Clara C – I Won’t Give Up (Jason Mraz cover)
This song is great. I think I like Clara’s version better though!
This song is great. I think I like Clara’s version better though!
It was only just a year ago that I had started doing interviews for Yow Yow! and the first person I asked was Jessie Payo. Earlier that year, her band Jupiter Rising, had released their second album The Quiet Hype, which was packed with both pop-rock and hip-hop influenced tracks. Their songs were picked up and featured in episodes of The Hills, Criminal Minds, and The City. Jessie was the first person I wanted to interview because I was a huge fan of Jupiter Rising and had also met her for the first time a few years back. Anyways, a year went by and I decided to reach out to Jessie again. Luckily, we were able to get this going the second time around. She is an absolute sweetheart! I hope you enjoy this everyone.
Q: How old are you and where are you from?
Jessie: I’m a youngster from Los Angeles.
Q: Growing up, did you always see yourself becoming a singer? How did your career first start out?
J: When I was little I wanted to be a painter, then a dancer, then an actress. It never really crossed my mind that I would want to spend my life as a musician. My parents were very artistic and they had all sorts of artist friends that would come over and play music. One time at a backyard party, there were a bunch of musicians jamming out to a Janis Joplin song…at the time I had become a huge fan of Janis. So when the song began, I started singing really loud into the mic. I surprised my parents…and myself. Soon after that, my father started a band with a bunch of our church friends. We played coffee houses and small festivals with Aretha Franklin covers and blues songs. After that, I knew I wanted to keep on playing live. It wasn’t until later that I started writing my own songs.
Q: So Jessie, I actually met you three or four years ago at the black Friday event at Alderwood Mall in Washington. I’m sure you don’t remember meeting me, but I caught your performance w/ Jupiter Rising and after the show I met you and your band manager. I remember being so excited because I had never met a band that wasn’t local before. Back then, I told you that I was interested in booking you guys for a show at the venue I worked for so I was in shock when I received my first business card from your manager. Who was the first person that you met in your music career that has left you speechless?
J: Wow, Katie! That was a really fun show…really freezing too;) I’m so happy you remember that show because I had a great time at that show! Well, the first person I met that left me speechless was Jonny Lang when I was, like, 15…I’m not sure if you know who he is but at the time he blew up as this teen, blues prodigy! I was really into the blues at the time and it was so inspiring to meet someone that was young and playing music so enriched in the roots of American music. I was soooo in awe of his talent…and not to mention his amazing smile. Later on we got to share the stage together, and that was killer!
Q: You recently told me that you are no longer with Jupiter Rising. I’m sad to hear that especially because I still listen to both of your albums pretty often. What made you decide to end up going solo?
J: Yes, it was a sad breakup but a lot of things happen for a reason. Spencer Nezey is one of the most talented producers out there and he is now working on a project called Her Majesty and the Wolves. I felt I wasn’t being honest in myself as an artist and I also felt it was unfair to Spencer because he knew exactly where he wanted this band to go. I needed to step away to ask myself that difficult question “What is it that I want?” So now I’m feeling incredibly amazing writing new music and laying the foundation for more exciting things to come.
Q: I follow your Twitter as well and heard that you were trying out for American Idol. Is it true? If so, that’s very exciting! Are you able to tell us anything about it or is it pretty hush hush?
J: I can’t really share the details but it was a great experience.
Q: Who are you usually compared to? And do you think that this person and you are alike?
J: I’m usually compared to Nelly Furtado, Erykah Badu, Bonnie Raitt and Nikka Costa. I totally see the comparisons yet these four artists have completely different sounds. I take them all as a compliment
Q: Who were your influences growing up?
J: My first influence was Madonna. I would imitate her dance moves and bring my “Like a Virgin” cassette to kindergarten…where it was deemed inappropriate. Haha! After that I was heavily influenced by Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Eric Clapton , Big Mama Thorton, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Erykah Badu, Nikka Costa and PJ Harvey…that’s quite a list of random.
Q: Who is your guilty pleasure collaboration? Who would you like to collaborate with that your fans might find a bit surprising?
J: I would LOVE to work with Jack White….DONE!
Q: The music industry is tough business to get into, what has been your biggest challenge and what piece of advice would you give to those who aspire to become a successful musician.
J: My two biggest pieces of advice is: Don’t stop working…there’s always something to be said about being a hustler.
Second piece of advice is never make any apologies for the work that you put out there .
Q: At the end of the day, what makes it all worth it for you?
J: What makes it all worth it at the end of the day, is the endless amount of support I get from my friends and family. Whenever I feel like I’ve reached my breaking point I always have a good friend or family member to remind me to get some perspective. Leaning on them at times and a good way to step outside of myself when it gets too hard.
Q: Who are you listening to these days?
J: I’m listening to the new Black Keys album “Brothers”, The Avett Brothers, Marina and the Diamonds and the new Weezer Album. Great stuff!
Q: What’s a typical day for Jessie Payo?
J: I’d like to say that I have a typical routine, but I don’t. A lot of it consists of running around from rehearsals to shows to sessions to vocal lessons. Each day brings its own adventure. Right now I’m working on building the next Empire that is Jessie Payo.
Q: Jessie, you are dating magician Justin Kredible. Has he ever played a trick on you?
J: There’s always magic in the house. But once he put my head into a vintage head chopper to test it out and it scared the crap out of me to have my head locked into a contraption with a huge blade above it. Thank goodness nothing went wrong…my head’s still attached to my body.
Q: Where can we see you next Jessie?
J: Keep on the look out for a brand new Jessie Payo EP that’s in the works as we speak! Also, I’m starring in a film called “Rising Stars” that’s soon to be out!
Q: Anything else?!
J: Check out more to come from Jessie Payo on www.jessiepayo.com
And follow me on twitter at @jessiepayo
Thanks Jessie! We wish you the best of luck!
8/25- Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
9/11- Bangor Waterfront, Bangor, ME
9/12- Life is good Festival, Canton, MA
9/13- Stanley Performing Arts Center, Utica, NY
9/15- SUNYAB Baird Point Amphitheater, Buffalo, NY
9/16- EMU Convocation Center, Ypsilanti, MI
9/20- Clay Center or the Arts and Sciences, Charleston, WV
9/21- Peace Center, Greenville, SC
9/22- Carolina First Arena, Charleston, SC
9/24- MSU Bulldog Bash, Starkville, MS
9/25- Benson Auditorium at Harding, Searcy, AR
9/26- Regional Special Events Center, Murray, KY
9/28- Bob Carpenter Center, Newark, DE
9/29- LC Outdoor Pavilion, Columbus, OH
9/30- Kresge Auditorium, Interlochen, MI
10/4- John Labatt Center, London, ON
10/5- Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, ON
10/6- Colisee Pepsi Arena, Quebec City, QC
10/8- Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, CA
…Is that a word? Hah
I have been a devoted Bumbershoot attendee for the past three years. I love the music and especially the local acts, which tend to be musicians and bands who are friends of mine or who I have worked with before. The festival is also… in my backyard – the wonderful and beautiful city of Seattle.
Last year, I lost my car in the parking garage for a good 15 minutes, but honestly, that was the only downfall. Other than that, I have never run into any problems with the festival, and the situation I described above was my fault, not Bumbershoot’s.
For this year’s 2010 festival, the creators of Bumbershoot, One Reel, have gathered the results of their surveys from other attendees and have developed a new and more efficient way of selling their tickets. This year they will be offering something called the “Economy Ticket.” The economy ticket will be sold at $22 advance / $30 gate. Before you get excited about the pricing, the economy ticket only allows you to view all stages including music, film, comedy, etc etc EXCEPT the main stage in Memorial Stadium.. That means no Death Cab for Cutie, Jason Mraz and Black Eyed Peas for you! If you’re a hipster or a music buff who can’t stand mainstream, this might be the right ticket for you.
Another change is being made to the “Standard Ticket.” In the past the standard ticket was your access into the Seattle Center grounds for the festival, but did not guarantee you definite access into the Main Stage show in the evenings. This year, it will! Attendees would have to arrive early to snag a main stage pass at one of their Bumbershoot booth posts and stay the whole day even if they did not care for any other acts. Inconvenience avoided. Nice job One Reel.
For more details on what other changes have been affected, read the article here at Line Out
Justin Nozuka’s first album, “Holly” is one of my favorites. He sounds like… Eric Hutchinson and Jason Mraz. If you looking for soft guitar playing and soulful R&B, he is your man. Now I’m leaving you with my favorite song by him, “After Tonight.”
I first heard of John West from my friend Gelesia. The girl has been my concert/show company for almost two years so naturally I trust her instincts when it comes down to good music. Over the summer, she sent me a video of a live John West performance and from that moment on I was sold. His entire CD was on repeat for at least a month while I was at home over the summer. John West is an artist that reminds me a lot of the Seattle music I listen to. Although I have never seen him perform, his songs are very catchy and relatable to a wide audience. Plus he sounds just as good live on his tracks as he does on his CD, which believe it or not, that is not always the case.. John is great, let’s make him come to Seattle ya dig?
Q: Where are you originally from and has that influenced your sound if at all?
John West: I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana originally. I would definitely say the southern feel, particularly the jazz and blues of Louisiana have influenced the music I’m making. But so did Erykah Badu :)
Q: When I was sixteen years old, I knew I had wanted to work with music and PR when I planned my first concert. At what point did you realize, this is what I want to do?
J: In college I was studying art – cartooning to be exact, but music was something that I had pursued since I was a little kid singing in the church choir. It wasn’t until my last year of college, when I started my first real band that I was like “Hmm, I think this is my real passion.” Also, some of my music had been selected for an end-of-the year concert thing at Columbia College in Chicago where I was graduating from (another town that influenced my music). So that random opportunity inspired me to really go after it.
Q: What’s a typical day for John West, give us a run through.
J: Wake up 9:30am. 200 crunches and 100 push-ups – not really. More like 20 emails and 50 friend requests on Myspace/Facebook. I try to get a workout in three times a week. Emphasis on the word ‘try’. During the past summer, I’d be out on the Santa Monica Promenade 4-6 days a week. So that’d be from noon-8pm usually. I have lunch meetings sometimes, and even afternoon naps. I tend to work on writing/recording music in the evening. I stay up late watching “Mad Men” and “Californication“.
Q: Pick one: John Mayer, Jason Mraz, or Jack Johnson and why?
J: Ha, I like this one. I’m gonna have to say John Mayer because of that song he did with Alicia Keys. But I think hanging out with Jack Johnson could teach me a lot. And Mraz is just dope and making music that he loves to make – I think he’s the most interesting of the bunch.
Q: I follow you on Twitter, it sounds like you enjoy playing in lots of public places such as Third Street or the Promenade, why these places? I think it’s great that you are bringing the music to the public and expanding your fan base by the way, maybe more artists should do that!
J: Street performance is a great daily opportunity to get in front of hundreds if not thousands of new potential listeners, to refine your live show, to make a living, and to promote upcoming “traditional” shows. It has it’s ups and downs, but I’ve been loving it this year.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure collaboration? Who would you like to collaborate with that your fans might find a bit surprising?
J: I would love to link up with Wil.I.Am, I think amazing things could happen. Production is such a fascinating mystery to me. There are some real geniuses out there. Surprising collaboration? How about John West & The Jonas Brothers? haha
Q: The music industry is a tough business to get into, what is one hardship you have endured and what piece of advice would you give to those who aspire to become a successful musician?
J: It takes time, and meanwhile you get older. A hard thing to reconcile sometimes. You have productive months, and then months where you feel lost. My advice would be to make great music however you can. I think it’s valuable to understand ProTools or Logic (two most popular recording software) so that you make your own music or at least communicate intelligently in the studio. Promotion is so important. Exposure. Playing shows that make sense. For more advice, email me. I work as a new-model consultant haha
Q: What is on constant rotation on your iPod?
J: Pandora is my new iPod. I love setting up a station around Friendly Fires and Cut Copy. I like Thom Yorke’s new solo album (the single at least). I want the soundtrack to “Away We Go”. I like listening to jazz on 88.1
Katie note: I wholeheartedly recommend Friendly Fires and Cut Copy as well.
Q: Some of your songs revolve around love? Were these songs inspired by experience? What’s your idea of a perfect date and what traits do you look for in a girl?
J: Wow, what traits do I look for? I just want someone real and kind. Who loves to laugh and knows what it is to cry. Besides that, who knows – there are wonderful people everywhere. And yes, my love songs come from real experiences.
Q: Aside from yourself, who do you think is on the rise currently? Who should my readers be listening to?
J: I’m definitely no music expert, my finger is not on the pulse of the business, but I really dig that one rapper Blu. U-N-I are cool. There are probably a bunch of great singer-songwriters I’ve never heard of that are awesome and about to get record deals.
Q: Are you considering touring at all? And if so, Seattle will make the cut right?
J: Girl, you know I’ve got Seattle covered. Seriously though, expanding throughout the west coast is the next move for me.
Q: What’s new for John West? What can we expect from you in the next few months or year?
J: Autumn EP coming soon. Big Roxy show on January 23rd. Headlining on a Saturday night, wooo- new website in the works, more big moves coming soon :)
Me: Thank you so much John! Best of luck to you with your music and future!
J: Only two months late on the interview, but was my pleasure to answer your questions! They got me thinking.
To listen to more of John’s music visit his Myspace
I met Cathy almost a year ago at my cousin’s wedding in California last December. She was one of the lead vocalists in the band performing and she blew us all away with her voice. A couple months after the wedding, my brother and I were reminicing about that night and wondered what the name of the band from that night was when we somehow stumbled upon Cathy’s YouTube page. Little did we know that she was basically a YouTube celebrity with her recordings of covers and even some of her original songs.
Q: Cathy, how old are you and where are you from?
Cathy Nguyen: I am 21 and I am from West Covina, California. Although, my family & I moved to Chino about 2 years ago, so that’s where I currently reside now.
Q: When did you first begin singing and was it just for fun or could you see this as a possible career?
C: I first started singing pretty much when I was able to talk. I remember my mom teaching me songs as I was growing up & that’s all I’ve been doing since. I never really considered on actually pursuing music as a career until my senior year of high school. I joined choir for the first time & absolutely loved it. I tried out for my first solo & since then, I must say, I’ve finally stepped out of my comfort zone & began performing more, whether it be at church or at a choir concert. But now, of course, weighing all the options, and looking pros & cons of pursuing music, I’ve decided not to go all the way. I’m really content with where I stand right now in regards to music.
Q: I love the covers you have done! In my opinion your version of Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down,” is way better than the original. You have a million views on that video and 2 million views on your “I’m Yours” cover. That’s pretty impressive! Were you shocked when you realized that you were becoming YouTube’s next superstar? ;)
C: Haha! Thank you so much! I really appreciate that. You know, I never imagined ever being able to get that many views on these dorky videos that I post, so I definitely was shocked. I’m STILL shocked actually! I’ve been so blessed ever since all this YouTube madness. Opportunities to do what I love began to increase and now, I have an event to perform at nearly once a week! To think, I started off like everyone else, WATCHING videos of people singing & performing, looking up to these people & enjoying watching their love & passion for music. & clearly, with the support of my family & friends, & really just through word of mouth, here I am, living my dream! I mean, not as a “Youtube superstar” haha, but I mean, being able to meet & work with these wonderful & talented singer/songwriters that I’ve watched & was [& still am!], inspired by.
Q: What is your favorite song to cover?
C: I have fun with every song that I choose to cover, but if I had to choose, I’d have to say “Lucky,” by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat. I love performing that with AJ Rafael.
Q: Who were your influences growing up?
C: I grew up listening to the typical boy bands & pop singers such as *NSYNC or Christina Aguilera. Haha! I mean, who didn’t? I grew up enjoying listening & singing to their music. My influences now though, would include, Colbie Caillat, Sara Bareilles, Alicia Keys, & Taylor Swift. =]
Q: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
C: Ooh. That’s a tough question. I’d be so honored to collaborate with ANYONE actually!
Q: Are you doing some shows here and there or have you done any tours at all? If you do decide to do a tour, can I be your tour manager? Hahah
C: Yes, you can! =P Yeah, I’ve been performing here & there around California for the past year, ranging from birthday parties, to a benefit concert at a high school or university, to a coffee house or a church praise event. All my shows have been in California though. I’d love to do a tour & I’ve even gotten offers to perform outside of the state, but I’m currently unavailable to do that at the moment.
Q: What is a typical day for Cathy Nguyen?
C: My typical day usually consists of me sitting in front of my computer for hours checking updates & comments on all the social networking websites, responding to performance emails, & then end up being late to school or work, coming home from work/school & pretty much start doing the same thing all over again. haha! & definitely when I have the chance to, I hang out with my friends.
Q: Do you believe having your YouTube account, Twitter and Facebook Fan Page has helped you connect more with your fans or listeners?
C: Yes of course! All these social networking sites have allowed me to connect & talk to my supporters. I read them all and I try to respond back to everyone, but it does get overwhelming for me. I’ve been so blessed & I am so grateful for all the love & support I have. I really appreciate it!
Q: Some of your video covers have included your friends as well; do you see yourself being more as a soloist or with a band?
C: I love singing & performing with other people because I’m so self-conscious & I know that when I sing with other people, the attention isn’t all on me. But if I had to choose, I would probably see myself as being more of a soloist though, either that or with one other person. I don’t see myself in a band, although, that’d be pretty interesting!
Q: What are you listening to these days and who would you suggest my readers start listening to, besides you of course!
C: I used to listen to a lot of the artists on the radio, but honestly these days, I know so little of those outside music. I listen to more of my friends’ music than anyone else actually. I would for sure suggest anyone to listen to their music! AJ Rafael, Passion, Gabe Bondoc, Melissa Polinar & Jane Lui, are just a few of the people I’ve been inspired by. They are amazing, really. They really make you appreciate true music.
Q: Where can we expect to see you next Cathy?
C: Well, you can probably see me next on a YouTube video! haha. Other than that, I have a few shows lined up for the next couple of months. All that information will be updated soon on my Myspace music page.
Check out more of Cathy’s videos on her YouTube account page here
…When I wear this:
Elliott: Sing me something, Jason Mraz…
Ty: Has anyone told you that you look like Jason Mraz in that hat?