Exclusive Interview/Premiere — Jessica Rotter’s Folk/Pop Album ‘Plains’
It’s quite rare when you hear music with a voice so pure that you don’t immediately get jaded. If you turn on the radio nowadays, you pretty much want to jerk the wheel off a bridge. Jessica Rotter is different. Jessica Rotter will make you want to pull the car over, write down the lyrics, and Google them so you can find out who the artist who sang that song was. She’s that good.
Jessica Rotter is able to transcend creative boundaries and defy what’s expected of a modern female musician. The songstress’ voice has been heard across multiple genres, from movies, TV shows and commercials to backing vocals and collaborations with other artists—all in addition to her original songs. The list of artists she has worked with reads like a who’s who of the music industry today: Daft Punk, Carole King, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and others.
Rotter’s family roots are steeped in music, with her grandfather writing songs for Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. With this background, Rotter describes herself as a “musical storyteller” with classical training from Pepperdine University in opera, musical theatre, and directing for theatre and film. She is just as comfortable using her voice in a major feature film (credits include Pitch Perfect 1 & 2 and Frozen) as she is performing one of her original songs live.
Following the success of charting #1 on HypeMachine with her mashup of Stay/Animal with Emily Colombier, Rotter is embarking on her most powerful and ambitious project to date; the full length release of Plains. Produced by Cazz Brindis and mixed by Scott M. Smith (Carole King, John Mayer, Katy Perry), the 11 track record is breathtakingly stunning and cinematic. Most uniquely, Plains is organically raw with the listener being able to hear breath in every track, a rarity in today’s over produced musical landscape.
Have a listen to the incredibly catchy “Pray For Rain.”
In the album’s leading single “Pray for Rain”, Rotter poignantly describes wrestling with falling in love in “uncertain times, lost times and times of revelation.” On the track “Stars”, you can clearly hear Rotter’s past of free spirited travels and musical influences of early 60s folk and Americana. “Let Me Go” is a well-crafted, catchy and emotional pop tune expressing the restless moments found in relationships.
Check out her song “Let Me Go” from her album ‘Plains’ that will premiere on April 22nd and check out our exclusive interview after you listen below:
Social Underground also had the chance to have a few words with the amazingly talented Jessica Rotter:
Social Underground: What was the initial trigger you that got into music? A specific song, voice, guitar lick, or experience?
Jessica Rotter: I’ve been singing since I was four so I really can’t remember. My family is incredibly musical – my mom is a flute player and my dad is a composer so it’s just always been part of my life. I used to sing scales with my mom when I was a baby.
SU: Off the top of your head, what are 5 artists that have significantly inspired your music?
Jessica Rotter: Artists we used as direct influences in the production of this album include Serge Gainsbourg, Ennio Morricone, St. Vincent, Daughter, and Mumford and Sons.
SU: What is your musical writing process? Do you start with lyrics/poetry, strumming on the guitar, jamming with your band, or a mix of it all?
Jessica Rotter: I usually start at a piano and come up with something kind of hypnotic and then go from there. Sometimes I write it accapella and just sing it and put the music to it afterward.
SU: What’s it like hearing your voice on television, movies and advertisements? Is it a bit surreal?
Jessica Rotter: It’s always exciting! But it’s more exciting when I hear something I released on the radio or in a store or something. That blows my mind because I never expect it.
SU: How many times do you get asked about the movie Frozen and the Pitch Perfect films after you mentioned you did vocal work in them? If you had to kill a few people, we won’t tell.
Jessica Rotter: Hahaha… I love it. I especially love when little kids find out that I sang on Frozen because they FREAK OUT. Or they’ll go silent and won’t know how to function anymore. But yes, I’ve been asked in every interview. It’s ok – at least there’s something cool to share.
SU: What is the most memorable show that you’ve played?
Jessica Rotter: The one I’m about to play will certainly be my biggest — on the rooftop of the W hotel in Hollywood. Non-me show? Singing for a Carole King tribute show where I got to back up Carole King, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Katy Perry, Amy Grant… It was SO cool.
SU: What was it like working with Daft Punk, Carole King, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith, Macklemore, ect?
Jessica Rotter: I sang on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and that was EPIC. I sang on stage with the rest of them and that was also epic because I got to see those performers in their element. It’s cool to see how they work and how they stay focused (or not!)
SU: How were you inspired by them, and how do you think you inspired their music?
Jessica Rotter: I doubt I inspired their music… who knows, but probably not. I was inspired by them because they’re all people you’d want to hang with and they’re also super duper famous and successful. It’s all about being a real person at the end of the day. And treating your collaborators well.
SU: I’ve heard of artists recording entire albums, leaving it for a month, and then coming back and starting all over. Have you ever wrote a song and loved it only to hate it later or vice versa?
Jessica Rotter: OH YES. All the time. That’s why it’s good not to rush things. You never know when you’ll hate something. But I’ve also learned that something I don’t like very much can easily be someone else’s favorite. It happens ALL THE TIME. So I’ll usually carry on with an idea.
SU: Is there any artist you’d really love to work with that you haven’t had the chance to yet (considering you’ve worked with some of the greats!)?
Jessica Rotter: I’ve met Jim James a couple of times but I would LOVE to work with him. Also Sia. She’s not even real.
SU: What music are you currently listening to right now?
Jessica Rotter:I just left some music video on in the background and now it’s playing Jamie XX.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post,UPROXX,BGR and by just looking up his name.