INTERVIEW: Jackie Lipson on her latest single, 'Everything Sucks' & more

Jackie Lipson
Photo by Mallory Turner

Still quite a new name and face on the music scene, Jackie Lipson is quite the success story and testament to what can happen if you keep striving to achieve your dreams. Having really gotten noticed while appearing on "The Voice USA", she's since gone on to have her music featured by global luxury brand Audemars Piguet and is one of the songwriters for a reboot of a hit animated series set to air on Nickelodeon and Paramount+.

Earlier this month, she dropped her latest single, "Everything Sucks, " and she spoke to XS Noize about her future release and performance plans.

You first came to considerable attention appearing on "The Voice USA" Tell me a little about your journey to get to that point in your life and career and the experience of being part of such a globally renowned show. 

My career has been made up of a lot of building blocks. I worked on my skills as a songwriter and also on my live performance and vocal training first. Opportunities like The Voice happen when you least expect them, but I'm constantly working on music and am always happy when unique opportunities come through. I got The Voice call when I was living back home in Connecticut, working at Trader Joe's and playing local acoustic shows. I had submitted audition tapes for previous seasons, and they called me out of the blue. It was really exciting at the time because it was the first sign that all my hard work and persistence was being recognized!

The experience was a whirlwind. I was sequestered to a hotel with all the other contestants. We became close very quickly and went through sort of a TV/Singing boot camp together. That experience was my first introduction to Hollywood and the entertainment business. I knew the journey after the show would be challenging and emotional, but it was the right path for me. I packed up and moved my life out to Los Angeles about a month after my time with the show.

You've just unveiled your latest single, "Everything Sucks." Talk me through the writing and recording process if you would.

Writing "Everything Sucks" was very organic. I was on tour in the North East, and our next stop was Toronto at the El Mocombo - a historic venue. I was so excited for the show. As soon we landed, they announced a lockdown due to the rise of the Omicron variant. We hoped and prayed that there was a way to keep the show on, but ultimately it got cancelled. My guitarist and co-writer Vavá - Vanessa Wheeler - were camped out on the floor of our host's house when we learned the news. Disappointed and frustrated, Vavá pulled out an acoustic guitar and "Everything Sucks" just flowed out of me. We felt every word in that moment. As soon as we landed back in LA, I jumped in the recording studio and laid down the track. With the help of my incredible team: Paul Henry (production, mixing), Francisco Ojeda (vocal engineering, bass), Mike Adams (acoustic guitar) and Dave Sperandio (mastering), the song came to life.

What do you want those who hear the song to take from it? Is there a particular message to and behind the track? 

The message is: 'Feel your feelings, you're not alone.' We've all just lived through - and are still in - a global pandemic. Meanwhile, we're dealing with a climate crisis, attacks on the bodies of people with uterus', we're overworked and underpaid, and there's a housing crisis. I could go on. We're seeing the effects of late-stage capitalism in real-time, and our younger generations are really bearing the brunt. With Everything Sucks, I'm giving permission to the listener to own their grief, their pain. Toxic positivity has no place here.

The likes of Billboard have championed you, but do you pay much attention to what critics and the like think? What's the nicest thing anyone has ever said or written about you and your music?

The Billboard review was really heart-warming. As an artist, my work is subjected to the opinions of listeners and music lovers, including the media. Naturally, there will be criticism and that's expected when you create art. Any criticism of my work is a sign to me that I'm doing it right- that I'm being so truthful with my voice and point of view that it resonates with who it's meant to, and doesn't with who it's not. To me, real art isn't meant to please the masses, it's meant to make people feel something - good or bad.

The nicest response I've gotten to my work was at my most recent show in Hollywood. I played a new, unreleased song called "Wherever You Are". It's about talking to loved ones who've passed. After the show, people approached me to tell me they cried and that the song meant so much to them. Those moments mean the most to me. When my words and melodies touch someone deeply enough that it moves them, that's what's most important to me as a songwriter and performer.

What does the future hold for you regarding releases – might there be an album coming soon?

I would love to do a full-length album, and I will! For now, we have singles set to be released over the next year and a half while I continue to develop my body of work. But you can definitely look forward to really great songs and exciting performances in the future.

Finally, with live shows and festivals finally taking place again, are there any tour plans you can tease? Which venue in the world would you most like to play and why? 

Yes, tour plans are in the works! I can't say where just yet, but I'm excited to branch out and do a bit of travelling! A dream venue of mine is Red Rocks in Colorado, USA. I just love when music meshes so seamlessly with nature and life. But I'd also love to play a castle in Germany or France or something like that. I love non-traditional venues.

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