A success Starter campaign to finance the recording of an EP closing the first month of a potentially decisive year for the singer-songwriter Stephanie Jacques. It will be a set of deeply personal songs, inspired by Jacques’ late parents and with a title that combines their middle names, Miles John.
Exceeding his financial goal with the help of 128 contributors rewards Jacques’ desire to always present himself as more than just a calculated character on social networks.
“I’m an independent artist, so I’ve funded all of my singles and stuff that’s come out so far and my songwriting,” Jacques said. wide open country. “For that, I really wanted to release the project as a whole, which costs more money to do it as a whole. It’s about my father and my mother. There are songs with which I have writing Pope Cassadee and Madeline Edwards and John Tucker sort of in the season of my dad’s passing.
“He had cancer for a few years, but during the pandemic it got worse,” continued Jacques. “And my mom passed away when I was 2. So I wanted to do a project in their honor. The only way to deal with grief is to write music about it and put all my feelings into songs, so that’s what I did.”
I miss you ? pic.twitter.com/5KZ7tBYhzJ
— Stephanie Jacques (@Stephiejacques) November 30, 2021
Songs for the as-yet-unrecorded project began to take shape before the death of Jacques’ father, Bridges Miles Stewart, on November 26, 2021.
“About two months ago, I went to my grandmother’s house and found a box containing my mother’s things that hadn’t been touched since her death,” Jacques recalled on January 12. “It started to inspire me to realize how different life is, and so I talked to my dad, ‘Can I write a song about you?’ He’s like, ‘Yes, you can.’ I wanted his permission. I was kind of writing down how I felt for the past few months, and I didn’t expect him to die. He died the day after Thanksgiving.
Jacques trusted Pope and other co-writers to help him tell deeply personal stories.
“It’s nice sometimes to have an outside person who isn’t completely committed to helping you create the song,” Jacques said. “With [Pope] and Madeline, I’m so close to them that I’m able to be 100% real and authentic and cry. I felt like these were people who could help with the project. When I got the songs out of it, I was like, ‘These are the songs I wanted.’ Even though I could have done it myself, I felt like they gave me space to create and just brought in a bit of what I needed, i.e. say this soulful and American atmosphere.”
Do these songs justice and release them all at once instead of telling the Miles John The incremental story compelled Jacques to put aside the doubts that come with crowdfunding and ask his growing base of listeners and colleagues for help.
“Am I asking too much? Don’t people who don’t know the music business realize how much it costs? Am I going to look like I’m asking an exorbitant amount of money when in reality , I’m not going to make a lot of profit for that? It was scary,” explained Jacques. “But I also realized that I had never asked for money publicly before. I never asked for help. I thought it was important to be honest about where I am. To do this project , I can release it as a single one at a time. I think it’s a passion project, and it has to be released all together. For that, I needed help.”
Such honesty has become old hat for Jacques, as evidenced by his streaming interview series, Jacques Talk (available via Apple Podcasts and Instagram Live (stephaniejacquesmusic)).
“I was having conversations about race, the music industry and diversity with my friends, and I realized that so many people could benefit from this information,” she said of the origin of the series in 2020. “I believe that conversation is the only way to change. I think people just need to hear things in a way that is not scolding. So I asked my friends…[Mickey Guyton] was on and Cam was on a few times– if we can just have a chat on Instagram Live. Everyone was open and people reacted, so I continued.”
Jacques and his guests discuss country music’s history with LGBTQ+ and black creators and the resistance they faced individually in Nashville and beyond.
“It makes people realize that it’s okay to verbalize where you are at,” added Jacques. “It’s normal not to know the answers to certain questions or not to know why certain things are the way they are. Not knowing the history of Opry or things like that. We can discuss it. We can learn together. Learning is cool. We don’t have to know everything. I hate the thought of having to know everything. Let’s just learn, guys.”
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Jacques praises recurring guest Cam for being among the handful of white artists exposed to the mainstream for ignoring the pressures of “shut up and sing” and living their truth.
“She got the job done, and she’s such an ally for equality, fairness and growth in country music that she or Maren Morris or Cassadee, they follow the march,” said Jacques. “They really believe in what they’re saying and they’re willing to put their name behind it. I wish more artists were willing to put their platform behind the fight against hate and the country music system that is kind of built on hate. It’s the roots. He has a lot of racist and hateful connections. It’s easier to recognize it and start changing it than to say it doesn’t exist because it exists.”
An earlier co-write with Pope, “Because of That,” reflects the African-American experience through the lens of that decade, making it what Jacques calls his “most personal song to date” and a reminder that the best country songwriters always face the cold, hard truth.
“I was so nervous about the backlash, and I didn’t get a ton of it,” Jacques explained. “So I feel like being authentic and being real works for me. If you follow me on social media, you see me crying, you see me happy. You see all the sides of me. I’m not not one to hesitate and show a part of me. Even when I was talking about my dad, people knew he was sick all the time. I didn’t hide these things, which for me is natural. For some people, it’s more private. I’m more like, ‘I want you to know what’s going on. I want you to share this with me and know why I might be in a bad mood today or why I could cry today.'”
Not that Jacques lacks experience in ignoring hate and excluding trolls.
“I’ve had people say, ‘Well, you’re just talking about race. If you didn’t, you’d be further away,'” she said. “And I’m like, ‘I’m talking about me, and country music is our story. It’s my story. My story involves that. That’s what country music is.'”
For a taste of Jacques’ serious storytelling, check out his new single “Suburbia.” To fund more Miles Johnto visit him GoFundMe countryside.