Jillian Jacqueline Shines at Belcourt Theatre Showcase
Jillian Jacqueline was introduced to the Nashville community as part of the Big Loud Records family on Thursday evening (March 16) at Belcourt Theatre. The third artist signed to the label, Jillian received her own film premiere with a 10-minute video that included previews of seven new songs from her forthcoming project alongside clips from seven full-length music videos to be released at a later date. The short film also boasted interviews with songwriters Shane McAnally, Lori McKenna, Natalie Hemby and Sarah Buxton, who shared insight into working with Jillian.
Big Loud Records President Clay Hunnicutt introduced the film, which prefaced a short performance from Jillian.
“Tonight we’re here to introduce and celebrate Jillian Jacqueline,” Hunnicutt told the packed theatre. “At Big Loud, we really preach about passion projects. When we see amazing people, amazing music, we want to get involved and we want to be able to create something that’s really dynamic and that’s going to stand out. This is a total audio and visual experience. The first seven songs you will see, hear and feel will also have seven full-length videos to go with them.”
After showing Jillian on the music video set for “Holier Than Thou,” McAnally then discussed his experience writing with the singer.
“The first time I wrote with Jillian, it happened so fast and so electric,” he marvels. “She has such an idea in her head of how she should sound, how a song should be laid out. I’ve never heard anyone put words in a cadence like she does.”
Frequent collaborator Buxton, who shared the stage with Jillian later that night, notes how she puts herself into her music. “These are her stories, these are pieces of her life. If you take it in, you’re actually holding a chunk of Jillian’s heart in your hands,” she explains. “She’s leaving it all in the music. The way Jillian has put herself and her real stories into this record, I feel like women and girls are going to need these words and they’re going to need her spirit.”
Both McKenna and Hemby agree, while Hemby shares that Jillian “knows exactly what she’s doing and what she wants to say and she takes you along for the ride.” Those in attendance got to witness this firsthand as Jillian performed a four-song, full-band set shortly after the video aired. Songs like piano ballad “God Bless This Mess” showcased Jillian’s stunning vocals while backed by a six-piece band.
“It’s amazing the stuff you can write when you get your heart broken,” she commented at one point. “I’m going to cry if I talk too much, so I’m going to try to make it super short. This is probably one of the best nights of my life and you guys being here means the world to me. This music and this album Tofer [Brown] and I have been writing for a really long time. I’m so incredibly thankful for the people that helped make this thing happen. It really means a lot to me that I have found a home for this music and this dream that I have.”
Jillian closed her set with the poignant “Sad Girls” accompanied by an acoustic guitar. A hint of what’s to come for the singer/songwriter, the song garnered her a standing ovation and is likely the first of many to come.