Who is Jackie Venson?
“With an astonishing mix of raw soul, superb musicianship and laid back grace it was easy to believe that we were participating in the origin story of Austin’s next great export — a Gary Clark Jr. level talent who speaks boldly through her guitar while simultaneously entrancing with her gorgeous smoky voice.” Deborah Sengupta Stith, Austin American-Statesman
AMF EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
You studied classical piano at Berklee College of Music; what drew you to the electric guitar?
After studying classical piano for 13 years of my life I felt burnt out and like I couldn’t re-spark my interest in the instrument. I was listening to a blues Pandora station in my dorm during a particularly cold and gloomy month in Boston and I decided then and there that I wanted to specifically play electric blues. It just hit me like a ton of bricks!
Every time we see you on stage or pictures of you playing, you’ve got a huge smile on your face. How much fun are you having up there?
Too much fun, so much fun as a matter of fact that it’s taken me years to deal with, what I call, the “post-show depression.” It’s this thing that happens when a show is over and I have this apocalyptic feeling like I’ll never feel that again. It’s almost like I’m chasing a high. However, sure enough, when I get on stage again there it is with open arms! So that’s why I am smiling, I’m finally feeling that feeling again!
You released your first EP “Rollin On” in 2013. On September 18, you’ll be at Antone’s releasing “Jackie Venson Live!”. How have you grown as a musician in the last three years?
Wow, I didn’t even realize that until this interview. How crazy! Oh jeez, I suppose I’ve grown the most as a guitar player and a songwriter. My music and live sound have changed so much as I’ve picked up new things from other players and from gigging a lot.
Is there any piece of advice or lesson you’ve learned in that time that still guides you today?
Keep on playing. Play every single day whether it be practice or a gig. Never stop playing.
Is there anyone in the Austin Music scene that you’re really digging right now?
Yes – Ray Prim, Dave Scher, KP and The Boom Boom, and Tameca Jones. I also have recently picked up on MJ and The Cain.
What has been the biggest inspiration behind your music?
Playing with players who are miles ahead of me, gigging and traveling, and simply living life with its ups and downs.
Is there any musician or band that you put on while you’re writing music that helps you get into that creative state of mind?
No. If I listen to other folks then I get stuck on their melodies and have a hard time thinking of my own. My best songwriting sessions have been when I have had a few hours sans listening to music.
You’ve played all over Austin. What’s your favorite stage to play on?
I love Antone’s and One2One Bar. However, The Moody Theatre takes the cake.
What’s one passion you have outside of music?
I love horseback riding; I pretty much know everything about horses.
How did you first come across Austin Music Foundation?
Years ago I heard about it while researching the Austin music scene and the various different organizations surrounding it.
What does being named Artist of the Month mean to you?
It means the world getting support from my hometown, I am very grateful.
What’s next for you?
More gigs, more fans, more music, more love, more life. The road goes on forever and the party never ends y’all!