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Rising Music Star Jessie Clement: I want to inspire the kind of love that says “I would drop it all and die for you.”

The one thing that I want to inspire is more, real love. Actual love for one another because we are all in this thing together. I want to inspire the kind of love that says “I would drop it all and die for you.” …Even if it’s somebody you don’t know, let alone, someone you completely […]

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The one thing that I want to inspire is more, real love. Actual love for one another because we are all in this thing together. I want to inspire the kind of love that says “I would drop it all and die for you.” …Even if it’s somebody you don’t know, let alone, someone you completely disagree with.


I had the pleasure to interview rising music star Jessie Clement. “Music has always been my diary,” says Jessie. “I love taking the time to be introspective, and then to turn that introspection into honest poetry and melodies. In this day and age, there’s nothing I value more than being real.” On her new album, ‘Slow Motion Philosophies,’ Clement bares her heart like never before, chronicling the joy and wonder and heartbreak of her journey into adulthood with extraordinary insight and remarkable maturity. Written during a time of enormous transition, the record finds Clement living on her own for the first time, discovering a whole new world of freedom and responsibility as she gains a greater understanding of herself and her strength in the process. The resulting music is as infectious as it is heartfelt, blending singer/songwriter intimacy with vintage R&B grooves and a loose jazz swagger that’s all tied together with stunning, crystalline vocals. It might not be the sound you’d expect to hear from a quiet 20-year-old living in Murfreesboro, TN, but it’s 100% Jessie. “I think that this record is uniquely me,” says Clement. “I got more involved with the production side of things for the first time here, which really enabled me to bring the music to life exactly the way I always envisioned it.” It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that Clement was born for this stuff. Adopted by a family that her biological mother had chosen in part for their musicality, Clement grew up surrounded by songs and instruments. After a few false starts with formal lessons as a youngster, she began teaching herself the piano, and at the age of nine, she got a ukulele and wrote her first song on the way home from the store. “I’m Italian and I like to make noise, so four strings just wasn’t enough,” laughs Clement. “After the ukulele, I picked up guitar and mandolin, and then I played violin for a while, too. I just love all stringed instruments.” Clement grew up listening to James Taylor and the Doobie Brothers, but as she began penning more of her own material, she found herself reaching farther back in time, falling in love with older tunes from the 50’s and even going so far as to transform her bedroom into a vintage diner. That influence bled through into her writing, which caught the ear of Russell Terrell, a legendary first-call session vocalist who’s recorded on countless albums, from classic records by Johnny Mathis and Kenny Rogers to current hits by Kane Brown and Thomas Rhett. Terrell would go on to become both a producer and a mentor for Clement, helping her navigate the music business and grow into her sound as she racked up more than 100,000 streams on Spotify alone by the age of 19. Recorded at Nashville’s famed Sound Emporium studio, ‘Slow Motion Philosophies’ marks Clement’s fourth collaboration with Terrell — and her second with fellow producer Brad Hill (Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne) — and it finds her backed by an all-star band, including guitarist Mark Trussell (Maren Morris, Blake Shelton), bassist Rich Brinsfield (Brothers Osborne, Drew Holcomb), and drummer Evan Hutchings (Kelsea Ballerini, Rascal Flatts). The group’s deft musicianship proved to be a perfect match for Clement’s arresting vocals, which seem to flow effortlessly from a deep well of emotion and experience that belies her young age. Much of the material was captured live in the studio, and the raw electricity of it all courses through the album’s veins. Throughout it all, Clement is unyielding in her search for understanding and universal in her acceptance of her emotions. Her songs are proof that there’s no shame in opening up or in breaking down, because experiencing those moments of utter vulnerability is the only way in which we can ever truly reckon with our most honest selves. “I think there’s such value in raw emotion,” Clement concludes. “Everywhere I go, I meet people that are feeling broken but don’t want to admit that they’re feeling broken. There’s no reason to suppress that. My battle cry is ‘FEEL THINGS!’”


Thank you so much for joining us Jessie. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I grew up in a family of musicians. My parents met in a performing group called The Young Americans (the first traveling show choir) I was homeschooled all the way through school, so I spent all my time between my subjects playing instruments and writing. If you ask me, it was the best way to grow up. I got to dedicate myself, from a really early age, to the thing I loved most. Not to mention: by schooling at home, I developed the skill of being a self-learner, which I truly believe is why I took to instruments so well.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I believe Russell Terrell (my producer) is the only reason I’m in this career path. He believed in me at 10 years old and he believes in me now. It all started when he heard me (yes, at 10) performing a song I had written, and he became interested in what I was creating. We started working together shortly thereafter. And if it weren’t for him, I truly don’t believe I’d be where I am.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I don’t think I can, honestly. The whole fact that I’m making music is interesting!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I was younger, I kept creating new tunings and writing in all of them… to the point where I had to have 4 or 5 different acoustic guitars in order to make it through even a half hour set. One day Russell had to sit me down and say “Hey. Love that you are creative with tunings, but you should stick to just a couple for the sake of live shows.” He was right. He was so so right. 7 years later, I make it through an hour set with 3. Progress.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m playing out more. I’m always writing and creating, but I’ve just recently really started loving playing out live. It’s become such fuel for the fire, and I can’t remember life before it.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Because:

1. We all want to belong.

2. We all want to be loved.

3. We all want to matter.

We are much more alike than we are different. As for me, I believe in the “treat one another as you would like to be treated” mentality. I’d like to see more unswayed, true representation different cultures and beliefs ind film and television, so that I can learn how to love and serve people better.

I don’t think someone’s age/race/gender/(insert identity here) disqualifies them from making real, true art. In my world, I grew to hate the phrase “You’re really great for your age.” It’s dumb. It’s lame. It’s degrading. Since when was art about the number attached to your life?

I also don’t want to hear that I’m a “girl guitarist”. I’m a guitarist. Period. I definitely want to see more female musicians represented.

More diversity, more better 🙂

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Industry people won’t always say no, but sometimes they just can’t say yes.

There has been more than one experience for me that has seemed so hopeful because people have been really interested in me and what I do, but are just not in the position to say yes purely because they don’t know where I fit in. I came into the business mentally and emotionally prepared for all of the no’s, but I wasn’t prepared for the people that say “I really wish we could be a part, but we just can’t put you anywhere.”

Other than that, I don’t wish I had been told anything. Plus, I’ve been doing this so long that I don’t really remember the beginning of it all, and I have been unbelievably fortunate that it’s not been a very difficult road for me.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Make music that is genuine, and make your creative time therapy. That way, the very foundation of your business is built on self-care.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The one thing that I want to inspire is more, real love. Actual love for one another because we are all in this thing together. I want to inspire the kind of love that says “I would drop it all and die for you.” …Even if it’s somebody you don’t know, let alone, someone you completely disagree with.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Russell Terrell. My producer, encourager, mentor, and friend.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle. I’ve loved this quote for the bulk of my life. It is so empowering. It reminds me that if I work hard enough and am dedicated enough, in the waiting and in the grinding, I am capable of doing incredible things and doing them excellently.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I’d love to have breakfast with James Taylor. Just to throw around stories, and talk about life and the difficulties of wearing your heart on your sleeve.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

My social media handle on Twitter and Instagram is @jessieclement. 🙂

Facebook — @jessieeclement (note the extra e 🙂

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