The following interview was conducted via email in April 2008.
(Interviewed by Ronny & John)
1 – What inspired you to enter the music business?
Jessica Wagner : I hate day jobs! Really, I just enjoy performing. I’m kinda shy as myself, but onstage, I get to be someone exciting.
2 – Tell us about your band “Envy” and how you landed a record deal with “MPC Recordings”?
The band Envy is a mixture of rock, pop, and soul. We are full of energy and we really put on a great show. The music drives and its in your face. But we are also not afraid to show our softer side with songs like “All of It.” As with most things in the industry, we just lucked out on meeting Michael Costanzo, the guy behind MPC. He just wanted to help us get our music to sound great. It’s kind of like a friend telling a friend telling a friend, who told him -“Hey, check out this band!”
3 – How did the opportunity to write songs for other artists come about at the beginning of your career?
Again, it was by luck. I was hanging out at a recording studio called Black House in Florida and someone needed a lyric. I just thought of something and they liked it. It made me realize how much I liked song writing. So, I just keep pitching ideas until they stick to someone!
4 – When did you first meet Kid Rock and how did talk begin into going on the road with the Twisted Brown Trucker band?
I sing with the famous disco/funk band Chic. I have been for about 5 1/2 years now. While performing for the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Bob saw Sylver, the other Chic singer, and me; and he liked the way our voices blended. From there, he asked us to sing on the Rock n Roll Jesus album. While we were recording, he talked about the upcoming tour and mentioned he might want us to come. I love rock music, so I thought it would be a fun and intense learning experience. So far, I love it. The band is awesome and I feel like they really welcomed me in.
5 – How did you learn to have such energetic and intensifying dance moves?
I can’t sit still. When music hits me, I have to move. The great thing about the show is that the songs are great to dance to.
6- What are some of the things you do before a show to properly prepare yourself?
I’m not the best at warming up! In fact, I need to do better about that! I kinda just bum around all day, maybe go to Target and get senseless and useless items, eat way too much, take a shower, throw my drag on, beat my face till I’m fabulous (that means makeup), and walk out on stage!
7 – Describe your friendship with Stacy Michelle and how much have you two learned from each other musically by working together?
I think she is amazing!! She has the kind of voice that really suits this music. It’s tough and gritty, but she can make it sound so sweet as well. I’ve learned a lot about the ins and outs of being on the road from her. She inspires me to warm up as well! She is much more diligent about those things. I admire her spirit as well. She won’t let anyone mess with her, but she can be the kindest, most gentle person when you need a friend. I’m glad that we are working together.
8 – What are some of your favorite fashion brand named clothes that you enjoy wearing during a Kid Rock show?
It’s not really about the name brand with me. If it looks good, I’ll wear it. I don’t care who you are. Well, I haven’t graduated to the status of Cavalli or Stella Mccartney either! But we make due. As long as I bling! I like to bring a little glam to the show. Every once in a while, I’ll tone it down, but something on me has to shine! That comes from being in Chic. With them, you have to dress the part and I appreciate coming from that school of thought. Sylver taught me a lot about fashion. But its necessary if you want to stand out.
9 – How have you adapted to performing in large arenas? Did you find it daunting at first?
It hasn’t been tough at all. Even though Chic is thirty years old, we have performed in front of really massive audiences. Their music stands the test of time and you can tell by the amount of fans that would come to the shows. So, the transition has been easy.
10 – Which artists are you a big fan of?
There are so many to name: Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Alicia Keys, Coldplay, STP, Chris Cornell, Kings of Convenience, Damien Rice, Aretha Franklin… There are just too many to name. I listen to everything from folk and country, r & b and rap, and full out rock and alternative.
11 – Do you feel that as back-up singer you are unable to fully showcase your talents?
I think as long as you are working on your on thing while singing backup, people will get into it. I have to use what I’m doing as a spring board for my own projects. I love singing with Kid Rock. It has been a great experience, but I would love to pack arenas one day with my own music. I am fortunate that people are paying attention because I’m singing with Kid Rock. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
12 – What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of music?
I am a sci fi geek. I will watch a Star Trek Next Generation marathon all day! My dream is to have a walk on role on Stargate Atlantis. I can’t believe I just admitted that. I also enjoy playing Guitar Hero on my Xbox. I have also been know to frequent the movie theatre at an unnatural pace. I love movies. For exercise, I pretend like I can actually play soccer. But the band and the crew know the truth to that! I should exercise more though!
13 – Are you a fan of talent shows such as ‘American Idol’? Do you think they are good for the music industry?
It is my guilty pleasure I must say. I think the industry is in a state of flux right now. With music as accessible as it is, I think major labels are just trying to find the best way to market artists so that it will fit in the Internet generation. American Idol has a built in audience ready to buy singles. It works. I don’t know how long the novelty will work, but I don’t it is going anywhere. I don’t think it necessarily hurts the industry. I think it is what it is. The world is hooked on reality shows, and the industry is just playing into that.
14 – How much fun do you and the band have backstage? Are there any rules?
Nope! No rules! It is pretty crazy at times. I’ll just leave it at that!
15 – Finally, do you have any upcoming projects you would like to mention to our visitors?
Just keep checking my myspace page. Pretty soon, Envy songs will be available on itunes and other download sites.So if you like the tunes, please feel free to pick em up!! More than once!!!