Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with New Hampshire’s Jackie Therrien. Together we discussed being an multi-instrumentalist, what they’ve learned so far at Belmont University, their newest single “Wake”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you?
I’m good! Thank you so much for reaching out to chat!!
2. You began writing instrumental music at age 13 and shortly after began incorporating lyrics. What was your process back then? Who were some of your influences and inspirations?
Back then, I would usually figure something out on the piano that I really liked, nothing too crazy, and then I would add the lyrics. Everything I wrote with extremely simple, and it was all either on piano or ukulele, because I couldn’t play guitar. When I first started writing music, I was very inspired by Julia Michaels, Ingrid Michaelson, Adele, and of course, Taylor Swift. I’m still very inspired by all these artists today!
3. Can you recall the first song you wrote?
Yes! It was a song that was maybe about 2 minutes long, and it was called “Wish I Lived in a Dream.” It was a song about what a perfect, ideal world would be like. I wrote it when I was 12-13.
4. You’re a multi-instrumentalist. What instrument did you learn first? Do you have a favorite? For those looking to learn an instrument what advice do you have?
My first instrument was piano, I started taking lessons when I was 8-9! Piano is still my favorite instrument, it’s so versatile and is almost always where all of my songs start out. To anyone looking to learn an instrument, it just takes lots of time and practice. You’ll have off days, and it won’t always be easy, but it does come with time. The best advice I can give is to do it, commit to it, and practice, practice, practice!
5. What have you learned at Belmont University about songwriting? What has been the best piece of advice or lesson you’ve learned so far?
Because I’m a freshman in my first semester, I haven’t gotten a chance to take any songwriting classes yet, but from the people around me and my professors I’ve learned that you’re going to be more successful if you stay true to yourself. If you are always trying to make something that you think people want to hear, rather than just making what YOU want to make, it will be harder to find success.
6. Besides songwriting, you also record and produce. What is your creative process?
Yes, I do a little bit! Typically, I just wait for a song to come to me, and it almost always comes as both lyrics and a melody. When I come up with a song idea, I just suddenly hear the whole thing in my head; the instruments, the harmonies, all of it. I usually write it fairly quickly, and then recording/producing will take about a week or so, depending on the song and time that I have. When recording, I always record the melody and the base instrument first, the one that I’ll end up building around later. Then, I just try to the best of my abilities to take what I hear in my head and make it real. I layer in harmonies, and other instruments to hopefully make the song come to life.
7. Who (or what) influences you?
So many things, mainly my own life and things that I experience. But sometimes, I’m very inspired by books, movies, tv shows, and even other people’s lives. Other times, I’m inspired by the fact that I can write about literally anything I want; I can make up characters, places, backstories, and more. But of course, I will always be inspired by the music around me.
8. In 2019 you released “Love Letters.” What inspired the concept of this album? Could you share more about the process of putting it together? Do you have a favorite song from the record?
It’s actually kind of funny, the way I came up with the concept of this album. I really did write love letters, I would put them in envelopes and everything, I just didn’t send them. I did it to get all my feelings out, and so it ended up kind of reflecting in this album. The songs were basically the letters; they were all to different people, telling them things I would never actually say to them. I think my favorite song on the record is probably “On a Thursday” or “Whatever Happened?” They’re definitely the two most personal tracks on the album, but I think that’s why I like them so much.
9. Humans often write love letters. Do you have a favorite kind of love letter? Is proper spelling and grammar important in a love letter?
Well, I guess I like all kinds of love letters. They’re extremely romantic and vulnerable, no matter what form they’re in. Nothing beats a handwritten letter, confessing your love to someone, but I also look at songs as love letters, when maybe most people don’t. I don’t think proper spelling or grammar is important in a love letter, all that matters is that you’re sharing your feelings and being honest.
10. You followed up “Love Letters” with Dreaming. Are these two albums connected?
They’re not! They’re extremely different from each other in lots of ways, and they don’t connect at all.
11. Mustard loves the expression “Storm in a teacup.” Is this your own expression? How can a human avoid having a storm in a teacup?
I unfortunately did not come up with that, it’s just an expression that I heard some where. But I thought I could make a really cool song out if it. The expression means to make a big deal out of nothing, so I guess just don’t be over dramatic!
12. Mustard listened to your song “Lavender” while in the enjoyment of a lavender candle. Does Lavender have a calming and relaxing effect on you? Was the story told in this song inspired by how you feel around lavender?
That sounds very nice. Lavender does have a very relaxing effect on me! But in this song, I’m talking about a dress that I wore that was the color lavender. I say, “I am lavender, curly and painted,” talking about the color of my dress, my hair in curls, and the makeup that I was wearing. Although I feel like the music in the song feels relaxing and calming, the same way the scent of lavender makes me feel.
13. “Wake” is your most recent single. What was the inspiration behind this single? Can a human listen to this song if they are not awake?
“Wake” is a song based off of my own personal experiences. It’s about that person in your life who just seems to go above and beyond to make you miserable. The person who goes out of their way to bother you. I suppose a human could listen to this song while they are asleep if they wanted to.
14. A human gets invited to see Jackie Therrien in concert. What can they expect?
They can expect very chill, acoustic vibes. I don’t have a band, so all of my shows are just acoustic, both piano and guitar. I love playing in small, intimate, cozy environments. Coffee shop vibes.
15. What’s next for Jackie Therrien?
I’m currently working on some new music that will hopefully be out beginning of 2023, and I’m so excited to share it!
16. Where can readers listen to your music?
On all platforms! Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, Amazon Music, etc. !