JAKLYN CHATS SOCIAL MEDIA & HER ‘SYRUP REMIXES’ EP 186

With a sultry and powerful vocal, JAKLYN is an artist you can’t help but sit up and take notice of. Currently preparing to release her new collection, the Syrup Remixes EP, the San Francisco based singer-songwriter is looking to make 2017 her most successful year to date and kindly agreed to this interview to talk musical influences, dream shows and her highlights of 2016.

TITL: Please introduce yourself.

JAKLYN: Hi!  My name is JAKLYN, and I’m a soul/pop singer & songwriter currently living in San Francisco, California. I recently launched my solo project and released my debut album, That One Girl, and it’s been an exciting ride so far! 

TITL: When did you first realise you wanted to be a performer and prior to that, did you have any other career ambitions?

J: I actually have 2 careers, or “personas” as I like to call them. Besides being a musician, I’m also a product designer for a tech company. I’ve accepted that I’m a “slash person” by nature – a music-slash-designer – but it doesn’t mean that I’m less serious about music. Some weeks are a bit low on sleep, but I feel super blessed that I’m doing what I love all the time, while staying afloat.

Funny enough, my career in design first started with an early rejection in music. In high school, I tried out for an elite choir in high school, but I didn’t make the cut. And I thought that was it — that my dreams of singing at a serious level were over. Instead of choir, I took a Yearbook class as my elective in my Senior year, and that is where I learned I had a knack for design. I studied graphic design in college, but I couldn’t stay away from singing for long! While I was in college in a small town in Colorado, I got invited to sing in a hip hop/funk band. I started writing songs at that time, too, and then I knew music was going to be a huge part of my life.

TITL: Can you recall the first concert you attended and album you bought?

J: My mom raised me in a conservative Christian church, and the first concert I went to was a Christian concert with my youth group: Steven Curtis Chapman and the Newsboys. She encouraged me to listen to exclusively Christian music, but I think it was inevitable that I would go exploring beyond those very narrow boundaries. My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t religious, and he exposed me to a lot of different things.

TITL: Which bands and artists are you most influenced by and why?

J: I have a million influences, but there are 2 key artists that I credit with putting a fire under my bum to get up and make an album.

The first is a production duo out of the UK by the name of 4hero. They are super innovative, and they were pioneers in the drum n bass music sub-genre. Later on, though, they switched it up and composed some beautiful nu-jazz music as well. You can just count on them to make good, soulful music, no matter what it is – it’s beyond definition. I, too, am perfectly happy with being an artist that is difficult to pin down.

The second is the soul singer Bilal. His first 2 albums meant a lot to me, but his album A Love Surreal came out during a time when I was at a critical juncture in my life, getting over a failed relationship and trying to figure out how to get my solo music project off the ground. A Love Surreal is very personal, and it was also a bit different from Bilal’s previous projects in the styles he explored. Bilal is an artist that expresses what’s in his heart and continues to evolve, without regard for boxes others try to put him in. That inspiration was helpful to me when I began putting one foot in front of the other.

TITL: Is there a band or artist you might say you sound similar to?

J: I think my influences come through in my music, but I am not totally sure I sound like one person in particular – which is cool, because I’m not trying to sound like anyone else. I could see myself somewhere nestled among Emily King, Sinead Harnett, Janelle Monae, Coco O. from Quadron, and Esthero. If those 5 women were at the same party, I would definitely love to be invited.

TITL: Who or what most inspires your song-writing?

J: My songs are all autobiographical, and so far I’ve written mostly about navigating through society and reflecting on failed relationships. Sometime soon in the future, I’d love to write songs for other artists. Two of my favorite songwriters are Sia and Diane Warren.

TITL: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?

J: Woo, that’s a hard one. I’m just going to throw out Stevie Wonder’s song “As” because it touches something really deep in me. I mean it when I say the album Songs in the Key of Life, has the keys to life embedded in it! A lot of songs out there describe ego-driven love, but Stevie’s song “As” describes unconditional love – universal love, oneness.

TITL: Tell me about your latest track, the “Syrup (TRKRNR Remix).”

J: It’s a hard-hitting, dark–yet danceable–electro-R&B track. The original version of “Syrup” was released on my debut album, That One Girl.  The song was inspired by a time at former job when I felt like I was being trained to act in a particular way according to specific gender norms. Writing the song was my way of rejecting all that stuff. More than ever, women need to redefine ourselves outside of predefined norms and expectations.

For the remix, I worked with TRKRNR, a really talented producer duo based out of the Bay Area.  They make really good music, and they also just recently released an album called Morning After. They’ll also be in an upcoming video for the song.

TITL: The track is from your upcoming “Syrup Remixes” EP. How would you sum it up in a few words?

J: The EP will include 4 creative remixes on my original song “Syrup.”  In terms of genre, they’ll be all over the map.  You’ll see!

TITL: What were your highlights of 2016 and why?

J: Releasing my debut album and playing an album release show were my two biggest music highlights so far. It was definitely a dream come true for me to record my original music and perform it with a stellar band.

TITL: If you could play any venue in the world with four artists who can be living or dead, where would it be and who would you pick?

J: I’d love to see the producer of my album, Erik Rico — a super creative and talented indie soul artist – play with other alt soul artists J*Davey, The Internet, and Thundercat. I’d be thrilled to be an opening act for that crowd. 

TITL: How do you feel about social media and to what extent has it helped, or hindered, your career?

J: Something I’ve always loved about social media is being able to connect with artists who have inspired me, even if it’s in a surface way. For example, an incredible singer from Philadelphia, Lady Alma – one of the artists who originally inspired me to make my own music – told me on Twitter she really liked my music and asked me to send me her album when it was done. I was having a rough day when I got her message, and it snapped me right out of my funk. That is the kind of thing that keeps me going as an artist.

TITL: What are your views on social media and would you agree that it’s a necessity for bands and artists today?

J: Of course, social media is an absolute must for any independent music artist. I don’t love the narcissistic, “look-at-me” element of it. It’s also a bit overwhelming. There’s also a ton of “noise” flying around social media, and it can be hard to cut through it as an independent artist and put out a strong signal! But, it’s amazing for the way it enables artists to connect directly with their fans and build a fan-base from around the world.

I’m often thinking about how music intersects with technology. I think artists need a better way to connect with key “influencers,” and influential circles. I used a new app called “Fluence” recently, which is kind of a “pay-for-attention” app. I’m going to be keeping an eye on that one.  I also especially like platforms that encourage established artists to shine a spotlight on emerging artists.

TITL: Finally, what else does 2017 have in store for you?

J: 2017 is going to be exciting. I’ll be releasing the “Syrup Remixes” EP in the early part of the year, and then working on a video for the TRKRNR Remix. I’ll also be putting together some shows and working hard on my next album. Stay tuned!

For more information on JAKLYN, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Instagram.

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BEAR WITH ME TALKS “AFTER ME”, UPCOMING PERFORMANCES & FUTURE PLANS 36

Having started out as part of the Danish Aarhus underground scene, vocalist, keyboard and bass player Thorbjørn Kaas AKA Bear With Me has just released his debut single and has plenty of ideas about where he’d like his music to take him in the future. He spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about where in the world he’d most like to play and what his ultimate goal as an artist is.

TITL: For anyone who hasn’t heard of you or your music, how would you sum up Bear With Me?

Bear With Me: It is about having fun, experimenting and see where the moment will take you. I’d like to think of it as very personal, current music with an analogue feel or just danceable melancholia.

TITL: Which few bands or artists would you say you’re most influenced by and how do those influences come across in the music you make?

BWM: I find a lot of comfort listening to various dream-pop and shoegaze bands, such as Beach House, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine to name a few. I seek that swirly vibe but in a more upbeat manner. Hopefully people will enjoy listening to the music on the dance-floor, but also under more chilled circumstances, too.

TITL: Is there one band or artist you most commonly find yourself being compared to, and if so, do you mind such comparisons?

BWM: Since ”After Me” is the first single there hasn’t been that many comparisons yet. But Röyksopp, Tame Impala and Air have been mentioned. I think they sum up the vibe in good way, and even though their approaches to music are different Bear With Me could easily be described as a mix of those three.

TITL: Tell me about your debut single “After Me”. Is there a story behind the song and what do you want listeners to take from it when they hear it?

BWM: It’s about losing someone who were once close to you. Even though it is hard to say goodbye and let go you can always hope that the person can stay in your thoughts and still be a part of your life. I would describe the song as both melancholic and hopeful. It’s an homage to any kind of close relation between people, but also an acknowledgement of how delicate and changeful such bonds can be.

TITL: Have you started thinking about what your next single might be and are there plans for an EP/album in the works?

BWM: There’s a recording session planned in August with some great guys. It’s not decided whether it’s gonna be an album or an EP yet.

TITL: Do you have any tour/performance plans lined up, and if so, for those who haven’t seen you live before, what can you tell them to expect?

BWM: We are playing with our friends in Moon Loves Honey on the 27th April at Radar in Aarhus. It’ll be the second time we’ve played the music outside the rehearsal room, so I guess people can expect something unheard.

TITL: If you could perform with any three bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play?

BWM: 1. I would love to play with a big jazz glitterati at the time where things went down. For example Thelonious Monk at Village Vanguard or something. 2. I guess a lot of people would want to be any of the performing artist at Woodstock festival 69’. In that case I would prefer to play the tambourine. – it’s not so demanding. 3. I have a feeling that I would enjoy to play the bass in Mac Demarco’s band.  I’ve always wanted to play at Orange Scene at Roskilde Festival – the largest scene on the largest festival in Denmark – so I think that would be a fitting location.

TITL: Are there any other plans or projects in the pipeline for the coming months you can tell me about?

BWM: I’m arranging a one-day festival the 16th of June. Besides Bear With Me, the greatest acts of Aarhus will be present.

TITL: Finally then, where would you like to see yourself five years from now and what’s the ultimate goal?

BWM: I’d like to see myself, and my band, a long way from Aarhus, in a bus, touring all kinds of places. The ultimate goal is to make an album however we want, whenever we want and to perform wherever we want. We want success and hopefully, freedom is a by-product of that.

Give “After Me” a listen below and for more information on Bear With Me, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Instagram.

 

 

LISA LINKE TALKS CURRENT PROJECTS, DREAM ROLES & FUTURE PLANS 31

With roles in Modern Family and This Is Us among others already under her belt, as well as her regular appearances on the webseries Successful People, Lisa Linke has earned herself praise from fans and critics alike in recent years, and earned every positive word that’s been spoken or written about her. While her career shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Lisa to chat first auditions, dream roles and her advice for aspiring actors.

TITL: When did you first realize that you wanted to make performing a career? Was there any particular show or film you watched that made you think: “That’s who I want to be…that’s what I want to do?”

Lisa Linke: I think I realized I wanted to make it a career after I was already living in Chicago, studying improvisation and seeing people perform on stages and actually make a living doing it. I don’t have any artist role models in my family – everyone is business or education (or both) and so the idea of being an artist was really scary and challenging. So, until I saw people doing it and doing work that I found fun and engaging, then I could allow myself to really entertain that as a possibility. I don’t think it was as much as a particular show or film, but more being surrounded with people that I knew and liked and saw them doing this awesome thing.

TITL: Whose careers are you most inspired and influenced by? How do their careers impact your own?

LL: I’m always inspired by people who create their own content. They really take ahold of their own path and just start making art that demonstrates their style and voice. I like doing that. I think whenever anyone makes a successful series that is specific and authentic, it gives permission for everyone else to try and do that, too. And when it’s successful, it shows studios and networks that people are craving that kind of content, so they go looking for it to buy.

TITL: Can you recall your first audition?

LL: Ever? Nope. I always did plays in school growing up. I can remember my audition to join the improv group in grad school, which made me fall in love with improv. I knew nothing about improv, but I’d seen a show in Atlanta before I moved back to Illinois to go to grad school, and I absolutely loved it and wanted to learn how to do it! We did this warm up game and I was so excited, I physically pushed the person next to me, and the woman leading the exercise jumped in and was like “don’t do that”. But in a nice way, because she hadn’t said we couldn’t, and I was legit so excited.

TITL: Which of your auditions are you most proud of and why?

LL: I’m most proud of auditions where I did what I wanted to do in the room. It’s really easy to get thrown off throughout the day, traffic sucks or you can’t find parking, people are rude or it’s hot or you didn’t get the material as early as you wanted or whatever happens – life happens – but your job is to get in the room and deliver. The job is booking the job, and when I do a good job, and get good feedback in the room, or get a pin or check avail or a booking then I feel really good about what I did. I can feel good about what I did in the room even if I get zero feedback, too. I know what I did in the room and what I wanted to do.

TITL: Prior to auditioning for a part, how much research/background do you do in terms of the broadcast company/the show itself/other members of the cast, and do you find that such research helps?

LL: Oh, it helps immensely! You have to know your stuff. You have to know what show you’re going in for – what network it is on, what tone the show has and what the writer has written before. All that stuff just makes your audition more accurate. I didn’t know any of this before I started studying out here in LA, but I am a real research geek now the minute I get an audition.

TITL: You’ve starred in hit shows including This Is Us, Modern Family and the Netflix series LOVE. Of all the roles and characters you’ve played so far, do you have any particular favourites and do you have any fun memories you can share from time on the sets?

LL: Well, Modern Family was really amazing because it was a special day on set. They were on location, and Chris Martin was on set that day. All the crew was kind of twitterpated with him and it was easy to see why – he is literally the nicest person on earth. He was so cool to talk to in the hair/makeup trailer, and then so kind and funny on set. He entertained everyone in between takes with his guitar. Everyone was having a great time! For me, being on This Is Us was amazing because they moved so fast and it was being directed by Ken Olin and I’ve always been a fan of his, from way back in thirtysomething days. So, to see him direct was just fantastic. LOVE was incredible because Nisha Ganatra, the director, loved to improvise and I got to improvise a ton on set. That was wonderful, and to work with Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Ed Beagley, Jr. and Kathy Baker was a total dream! I love working, period. Everything else on top of that is gravy.

TITL: What’s your dream role and which TV show would you most like to star/guest star in? Are there any actors or actresses you really want to work with?

LL: I do comedy and love it, but I watch a ton of drama! I think I’d love to be on something super tense like The Americans or Homeland. I get so hooked watching it and the acting on those shows is amazing. I love working with everyone because I like learning from everyone – but to work with someone who has made their own content, like Melissa McCarthy, Issa Rae, or Amy Schumer would be amazing.

TITL: What made you want to be a part of the web series Successful People, and do you think there will be many other such series being made in the coming years, due to the boom in and power of technology and the internet?

LL: Yes! There are so many series being made right now, it’s so easy to create content on a small scale.  I did the first season because Artie & Theresa – the creators & stars – asked me to, and then when they invited me back with a series regular role for the second season, I was thrilled! That character is seriously the most obnoxious in the world. I loved playing her!

TITL: You’ve won a number of awards including Lead Actress at LAWebfest and overall web series winner at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. How much do accolades like that mean to you, and would you say you’re more of an individual who cares more strongly about what your fans/followers think and that you can and do take on projects you feel passionate about?

LL: Thank you! It’s always nice to take a piece of work you’ve created and have it be recognized. Festivals are a great part of online content life. I like making content I’m proud of and want to do. It’s a lot of work to do – so usually I have to be really interested in the project and want to make it and get it out there in the world, or be asked to work with people that I adore and have a blast working with.

TITL: The entertainment business is cut-throat and competitive. With that in mind, and given your impressive resume, what advice would you give to those just starting out? What three traits would you say people need in order to survive in this fickle industry?

LL: Ah! You’re very kind. I’ve been told that you need two of the following three: luck, talent and perseverance. You can’t work on luck, but you can work on the other two. I say get your butt in a class and stay there! And create your own content.

TITL: Finally then, are there any projects or plans in the pipeline you can tell me about? What’s next for you and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?

LL: Yes! I just released Dog Therapist with my friend Gwen, and it’s a super short web series – all episodes are under a minute! We had a blast and I hope we do some more like it. I have a guest star on a Disney show coming out sometime this spring/summer, so I can’t wait for that to be announced! And of course, I’m creating more content. Do you sense a theme!?

For more information on Lisa Linke, visit her website or you can follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Birdie Thompson.