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 Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.



Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

"In the midst of chaos there's opportunity"

Following the travesty that was Fyre Festival, Ja Rule wants to take another stab at creating a music festival. Good luck getting that off the ground.

On Thursday, the rapper spoke to TMZ, where he revealed that he was planning to relaunch Icon, an app used to book entertainers, which is similar to Billy McFarland's Fyre app. He told the outlet that he wanted to create a festival similar to Fyre to support it.

"[Fyre Festival] is heartbreaking to me. It was something that I really, really wanted to be special and amazing, and it just didn't turn out that way, but in the midst of chaos there's opportunity, so I'm working on a lot of new things," he says. He then gets into the fact that he wants to form a music festival. "[Fyre] is the most iconic festival that never was... I have plans to create the iconic music festival, but you didn't hear it from me."

Ja Rule actually doesn't seem to think he is at all responsible for what came from Fyre Fest, claiming in a Twitter post that he was "hustled, scammed, bamboozled, hood winked, led astray." Even if that's his feeling, he should realize that anyone involved with Fyre shouldn't ever try their hand at music festivals again.