When Jessica Morale released “Hunter” last year, the South Florida artist was looking to reclaim her agency and personhood with the hopes of inspiring others–especially women–to do the same. In our interview, she defined the song as, “a reminder to not give a damn about what others throw at you,” and through her declarations for determination, confidence, and self-assurance, she admitted that these were all things that she was still learning to do. Still, the alt-pop artist showed that there’s power in feeling your emotions wholly and finding the optimism even in pessimistic situations.
Since then, she shares that life’s been good and she has a ton of new music to come. “You’ll definitely be expecting another Jessica Morale EP this year,” she confirms her upcoming sophomore EP which follows up her 2017 debut EP, Good Intent. “I think a goal for me this year is to just care less about everything and everyone else, and just create and put out as much music as possible.”
A taste of what’s to come from Jessica is her new single “Never Be the Same” which is as dreamy as it is encompassing. “At the time, I was super reminiscent of a past lover I had and how it felt to fall in love for the very first time. How it was the most heavenly of highs and how it was the most dangerous willingness to do anything and everything for that person,” she looks back on writing the song and figuring out what it was about. Although the song was just released, she shares that it was written two years ago on her bedroom floor. “You want to be that person’s endgame and falling for the first time almost feels godlike. I wanted the production of the song to feel super ambient, almost as if you were flying to really depict that heavenly feeling. This is also the first song I had a hand in co-producing,” she exclaims.
I am definitely more cautious than I should be about love; in fact, I can be quite cynical. But there is still that part of me that still longs for that soulmate shit, you know?
In the excitement of “Never Be the Same” is the openness and eagerness for love and letting it in even when it’s happened before and didn’t work out. “I am definitely more cautious than I should be about love; in fact, I can be quite cynical. But there is still that part of me that still longs for that soulmate shit, you know?” Jessica admits when I ask her if her outlook on love is typically similar to the lyrics in the song.
“I know now that every love and every relationship you have is different and I try not to compare it to that first time. When you’re in your first relationship, you think it’ll never end. You feel invincible and you can be quite naive. I would have done anything and everything for that person.” Your first relationship/first love is always significant in some way because it’s your first time figuring out how to manage your life with another person in it and as such, it’s easy to feel idealistic about the experience. Jessica adds, “But life happens, and you move on, and you learn more about yourself and the standards you have for yourself in a relationship. I think that’s extremely important in order to grow.”
Although completely different in terms of feel and meaning, “Never Be the Same” and Jessica’s previous single, “Hunter” both incorporate the setting a dream-like alt atmosphere. She shares that she wrote, “Never Be the Same” before she wrote “Hunter” and chose these two because she felt they’d be good follow-ups. “I think that it’s a nice reminder to myself that it’s okay to be strong and somewhat cautious of snakes in the grass like, ‘Hunter,’ but always have space to let love in like in, ‘Never Be the Same,'” she explains.
When it comes to letting love in and being aware of your worth in a relationship, it goes beyond romantic dynamics. For Jessica, that’s very important. “Right now, I’m not in love with anyone. I deeply belong to myself at the moment and I’m just focusing more on self-love,” she starts when I ask her about the impact on love in her life. “I have a tendency to push people away because I’m cautious of love and being hurt again. I also just really don’t want to dedicate any time to anyone else right now and focus solely on my art.”
I think ‘Never Be the Same is just a nice reminder to love yourself as recklessly as you loved other people and to try and just trust the universe and allow that space to let love in if it happens.
“I think ‘Never Be the Same’ is just a nice reminder to love yourself as recklessly as you loved other people and to try and just trust the universe and allow that space to let love in if it happens,” Jessica sums it up.
The sentiment can be easier said than done sometimes especially in the moments when it feels hardest to look on the bright side. “There are always going to be people that are going to try and take you down. People that you think have your back sometimes have ulterior motives and it kind of makes you lose faith in people,” she admits when I ask her what’s some of the hardest lessons she’s learned. “I know that if I stay true to my art, trust the process, and surround myself with people who believe in me, I will succeed.”
Although she admits to having cynical and guarded tendencies, that kind of self-care and focus on allowing herself to be vulnerable and open has been her coping mechanisms. “I think surrounding myself with positive, supportive and creative individuals is what helps me get out of my funk. There are always going to be days where you feel like you aren’t worthy enough and anxiety and depression can take its toll. I find that if you try and accomplish one small task when you are feeling sad, it can make you feel a small sense of accomplishment,” she explains. “Being kind to yourself and giving yourself a fighting chance is also essential. Take a walk, light a candle, take a shower, or just call a friend.”
“If you surround yourself with positive, like-minded, and supportive individuals, and just let the art speak for itself, you are more likely to succeed and thrive in a supportive environment,” she responds when I ask her about the greatest lessons she’s learned while pursuing her artistry.
Being kind to yourself and giving yourself a fighting chance is also essential. Take a walk, light a candle, take a shower, or just call a friend.
Recently, Jessica had to take time off while dealing with an issue with her vocal cords and going through recovery. Sharing the process and talking about it on social media including the hard parts and the impact it had on her work, she assures that she’s doing a lot better now. “It definitely took a toll on my mental health not being able to sing or really work on music. For me, singing is an essential part of how I write. I like to know how the words sound or melodies sound together and just playing instruments wasn’t as fulfilling to me. This time away has taught me patience and serenity for sure,” she exclaims. “I’ve just been doing what I can and not trying to overwhelm myself or stress myself out. I’m getting better day by day and I’m about to see a vocal coach in a few days so I’ll start getting my strength back.”
In her upcoming music, Jessica explores anxiety, depression, and coping further which she says isn’t super surprising for her but might be for her audience. “My music is always super inspiring and almost anthemic of loving yourself and rising from the ashes, but my uncertainty, insecurity, and sometimes cynicism is going to come out a lot more this year. I think it’s important to be vulnerable in your art, and I’ve been writing a lot about suppressed emotions I experience every day,” she shares.
“I think now the music I’m writing is a lot more vulnerable and is an acknowledgment that sometimes I am the villain. I’m not afraid now to cast myself in a bad light because I’m not perfect,” Jessica admits stating that her upcoming music will be a continuation of her previous work and a new direction. “It’s pop, it’s alternative, it’s gritty, it’s synth, it’s acoustic, it’s electronic, and it’s experimenting on so many different levels and exploring all of the parts that make me. I’m so excited to share.”
With the hopes that 2020 will be a big year for herself in terms of releasing music and growing as an artist, she promises a lot more music, visual content, and the previously mentioned EP in the works to release this year. While she explores more of her sound and what her definition of being an alt-pop artist is through this year, she’s also determined to focus on trusting herself and her musical intuition. “I think sometimes in a sea of R&B and Hip Hop here in South Florida, it tends to be a little difficult to make some traction as an alt-pop artist, but I think sticking to your guns and consistency with being true to yourself will eventually persevere. I’m going to be a household name one day and I’m determined to make this thing happen,” she declares. “I’m not too worried about fitting in, I just always want to be authentic as an artist and true to myself and my fans.”
Jessica Morale’s Mini-Playlist for Readers:
Never Be the Same is available on all platforms you buy or stream music.
(photo cred: Valerie Perez)