Q&A with Jessica Rotter
Jessica Rotter has worked with a wide variety of artists, from Daft Punk to Carole King and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, but this time around, is gearing up to release her new solo album, Plains this spring. With her beautifully simplistic track, "Porch Song" out now, we talked with Rotter about finding her musical identity, the emotional story behind "Porch Song," and her plans for the rest of the year. Read the full interview below!
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for anyone who may not be familiar?
Sure! I am a singer/songwriter from LA… I am releasing my first album called Plains… I have been singing professionally since I was 4 and have sung for movies and tv shows and live shows and various artists and am now branching out into a solo career! I like sushi, tea, and long walks on the beach.
You have quite a bit of experience working with many different artists, such as Daft Punk, Carole King, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and plenty more, but right now you’re gearing up to release your full-length album, Plains. How excited are you for people to finally hear it?
I am SO excited and it has been a long time coming! It has been done since November so I was just trying to do the right thing in promoting it properly and we had to push the release to April! But it’s been worth the wait and I’m so glad to have made some new fans along the way!
Did you have any goals or plans when writing and recording Plains?
I had never recorded my songs before - so it was a little bit of a journey finding my sound and making sure the songs sounded the way they were meant to. I actually released one of the songs as a single and then completely re produced it! So I guess my goal was to find my musical identity.
What would you like listeners to be able to take away from the album?
Be free - be yourself - have fun - don’t let life, love, or anyone get you down - but be ok being vulnerable and be ok feeling your feelings.
You recently released “Porch Song” from the album - can you tell us a little bit about the song?
I wrote it right before I walked into a family friend’s memorial. He had a powerful energy and has created an amazing family of creative people and his loss was really felt. I just sang it. And it was there. I think was sensing my friends’ loss. But it really is a song that should have no meaning from me. I think it has reached a lot of people in a personal way and I love how it moves people. It’s one of those songs the audience cries listening to at my concerts and I really welcome that and love that. It’s simple for a reason. More people can make it mean whatever matters to them personally.
I feel like “Porch Song” is really raw and simplistic, which can be very hard to find nowadays. Was this something you wanted to accomplish with the song?
Yes. It’s called porch song because it’s something you’d sing with your siblings on your back porch. That can’t get too complicated. It was supposed to feel as raw and authentic as possible.
Obviously, working on your own project is very different from collaborating with others. What were some of the challenges you faced while creating Plains?
Like I mentioned earlier - finding my musical identity was the heftiest journey with this album. Luckily, my lofty sonic goals were all accomplished. We even got to add tympani to the songs I always heard tympani on! I’m lucky to have a musical family so I am friends with some of Los Angeles’ best musicians who believe in me and the music.
On the flip side, what were some of the more rewarding moments?
I still think hearing how people are responding to the music is the most rewarding. Getting emails from people telling me how a song effects their lives is so inspiring for me!
What are some of the most important things you’ve learned over the course of working on Plains or while working with other musicians?
I have learned so much. I have gained such a vocabulary in regards to production and mixing. It has really trained my ear in a way I didn’t expect.
With Plains out soon, do you have any other big plans for the rest of 2016?
YES! We are filming a six song short film/music video for the album. It’s primarily a dance film (I am not the dancer) and we are experimenting with a lot of really beautiful artistic techniques to accomplish a very dreamy piece. I cannot wait to share it when it’s done.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I hope you all love the album! Hard copies are available on my website! jessicarotter.com
oh and like my Facebook page! www.facebook.com/jessicarotter