Tessa Rose Jackson: “Hyperactive… Serious… And Never the Same Twice”

In my early years as a music journalist I was a bit uncomfortable admitting my fandom of artists younger than myself… I had to get over it… Well, not...

In my early years as a music journalist I was a bit uncomfortable admitting my fandom of artists younger than myself… I had to get over it… Well, not only is Tessa Rose Jackson younger than me, she’s younger than the legal age for drinking in America… Yet, I can’t deny that she’s fucking incredible.  Tessa Rose is a 20-year-old multi-instrumentalist (who also writes and produces) from the Netherlands who is quite the star of Dutch airwaves.  She makes quirkily loveable folk tunes that are as sunny as they are artistically mature.  She recently released her debut LP, (Songs From) The Sandbox, and I got a chance to chat with the singer/songstress about her sounds, her influences, and her hopes for the future.  And while US audiences might have to wait a little while to experience her in-the-flesh, it’s definitely something that’s on her radar.

Tessa Rose Jackson photo 1Izzy Cihak: Despite your age, you’ve achieved some quite impressive accomplishments.  What have been the highlights of your musical career, thus far?

Tessa Rose Jackson: Definitely my album-launch would be one of them: sold-out, full of friends and family, and the band and I were just beaming the whole time, such an adrenaline rush. And another highlight would definitely be when “Lost and Found” was single of the week on iTunes USA! It doesn’t happen that often that a Dutch artist gets that honor, and we got such great reactions, so that was really wonderful.

IC: Have you had any, what you consider to be, especially poignant characterizations of your work, whether from critics, or just friends and family?

TRJ: I’ve been told that my songs are literally me, translated into music: hyperactive and over the top at some moments, serious and quick at others, and never the same twice, haha!

IC: What would you consider to be your biggest influences and inspirations, whether musical or not?

TRJ: Feist is an artist that I consider a very important inspiration for me. She’s just such a great combination of down-to-earth, honest, quirky, and simply a great musician. And as non-musical goes – I can get massively inspired by film. If I see a movie that really touches me, the minute it’s finished, I sit down with my guitar and there’s a new song! The film Juno did that to me, more than once, even!

IC: Who would you consider to be your contemporary peers of sorts?  Are there any musical acts that you feel like are doing especially interesting things?

TRJ: Well, I’m not entirely sure if they’re my peers (They’re a couple steps ahead of me, I think!), but I’m a big fan of Of Monsters and Men. They have a similar vibe to what I do, and I just love the big live sound with so many voices and brass. Also, I’m a big fan of Lianne La Havas. What a voice! And so from the heart.

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IC: What are your most significant hopes and goals for 2013?  Any chance of a US tour?  Or, if you’re working on new music, what can be expected of your upcoming sounds?

TRJ: A US tour would be a dream come true, but I’m not sure if it’s in the cards for 2013.  Maybe 2014 is more likely. A Dutch tour will definitely be happening this year. Very excited for that and I hope to gain some more followers in the US! I’m working on new material all the time and it’s always a journey, figuring out which way it’s gonna go… But I’m thinking a bit more folky at times, more brass, and sometimes a bit more quirky. I’ve recently become intrigued by synthesizers, so who knows what’s going to happen…

Band Interviews

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.