Austin Singer-Songwriter Jess Williamson Is Back With Her Sophomore Album ‘Heart Song’

Photo by Mikaylah Bowman

And it’s premiering right here

A few years ago, singer-songwriter Jess Williamson left New York and returned to her native Austin, Texas, to reconsider her life.  The change in scenery was enough of an inspiration for Williamson to write her acclaimed collection of bared-soul folk songs, 2014’s Native State. But when it once again came time for Williamson to begin the mercurial process of introspection necessary to create her brand of searching music, the inspiration flowed naturally, as if she were channeling  something new entirely. She wrote the songs, she says, because she was actually compelled to do so. The result is her bracing sophomore record, Heart Song, another seven-track album that sees Williamson mapping out her emotions as if she's trying to discover the place where they originated. The album is out on Friday, but we're proud to premiere it right here.
Where did you write this album and why?
I wrote this album in Austin, and, now that you got me thinking about it, I wrote the songs in three separate houses—all mine at different times. I wrote them because I was compelled to do so, and usually, it felt like the songs were coming from somewhere else and I was just channeling. Writing can feel like an exorcism, a way to work through something that weighs on you or things you don’t understand. Writing a song can be a way to communicate a moment or a feeling in ways that just a sentence cannot, when you need that specific assemblage of words, instruments, phrasing, empty space.  

How is this album different from Native State?
Native State was fleshed out in the studio and those songs never sounded the same live as they did on the record. I’d been playing the songs from Heart Song at my shows for at least a year before going into the studio to record, and that was with the musicians who recorded the album with me. The songs got a chance to grow and get road tested before going into the studio. So rather than creating a new thing, we just tried to capture what was already going on live.

On the song “See You in a Dream” who are you writing to?
A person who wouldn’t see me or talk to me for years but showed up in my dreams almost every night

Is this album about anyone or anything in particular?
It’s literally the song of the heart and all the complex implications that go along with it—the big questions, the doubt, the betrayal, the hurt, but the beauty too, the transcendent moments, the vulnerability. It’s very human to want to connect with other people, to share love, and the path is not always easy.  

How have you evolved as an artist in the last couple of years?
I’m more comfortable now. I’m growing and learning, and I’m becoming more disciplined.

How would you characterize this record?
That’s a good question, and I don’t think I can say because I have so many feelings about it. But, I hope, it connects with people because that’s the whole point.

Tour Dates:
11.03.16 – Austin, TX @ The Sidewinder
11.04.16 – Austin, TX @ Cheer Up Charlies
11.10.16 – Austin, TX @ End of An Ear (free in-store at 6 PM)
11.18.16 – New York, NY @ The Footlight
12.08.16 - Rome, Italy @ Na Cosetta
12.09.16 - Avellino, Italy @ Rainy Days Festival
12.15.16 - Vienna, Austria @ Fluc*
12.17.16 - Budapest, Hungary @ A38*
12.18.16 - Ljubljana, Slovenia @ Kino Šiška (Centre for Urban Culture)*
12.19.16 - Zagreb, Croatia @ Culture Factory*
12.20.16 - Ravenna, Italy @ Bronson*
12.21.16 - Milan, Italy@ Santeria Social Club*
* Supporting Marissa Nadler
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council

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Photograph via @kimkardashian.


Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.


After delivered the perfect pep talk

When Lena Waithe took over as a guest host on Jimmy Kimmel Live, her first time ever as a late-night host, actress and friend Halle Berry knew exactly how to pump her up. After Kimmel's security guard Guillermo Rodriguez hit the "Berry Button" (a large button on the wall that says just that), Berry came running out in a backless tee and boyfriend jeans to give Waithe a pep talk... and plant one on her.

Berry rolled in as if she'd just jogged from hanging out with her friends to come to Waithe's immediate aid, joking she wasn't dressed for the occasion; but, let's be real, she could wear a paper bag, and we wouldn't complain. Waithe requested the "Halle Berry juice," similar to her 2002 Oscars speech, and Berry immediately had the lights turned down low and jumped into inspirational speech mode.

"I know that you are a force of nature. You are a beautiful African-American queen going after everything that is hers," Berry said before going on to list Waithe's many titles and accomplishments. She jokingly concluded, "And you already winning, girl, 'cause you are dressed way better than Jimmy ever will," before asking if Waithe needed anything else. Clearly, Waithe thought that was all Berry was there to do, because she said no, but Berry insisted she needed one more thing before grabbing Waithe's face and surprising her with a kiss. "Wow," Waithe reacted after Berry pulled away, and honestly same!

Watch the video, below.

Lena Waithe's Guest Host Monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live