Jess Novak takes no prisoners. With a fiddle on fire, powerful vocals, and a fierce band behind her, this pop, rock, soul-pumped group from Syracuse, New York, brings passion to every performance.
Known for their energy, superb musicianship, engaging songwriting, and ability to win any crowd, this is a band on the rise. Jess Novak works with Byron Cage on drums, Anthony Saturno on electric guitar, Jabare Mckinstry on bass, and Gavin George to create a powerhouse sound, often with Nick Fields on trumpet.
Tapping into their tenth studio album, 'A Thousand Lives,' The Jess Novak Band delves into the concept of each individual on this planet living a myriad of lives throughout the one they're given. As we fixate upon the lead single from the eight-tracks present, "The Key" catches our attention most pleasingly.
Chugging guitar riffs and golden horn notes immediately grace our speakers before the sustaining piano chords add glimmers of depth to this soundscape. In addition, there's a jaunty groove that infiltrates your speakers, making it hard for you to turn the other cheek on "The Key." In a rhythmic, pulsating fashion, we're launched into a seamless blend of soul that's portrayed throughout this song.
Lyrical motifs such as "you gotta let it go, and let it out" are performed with a vibrant energy that matches the wording alluringly projected. It's nearly impossible to shake the enthusiasm that runs through your core when you listen to "The Key."
As this track speaks explicitly to the idea of releasing yourself from doubts and people who hold you back, the driving tempo backs the message that all you need to do is start that new journey in your life.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Jess, and The Jess Novak Band. We're thrilled to be able to chat with you about your new album "A Thousand Lives." What inspired you to make "The Key" the lead single of this disc?
I always look for the first single of a new album to be fun and catchy. There are some deep, thoughtful tracks on this disc, but I always want it to be positive and inviting for an introduction to the album. "The Key" sealed the deal when I had four people at one show all ask me what "The Key" was called when we first started playing it out. That made me so excited because though it's an upbeat dance song, it also has some serious messages in it. It's all about realizing that you choose your own life. If something doesn't serve you - get rid of it. If someone isn't helping you - burn the bridge. It's a call to action to let go, let it out, be your best self and know, with confidence, that you can do it. While so many dance songs can be shallow (and there's a place for that, too!), I am really proud that this song has such a strong and powerful message behind it. I call it my recovery song.
Can we expect similar themes to "The Key" throughout the other songs? What was the ultimate vision you were looking to achieve?
YES. The meaning behind "A Thousand Lives" is that we all live so many lives within this one we're given. The whole album is really touching on that theme, which goes hand-in-hand with "The Key". You can't move forward and live your next life if you're still hanging on to the last one - past relationships, failures, mistakes. If you want to wake up and change, whether that means being a better person or starting a new business, you need to take that control into your own hands. So many of these songs are about freedom and empowerment, which is what I'm always trying to champion. I never want people to listen to my music and just think - that sounded nice. I want them to walk away from it changed. That's the vision I'm always looking for. I want people to hear the stories in these songs and take the power away from that I'm trying to give them.
Having released a total of ten albums, what makes this one unique?
Every album signals growth for me. Whether it's lyrically, vocally or musically, I'm always trying to expand, learn and become better. This album shows such significant growth in a lot of ways, but especially in terms of the band's camaraderie. I brought these songs to my team, and they elevated them to levels I didn't see coming. Many times, bands are controlled by ego, and there's really nothing worse. I love that this band is motivated by mutual respect and that it shows. Everyone's ideas are welcomed and groomed into something better than where we started. I was proud of these songs when I wrote them, but I'm much more proud now. I think they show growth for me as a songwriter, but to bring them to the band - people better than me - hear their ideas and make them real - that's everything. This album is unique because it's a true statement and reflection of many people, not just one, and you can hear it in every song.
What memorable moments have you experienced during the creation of "A Thousand Lives?"
There are always so many, but what's sticking out to me are the spooky moments. I wrote the song "A Thousand Lives" as I was supposed to see a friend. I couldn't stop writing the song, so I missed her. She died just weeks later. I was writing the words "everything that lives, it dies," as she was nearby. That's powerful, and I think of her every time I play it. Likewise, when I went to record violin on that track, I went into the studio with my great-grandfather's violin while wearing my cousin's shirt (she's a musician, too, and I bought her shirt - Kitty Crimes). It was so amazing that I was playing a song about living many lives - while giving a 100-year-old violin new life and representing a family member making her way, her own life, from our same musical family tree. I believe sincerely in signs, and this album was full of them. This isn't a collection of songs about parties and boyfriends. There are so many powerful messages in here, and I hope that people feel them when they listen.