I didn’t really know what to expect when I arrived at Flint Eastwood’s set during SXSW. It was the hottest day of the week and she appeared in long braids and overalls. I had listened to her songs “Queen” and “Push” non stop when they came out. Her sound is so incredibly unique, it’s dynamic, it’s inspiring. She defines herself as a pop singer, but the genre doesn’t do her justice because it’s pop music with bite, it’s got teeth.
The crowd that came out to watch her was dedicated if not just curious since she immediately called out audience members who wouldn’t bend to her will. She instructed them when to dance and when to shout out at her, "We're going for loud not pretty!" she yelled over the audience. Not in a way that seems threatening, but in a way that makes you want to follow her.
She says, “I just really like music, if you see me on the dance floor I’m doing the same thing. I thoroughly enjoy performing and to me I feel like for my art I want people to connect and learn to be themselves and hopefully by me showing them I can be myself that they can do the same.”
Flint Eastwood aka Jax Anderson grew up in Michigan. She says, “My dad is one of ten kids and all of them sing and play guitar. My parents met when my dad was in a traveling choir. Whenever I got older, my brother was in punk bands and I’d be the little kid at punk shows.”
That Michigan background is important. Detroit is a hotbed for music, it’s the birthplace of Motown and techno and has an incredible music scene. She says, “The beauty about every Michigan musician is they don’t follow their trends they make their own genre. That’s definitely given me an ‘I’ll do what I want to do’ mentality.”
She also has this unbeatable determination. When I saw her perform she was on the hottest day of the festival and decked out in full overalls, but she still jumped all across that stage and had this look on her face like she was ready to beat out the weather.
She says, “Midwest is a very landlocked are so there’s not a lot of outside influence so everyone works hard and gets shit done. They know their values and what they want in life.”
Her songs are so bold, they have this hip-hop essense with elaborate orchestration, it’s just a little bit of everything. What’s at the core is Jax’s incredible songwriting. She can tackle important issues and go deep into her emotions. She says, “I write about life, when my mom passed away I did an entire EP about it and how grief affected me in different ways. This last EP was about my friends in Detroit and how we didn’t have any money and we shouldn’t be succeeding but we are, it’s the human experience.”
Her song “Queen” is truly one of my favorites, she sings, “I'm a queen not a soldier. Got something to fight for. I'm losing my mind, my mind, my mind. I'm a queen not a soldier. Relentless and chosen. I'm fighting a war tonight”
The song is about how she’s the boss of her own art and she’s in control of her music. It’s a powerful sentiment. She says, “I think as long as we’re a minority in music it will always be more challenging [to be a woman] but I don’t let it hold me back. I never think ‘I can’t do this because I’m a woman’ I just think ‘I’m going to be a boss and say what my opinion is and stand up for what I believe in.’”