Jackie Lipson is unstoppable and a true force. She gets real with us in her single, "Bully," which is basically about living in her own head. She has struggled with anxiety and depression since she was a kid. Her journey to self-acceptance was not easy. She's only used this love to embrace queerness and boldness.
Tell us the meaning behind the single "Bully."
Jackie: I've had anxiety all my life, and I've spent many years trying to shrink and make myself small to fit in. I wrote Bully as a reaction to crazy nightmares I began to have when I started taking anxiety meds. It was like all my anxiety transferred out of my reality and into my dreams. I realized that all these fears and insecurities that were playing out in these insane stories in my dreams were manifestations of the negative and judgmental things I was taught to believe about myself. That as a fat person, I was lazy, dragging behind, not as smart as other people. Like as a woman, I was supposed to be petite and agreeable and appeal to social ideals. That I was not queer-looking enough to outwardly identify as such and not feminine enough to fit in mainstream culture, I had locked my inner Bully in a prison inside my mind, and this song is me facing these false notions and calling them out.
How has being Queer has helped you or even hindered you in the music space?
Jackie: Being Queer is a blessing, and I am so grateful to be a part of such a rich, vibrant, and powerful community. In the music industry, there is a small (but growing) pocket of artists and industry folk who are doing groundbreaking things and supporting others that do the same and care about art. The difficult part about it is that oftentimes you need that support to get your foot in the door of an industry overwhelmingly run by cis, straight, white men. So you need people to see your value and talent who can relate to you, and that's where my community steps up and supports one another.
Tell me about body positivity and mental health and how that's played into your career?
Jackie: I have been on a long journey. I've struggled with anxiety, depression, ADHD, disordered eating, and body shame since I was a kid. It has held me back at times and certainly delayed my growth and progress in music. I know that my songwriting, my business sense, and so many other things wouldn't be as strong without my life taking the course, however bumpy, that it did. I'm pretty jazzed about where I am now. I recognize I wouldn't be at the place I am now without that struggle!
What's your songwriting process like?
Jackie: My songwriting process looks a few different ways. I try to write every day when possible and flex my creative muscle. Usually, I'll have a melody or a lyric idea in my head, and I just kind of vibe with it in my Notes app. When I'm feeling really inspired or on a roll with an idea, I write totally a cappella, meaning no instruments or track. Then either I'll add some chords on a guitar, or I'll send it to one of my producers to build it out more. When I'm not feeling as inspired, I like to find some guitar chords or sounds in Logic that fit my mood that day, and I riff on those until an idea comes.
What are you most excited about for this year?
Jackie: This year I'm most excited about my potential for growth in the music industry. I have a lot of plans for upcoming music and videos with stories I feel really compelled to share. My identity as an artist is evolving, and I feel kind of like a caterpillar who is about to escape her cocoon. I'm also writing for tv and film with wonderful production companies.
Jackie: Growth! I'm excited to get to put out more art that deals with nuanced and sometimes painful topics because I know how important it is to hear that other people are going through what you are. That there are people out in the world that get you, and to be able to relate to people through music and visually is such a satisfying and cathartic experience for me, and I hope it also is for people who listen to my music.
"At 15 years old, I begged my mom to take me to Walmart to get Taylor Swift's debut deluxe album and I never turned back. This was my very first entry point to stan fandom. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee I was exposed to a ton of music - from rapping 3 6 Mafia to bopping to Justin Timberlake's solo discography. Now, in LA have a day job working in nonprofit development, but by night, I'm a full-fledged fangirl. I'll listen to generally any genre, but I'm a sucker for a good pop song. If you ever need someone to scream sing Carly Rae Jepsen's E·MO·TION with, I'm your girl. No, I still have not gotten over the One Direction hiatus. Please continue to respect my privacy. Twitter : samfonggg, Instagram : samantha_fong"