Getting To Know Jess Moskaluke
We are pleased to present our next exclusive interview: “Getting To Know Jess Moskaluke”.
Canadian country artist Jess Moskaluke recorded her first number one hit, “Country Girls”, which she co-wrote with Corey Crowder, and Emily Shackleton. The song was included on her second studio album, The Demos.
Jess Moskaluke is a singer-songwriter who has broken barriers in the country music world with her big voice and pop-infused hooks. The first Canadian female country artist since Shania Twain to achieve CRIA Platinum single status with the hit ‘Cheap Wine and Cigarettes.
Jess is our unique, international guest artist on the lineup at this year’s British Country Music Festival, and we were eager to find out more about the Canadian artist.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a musician?
I guess, in the middle of when it was all happening, at least in terms of doing it professionally. I started singing when I was about 15 years old and just really loved it, just the same way that anybody starts anything – hockey, volleyball, basketball, any hobby. I just really loved it. It became a bigger and bigger part of my life.
I didn’t really realise that’s what I would be chasing as a career. It was just something that I was doing as much as I could because I was passionate about it.
Before I knew it, it became my full-time job. It was all I had time for, and it was all I wanted to do.
Can you tell me a bit about the Candian country music scene?
I kind of started in the Canadian country scene, probably when I was about 19 or 20. But when I was growing up as a fan, the Canadian country music scene was heavy into the females.
We had artists like Michelle Wright, Shania Twain, Terri Clark, and Patricia Conroy. They were huge, successful women in the country scene that really led the way. So I was just a huge fan of all of those women.
What did your parents play to you on long car journeys?
When I was growing up, it was, of course, country; that was all that we had access to when it came to radio stations. I’m from a really small town – there are maybe 2,000 people. But we don’t have a radio station in town, we have a few surrounding cities that we could tune in to if we got close enough, and all of those radio stations were country.
So, I very much grew up listening to country and it’s still what I listen to now but I like to dabble in everything, and the way that country is going, country music dabbles in everything; there’s country-pop, there’s country-rock, and rap and trap.
There are all these different avenues of country music these days, and I think that’s what makes it so special.
When it comes to your songwriting, where do you draw inspiration from lyrically?
Personal stuff, things that I have lived through mostly. But sometimes it can come from a movie, if there’s a situation that you see that you think, well that will make a cool song, or maybe it’s other music, maybe it’s a lyric, maybe it’s just a thought or a book.
It can come from absolutely anywhere. I have a note on my phone that I just constantly keep titles and lyric ideas.
Can you tell me a little bit about how ‘The Demos’ came together?
That record has a really interesting story of how it came together, because it almost didn’t come to be. At that time, we were planning to release just singles to radio, and then the pandemic hit.
We had exhausted the few singles we already had, and we thought, well, now what do we do? I can’t get to the studio; they are closed; I can’t be in the same room as musicians; it’s going to be challenging to put together any kind of music.
So I dug back into the demos of songs that I had already written that we hadn’t released. Many of these songs were almost on another record, and for whatever reason, they didn’t make it, but it wasn’t because they weren’t a strong enough song; maybe there was a song with a similar title out on radio at that time. Or maybe, we had too many slow songs on that specific record. So they just never quite made the cut.
I hated that they were just sitting on the shelf right now. So we decided to take the actual demo as it existed and put a few of them on the record. We decided to add a few different instruments remotely to fix up a few things. So, I wasn’t able to get into the studio, but we were able to, from a distance, collaborate and fix those songs up into what we thought they could be if they were to be on the radio today.
It’s a unique concept, and it was a challenging album to make, and it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the pandemic. So I am, in some ways, thankful for that tiny little silver lining.
Can you tell me the story behind the song ‘Country Girls’?
A number one on Canadian country radio is where we landed with that song. It’s a gold record as well for us. I just remember sitting in the room writing that song that day, and we just thought we wanted something fun and upbeat. We didn’t put too much more thought into it than that. And it was one of those songs that just kind of fell out of our mouths.
It was myself and Cory Crowder, my producer, and Emily Shackleton, one of my favourite songwriters. We were just sitting in the room jamming, putting out lyrics that, at the time, didn’t really make sense. It was a really easy song to write.
It’s my very first number one on Canadian country radio, so it means a lot to me. I’ve been on the scene for about ten years, so it’s slow and steady, but I never expected that number one to come days before a global pandemic!
You’re the only international artist playing at The British Country Music Festival; how excited are you about that?
I didn’t realise that going into it. I’m even more excited and honoured to be a part of something that is so British; I can’t wait. I’m going to drink all the tea!
I’m really excited to explore a different part of the UK. The last time I was there, we really only stuck to London, which I loved, but I’m excited to see different parts of the country and expose myself to other musicians and different types of music there.
So, we’re putting together a really exciting show.
What does country music mean to you?
People think country music is so innately American. My first thought is to say, ‘Have you ever heard of Shania Twain because she’s pretty darn country and she’s from Canada or Keith Urban, who’s from Australia?’
Country music is something that makes you feel, and that’s intentionally a very broad answer. I think it’s really welcoming; the more, the merrier.
I think it’s just something that makes you feel, and my specific brand of country music leans on that. I’ve always wanted the music to be strong but the lyrics to say as much as they can.
It should make you feel something.
What’s next for you?
Well, the UK trip is coming up.
Here in Canada, it’s summer festival season; our weather is so cold so often; summer festival season is a hectic time for us because we’re playing multiple different shows every weekend.
I’m releasing brand new music in July.
Getting To Know Jess Moskaluke
We are pleased to present Jess’s current album, The Demos.
Thank you so much for chatting with us, Jess. It’s been a pleasure.
We are so excited to have Jess on board for the festival, and we can’t wait to see her performance in the Empress Ballroom.
We look forward to welcoming Jess Moskaluke to Blackpool. She will be headlining The British Country Music Festival 2022 on Sunday, 4th September 2022.