Californian singer-songwriter Jacki Stone has exploded into the music scene this summer with her self-styled “California Country” debut album Like Hell It’s Yours. Working with the likes of Keb’ Mo’ and Michael Caplan, Jacki has created an album with a raw, natural sound, reminiscent of that classic country sound, with a healthy dose of southern rock grit thrown in for good measure.
You can watch Jacki’s latest music video for “Wishful Drinking” below:
Jacki Stone recently took time out of her busy schedule to chat to us about her debut album Like Hell It’s Yours, working with blues legend Keb’ Mo and her plans for the future.
1. Firstly, can you tell us what made you want to pursue a career in music?
I had no choice… I have always wanted to sing, as far back as I can remember. When I was a little girl, I used to make up songs and sing them to myself to fall asleep. My dad always says that I was “singing before I could talk”. Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always the same: “A singer.”
2. You recently released your debut album Like Hell It’s Yours which is jam-packed with awesome tracks. Can you tell us about the process behind making the album, and how you decided which songs made the cut?
The process with this album was different from every experience I had before because it was literally in the midst of me walking out of a dark time of my life and into a glimmering one – and, frankly, was totally unexpected. I was tossed (and then gently set down) in a state I didn’t know, with people I barely knew (some, not at all), and quickly realized that this was one of the best things that had ever happened to me. I started working with Michael Caplan, who told me that I could finally be the artist I’ve always been inside and helped me blossom into that artist; I started writing with Don Massie, whom I am still writing with now and immediately hit it off. I had Vic Steffens on the board as I recorded my vocals, who nurtured the artist in me and helped pull me out in these tracks, and outside of the vocal booth. As for which songs made the cut, I picked the ones that resonated the most with me while also being the most relatable to the audience. There were a few songs that we had to cut, and as hard as that was, I am very happy with the ones that made it on the album, because I think these twelve songs are ones that most people can relate to in some way, shape or form, and that is what matters most.
3. What song from the album means the most to you, and have you got a favourite lyric from this song?
They all mean so much to me, but I would have to say “This Side of Blue”, because this song is about a very personal, ah-ha moment in which I looked myself in the mirror and finally saw me, sober and on the bright side of blue, for the first time. My favourite lines are “I left the past where it was found, now it can drown”, and “I’ve been waiting for you, on this side of blue”. They are both reminders to me that I no longer have to live in my past, nor close the door on it, and that no matter how far I stray from myself, the true me is always there, just waiting for me to get back.
4. How would you describe your musical sound to any new listeners?
California Country – and just like California, it is a hodgepodge. Country, Southern Rock, Folk, and Americana with just a smidgen of some funky blues.
5. You got to work with blues legend Keb’ Mo’ on Like Hell It’s Yours. Can you tell us what that experience was like and what you took away from working with him?
It was such an amazing experience! He is so kind, generous and humble, not to mention insanely talented on all fronts. He literally does it all, and with such grace. Writing with him was so much fun; it was so easy bouncing ideas back and forth, and I think “Crazy Man” is a great example of the fun we had, as well as how seriously humanitarianism was taken into consideration when writing that song. Recording “Crazy Man” and “Victims of Comfort” was just as much fun. Working with such legends, and seeing the magic unfold, is an experience that I am extremely humbled by, and one that I will never forget.
6. If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
Carole King, because I have always looked up to her for her songwriting and beautiful voice. She is an inspiration to me on so many levels.
7. What do you hope to achieve with your music, and where do you see yourself in five, or even ten years’ time?
First and foremost, I hope to bring someone out there a (maybe renewed) sense of hopefulness and a realization that they are not alone. If my music happens to make a lot of people feel that way, then that is even better! Where I hope to be and choose to see myself, is writing and singing, playing my heart out, until the day I die.
8. What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking of following a career in the music industry?
- Always listen to your gut. People will say that they are in the industry – unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean that they are.
- Don’t just give your trust away, let them earn it.
- Last, but certainly not least, never sacrifice what is in your heart just because someone else’s opinion might be louder.
Lessons that I learned the hard way.
9. What plans have you got for the rest of 2018?
Writing, writing, singing, writing, and more singing! Haha.
10. Finally, have you got a message for your fans?
First of all, thank you for listening, and for all of your support! I love Y’all!
You are beautiful, inside and out. Love and cherish yourself. No matter how it feels, there is always hope – and, if we can remember to look while we’re surrounded by darkness, that shimmer of light is usually a lot easier to find. Take it and run with it!