She sings, she writes, plays the guitar, and just released her debut album Elbow Room. Jacque Hammond is an artist to watch in the years to come; over the past few years she’s been building her musical resume by doing features and with the release of her first EP, Lazy Love. Jacque’s folky-soul approach on The EP was something that natural heads everywhere needed to have. The endeavor was five tracks of introspectiveness and intimacy that fit nicely on a creek walk playlist. There was even a music video released to accompany the stand out single “Lazy.” The video presented a black and white minimalist interpretation of the single, and racked up some views on the net. After the release of the EP, Jacque nearly altogether disappeared from the indie scene. She continued to do appearances on other artist’s projects, but as a solo artist she stayed under the radar for over three years. Iamtheindustry.com caught up with Jacque to find out what she’s been up to over the years, and to talk about her new album.
Iamtheindustry.com: Who is Jacque Hammond?
Jacque Hammond: I’m an artist originally from Joliet, Illinois. I’ve always loved music and began writing poetry in middle school. I fell in love with jazz when I was a waitress at a retirement home. I started writing songs and recording with my brother and his friends. Once I left home for school in Virginia, I got exposed to more diverse styles of music and cultures. I joined an experimental duo called Martin Parks, and later was part of a soul duo called Black Fantastic. Now I’m here in Los Angeles soaking up the sun I guess lol.
IATI: Fans who’ve been keeping up with you since Lazy Love may be wondering where you’ve been for the past four years, what have you been up to?
Jacque: It’s been a while! Well, I moved across the country from Virginia to Los Angeles a little over three years ago after I released Lazy Love. The EP was done as a solo project outside of a duo that I was a part of called Martin Parks and kind of just happened. We moved to LA and changed our name to Black Fantastic to start fresh with a new sound, so my focus was mainly there for the better part of my first two years here. I did a few collaborations here and there. Honestly though, just as I moved here I experienced my first heartbreak and it forced me to get really real with myself and decide exactly what it was that I wanted for myself and what I was passionate about. I decided to leave Black Fantastic because I couldn’t fully invest myself wholeheartedly anymore, and I’m a stickler for honesty. I’ve been working on becoming a better musician, learning guitar and trying to become a better writer. That gets a lot of my time these days, outside of my day job.
IATI: What makes Elbow Room different from Lazy Love?
Jacque: I think Elbow Room sheds more light on who I am. For a while, I didn’t want to write any love songs or talk about anything that could be directly identified as having happened to me but then I was like “What?! Isn’t that the entire point?!” So I got over myself and for once put my feelings, and the music first, to get that honesty out. Elbow Room is bigger sounding, bolder lyrically, and is more direct than Lazy Love. As both titles suggest, I was younger then and sort of nonchalant when it came to my feelings. Now that I’m a little older, I have a better grip of what I want. Elbow Room provides a space for me to have that.
IATI: Where do you draw your inspiration?
Jacque: A lot inspires me. Mostly anything that I find beautiful makes me feel invincible. It could be a conversation I have with a stranger, or someone I come across on the metro. I’m always wondering about people and their stories. And of course personal experiences create a great place to start. I often just pick up my guitar and sketch voice notes of whatever I come up with. If it sticks, I try to develop it more while I’m shedding or out and about on my commutes.
IATI: What artists inspire you, who do you admire as an artist?
Jacque: My all time favorite is Ella Fitzgerald. I just love her tone and ability to flow through songs seamlessly and become one with the music. Feist, Oddisee, Van Hunt, and Edie Brickell are some of my favorites of today. They’ve all influenced some aspect of my music, and overall sense of musicianship and artistry.
IATI: The hit single for Lazy Love was “Lazy feat. Rob Milton.” The video that accompanied the single really expressed the organic feel of that song; do you have any music video ideas on the table for any singles from Elbow Room?
Jacque: Yes! I don’t want to give it away just yet, but I’ll be releasing a video for one of my favorite songs from the album next month. Stay tuned!
IATI: What can fans expect from you during 2016?
Jacque: I’ll be hitting the road late spring/early summer to come play for you all! It’ll be my first tour so I’m looking forward to that, and coming to cities and towns that I’ve never been to before. Feel free to join my mailing list for more details to come.
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Born and raised in the birthplace of Funk, and arguably the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, music is in my veins. If names like Bootsy Collins, and the Ohio Players ring a bell, then you know where I come from. As a musician and poet myself, I have an appreciation for art that hasn’t been inundated by the agendas of major labels and networks. Recently I’ve been sharing music and connecting with artists via social media. Follow me on Instagram @mainstream_music_isgarbage.