Photo Credit: Robyn Stockdale
Singer/ Songwriter Jess Novak is a sensational talent with a message behind her music!
You are such an inspiration Jess! 'Standing Now' is such a great piece of work! How are you feeling now that it's out for listening ears?
Thank you! Every album feels different to release. This one, I feel hopeful and excited that people will hear the messages behind it. These songs aren't really simple. There are layers of meaning and a lot of social commentary masked as pop songs, which is what many of my favorite artists do. I feel especially proud. Is there a story behind the album's name?
Absolutely. I like to give albums a name that isn't just a song title if possible. When you name an album after a single song I think you often neglect the others or the mission of the album as a whole. I also think a title becomes apparent as you create the album and it's important not to go in with an assumption about where it's going. That happens as it comes to life. When I was putting together the songs for "Standing Now", I definitely sensed a theme of power. Each song touches on it - even the vulnerable ones. "News for You" and "The Joke" are obvious, but even "Beg" is not just a sad love song. It's about realizing you don't have to beg for love and letting go of the idea that you do. That is power. That is realizing your own self-worth and independence. That's learning to stand up - which is the common thread. In "News for You" I have a line, "You thought I'd take this lying down / well, bitch, I'm standing now." In "The Joke", I say, "I got tired of being kicked, so I stood up." Between those separately written lyrics in separate songs and the common thread I was finding between ALL of the songs, I knew the title had to reflect that idea of standing up for yourself. Personally, I had a few years of rebuilding, so the idea of standing NOW was very appealing and the cover photo ties it all together. Going through life is like being a boxer. You have to keep getting up. Was this cathartic to write?
YES. Songs are always like therapy for me and always have been - whether I'm listening or writing. As a kid, it was a lot of listening and a lot of poetry. Now, I write songs constantly just to get feelings and thoughts out. But this album was especially cathartic to write and record because it's braver than others. It fits right with the theme in that in writing and singing it - I felt empowered. I felt strong and like I was announcing it to the world. Often in songs, you write it because of a certain person or situation, but it's not limited to that. When I sing these, every single time, I think of where they came from, but I also think of how they've grown and it's liberating to sing, "I'm standing now". It feels like a shout to the world that I won't be stepped on anymore and I hope people hear that, feel that and use it in that way. Who do you go to when you need a boost in your spirits?
Physically or over the phone, I talk to my boyfriend, Ben, my friend, Abby, and my family members, specifically my brother and parents. They always know what to say, while also being honest. But ever since I was a kid, I've made playlists of other people I go to and they've saved me a million times, too. Gwen Stefani, Nikka Costa, Amanda Rogers, Jason Mraz, John Prine, Jay Nash, Dave Matthews, Eminem! It's all over the map with artists I feel speak to me and somehow know my story and how I feel. That's what has always made me love music. That personal connection is so powerful. It's saved my life and I'm not sure where I'd be without it. What are you most proud of with this album?
Two things: first, the band. Putting a band together is nearly impossible. It's not just about talent, it's about personalities and styles and how it all works together. I always say - you're on the stage together quite a bit, but you're packing up, talking, practicing, traveling, etc. WAY more. You have to find talented people you genuinely get along with. I've finally found the perfect combination and it feels like a family, which is what I've always wanted. I'm fiercely loyal with a huge heart, so I want that back when I'm working with people on something as personal as music. You have to click on multiple levels. This album marks the team and family that I know and love as the Jess Novak Band. I couldn't be prouder of them - Byron Cage, Anthony Saturno, Nick Fields, Gavin George and Jabare Mckinstry.
Second, I'm proud of the message it sends. Stand up. Be strong. Don't take anything lying down and if you're tired of being kicked - get up. Stand, fight, win. I hope people hear how empowering these songs are because I'm a giver. I don't want people to listen passively. I want them to gain something from the songs I write and the notes we play. That's what music is all about. Giving. Tell our followers where they can listen to the album now and follow you!
www.jessrocknovak.com is the gateway to everything! "Standing Now" is available on ALL music platforms, but you can easily find it by searching The Jess Novak Band on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, etc. I also have tons of solo and duo material under the name Jess Novak, so there's plenty to listen to. For more social stuff - I'm on Twitter and Instagram @JessRock87 and Facebook: facebook.com/jessrocknovak and facebook.com/jessnovakband. I also stream on Twitch live five days a week at www.twitch.tv/jessnovakmusic. Thank you for listening and following!
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