RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN ARTIST JSHELL
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
I’ve been obsessed with music since I came out of the womb. I remember watching MTV for hours on end when it actually played videos. I’ve also loved going to rock concerts and collecting albums my entire life, and I have the kind of ear where I don’t have to read music to make music.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
I am JShell and, in the tradition of such artists as Prince, Lenny Kravitz and Paul McCartney, to name a few, I recorded most of my album In My Head myself, having played all the drums, bass guitar and keyboards and contributing lead and background vocals, rhythm and lead guitar and percussion. I am a veteran multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter based in New York City has played in a number of projects.
Name me your 3 favorite Albums?
Abbey Road by The Beatles. Queen II by Queen. There Is Nothing Left To Lose by Foo Fighters. Honorable mention to the live albums Seconds Out and Three Sides Live by Genesis and their studio album Duke.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
When I was little, my parents would play music in the car on the radio and I immediately got into “Rock The Boat” by The Hues Corporation and “Fly Like An Eagle” by The Steve Miller Band. I’ve been on a music path ever since.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
You’re not wrong. It’s challenging but I worked very hard on my album, which is both audio and visual as I created videos for all 15 tracks, and I feel that having this amount of content has been productive in getting me some attention.
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
You have to be relentless, persistent, and consistent on a daily basis. Nobody is going to hand you anything.
Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.
I do acting as a side hustle. I make my own sauce for dipping. I go to bed early every night.
Whats your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
It is what it is. You just have to adapt. And, in any case, there are music fans out there who do purchase vinyl, CDs and downloads, so the trick is to try and reach as many fans as possible.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?
I believe that for every 10 conspiracy theories that aren’t true, there’s one that is.
What was the worst experience on stage?
I once accidentally left a drink in front of the guitar player’s cable that got knocked over and shorted out his system. That wasn’t one of my finer moments.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I wrote, produced, arranged and co-mixed every song on my album and I wrote and directed all 15 videos for the 15 tracks on the album. I also think that my style of rock music, which has roots in the ‘70s and ‘80s with some progressive rock influence, is unique to rock music these days.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.
For the first single “Haunted” I had the bass guitar riff in my head forever. Once I came up with the lyrics that revolved around the concept of being haunted by someone in a relationship, I wanted the song to incorporate some sounds you would associate with a horror movie, which is why I added the spooky organ parts and the evil laughs.
What was the recording process like?
The recording process was like building a house. Every little detail counted. Because I was doing it mostly by myself, I had to trust in the process and just put one foot in front of the other. All of a sudden I had 15 songs.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
Without a doubt, the biggest learning curve was both playing guitar and singing. My main instruments have always been drums, bass guitar and keyboards, not only have I recorded on all of these instruments in the studio in the past but I wrote most of the songs on bass or piano. I’m not a guitar player by trade but because I make rock music, I knew from past experience that if I brought in a guitar player to play rhythm guitar on my songs, the vision for my songs would change, even if for the better, and I didn’t want that. I needed for the songs to sound the way I wanted them to, so I basically powered through and became a guitar player. I’ve also never been a lead singer for any project so I took a leap of faith and gave it a go.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Because of COVID the mixing process lasted a lot longer than I would have wanted because my engineer and I had to do the mix remotely. If there is a next time, I would want to be with him in person to do it quicker.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I was fortunate enough to have some very special guests appear on the album, including Steve Hackett (former lead guitarist of GENESIS and a pioneer of progressive rock in his own right), Katie Jacoby (violinist extraordinaire and co-leader of the orchestra for THE WHO), Jake Cinninger (guitar virtuoso of jam band titans UMPHREY’S MCGEE) and Scott Metzger (another guitar virtuoso of jam band titans JOE RUSSO’S ALMOST DEAD and WOLF!). On the first single Haunted, the performances of Karen Abrams (co-lead vocals), Fernando Chirinos (lead guitar) and Sofie Jane (vocals) really take the song to another level and I hope the world appreciates it!