Posted On 02 Jul 2019
Singer-songwriter JJ Wilde recently released her debut EP ‘Wilde Eyes, Steady Hands’, making a major impression on the modern face of rock music. The EP is out via BMG/BlackBox on all streaming services and is a brash declaration of artistry from a refreshing new voice in rock.
The four-song EP is a cathartic, rousing and well-varied amalgamation of pure, “fiercely unapologetic” (Atwood) rock n roll. It strikes the perfect balance between raucousness and sincerity, mixing together sweltering odes to independence (like the riotous “The Rush” which serves as a perfectly executed soundtrack for reckless indulgence) with warmer self-reflective moments (like “State of Mind” which finds JJ confronting her imperfections, knowing she’ll eventually learn from her mistakes). She pairs her earnest songwriting with her instantly memorable, velveteen rasp and full-throttle guitar.
Sewing together an honesty that calls to mind Liz Phair, a swagger reminiscent of Bikini Kill, and a Courtney Love-esque snarl, JJ Wilde is not only paying respect to the heart and soul of rock music, but fully chiseling her own place within the genre.
JJ WILDE U.S. Tour Dates 2019:
7/13 — Palace Theatre — St. Paul, MN
7/15 — Water Works Park — Des Moines, IA
7/16 — Old National Centre — Indianapolis, IN
7/17 — Marathon Music Works — Nashville, TN
7/19 — The Fillmore — Detroit, MI
7/20 — 20 Monroe Live — Grand Rapids, MI
7/21 — Stage AE — Pittsburgh, PA
7/23 — MECU Pavilion — Baltimore, MD
8/6 — Canalside — Buffalo, NY
8/7 — Musikfest — Bethlehem, NY
8/9 – Ashbury Park, NJ – Wonderbar
8/10 – Washington, DC – U Street
8/12 – Philadelphia, PA – The Foundry at The Fillmore
8/13 – Richmond, VA – The Broadberry
8/14 – Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle
8/16 – Lexington, KY – The Burl
8/17 – Indianapolis, IN – Vogue
8/19 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues Cambridge
8/20 – Grand Rapids, MI – The State
Learn more about JJ Wilde in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
Hey thank you for reaching out ! I’m currently laying on a tattoo bed getting my hip piece extended.
Now that we are half-way through the year, how has 2019 been treating you? What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them?
2019 has felt like a dream honestly. It’s been a year of growth in so many ways. From learning things about myself in writing, exploring different styles and having the chance to write more instrumental parts then I ever have, to learning things about myself as I try to navigate this industry. One goal I have for myself this year would be to open for my favorite band, Kings of Leon or to sell out the ACC in Toronto. I’ve always loved their music and to me that would be the ultimate opening. I think selling out an arena is everyone’s ambition! I’m not sure how far away or close I am too it honestly I just keep going and hope for the best.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Music was always a huge part of my household growing up. I have distinct memories of being woken up by my parents blasting music in the living room while they cleaned or cooked. My brother played guitar for as long as I can remember and I always looked up to him. He taught me how to play when I was about 14 or 15 and then it became a real passion from there. I had always loved writing but before I had an instrument to play out my songs on, I considered them more of poems. Music is also in my family as well. Most of my cousins all play instruments and we are a close family, so at our get togethers there is usually at least a few of us jamming together. I would say my love of music was instilled in me at a very young age.
The decision to become a musician was something I fell back and forth from for a while. It’s always been my dream, ever since I can remember, and has been something I’ve perused since about 18. But it wasn’t until I was working a few jobs and doing gigs on the side and had almost given up, that I realized I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. I then made the absolute decision that no matter what or where this took me, I was going to be okay with it.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
I definitely explored other options, that’s actually what led me to realizing this was what I was going to commit my life to! I always worked on the side and perused music as many musicians do when they are starting out. But time after time I found myself unhappy in whatever else I was doing. So no I definitely think if I didn’t just dive in and give it a real chance I would forever being wondering « what if ». That being said I have always been fascinated by classic cars, so if I wasn’t doing music I’d probably be a mechanic restoring old cars and making the new again.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
There have been many surprises along the way. I wouldn’t say that one has stuck out more than the other but more so that I’m learning everything as I go, so everyday there are different challenges and unexpected things that I just try to take on as they come. For example even just getting ready for a tour, there is so much work that goes into it behind the scenes that I hadn’t really realized before, and without the amazing team of people working with me and keeping me accountable, I’d be lost. Another thing that has been a huge surprise is the amount of support I’ve been getting from people! I guess you never think what your doing is all that interesting, but so many people have reached out or helped support this in some way, either because they know me or just like the music. I didn’t expect that right away.
Let’s talk about your debut single, “Wired.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it prepares listeners for more music from you?
Wired was written when I was working 4 jobs and living in an apartment I didn’t like and just needed some kind of release. It was my way of saying, is this it? Really? I was in such a dark spot that I really just needed to believe that there had to be more to life. I think it is an unapologetic view of me and my life. Most of my music is based off of my experiences or personal feelings, so in a way it prepares listeners for what’s next because my music isn’t perfect, it’s like unfiltered orange juice.
What was it like making your debut EP “Wilde Eyes and Steady Hands”? Did anything surprise you about the overall process of making it? How would you say that “Wired” prepares listeners for this collection?
Making this ep was so much fun. I had never been to LA before so that in itself was a bit surreal. The first day Frederik and I started working together I knew it was going to be a fun week. Our styles of writing seem so different and yet I found they complimented each other very well. We basically shut ourselves in the studio for a week and wrote everything. There weren’t too many surprises I’d say but more just surprised of what came out in the writing. We hadn’t planned any of it so when the ideas at the end seemed to be this cohesive work it was a pleasant surprise. And as I said previously I think wired is a a good introduction to my music because it’s raw and a little chaotic. Much like the rest of the ep.
How will you celebrate the release of “Wilde Eyes and Steady Hands”? How excited are you to head out on tour and promote this new collection of yours? Where are some venues that you are particularly excited to play at?
I’m going up to my cabin in the woods! As for touring I am beyond excited to get back on the road. The best part of this job at least in my opinion is getting to perform your songs live. The palace theatre has been around since 1916 so I’m really looking forward to see if there’s still any original architecture, but for me it’s more the crowd. You could be at the coolest venue in the world but if no ones enjoying the show it can ruin your night! I’m excited to go back to Nashville and Detroit for that reason. Certain cities just have a great energy about them.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started singing and writing songs?
Too many ways to count. I think you learn a lot about yourself with age, and also the situations you find yourself in. Life throws a lot of curve balls and those really make you learn stuff about yourself. Being uncomfortable is the best way to grow. My writing has evolved as I have grown as a person, and I find I’m constantly learning new things for the new musicians or people I meet. Especially co writing sessions. It’s great to work with other musicians and writers and feed off of each other’s creativity. Even discovering a new band can make you expand your writing styles and views.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now? What has social media done for your career?
Social media has probably been the biggest learning curve for me, and I’m still learning. Before this I didn’t really use social media at all, I had a just upgraded from my flip phone and was very happy with that. That being said I do see the value in it and think that it’s a great way to interact with fans on a more personal level. Whats been the biggest struggle for me is finding a way of keeping consistent without feeling like I’m being too self indulgent. I still have a hard time grasping the fact that people are interested in what I’m doing! One thing I’ve really started to enjoy though is learning covers and going live on my Insta story and sharing them. There’s something really great about doing it in the moment and not being able to do a million takes of the same song.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
My musical tastes range all over the map from genre to genre. Some of my faves are Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Shakey Graves, Hey! Rosetta, Amy Winehouse, Jason Isbell, Allan Rayman, Adele, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, the list could go on and on. I’ll never do it justice because I also can never think of what I’m listening to right when I get asked that question! But I truly do believe if it’s good music I’ll listen to it, doesn’t matter the genre. Alabama Shakes would be a fan girl moment for me if I got to work with them. We will see!
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
I think an interesting idea would be a time lapse of someone’s entire life. Follow them and see all the struggles and celebrations, sacrifices everything. It would take a loooong time. But I think would be very interesting in the end.
Where would you absolutely love to hear one of your songs? On a TV show, in a movie or elsewhere?
You know I’ve never thought about that! Whenever I picture my music it’s always a huge live concert. I always day dream about being on stage at a massive festival like Woodstock.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope that my music gives people something to express their feelings with. For me music is such an emotional thing. A certain song can bring back happy memories, sad memories, help me get through everything from death, break ups, stress, or to celebrate. Music to me is honestly a sound track to my life. So I just hope that my music can do that for someone as well. To know that they aren’t they only one struggling, or to have a song that gives them joy. I just it to make people feel something, whatever that is