Native to Boston and graduating from the renown Berklee College of Music, Jillian Ann transcends through many musical styles ranging from rock to electro-pop. As a collaborative songwriter intrigued by many genres of music, Jillian takes influences from her counterparts and makes them her own. Being moved deeply by some of the greatest female performers of our time, she is heavily inspired by their ability to tell compelling stories through their music. This is where "Riptide" shines. Opening up with the grand piano dancing amongst the clouds and the undertow of a storm incoming, Ann masterfully pulls you into this song with a feeling of elation. As the drums inject a swaggering feel throughout, the tone established through Ann's vocal performance is unmistakable. The forward momentum from verse to pre-chorus is welcomed through the addition of long shimmering vocal delays, and delicate layering of Ann's spirited vocal production. The chorus itself is bouncing with energy and prompts you to sing along to the profound lyrics. As we venture more in-depth, the song breathes for a moment. "In these moments, of paradise sing to me baby..", Ann proclaims as the band swells back into the chorus like the tides of the ocean. "Riptide" will submerge you into rolling piano crescendos, compact and energetic rhythms, and ultimately a well-implemented story through Ann's intrinsic songwriting abilities.
Listen to "Riptide", here.
Hi there, Jillian! Welcome to BuzzMusic! We're ecstatic about featuring your newest song, "Riptide"! Tell us about the recording process, and how the overall process of finding musicians for the single went?
Thank you for having me! Riptide is the product of a co-write I did in a Songwriting class at Berklee. I wrote this song with George Woods, who is a songwriting professor at the college. He helped me shape this song from a completely different one than I originally showed him. I had a lyric in the original song that used a riptide in a metaphorical way, and he gave me the idea to take the metaphor of being a riptide, a force of nature, let it breathe, and turn it into a full song about that subject. The recording process was very easy. I had been performing with this song with my band frequently, so once we got into the studio, it only took a few hours to finish. I composed this arpeggiating piano part that flowed in a way that it almost gave it the feeling of ocean waves, and my guitarist came up with this amazing opening lick that really balanced out the vibe of the song along with the other incredible instrumentation from my band as well. The vocals were definitely the more difficult element to record because I wanted to get the attitude and emotion of the song perfectly, which is that of a strong and confident female presence in life.
You've had such a strong love for music since the beginning; you even graduated from Berklee recently! How do you think you and your music has grown since you first started writing, versus now?
Yes, I recently graduated with a Songwriting degree! Music definitely has always been my passion, and writing songs over the years has helped me reach my full potential as an artist and is the best way I can express myself. I believe my songwriting has grown a lot since I first started in regards to writing for myself and for others. Before I felt like my best songs were only from personal experiences about myself and my feelings. But now I have learned to go beyond the grain and really focus on writing from other perspectives, whether that be from witnessing something that I saw walking down the street in the city, or from watching a film that really moved me. There are so many things that you can write about and turn into a song, and writing from inspiration and telling a story from that inspiration is what I love most about being a songwriter.
Where do you believe most of your musical ideas come from? Is there a specific ritual you find yourself coming back to for inspiration?
When it comes to writing music and melodies specifically, a lot of those ideas really just pop into my head at the most random moments. I could be sitting in a coffee shop and all of a sudden I start humming a melody in my head, and I immediately have to record it into my voice notes on my phone so I can get home and figure it out on my piano. Sometimes I'm already sitting at my piano and I start up with a melody and write lyrics at the same time, and 30 minutes later I have a full song. I don't think there's really any kind of ritual for me. The way I go about writing songs is always different, and it can feel like they come from out of the blue at certain moments. I feel like the best time to write lyrics is very late at night though, when you've had a long day and there's so much from the day that you have to reflect on, and 1:00 am is such a meditative time of the night for me when I can't fall asleep and have so many lyrical ideas in my head. That's really the songwriting process for me in a nutshell, as it probably is for most musicians and songwriters.
What do you think are some of your most meaningful goals as an artist when introducing music to the world? I want my music to mean something to people. I want it to be relatable but also reflective for the listener. I want a certain melody to just hit someone and make them feel what I was feeling in the moment when that melody was created, or a certain lyric to make them really use their imagination and get them inspired to create their own art, their own story as well, whatever that may be. I think that is what making music is all about. Most importantly I want to be seen as a female artist that is taken seriously in this business because it can be hard for some women in music to be heard and respected in certain areas, and I want people to know that I am definitely a force to be reckoned with.
What's the next move for you? Are you in the process of writing anything? Are you performing somewhere that you're particularly excited about?
I have my debut EP coming out on April 24th of this year, so be on the lookout for that! I am so proud of it and can't wait for everyone to hear it and go on this musical journey with me. I am always writing, so expect many more songs coming from me soon. I have plans in the works for my EP release shows which hopefully will be sometime soon later this spring, and everyone can look out for that by liking my Facebook page or going to my website for news on shows!