Musician and supporter of Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, Caitlin Jemma defines what it means to defy adversities and blossom artistically and personally. Her sound “traverses the musical spectrum of country, soul and mystic folk, while her identity remains steady and unshakable.” We at Sweet Relief, had the opportunity to digitally “sit down” with Caitlin and chat about her inspiration, process, mental health, music, and more. Read Caitlin’s Q & A below.
SR: At what age did you know that music was going to be your career?
CJ: Around the time I made my first album at 21 years old! I’m almost 30 now.
SR: What is your writing process for your lyrical storytelling? Do you first begin with the stories or the music?
CJ: Creativity is a funny thing, because the process varies all the time. Some days I’ll be walking around lost in thought and a line will come to me that becomes a song later. Other times, it takes years to finish a song. Everything is a puzzle piece and you just have to live life in order to complete the puzzle…(which is the story you’re telling!)
SR: How/where do you draw inspiration for your music? Were there specific artists you listened to growing up that still resonate with your musical writing process?
CJ: When I was a young girl, I was obsessed with No Doubt. I loved that Gwen Stefani had pink hair and was a rocker QUEEN! She was a really early influence for sure. Then, I found more folky artists like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell later on, and got inspired by their writing. I’m also a big Motown fan. I love all kinds of music!
SR: How did the pandemic personally affect you and your overall momentum as a musician? How did Sweet Relief’s support help you through that process?
CJ: It made me appreciate the slowdown. It wasn’t easy as someone who spends a majority of my year on the road — but I got to really sit down and work on my album. I recorded it in August and had all year to slowly work on it and make it exactly what I wanted. Sweet Relief helped take the stress off of trying to meet my basic needs (housing and food) when no work was available. As a result, I was able to focus on my writing and production of my album.
SR: You are such a beautifully vulnerable artist, especially to your fans. What would you say to others in need of support who are hesitant to ask for it, based on your personal experience?
CJ: Thank you for saying so! I would say that mental health is a very important thing to me. I am a big advocate for normalizing talking about mental health and asking for help!