grateful to him for learning almost a dozen songs leading up to it!  (and his playing is beautiful and soulful – if you’ve never heard of him, here’s a link to his music: https://bryanralph.bandcamp.com/ )

Anyway, to my West Michigan friends/fans, if you like road trips up north – the first weekend in May would be a great time to head up to Shorts!  Incredible cause, amazing heartfelt compassionate people making a huge difference up there (and FYI anyone can apply for a residency, they are open in many artistic fields – check it out! http://www.crosshatch.org/artist-residency/ )

All the best 🙂
Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

Whimsical NPR Tiny Desk entry, +Winter/Spring shows and feelings :)

Hello lovely people…

So after a brief phase of wondering what to do next, I’ve emerged with too many ideas… which I’m okay with 🙂

First of all – if you haven’t heard, I whimsically entered the NPR Tiny Desk contest about 3 hours before it closed… this included throwing pillows and furniture around my tiny apartment, assembling gear for my quiet voice, figuring out the best way to frame myself using duct tape and my iPhone, and then almost not getting the video up on YouTube in time :/  But I did it… basically I realized I didn’t want to wait a year just because I wasn’t ready, it seemed silly.  Here’s my entry (it’s a previously unrecorded song – from 10/2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WduOiOK2oPw )

And in my excitement, I filmed a few more things as well and updated my YouTube channel a little… I may try to post more videos in the future, for the die-hard fans who like in-home living-room concerts without having to change out of their slippers.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWUrJO6vPyVVCk_VDABUmaw

Next up, SHOWS!

I have a lot of shows coming up in West Michigan (and my first one ever in NYC! 🙂 (…even though I used to live there, I used to be far too shy about my solo songs to book shows sadly…don’t be like me and drag your feet for a decade, follow your dreams, people!)

Here’s the quick list:

2/28/16  Mentally Distilled Poetry Slam – featured performer/opening act 7pm – Long Road Distillery, Grand Rapids, MI

4/4/16  Avant Garden Open Mic – featured performer 7pm– The Unicorn, 105 Henry St, New York, NY

4/10/16 Loutit Public Library Concert Series – 2pm – 407 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven, MI

6/25/16 Grand Haven Art Festival – 1pm, Community Stage – Grand Haven, MI

6/27/16 Sounds of Summer – 7:30pm, Bolt Park – Grand Haven, MI

There may be more to come on the Lakeshore (West Michigan) and Grand Rapids between now and summer.  The easiest way to hear about things is Facebook – since I use that the most http://www.facebook.com/jessicaintherainbow …but also Instagram @jessicaintherainbow 🙂

Basically I’m super grateful to be connecting with some incredible people these days – all the slam poets organizing the Mentally Distilled Poetry Slam in GR, all the awesome people in Grand Haven growing the music scene here, my talented musician friends who inspire me all the time, all the people I’ve just begun connecting with about a few other cool things not listed here (which I’m really excited about but those events aren’t ready to announce).  More to come in the future!

Thanks for the love everyone 🙂
Jessica

p.s. OH I forgot to talk about the “too many ideas”… basically I’m up to 4 albums I want to work on… well, #1 is underway with orchestrator Elisabeth Blair (“Everything’s True”), #2 is the piano/vocal studio one (“Trees for clouds”) from the cabin residency w/ the now-named Crosshatch (previously ISLAND – love them!), #3 is a possible EP with some mellow guitar collaborations, #4 is a possible EP in a new style for me with …well, it’s a secret cuz I haven’t asked them yet 🙂  I’m hoping too many ideas is better than not enough… but it’s making the reality of time feel really annoying.  I love teaching piano, and I even love adult-ing, but there are just not enough hours in the day these days (not to mention I love spending whole days meandering in books or my mind, allowing thoughts to stay or pass or lead to songs or not… so I am not sure which of these projects will take root, and which ones will become funny to me later… “Hey Jess…remember when you thought you were going to …”)  Did I mention I have 10 unreleased albums from my Chicago days?  Oh well.  Time 🙂

p.s.s. I’ve also been sharing rough songs more frequently on Soundcloud, and even a duet of a cover song done w/ my songwriter bf Bryan Ralph (he’s amazing) – feel free to subscribe or check it out 🙂 http://www.soundcloud.com/jessicaintherainbow

 

Winter hibernation…

Hello everyone 🙂 So I’m feeling cozy and introspective so far this January, but that hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of new ideas – places to perform, both locally and afar, and of course writing more songs.  I wrote my first guitar song in years the other day – the guitar part isn’t good, but it has a vibe I can’t create on piano, so maybe I’ll actually keep it on guitar!  (and, um, practice!)

Other than that, all my new songs have been darker than the last album, moody to the point of all fitting together like a song-cycle almost (themes repeating), so I’ve decided I will stop with the whole “one album at a time” plan and try something new!

“Everything’s True” is underway still, 8 songs from 2014 being orchestrated by Elisabeth Blair (my dear friend and incredible songwriter in her own right – whom I’ve known since Chicago when we did shows with Krystee Wylder and Diana Lawrence – also great musicians!!!)

But at least one more, if not 2 more projects have evolved in my brain.  “Trees for Clouds” – a piano/vocal EP to be recorded on a real piano (first time since my 1st album released in Chicago, Melancholy Frog), featuring songs written in November 2015 or around then (mostly from the cabin).  And another wacky possible train-wreck of an idea… but that’ll come later (it involves a possible 3 disc set, of all songs written on 3 days in December 2015 – but it’s about 2 1/2 hours of music and I’m not sure if all the songs are shareable yet :)(so that one’s more of a research project for me… )

I hope you’re all enjoying some cocoon-like moments this winter – whether its snowy like mine, or just cooler where you are.  I don’t have any Australian fans that I know of, but if I do, happy Summer!  Hope you’re loving it and living it up 🙂

Jessica

 

The Ark Open Stage, and notes from my ISLAND Hill House Residency :)

Hello lovely friends and fans and family-

Just wanted to take a moment to reflect on everything that’s been happening lately in my musical life.  I’m kind of blown away by the support I’ve received.  So much gratitude for my two weeks of near-solitude in November, to write and create and live in a whimsical world of inspiration and my own brain.

I wrote about 30 songs on the trip – 20 of which were pre-existing lyrics buried in old journals (all from 2015, but not previously sorted or discovered, it’s been a super busy overwhelming year and I wrote less than usual – or rather, I finished fewer songs than usual, while having the normal amount of spontaneous unfinished bits of inspiration 🙂

So far I’ve listened to almost all of the recordings (over 100 – including rambles, readings of lyrics to remember later – I’ll never find them all again in journals, I write a ton), and have only found a couple I REALLY love so far.  But my goal is to take songs and pieces of songs from this residency and lump them into my upcoming album “Trees for Clouds.”

(which will actually be a later release – my current upcoming release “Everything’s True” is 8 songs from 2014, and being orchestrated currently by Elisabeth Blair, and will be out sometime in 2016 or 17 – so much still to do on this one, but I’ve learned I need to keep writing and planning new projects even if it means I get many albums behind of my production abilities 🙂

So Trees for Clouds is underway – probably to come out in 2019 or 2020 haha 🙂 (not really a joke – unless I fall into some money and can spend many many hours in a studio or paying someone to help speed up the process, I’ll likely continue my mall-walking turtle pace).

Also for those who know me a little better – you may be happy to know I’m getting a little less introverted – and not in a way that’s making me unable to write, so it’s win-win so far.

In a 2-day period this week, I went to 3 open mics …most noteably, The Ark’s Open Stage in Ann Arbor – where I was greeted with love and support from friends and fans and my cello player friend, Hunter Zhao.  With only a couple days notice, I was able to play on this beautiful stage, on a gorgeous baby grand Yamaha piano, with perfect sound system – I hope to be back there someday for a full show!!

But also (as an example of increasing extroversion), on the following night, while hanging out with a friend after another event, stumbled upon the Pigeon Hill Brewing Company open mic, met A Northern Song (Jason Bryant) and spontaneously played for a lovely crowd when I hadn’t been planning on it at all.  And then we all went over to Hennessy’s for another open mic, and I played again 🙂  To those who know my awkward non-performing-for-7-years phase, I thought you’d be proud.

(I also just walk around places and play uke songs – in Ann Arbor and Grand Haven alike, one time I sat on the hood of my car in Grand Rapids and wrote a song… not sure why more songwriters don’t do this!  I’ve kept my little writing world so private in the past, but that is part of what contributes to the awkwardness of shifting into extrovert performing mode… the more I’ve let my introvert side be a little public, the more I seem to know how to do both 🙂

Okay well, that’s some random thoughts for ya!  Hope you’re all having a wonderful December so far.  Hugs and love and gratitude for those who listen and purchase my CDs and tshirts and support my musical life in any way.  I absolutely cannot do any of this without you.  I mean, I can – I love playing in quiet empty rooms with just me and a piano (and God/the universe), but that’s not a career.  So grateful for the kindnesses I’ve received.

Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISLAND Hill House Songwriting Artist-in-Residence (& so much Lamp Light love!)

Hey everyone!

This weekend was an absolutely surreal experience.  Too beautiful for words.  Thanks so much to everyone who makes Lamp Light Music Festival a phenomenal success – it was a huge honor and great joy to be a part of it this year.  Possibly my favorite show I’ve ever played! (just due in part to it being the fulfillment of a dream 2 years in the making 🙂  Here’s some links if you’d like to browse a little about it (which may include pics/videos eventually)

http://lamplightmusicfestival.com/
http://lamplightmusicfestival.com/schedule.html
https://www.facebook.com/LampLightGR

Upcoming news is just as exciting for me, and for those of you wishing I’d put out albums more quickly 🙂  I was selected as an Artist-in-Residence for ISLAND Hill House in Northern Michigan – a very competitive and amazing opportunity beyond anything I’ve before experienced!  For two weeks, I’ll be living in a private cabin in the woods, with a piano and fully stocked fridge, doing nothing but writing songs for 2 weeks!  In addition, there was an option to connect with the community – so I chose to (since I write fast anyway, and would love to be more acquainted with Michigan 🙂 – and I’ll be performing at Short’s Brewing Company and Blackbird Arts in Traverse City while I’m there!  (in addition to leading two Songwriting Workshops for ages 12-18).

You can read a little about it here:
http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=57a7bb1a12446a865a6b99288&id=b64e5eb085
http://www.artmeetsearth.org/artist-residency

If anyone from up North is reading this – my show at Shorts’ is Nov 15th at 7:30pm, and I’ll be performing at Blackbird Arts is Nov 17th at 7pm.

Lots of other news, including tons of new songs – but I’m tired and I should pack 🙂
Jessica