In the recent past, my Spotlight interview section hosted some very interesting young artists as well. For example, I chatted with Kimi Most in June, which I felt to be very inspiring. I also enjoyed talking to Tiffany Johnson about commuting between South Dakota and Nashville pursuing her country music career.
In this edition, I am talking to Jackie Therrien. Jackie is a teenage girl from New Hampshire, who is doing pop music with a touch of folk. She is not only writing her own songs, but also recording and producing them. On 21st August, she released her second album Dreaming, which is of course also one of the topics of our chat. Hope you enjoy to learn more about her as much as I did.
Flyctory.com meets Jackie Therrien
FLYC: Jackie, thanks for joining the Spotlight interview. How would you describe your music in your own words?
Jackie: My music is something that I think most everyone can relate to. I write about my personal experiences, yet I try to make it so that other people who may have had a similar experience can really connect.
FLYC: What is special about Jackie Therrien music?
Jackie: I think the special thing about my music is that it’s extremely honest. When writing lyrics, I say things that maybe I wouldn’t have really said to anybody. Writing music for me is like writing in a diary. When you listen to my music, I’m letting you in on all my biggest secrets and deepest feelings.
FLYC: You grew up in Merrimack, which is near Manchester, New Hampshire. When and how did you explore that music will be a special part of your life?
Jackie: Music has always been a big part of my life. My parents aren’t musicians, but music appreciators. I grew up listening to all different kinds of music from all different genres and decades. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, but didn’t start playing an instrument until around 9 years old. I remember begging my parents to let me take piano lessons, and from that point on I knew music was my thing. I understood it in a way I had never understood anything before.
FLYC: Your website states that you are playing four quite different instruments (piano, ukulele, guitar and clarinet). How did you start making music?
Jackie: Yes! Piano was the first instrument I learned, when I started taking lessons around 9 years old. Once I was around 11 and got to fifth grade, we had concert band. I decided to join and play clarinet. Around 12–13 years old, I discovered the ukulele. I taught myself and picked it up fairly quickly, and loved how pretty yet simple it sounded. When I was 15, my parents gave me my first acoustic guitar for Christmas. I had always wanted to play guitar. I again taught myself, and watched LOTS of YouTube videos for help!
FLYC: Is there maybe a favorite instrument of yours?
Jackie: Piano is definitely my favorite. It’s what started it all for me. Almost everything I write starts out on the piano. Any little melody I hear in my head I immediately go to find on the piano.
FLYC: I read that you initially started with instrumental music when you wrote songs at the age of 13. How did you find out that you wanted to create music?
Jackie: I can’t remember exactly how it happened. I think when I wrote my first instrumental piece on the piano, I was just messing around and it happened. I suddenly had this melody in my head, and just went with it. I had always thought writing songs with lyrics would be really fun, especially listening to Taylor Swift my whole life. She’s always been one of my biggest inspirations with my music, and is part of the reason I started adding lyrics. I just always thought it was so cool the way she could tell a story with her songs, and I wanted to do it too.
FLYC: Ain’t it much more difficult to write instrumental music than using lyrics as well?
Jackie: Writing instrumental music is much more difficult and time consuming. When I’m writing songs with lyrics, I just see where the lyrics take me and write them down as I go. When writing instrumental, I have to come up with a theme, and try to write different things around it and keep it interesting. It also takes a lot more time writing it down, whereas with my songs with lyrics I just write the lyrics and the chord changes.
FLYC: You do the whole process of music – writing, recording, producing and (of course) presenting it on stage. What do you prefer most of these ones?
Jackie: Writing is definitely my favorite part of the process. Getting a song idea and having it all just flow out of you is one of the most exciting things in the world. Most of the time you don’t know where it’s going, or where it’s coming from. Coming up with new melodies you didn’t even know you had in you…it’s all extremely magical.
FLYC: In this process of creating a song from writing to bringing it on stage or preparing for a release – is there a special point where you typically feel that a certain track will be a good one?
Jackie: I know a song will be a good one based on the time it takes me to write it. The songs that take me a long time to write typically end up not being great. The songs that I write within a day or two always end up being my favorites and the ones I’m most proud of. I think this is because when a song is written that fast, it means the feeling or whatever I’m writing about is strong. If it takes awhile, I begin to overthink and find myself trying too hard to write it. The best kinds of songs, in my opinion, are the songs that write themselves.
FLYC: In October 2019, at the age of 15, you released your debut album Love Letters. How was the feedback like?
Jackie: The feedback from Love Letters was crazy, especially considering it was my first ever album. I got so much support from all of my family and friends and kids at school.
FLYC: Your website states that people from 65 countries streamed your songs so far. Is that something you realize that you in fact have a global followership even as a comparably small artist?
Jackie: Yes, and it’s crazy to think that my music has reached people all over the world. The majority of people who listen to my music are from the US, but there are also lots of people listening from other countries like Indonesia, Canada, United Kingdom, and the Philippines! My song Kissed is even being played by a radio station in London!
FLYC: Love Letters contained Get My Attention, which is likely your most successful track so far. What is it about?
Jackie: I wrote Get My Attention about not wanting to have feelings for someone. Someone you know you really shouldn’t ever have feelings for. But they always say the right things, and they compliment you, and they make you feel special, and so they continuously pull you right back in. They just always know how to get your attention.
FLYC: Apart from Get My Attention – what are the key tracks of Love Letters in your point of view? And maybe, what is the story behind them?
Jackie: Here are the songs I think are the key tracks from the album:
- Love Letters – This song is the last track on the album, and is the song I feel kind of captures what the whole album is about. I wrote Love Letters about my freshman year of high school; all of the ups and downs, finding new friends, and falling in love. I think you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you when you hit high school, and that’s what this song is about.
- The Day You Came Along – This song is the 5th track on the album. I wrote this one about my first time being in love. Up until that point, I had liked other guys but I had never felt the feeling I felt when I was with that one person. He was the person I thought I had been needing for a long time.
- Whatever Happened? – I think this song might be one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written. Me and one of my long time best friends had realized we both had feelings for each other, and stopped talking for a number of reasons. I was so upset, I had never felt more heartbroken in my life. I kept wondering where I went wrong, if he ever thought of me or talked about me. One night I had all these thoughts and questions racing through my head, and sat down at the piano to put a tune to it. I wrote Whatever Happened? that night in less than an hour.
FLYC: And now, you are Dreaming – on 21st August 2020, you released a new album. 13 tracks, 53 minutes. Sounds like very busy times – have you been surprised that this album went that quick?
Jackie: I am very surprised. But at the same time, as soon as school was cancelled and we went into quarantine, I knew I was going to have all this free time on my hands to just write. I had all this time to think about my feelings and what I wanted. I wrote, recorded, and produced almost all 13 songs on the album (plus many more) during quarantine. I definitely was not planning on releasing a second album anytime soon, so this has all been a bit crazy for me!
FLYC: Have there been any key influences to your new album?
Jackie: I’m influenced by many different musical artists from all different genres. I’m very influenced Taylor Swift and Maisie Peter’s writing style, and by the sound that Léon, Charlie Puth, and Lana Del Rey have.
FLYC: Love Letters was completely acoustic – Dreaming has a much wider range of sounds. Was there any key reason for that?
Jackie: At the time of Love Letters, I didn’t know how to record of produce myself, so the entire album was professionally live recorded. When I write a song, I hear all of the different instruments and sounds and harmonies in my head, so being able to record and produce all myself for Dreaming gave my music a whole new sound. For my 16th birthday, my parents got me all of my recording equipment, which is when I began figuring it all out and really took an interest in being able to record and produce my own music. I’m finally able to really bring my music to life the way I hear it in my head.
FLYC: If a reader of this interview wants to have a first dive into the album – which are the three songs you would recommend him most?
Jackie: The three songs I would recommend would be Stay, Homecoming Dress, and Best Friend & My Lover. I think those three represent the album really well, and really shows you the variety of songs on the album.
FLYC: Looking forward, do you have any plans for the near future? Another album? Tour plans?
Jackie: Another album is definitely in the future, but maybe not the near future. I’ve already been writing and recording lots of new music though, which could all potentially be used for the next album. I would absolutely LOVE to be able to go on tour, my dream is to be able to perform my own songs for a crowd of people who can sing the words right back to me. But going on tour is most likely not in the near future. I do perform at open mics in the area, so I’m excited to be able to do that again once the pandemic ends!
FLYC: As Flyctory.com is also a travel blog: if one is in the Merrimack region, what are the three top attractions you would recommend him/her to visit?
Jackie: There’s not a whole lot in Merrimack, but the good thing about living in Merrimack is that we are within an hour of beaches, lakes, and mountains. You can hike, ski, and bike in the White Mountains, and in the summer lots of people visit Lake Winnipesaukee and Hampton Beach where they might have houses. There’s also Canobie Lake Park, an amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire, which is only about 40-45 minutes from us.
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