In gesprek met Jackie Venson
door Andre Wittebroek
How did you get in touch with music and the music scene?
“My parents mainly, my mother forced me into piano lessons as a young child and I ended up loving it! My father is a professional musician and I constantly had music all around me while growing up.”
When and why did you decide to do it for profession?
“I decided when I was 18 after I had gotten an acceptance letter from Berklee College of Music. I figured it was time for me to make a final decision on whether or not to go forward with it.”
Who influenced you as a musician?
“Disney music when I was young and also Broadway musicals. Those two were the only music I listened to until I was a teenager. Then I got into Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder as well as hip hop and R&B, such as Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott. Later on I fell in love with the blues such as Buddy Guy and B.B. King.”
You have a classical piano background and choose for the guitar when you were older. Why? Is that an advantage for the music you make nowadays (blues, soul, funk related)
“It is really nice knowing how to play the piano, it gives me a deeper understanding of music and how it works. I loved that I had a foundation on the piano because it changes the way I approach music and approach the guitar.”
You mostly play with a three piece band. Do you add extra instruments on tour sometimes?
“Sometimes I add a keyboard player if the money is right. I like to take good care of my players so I work with a trio because it’s a big sound and I can afford it.”
Where did you meet your bandmembers, are they musically schooled as well?
“My drummer used to play in my dad’s band for a couple of decades, my Dad retired and I hired him into my band. The other players I met jamming around Austin and being in the scene.”
Do you tour with the same bandmembers or does it change often. Some artists (Joe Bonamassa, Ben Poole) change to keep it fresh. What do you think about that?
“I tour with a small group of the same players. I have backup options for each of them but I prefer to have the same players because the arrangements of my songs are so precise. If I stuck more to one genre I would be able to hire different players on the fly but unfortunately my songs need to be played a particular way and therefore I can’t really do that.”
Where you in Europe before and what do you expect from this tour? You come with your own band?
“I have been to Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Finland and I am looking forward to going to different places from the last few trips. I am also looking forward to returning to some places. I will bring my own band from Texas.”
What can we expect at your liveshow?
“A lot of smiling, dancing, awesome grooves, and burning guitar solos.”
What are your plans for the future? Touring, new CD, DVD?
“I have a new single coming out every month in 2018 as well as music videos for each single. In March of 2019 I have a new album, The Love Suite, coming out.”
Is writing songs difficult for you and how do you do it? Music first then lyrics? On piano first? You write the lyrics in connection with moments, times, reasons and at specific times? Do you write in the bus, car, at night, on tour?
“I like to have my own space where I can make a lot of noise, preferably a studio of some sort. I usually stay up until 5 or 6 in the morning just looping beats and chord progressions and then playing guitar solos over them. When I come up with a melody, usually from the guitar solo, I decide what the vibe of the song is and then I write lyrics based on either emotions or experiences, or both. I have written songs while on tour before.”
Is there a special moment or highlight in your career so far and what is one of the goals you want to reach in the future?
“I played guitar on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with Stay Human. That was really awesome. I also have loved coming to Europe over the last few years. Touring has been a high light for the most part. I am excited for this year, in August I will headline a famous Texas venue called Gruene Hall.”
You choose for the Fender Stratocaster like SRV and Rory Gallagher. Are you influence by them maybe? Is this a special type?
“I play a 2016 Fender Elite Stratocaster. I love it because it has 6 additional tone options from a standard fender Stratocaster.”
Is it hard to get any shows in the US? Many bands want to get over the pond to play in Europe and that’s not easy for them. Distances smaller, more clubs nearby. less costs I think.
“It can be hard to be heard above the noise in the US but I make a living over here so it’s okay. It helps being from Austin, there are a lot of gigs there.”
Do you want to say something to the readers of Blues Magazine and Rocktimes?
“Thank you so much for the feature, keep up with me at jackievenson.com I have a lot of exciting things on the horizon. Much love and blessings.”
Vanaf 17 mei zal Jackie aan haar uitgebreide Europese toer beginnen, bekijk hieronder alle toerdata: