Newcomer Jillian Jacqueline is making her mark on country radio today (Jan. 22), with the release of her debut single, “Reasons.”
Featured on her six-song EP, Side A, and written by Jillian, Sarah Buxton and Tofer Brown, the new single takes a good hard look at a relationship that finds both parties staying together for longer than they both know they should have.
“We’ve got all our reasons why / We try to justify / Sticking it out, to stay together / And we’re supposed to last forever / You and I, too scared to say goodbye / In case of what will happen later / We’re not doing us any favors,” Jillian sings in the chorus.
After making her late night television debut on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and releasing the single to Spotify last year, the Pennsylvania native is ready to share her music with radio for the world hear.
“It’s officially add day and I guess you’ll start hearing it on the radio, which has happened a few times and every single time my heart jumps out of my chest,” Jillian told One Country. “To hear yourself coming out of a car radio in a city that you’ve never been in is just like, ‘Oh, my God. This is happening. What is happening? This is so cool.’ It’s exciting, it’s sort of surreal because it’s hard to realize that millions of people are gonna hear it in their cars.”
Millions of people will also come to learn that Jillian has a style all her own, which has her reaching outside of the confines of country music. With influences of pop, country, rock and grunge, there’s a little something for everyone in Jillian’s one-of-a-kind tunes.
Not to mention, the song “Reasons,” will have us all wondering if our current relationships are even worth the aggravation.
In The Genes
“I’m from Pennsylvania. It’s a small town called Chester Springs, about 35 minutes from Philadelphia. I grew up with three sisters, and we actually all just sort of gravitated towards music pretty naturally. Our parents aren’t musical at all, but for some reason my sisters and I loved musicals, and plays, and so we were always trying to figure out how to get into music. We sang along to the radio, and we pretty much only listened to country because my mom is from South Carolina, she sort of instilled in us. And that’s really where my love of country music came from. I grew up performing with my sisters in this family band.”
The Kenny Connection
“I was lucky enough to get to do a Broadway show with Kenny Rogers when I was 9 years old, which was really just pretty much a fluke thing because I was brought to an audition. My mom drove me to New York City one day, like the last day of third grade. She just kind of threw me into this audition, she was like, ‘All right, go in there.’ And I had no idea what I was doing. I couldn’t dance and had really no background in acting at all. No head shots, nothing like that, but somehow, some fluke thing happened, and they kept asking me to come back to audition again, and again. After the fourth audition, Kenny was there. We were on our way back home to Pennsylvania and we got a call from the producer saying, ‘Hey, we want Jillian to be a little girl in the show.’ I got the co-starring part with Kenny on Broadway at the Beacon Theater and that was probably for about three months. And then the show went on tour for five years. We hit West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, everywhere. And that was sort of my first professional paying gig and that really taught me my foundation in having a professional career as a singer and riding on a tour bus, and all that good stuff. Kenny was an incredible mentor, for me, and has been through the years.”
The Story Behind “Reasons”
“That song was sort of a precursor to what was about to happen next. I wrote the song (with Sarah Buxton and Tofer Brown) right before I actually moved out of my house with my ex. And so, the day I wrote it I was like, ‘[email protected]#!, I have to leave, now, because it’s all in the song.’ It was just one of those moments where I was telling the truth before I even knew what I was saying. And it was a hard one because it was that very uncomfortable position of knowing that those people love each other, but it’s just not—We both knew it wasn’t really what we wanted it to be. I’ve actually had so many people come to me, people that have heard song and say, ‘Wow, I can relate, and I’ve never quite heard it that way. Thank you for writing that.’ So, that’s how I know I’ve kinda done my job as a songwriter.”
The Right Direction
“The whole concept was sort of just me spitballing an idea to my director. I was actually in the car on our radio tour, and I was thinking about the video and what I wanted—all this stuff that just sort of had this vision for exactly what it needed to be. I called my director really quickly and started talking about it. He’s been a long time friend and we’ve done many other videos together. He sort of just let me ramble on it and then we started doing the storyboard together. About a month into planning the video, he called me and he’s like, ‘Hey, you want to be co-director on this? I like all your ideas and I love where you’re taking it.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, I’m really flattered. Of course, I would love that.’ It kind of adds to the creative, collaborative partnership that he and I have. So, I was very, very flattered by that. We decided to have fun with it. It’s basically my dream come true video. I’m so proud of it, so proud of it.”
“I tend to try to put things in a way that feels extremely, distinctly me. And I don’t know what it stems from, particularly. It probably has a lot to do with my love for literature and books. I like to click sentences in a way where I feel like I haven’t heard them before. So, I would say it feels distinct. I have a singer, songwriter bent towards what I do, but I also have a massive love for pop melodies. So, a lot of it you hear sort of these very literal, very descriptive verses, and then I try to make my chorus feel like something you can sing along to— it’s progressive country, to me. I love things that sound a little bit shiny, grungy— that combination of both. If the lyrics feel soft, I like the music to be a little bit dirtier.I always try to make an interesting contrast in anything that I do. But there’s a lot of different components that go into me making a song that makes it feel like me. And I have to say a lot of it took science and I don’t really know what the particular formula is, it’s just what feels good to me.”
“There’s a whole other half of an album, plus more coming. When we recorded at Deep Star Six, we recorded a whole 15 song album. So, we’ve been kinda sitting on these other songs and also writing more songs. We are going to have something super exciting to announce very soon about the full album and all that stuff. We’re going to be on the road for a bunch of the springtime, and like I said, the album is going to be coming out at some point this year, so that’s gonna be a huge part of this year.”
5 Things You Need To Know About Jillian
1. “I love shoes”
2. “I love to knit.”
3. “My favorite place is Paris.”
4. “I’m a huge reader, I love to read books.”
5. “My favorite drink is probably green tea lemonade from Starbucks.”
Photo by Delaney Royer