EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Jackie Foster and Self Portraits

If you watched Season 14 of The Voice you might remember Jackie Foster. Foster made it to the top 8 of season 14 and started off on Kelly Clarkson’s team, then went to Adam Levine’s team and then finished on Alicia Key’s team. Foster auditioned with P!nk’s hit song, “What About Us,” which led to Kelly Clarkson and Adam Levine turning their chairs. Even though Foster didn’t win, she still makes music with her band, Self Portraits, together they are Jackie Foster & Self Portraits. They just released their first single since Foster being on The Voice called “Poison.” CelebMix had the chance to talk with the band at their last Boston show before they moved to to Los Angeles.

How did you all meet? 

Gray: John and I met in elementary school. John and I are from the same town, Westchester New York, we grew up playing music together, played in a couple bands together and then we decided to go to Berklee College of Music.

John: After that, Gray and I were talking on Facebook, he was trying to sell a guitar and so we talked a little bit, found out we liked the same music, pretty much instantly decided to just be homies and start a band. We got there and Chris said that he knew this singer, Jackie was always our top pick but we couldn’t find out how to get a hold of her for a while, so we went through some vocalists and then eventually found Jackie.

Ethan: Gray and I were apart of a side project that we just both happened to be asked to be apart of. Gray mentioned that his band was looking for a bassist and I happened to be available.

Jackie: So music really brought us together.

How did you guys come up with the name, Jackie Foster and Self Portraits? 

Jackie: We originally were just Self Portraits before The Voice and then that name came together.

John: We just threw the Jackie on it, naturally.

Ethan: I gave John a big list of names before we even were the band and that was the one we liked the most.

What’s the message behind your last single “Poison” and what was the writing process of that like? 

Jackie: “Poison” is kind of this character’s story of a girl really liking a guy, not even seeing it go somewhere serious but just kind of like that fling stage you might have with someone and then realizing that you really like this person. You have a lot of baggage from previous relationships and I know a lot of people sometimes carry so much weight from past relationships that it’s like, are you sure you want to get into all this mess? That’s kind of the story behind “Poison.” Basically it’s like, listen if you date me, you’ve got to understand what comes with dating me. It’s also a positive story, we are all who we are and every single one of us is going to have baggage and it doesn’t matter what type but it’s kind of that story of I might be poisonous to you but let’s see if it can happen.

Gray: As far as the writing process, it took us about a year and a half to fully bring the song together.

Jackie: This is a project that we are really excited about and happy for people to hear.

What’s next for the band?

Gray: A lot of writing. We’re trying to make the album get the material ready. Then we are all moving to LA.

Jackie, what was it like being on The Voice?

The Voice was the most encouraging thing I’ve ever been a part of. So many people like to think that all these realty shows have this secret mentality that’s really evil and that, at least for The Voice is not the case, it is so encouraging, it’s so friendly, every single one of the contestants did nothing but love one another and support one another, which was the best part. When you’re thrown into a competition, you immediately think that it’s going to get catty and it’s not going to be nice, but that was such the opposite experience. I felt so supported it felt like the producers really understood me as to who I was and how I wanted to represent my music. Overall it was a life changing experience and if I could go back do it all over again.

What was your favorite performance? 

My favorite performance overall I would say was my performance of “Alone” at the live playoffs. Just because that is really the song I grew up listening to and I remember when I first heard the song, obviously it’s originally a Heart song, but Celine Dion, I’ve been listening to her version for so long. So when I suggested it to them, and they said that I could sing it for the live playoffs! I gushed, I was so excited, I was brought to tears that night. I was so overwhelmed with emotions and happiness because I got the chance to finally perform that live, I’ve never performed that live.

What’s one piece of advice that a judge gave you that you’ll always remember? 

Alicia was one of those people that was just so intuitive. If you were feeling a certain type of way she somehow knew without you having to tell her. So I guess the best piece of advice she gave me on the run of the whole show was just to not think, be raw and show your true talent, even if you mess up, that is what gets you far in this industry, not perfecting every single thing you do. It was kind of that idea of throw yourself around, be un-perfect. That was the best thing she could tell me, just stop caring and be un-perfect because that is what people care about.

What’s some advice you would give to a future contestant on any competition show? 

There are people out there with opinions, and they will state their opinions. Those opinions will somehow find their way to you, whether you like it or not, my best advice is that if you’re going to go for any realty competition show is just to understand who you truly are and love that person. There’s going to be people out there that will try and tear you down and as long as you believe that you are good enough in everything that you do, anything that they say shouldn’t touch you and can’t touch you.

Make sure to listen to Jackie Foster and Self Portraits new single, “Poison” now!

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Written by Will Heffernan