Jessarae has been writing and performing songs ever since he turned nine. His debut full-length album Pilot was released one year ago today, and can be purchased on iTunes here! Check out our interview with Jessarae below. We discuss EyeCon, Warped Tour, Sundance and Jessarae’s top 5 songs on his iPod. You can view his full Artist of the Week feature here, and be sure to follow him on twitter!
What’s your favorite song off of Pilot?
“My favorite song would probably be “If I Know You At All”. The meaning behind that song is really important to me. I like the way it came together. I actually got an Ebow, and I played a solo on it (at the middle and end), and was able to put that all together in one day at the studio. The Ebow allows you to play a solo in a really cool way. It can sound like a violin. I was nervous about how the song would turn out, but I think the song turned out pretty good!”
Are you currently working on new music?
“Yes! All the time actually. I write everyday. Luckily, I have the ability to test out my new songs on people at shows I play. I’ve been able to narrow it down to ten new songs that I really love. I have a music room in my house, with a white board filled with songs that I’ve written. Some of the songs are finished, while others aren’t. There’s probably like 500 songs on that board. It’s pretty cool and overwhelming!”
You’ve recently performed at a lot of events instead of just venues. What’s your favorite thing about playing events?
“I love meeting new people. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet some of these people at shows in LA. I just performed at EyeCon in Georgia. That was super fun! It was actually the fourth year I’ve played there. It’s really cool seeing some of the same people there year after year, because I don’t get to see them anywhere else. I love connecting with those fans. I was also able to meet a lot of new people this year, which was really cool. I love getting to meet fans in Georgia who follow me on Twitter, but can’t come to shows in LA.”
Speaking of EyeCon, what’s one thing that shocks/surprises you about the convention?
“The costumes people put together always shock me. EyeCon is always around Halloween time, so the costumes are amazing, especially the vampire ones. There are always those fans that go above and beyond every year and I love seeing their costumes. It blows me away.”
We know you’re not the biggest TVD fan, but if you could go to any shows convention, which show would you choose?
“That’s a good question, maybe ‘The Office’ or ‘Modern Family’. I don’t know if those shows could do a convention though. Vampires are cool and you can dress up like them, but there’s not much you can do for ‘The Office’ or ‘Modern Family’. I would go to a video game convention!”
You cover a lot of songs. Do you have a current favorite?
“Elvis’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love”. I did a YouTube video for it a while ago. I grew up listening to Elvis. It’s really fun for me to play his songs.”
Would you rather tour with One Direction for the rest of your life, or only be allowed to play country music?
“[Laughs] Am I fronting One Direction or are they fronting me? I have a couple new songs that if sang in a deep voice could come off as country. I think I could pull off a country song. That’s a hard question.”
What made you want to enter the Warped Tour battle of the bands competition this past summer?
“I’d always hear about Warped Tour, and this summer I heard about their contest. I was really curious to see what Warped Tour was really all about. I didn’t know how far my entry would go. It was amazing what happened! Everybody voting was overwhelming. I can’t believe I ended up winning. The concert ended up being a totally different scene than what I’m used to. There were a lot of heavy bands at Warped Tour. It was a full day of music and all the stages were on black pavement. It was such a hot day too. It was insane and a fun experience. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to participate.”
Are you going to thank your fans for helping you win the competition? How so?
“I’m putting together a thank you video. I was going to write a song and try and fit in as many names as I can into it. I’m working on that now, I want to do it right. I want to give back to my fans in a cool way!”
You’re playing at Sundance. What’s your favorite movie?
“I haven’t seen a lot of movies recently. Last year I saw a movie called “Take Shelter”. It was about a guy who predicted the world was going to end and builds a shelter for his family to survive the apocalypse. It was a really good movie. There was a scene in the movie where all the birds fell from the sky and the audience wonders if it’s real or if it’s in the guy’s imagination. The cool thing was this movie came out around the time the birds actually fell from the sky in Arkansas. There was a Q&A after the movie and someone asked if the Arkansas bird’s fiasco was the inspiration for that scene.”
What are your top 5 most played songs on your iPod?
“Let me look right now. I really like Copeland right now. I played a show in Texas with a band called Candlebox, and their guitar player got me into Copeland. I downloaded Copeland’s “You Are My Sunshine” and I love that record. I play it all the time. It was Copeland’s last released record before they broke up. “Good Morning Fire Eater” and “The Day I Lost My Voice (The Suitcase Song)” are two of my most played songs. I also listen to Bob Dylan. I listen to a lot of older artists, and then throw in some newer ones. I like the band Beach House and the new artist Kitten. I try to listen to as music as I can. My mom makes fun of me. She tells me I listen to the weirdest music.”
What is your favorite concert you’ve gone to in the past year?
“I saw a lot of great artists this year. I saw Prince, and he was amazing. He’s such a performer! I got to see Stevie Nicks too! She played a small show with like only 200 people in the room and talked to us about “In Your Dreams”. I get to go to that small venue a lot. I really like it. I saw Rosanne Cash and Jack White at that venue as well.”
Are we going to see you on tour anytime soon?
“Definitely. Right now for the most part I’m only playing locally in LA. I’m trying to finish my second album and figure out exactly which songs I want on it. I really like what I have so far, and I hope my fans will too. After I finish the album and I’m planning on touring.