Friday, July 27, 2012

Nestlin' In NorCal

Once upon a time there was a little girl with a big voice and even bigger dreams....

She moved to the big bright city, following the Sinatra's New York adage "If you can make it there..." 

She thought "if I just keep working hard enough, and play every dive, someone will notice me, and I'll get discovered!"

And she thought "I'll never leave NYC until I make it!"

Playing the Chico Concert on the Creek
at Riparia Farm
You know, if I knew then what I know now...

I moved out to California this past March, and I have to say, it's been an absolute pleasure for me as an artist. I can't believe how much welcome I've received. I've met tons of really cool people and I feel like I belong in the music scene out here, especially in Chico.

I love New York. DON'T get me wrong. Love it! But I have to say, it's just not that practical for someone who wants to pursue music or art full-time, unless he or she is already loaded. I had to work more than a full-time job to support myself as a musician, which left very little time for the creative process. I was burned out, and yet I still felt like I'd be wasting my time anywhere else.

Not So! Since I moved to NorCal not so many months ago, I've been played on the radio countless times, I've performed live twice on KZFR, and I've played 3 festivals, and many invitations to play more. Do you know what it takes for an indie artist to get played on any station in NYC? I sure don't, even though I certainly tried.
In the Studio at KZFR 90.1
Chico has a small-town vibe (even though it's population is more like 100K) and everyone is very approachable. The music community is more tight-knit and supportive. There are SO many musicians in Brooklyn, it's like, "so you sing? so what?" And people actually go to concerts here! Like, even when you haven't pressured them to because they're your friends! And then they actually come up to you after the show, and tell you how much they enjoyed it! Craziness.

Anyway, not to rag on NYC too much. I do miss it. But I certainly don't miss the lifestyle. I'll be happy for my 3 week visit in September, then I'll be happy to come back to California and play more shows. Until next time, Much Love!

P.S. By the way, I totally redesigned my website, so check it out at

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Listen and Download

Check out Jess's Single.  Unlock the Player (run your mouse over it and "share") to Listen!

Friday, April 27, 2012

In my little bit o' solitude...

I'm a pretty big Joni Mitchell fan.  A while back, I read one of her many biographies:

Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni Mitchell's Blue Period.  

I was struck by Mitchell's strict need for solitude.  She maintains that to be a true artist, you must be alone.  For her, this includes living alone as well as avoiding long-term romantic relationships.  During her touring years, she would alternative travel with intense creative periods of solitude.  Now, I don't claim to be the stoic and ascetic artist that Joni is, but I do get her point.

When you live in New York City, it's hard to find any alone time.  I think I went a few years without ever being alone.  With roommates, close-by neighbors, subway rides, pedestrians everywhere, it was a challenge to find any solitude, and thus, tap into my creative energy.  I treated the subway as an office for my writing time -- I was equipped with earphones and a journal, so it's kind of like being alone, right?  Hmmmm.

They say you don't know what you have until it's gone. Well, I think it works backwards as well.  You don't know what you're missing until you get it.  Last winter, after coming off a decade of non-stop sensory overload crazy energy-zapping NYC and then spending two months in a cabin in rural Northern California, I was finally able to tap into a level of creativity and concentration, that I just couldn't find in Brooklyn.  

Well, now I'm in rural NorCal on more permanent basis.  And there's solitude a-plenty.  Even so, I'm taking what I learned, and I'm moving my little studio rig out from the guest room (where my spouse can hear me), and renovating the cabin into a dream room of recording wonder!  Don't get me wrong, it's not that my husband eavesdrops on me or even cares what I'm doing in there or how much noise I'm making, but there is something about being truly alone in a space, that can free you.  Or, at least, it certainly grants me some creative liberty.  

So here are the before pictures:

I know it looks a shamble right now, but just wait!  I'll have it fixed up in no time. time for my next post hopefully ;)  

Until next time, when I have pictures of my newly renovated work-space,

Sending Creative Vibes to you,


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Far, I mean...Far East

My next album cover?

Okay, so this entry has very little to do with music – or everything to do with music, depending on how you look at it. 
I was lucky enough this past winter to travel to Thailand.  While I didn’t go there to play shows, I certainly found an abundance of inspiration everywhere I looked. Now that I’m back in the States, I’m hoping to translate some of those experiences into song.  Here are some of the highlights from the trip:

The Swimming

Luckily I was traveling with a someone who’s an even stronger swimmer than I am, so we could go for hours of epic swim adventures  

We swam around Ao Nang Tower, 

Ao Nang Tower
Stallactites off of Railay Beach

and under these stallactites

                                                        And into Caves.

Amazing swim-through cave in Southern Thailand

The Sights

Limestone islands jutting out of the ocean.

Crazy Cave formations.

The Animals

I swam with an elephant!
I partied with monkeys!

The Sunsets

Pictures can’t capture the beauty, but you get the idea…

Sunset in Ao Nang before the storm

The Food

These are the shizz.  They are fried coconut milk and rice balls:

The City

Bangkok was unreal!  So huge and so many people.  This city makes New York feel like a ghost town.

Chinatown, Bangkok

Fun with camera settings!

This was a life changing experience.  And nothing gets the creative juices flowing like getting out into the world. What a beautiful earth we have!  If you want to know anything about traveling in Thailand, please leave me a comment.  I was there for almost 6 weeks, long enough to get a solid grip on getting around.

Until next time,

Jess Braun