With her 2022 album, Honestly, Jillian Jacqueline closed out another chapter in her already storied life. The album represented not only a maturation in sound for the Pennsylvanian singer-songwriter, but was a representation of creating something on her own terms, something she has always seemed to hold dear throughout her career.
Joining Holler at The Betsey Trotwood pub for her Holler Live Session, Jacqueline performs solo, stripping back the heartrending production of the record to somehow deliver something even more raw and sincere than on an album called Honestly.
Jillian's music is like a warm embrace when you're feeling unsure of yourself. She doesn't have all the answers, and knows she won't too, but is happy in working it out as we all go. "I wrote this song after I met my husband" She begins as she introduces her first track. "I wanted to express the idea that there's really not a lot that makes sense in the world, until you find that one person that you want to spend your life with".
'Sure', with all it's unanswered questions and wonderings on why the world turns the way it does, is a beautiful perception of acceptance in the unknown, Jacqueline's soft, pondering voice echoing the strength of a commanding pop singer, even in her lowest of whispers.
"I wrote this next song about anxiety, actually", Jacqueline continues. "It's about what it's like when you've gone through many many years of dealing with it and being so driven by it that it causes you to run away from a lot of the people that you love and are just trying to help you".
The weighty, sweeping production that embellishes the studio recording of 'Hummingbird' is washed away for her performance here, leaving the jewels of her moving lyricism to process and seek reassurance from. "I hate to be alone, but I'd rather be alone" Jacqueline immediately begins, so succinctly capturing the disquiet feelings so many of us have felt.
Closing with the frank 'Hurt Somebody Else', Jacqueline turns the familiar trope of heartbreak on it's head, an open admittance of the hurt that comes from breaking someone's heart; "I had to leave somebody that is a really good person and didn't deserve to have their heart broken. The person that does the breaking doesn't always get that much sympathy because you're the bad guy, so this is coming from that perspective".
A tough pill to swallow, Jacqueline isn't asking for sympathy; she isn't going to hide the pain and hurt that fills her in causing someone's suffering. It's unshielded and exposing, and some of her finest songwriting to date.
Performing her songs 'Sure', 'Hummingbird' and 'Hurt Somebody Else', this is Jillian Jacqueline for the Holler Live Sessions.
Director: Dan Monro
Cameras: Dan Monro, Tom Francome, Nick Richards and Joe Monk
Audio Engineer: Nathaniel Kastoryano
Editor: Dan Monro (Lookout Productions)
Producers: Ross Jones & Gemma Donahoe