Singer-songwriter Jes, on how to stay real in the music industry

So, tell me about yourself.

I am 26 years old, I grew up outside of Toronto and I worked in Youtube for a little bit. On the other side of that, I’m a singer-songwriter. That’s my passion, my love, and what comes from my heart rather than what pays the bills. I’m in a place in my life right now where I’m starting to find answers, which I didn’t really have when I was younger.

Being a singer-songwriter and in doing media, how do you handle rejection and how do you grow from it?

I think it’s funny because for a long time, I saw rejection as a negative thing. As I have gotten older and have gone through it so many times, either through personal life or in industry as well, it always ends up teaching me something. I’m not going to look at it as a negative because it’s not a negative, I am going to get something out of it, I just don’t know what it is at this time.

As a singer-songwriter, a lot of people wonder what’s the industry like?

I think, first of all, we need to celebrate how far it has come. Especially for singer/songwriters with new media, we have a way now to market ourselves. It’s not as difficult to do it independently and on your own terms. I think, as a woman, specifically in music, it can be really hard to be trusting. It can be hard to know who you should be working with because you can be taken advantage of.

Is it a conscious effort for you to stay more independent?

Absolutely. It’s also really hard in industries like this because they’ll speak to the things you’ve been dreaming about from a young age. So, when someone says “I can give you this”, it’s very easy to be like “Okay, I want to do this.” And you have to change yourself sometimes and it’s not necessarily what you want to be doing. You need to stay authentic and true to who you are.

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What’s the hardest lesson you had to learn about yourself, either personally or professionally?

I’m a bit of a control freak and perfectionist. First of all, learning that I don’t know everything. There are so many people that know better. And, also being able to ask for help. I think that’s a huge thing that when you are trying to be independent, especially as a woman, you are like, “I can do all of this.” Reaching out to resources like “Hey, how would I do this?” or “Hey, I need advice,” can make you feel vulnerable. A lot of people really close off from being vulnerable but it can really take you so much further in life if you allow it to happen.

What are you proud right now of and ready to share with the world?

This year, I decided to listen more to my gut and it took me awhile to realize that it’s okay to say no to things, it’s okay to say yes to things but to really follow my own path. I recently left a position that I wasn’t happy with and I am trying to find out what works better for me. I feel like a lot of people are afraid to do that because they get stuck in one space because they’re scared.

I’m just going with the flow and being open to new opportunities. I’m taking on an attitude of just like screw it, which means not having a preconceived idea in my mind, and being more flexible. It’s one of the first times in my life where I am going with the flow. It’s been really rewarding.

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