Talented musician to perform at Shamrock Festival this weekend
By Chris Lewis | Vol. 12 No. 15 (July 25, 2019)
For the first time in 17 years, this Calvert musician is readying herself for her next full-length project.
Jackie Sullivan has, for as long as she can remember, been playing music and performing. She called it a passion, and her deep love of music is evident when she speaks about her career in the industry and what it does for her.
Sullivan can date her first gig back to 1994 at the Ship Pub in St. John’s. Seven-years later, in 2002, she found herself on a provincial tour through an emerging artist program with MusicNL. However, that year holds a bit more significance for Sullivan thanks to the release of her first album, Out of the Rain.
This project saw tremendous success, and even led to her becoming the recipient of the Female Artist of the Year award from MusicNL, as well as the CBC Rising Star award, both in the same year.
Since then, Sullivan has been busy with a steady stream of live performances across the province, all while providing her vocals on a number of compilation albums and other such projects with other artists.
A lot of those performances saw Sullivan acting as one half of a duo, alongside her musical partner Karla Pilgrim.
Still, throughout all this, Sullivan said it has been a long-time goal of hers to release a second album. In fact, she started the process in 2005, only a couple years after her first release, but put things on hold to embrace motherhood.
Now, however, Sullivan is finally ready for the physical release of that second album - Find Your Light.
“In that 17 years, I must say, I’ve had a very rewarding career. I went on to get married and have a family, but I continued to sing and record, do live performances, and record on some compilation projects,” Sullivan told the Irish Loop Post. “But, there was just nothing of my own. So, it was kind of a goal of mine to record and get a sophomore album out there. It’s been a journey - the road unfolded as it should, and I’m very excited about this record.”
The album has already seen a digital release on major streaming platforms, and has been readily available online since July 14. However, a physical copy is on the way, with a release party scheduled for August 25 at the Masonic Temple in St. John’s.
“It’s been a very exciting process, to watch your songs evolve from what you made them at your kitchen table, into something that you never thought they could be,” Sullivan said. “It’s been a great learning experience for me, too. It’s fulfilling to write your own material, and I really took the time to decide on what topics I wanted to write about. This album is very much a storytelling album, song wise, it’s something of a cross between roots-based material, and more contemporary folk material.”
Sullivan says the writing process this time around was significantly different than the first time, with an evolved sound and lyrics.
“Certainly, 17 years gives you a lot more wisdom and experience as a singer and as a songwriter,” Sullivan said. She described the first album as having more of a pop vibe, whereas this second release has a bit more of a sense of maturity. “The topics are very different - the things you want to write about when you’re 30 are different than the things you want to write about when you’re 47… This album has more of a roots feel to it, I think, and I think it’s probably more authentic to who I am as an artist.”
Sullivan was also glad to be more involved in the behind-the-scenes work with this album, being more hands-on and more present in the decisions that went into it made it feel more like her own album, she explained.
Sullivan hopes listeners can hear and understand the differences in her music this time around, and appreciate where they come from. More importantly however, she hopes this project will give listeners a sense of home.
“Music can be very healing, it can be a multitude of things. I just hope that, when people listen to these songs, that it brings them back home. I hope they’ll enjoy that, and I want it to evoke some fond memories in them,” Sullivan said.
In the title track, she says there is a message beneath the lyrics of rising above and perseverance. “I hope that that song in particular gives people the message to forge on,” said Sullivan. “It’s a song about humility in the sense that we are going to fall down, but to always keep going, and always get back up. I hope that sparks a fire in somebody.”
Sullivan’s new album can be listened to via most popular streaming services, including Spotify. For those looking to attend the release party later in August, tickets are available at Fred’s Records, O’Briens Clover Farm Store in Cape Broyle, The Hutch in Mobile and online at Eventbrite.com. And this weekend, you can take in a couple of performances by Sullivan at the Shamrock Folk Festival in Ferryland.