Jessica Riddle Biography
T & A (Tenacity and Action) Records, 2003
Long a prolific songwriter and accomplished pianist, Jessica Jacobs had already signed to Hollywood Records at age 18, and in 2000 released her scathing debut CD – key of a minor – to widespread critical acclaim. Request magazine hailed the album as, “refreshingly direct and devoid of pretension,” and the L.A. Daily News confirmed, “[her] songs are often personal and sarcastic, and even at their most optimistic, possess a provocative edge.” But as the market became ever more saturated with Britney-esque trappings, execs applied pressure for tamed teen-pop co-writes, and the deal soon collapsed.
Enter Chapter 2. Now freed from the fetters of major label machination, Jacobs has taken her whip-smart songs with her and founded her own indie label – T & A (tenacity and action) Records. A stunning sophomore release, Chapter 2, cohesively traces Jacobs’ cathartic and fruitful evolution from precocious teen to inspired womanhood. “This whole record is about the unhappiness that came from negative relationships, and about hearts being broken and repaired,” says Jacobs. “So much of my behavior was self-destructive – all of these songs reflect the experience of changing that. It helped me to figure out who I am and what makes me tick.”
She employs syrupy-sweet melodies reminiscent of ‘70s songwriters like Carole King, James Taylor and Cat Stevens, but often counters them with dark lyrical themes that trace a painful path from yesterday’s self-loathing, melancholy and insomnia to today’s tranquility. As such, Chapter 2’s heady material would find a home more readily at college/alt radio than with the bubblegum jet set. Empowered by newfound awareness and ready to, “tear the shit outta everything,” Jessica Jacobs balances an arsenal of attitude with unbridled creativity, standing out strongly as an artist’s artist who reaches for the stars while keeping both feet firmly planted on solid ground.
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