At just three years old, Jess Clinton couldn’t get enough of the microphone in her father’s home recording studio. Born an only child to her actress mother and film composer father, Clinton was steeped in the Los Angeles entertainment industry, surrounded by perpetual encouragement to explore the enthusiasms of creativity. Some of Clinton’s earliest memories are of toddling around recording studios enjoying the cozy, clean darkness of the control room. The fondest moments of her early musical determination can be found on converted tapes from her three-year-old freestyling sessions. Between takes of “Old MacDonald”, her father’s voice lingers as he can be heard assisting with the headphones and telling her to be careful of the microphone that she grasped with her small hands.
It was only a matter of time before the overflowing influence of expressiveness led Clinton down her own path of musical discovery. At the age of 12-years-old she picked up her first guitar, learning White Stripes songs by ear on her portable CD player. Around that same time, she started taking voice lessons, focusing on theatre and classical voice. Clinton was a technically born “valley girl,” so growing up in Hollywood, where the beauty standards are on figurative steroids, Clinton found a haven in her high school music program. She was able to write songs in secret about things she felt she had no one to tell. This could-have-been valley girl ended up a self-proclaimed art freak, as she still feels today. The limits of creation are non-existent, as Clinton ever-expands her boundaries and throws her dreams at the wall, always knowing one will stick.
Her LA music pedigree is composed of classical/theatre voice, mostly self-taught folk and rock guitar, all infused in the storytelling of film scores since very early on. Her family's roots in Appalachia and its music are woven throughout her eclectic tapestry of musical inspiration. Her love for Celtic music was born in college at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study in NYU, where she concentrated in Songwriting and Folk Musicology. Clinton’s influences come to life in her music. Each musical layer sets off a spark, leaving a single song engulfed in a burning blaze of assorted sounds.
Clinton’s arsenal of skills on acoustic, electric, and a beast of a guitar she’s named “Lola” (she has a dark brown voice), a 12-string baritone acoustic from a Woodstock luthier named Veillette, pair with the voice her heart whispers between each note. This time, it’s telling her to make noise. On her upcoming album, Real Glass Heart, Clinton is taking up space, letting herself feel the groove of the stories begging to be told. Clinton writes what feels good to sing. Songs show up on her doorstep, like a familiar friend listening to her experiences with mental health, love, nature, and quiet outrage.
An introvert who’s fluent in extrovert, Clinton is entirely transparent, letting each song thrive as its own personality, which are all a part of her. Shape-shifting soprano vocals range from bell-tone purities to sultry secrecies, her voice is the crowning jewel of her introspective tapestry of acoustically-driven song. Bringing both her serious expertise and jocular personality to stage and studio, Jess Clinton uses her music to communicate the most intimate parts of herself, re-defining what it means to be a woman, a creator, and the volumes in which she can speak her truth. Real Glass Heart is set for release in July 2019.