Kristi Jacques: ”I let music slip away for a long time”

Can you share your musical journey with us, from when you first discovered your passion for music to where you are today as an independent musician?

My love of music started at an early age. We were a rather musical household. My father had the most beautiful baritone voice which he only ever used during a church service. My brother was a great musician. Singer/songwriter, guitar player. He was so talented. A couple of my sisters would sing as well. I am the youngest of 5 with a big gap between myself and the next youngest. So you could say I was a bit spoiled. I was given piano lessons, took Band 101 in high school which turned into Chorus. I took vocal lessons from a former opera singer. Then I decided to try guitar. I let music slip away for a long time unfortunately but reignited my passion for itin 2020 when I had extra time on my hands. I haven’t looked back since.

What motivates you to create music, and how do you stay inspired to continue making new and unique music?

I listen to other artists who inspire and motivate me, some of whom I can call my friends. There
are personal things that I sometimes need to get out as well. I guess songwriting is my therapy. I always feel better once I get something out in the open and let it breathe.

As an independent musician, you wear many hats – from composing to marketing. How do you balance these different aspects of your career, and what challenges do you face in the process?

Ha! That’s a great question. To be honest, I struggle with that a great deal. I am not good at self-promotion. I really don’t like it, but it is a necessary evil that I am trying to figure out. I wish I could just write and record and not have to deal with the rest, but all in due time I suppose.

Could you tell us about your creative process? How do you come up with new ideas for songs, and how do you go about turning those ideas into finished tracks?

I will sometimes have a phrase, a word or even an entire song just pop in my head, lyrically. They have woken me up in the middle of the night on some occasions. I usually put those in the notes on my phone and then work on them periodically. I have so many lyrics right now it’s crazy. Since I am more of the lyricist, I tend to rely on co-writers to help with the music portion. Sometimes I will have a bit of a melody in mind for parts of a song or even the mood, tempo and style that I am looking for. I convey those ideas to my co-writer and we go from there. My producer, who is amazing by the way, lays down a scratch track and I record my vocals over that and he does the rest. I like to call him a magician. Since I am still relearning guitar, he has been doing that job as well. Hopefully I will get back to the point where I can play confidently again. I’m working on it.

Independent musicians often face financial challenges. How do you manage your finances to sustain your music career while also covering your personal expenses?

That’s another great question and another thing I am struggling with. I’ll keep you posted. lol

Can you share a particularly memorable or challenging experience from your journey as a musician that has had a significant impact on your career and personal growth?

Well my most challenging experience is a health issue that I’ve been trying to navigate for the last 14 years or so. I have an autoimmune disease in my lungs that has gotten progressively worse over the last four or five years. I am in the process of getting on the list for a double lung transplant that will give me new life and hopefully get my voice even stronger in the future. So many of my songs are kind of about my struggles, trying to overcome them, being strong, being reborn and the like. Again, music is my therapy and trying to maintain a positive attitude about it all is important. Writing really helps me with that.

With the rise of digital platforms, the music industry has changed significantly. How do you navigate the digital landscape, including streaming services and social media, to promote your music and connect with your audience?

Streaming services are both good and bad, in my opinion. It’s rather easy to get your music out there, but then there are so many new artists and songs to compete with. It is estimated that over 60,000 new tracks are added to Spotify each day. You can get lost in the shuffle unless you are a big, well known artist. That’s why self-promotion is so important. I do the usual website, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for now. I have a TikTok account but really have no idea how to use it. I’ll get there eventually.

Collaboration is a key part of the music industry. Have you worked with other musicians or producers, and how have these collaborations influenced your sound and career?

I have to have co-writers and collaborators. I love working with other people who are far better than me and can do things that I struggle with. The sound of the songs is heavily influenced depending on who I am working with. When I worked with a couple of Nashville songwriters, my songs had more of a country vibe, but the lyrics did also lean in that direction. I have some songs that are more bluesy rock, some heavier, some pop. I want to keep finding new collaborators to work with because I learn so much from each person I work with. That really is the name of the game, isn’t it? Always keep learning and evolving.
Your music likely reflects your unique style and perspective.

Could you describe your musical identity and what makes your sound stand out in a crowded industry?

I am a collection of my influences. When I was young, my dad had the country station playing every morning before school. He took me to see some of his favorite country artists. I am also a child of the 80’s so the hair band era plays a big role in my identity. Now I listen to artists who can really bring out emotions. I love songs that really make me feel. That is what I am trying to do now with my music. I hope that comes across in the songs.

What role does live performance play in your music career, and how do you approach planning and executing your live shows, especially in light of recent challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic?

With the health struggles I don’t perform live at the moment. I really hope to get out there in the near future when the lung issue is resolved. 30 years ago, I would sing with the local country band on occasion, do a few open mic nights, sing in festivals with a group, etc. I really want to get back to that.

Many fans are interested in the stories behind the songs. Could you share the backstory or inspiration behind one of your recent tracks that holds special meaning to you?

They all do really, but one song, the title track from my second album Working On A Dream definitely holds special meaning. The line “working on a dream while I’m living in a nightmare” is really about becoming a musician while struggling to breathe. Pretty accurate really.

Looking ahead, what are your future goals and aspirations as an independent musician? Are there any upcoming projects or exciting developments in your career that you’d like to share with your fans and the audience?

I am constantly writing and recording. I’m now releasing singles every so often and will keep doing so until I need to take an extended break. I’m hoping to have so many songs recorded and ready to go before the surgery so then I can concentrate on not only healing but doing the dreaded promotion solely. As for further in the future, I’m working on some things that will be revealed when the time is right.