Music Q&A:
Jess and the Bandits

Jessica Clemmons talks ahead of the release of their new album, Smoke and Mirrors, out 15 September

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What informs your music and songwriting?
So many things inspire me. Typically it’s my own personal experiences but there are many times it can be something my friends go through or even something that I see happening on the streets. I love people watching for that exact reason.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?

Over the last several years we have evolved quite a bit. In fact I started as a solo artist singing pop-soul music and now we’re a band doing pop-country. Most recently we’ve even started adding a bit of a gospel influence. We are always evolving!

What are you up to at the moment artistically?

Well, the writing part of the album is finished, obviously, so now it’s focusing on the performing aspect. That is everything from how a show will look from start to finish, what songs we will use and even what clothes we will wear.

What’s on your rider?
It’s pretty simple actually. I usually like lots of water, some fresh fruit and maybe a bottle of wine wine or Prosecco.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
I think my most embarrassing moment was when I was on my very first tour. I was wearing heels that were way too high on stage. During about the middle of my set I started to feel my legs shaking. I used to run a lot in the past and now suffer from shin splints because of it. Well, apparently the six-inch heels I was wearing were not the best idea to wear on stage. My head said keep going but my legs had other plans and my feet went out underneath me right on stage as I was walking off from my set! It was so embarrassing!!

What song do you wish you’d written?

Probably I Will Always Love You, written by Dolly Parton.

What’s your worst lyric?
“Every piece of you and me I put in a box, send it out to sea and watch it float off.” Lol. Probably not my finest lyric writing but the song itself is still fun to listen to.

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Jess and the Bandits

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