Kiwi artist Jaqi, under the artist name of Jaqualyn Taimana Williams, has been in multiple bands for thirty years and in kids music since 2018. She invests her heart and soul into both kinds of entertainment, creating a magnificent artistic identity where each song on her record stands out with its distinct sound while maintaining a unifying and captivating spirit.
Her most recent song, “Am I Art?” is the fourth track off the upcoming indie rock EP “Guns of Dialogue” and is a natural outpouring of hybrid folk-rock sound bliss. We interviewed the witty artist and learned more about how her career in music began, her multiple roles in life, and her most recent and upcoming projects.
- Hello, Jaqi; it’s a pleasure to be doing this interview with you. You’re obviously an inspiring musician, teacher, and human being!
- Before we dig deep into your music, per your press kit, you’re a mother of four, a bilingual children’s teacher, and a musician; this can’t be easy! Can you tell us something that is mutual among these three parts of you?
I see my songs and albums as my creative brainchildren who sometimes need just as much nurturing as my actual children!
- I’ve watched some of your teaching music videos, and you really seem to enjoy them. Was teaching through music the spark that ignited your musical path? Or how did it all start?
I’ve been making up songs since I was seven years old but after becoming an early childhood teacher, I decided to see what happens when a New Zealand teacher writes songs for kids. Being part-Māori myself and on a path of discovering my heritage after being adopted, I am motivated to help non-Māori teachers and children to learn and use the Māori language in a super-fun way.
- After providing children’s music for more than thirty years, what made you take a detour into adult music and make your debut indie rock album, “Statues of Liberty”?
Ha ha it’s the other way around – I’ve been an all-round professional musician for over thirty years and detoured into kids music with my first bilingual children’s album Waiata Tamariki in 2018.
- How did it feel making your first album, recording it, and releasing it? Would you take us on a ride through the process?
Well I’m not an Uber, but yes it felt wonderful to choose which of my 100+ original songs to develop for the album and you just can’t beat the feeling of hearing the songs completed and sounding good! I paid for everything so it cost a pretty penny but what price to achieve something so epic from your bucket list.
- Where do you usually get your muse to write new pieces? And who would you say influenced your sound?
I get my inspiration directly from Source like everyone else and my sound is varied because I’m multi-genre and my influences are vast and unusual as I was a Goth in the 1980s listening to The Cure and other British bands, then I started playing keyboard in a contemporary middle-of-the-road band playing rock, rock n roll, country, blues and jazz. After that I created a grungey 90s rock covers band doing Nirvana and Alanis Morrisette.
- Jumping into your recent single, “Am I Art?” It has such a soothing atmosphere and a profound sense of self-connection. How did you hope for it to resonate with others in the first place?
I wanted it to have a Celtic/Scandinavian folk feel since these are intriguing parts of my newly discovered DNA. I’d love it if people find it soothing, in this age where music is over-produced and mixed to a flat line with no dynamics. I hope their souls can recognise that this is a real mature human voice sharing an earthly experience and connect with the authenticity. I wanted the album to have a real, live feel so I could easily re-produce it live on stage.
- The single’s theme surely differs from other music. What gave you the inspiration for it?
I think the video shows what inspired this – body art!
- The musicality of the song is empowering and moving. How did it all fall together?
Thanks, I just gave my producer Tim Skedden a voice recording of me and the acoustic and he built the rest around it.
- The music video’s concept and execution are mind-blowing! At what point did you know that this was the direction you’d take?
Obviously the body art had to be prominent and I included my own art. I don’t rate myself as a visual artist but these shapes and patterns come out of my pen all day long naturally so may as well incorporate them into the vid!
- Can you give us a glimpse of what to expect in your forthcoming EP “Guns of Dialogue?”
This is the second to last glimpse you’ll get of the upcoming EP. I have one more single “Only Owls” to release in April then it’s out. It’s five rock-based tracks with different flavours – including one in te re Māori but overall – it’s a powerful, varied, dynamic collection that you’ll want to listen to all the way through and over again!
- Thank you for your time! Best of luck on your creative pursuits.