singer songwriter Jessica Lawrence on following your passion.

Jessica has been singing for as long as she can remember, but it was when she was 13 and picked up the guitar to learn a few chords that she discovered how much better it felt and sounded to be able to play something underneath what she was singing. This was the beginning of her song-writing journey.

Throughout her teenage years, Jessica played many gigs around Western Australia as a solo acoustic act. She graduated from W.A.A.P.A. in 2014 with an Advanced Diploma of Contemporary Music (specialising in vocals). It was there that she met like-minded musicians who opened her up to a whole new world of jamming and recording. Through these experiences she attained a newfound appreciation for the human connections music enables, and in 2015, moved to Melbourne in pursuit of those connections.

She currently works as a session musician, writing and recording vocals from her home studio setup in Melbourne, and sings in Melbourne-based psychedelic/shoe-gaze rock band Wild Meadows.

Tell us about your journey as a singer songwriter, what draws you to create?

It feels as if the journey has sort-of just happened by itself and I’ve been taken along for the ride. Singing has never felt like a chore to me. It’s been a passion for as long as I can remember, a completely pure experience allowing me to be totally absorbed in the present moment. So naturally I just kept following that, and here I am, still following it.

What are some of your singing dreams?

As a singer, I’d absolutely love to tour the world and play epic festivals! Making amazing memories through music and having as many enjoyable experiences as possible is what it’s all about for me. On a personal level, I hope that the music I put out there isn’t just something that other people hear, but is something that they feel. If anyone can really benefit from my music, then that’s success in my eyes.

Is there a particular warm up process you have before recording vocals?

I don’t do any particular vocal warmup exercises (although I probably should), but I often like to go for a long bike ride before hitting the studio because once I’m in the music-making zone who knows how long it’ll be before I emerge from that world again.

Tell us about your songwriting process – is there a particular way you tackle the topline?

It definitely depends on the song. Sometimes a track will have a challenging chord progression or an unusual time signature, so I will need to sit down and think more carefully about what I am going to do with the topline. And then there are other tracks that I immediately connect with, and the best toplines for these usually happen when I allow myself to let go of thought and just jam along to them.

As a singer, is there anyone you would particularly like to work with?

There are so many amazing musicians I’d love to jam with, and there are so many amazing producers I’d love to work with, it’s impossible to choose just one. One dude I reckon would definitely be worth meeting and having a jam with is Victor Wooten. Studying music at university had a weird effect on me for a while, because all the analysing we had to do around music made me feel more detached from the music itself. Victor’s book ‘The Music Lesson’ helped me to feel more like I was a part of the music again, rather than an observer of it. In the words of Beethoven: “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”

Which artists do you find inspiring? Why?

It always depends on what mood I’m in. But for the sake of naming names, some of my favourites are: The Smashing Pumpkins, Pink Floyd, Deep River Collective, Akara, Bob Marley & The Wailers, East Brunswick All Girls Choir, PJ Harvey, The Jezabels, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions, Primal Scream, Bombay Dub Orchestra, Lilt, Moana, Alanis Morissette, Be Forest, The Beatles, Dr. John… Yep, the list goes on.

Do you have a favourite microphone? If so, why?

Of the microphones I’ve recorded with, it would have to be the RODE K2. I find that recording with this microphone tends to bring out the best tones in voice, so less EQ is required in the mixing process.

How did you find singing jobs before Vocalizr

Other than occasional busking in the streets of Fremantle, I didn’t discover many paid singing jobs before I moved to Melbourne. But there were many collaborations – I would jam psychedelic-blues-reggae with friends on a Wednesday night until the sun came up, perform solo acoustic gigs supporting local bands, record vocals over friends’ electronic tracks. I was barely ever too busy to seize an opportunity to play music, because I always considered it my priority and my happiness. Playing music with other people was all I wanted to do, and the more musicians I met and connected with through music, the more opportunities arose. When I moved to Melbourne and discovered Vocalizr, I realised I could actually get paid to do what I love, so that was a massive bonus and stepping stone for me.

As a singer, have you made new connections through Vocalizr? Has it opened any doors for you?

YES! I was lucky enough to work with Craig Connelly through Vocalizr, which has opened some wonderful doors for me in the Trance scene. There is so much diversity on Vocalizr, and it’s a great experience being able to work with people from all different places around the world.