Singer/Songwriter Michele Jusko
Q: When did you decide to become a musician?
A: I really started my music career seriously about 10 years ago. I started songwriting and teaching myself how to play the piano. The impetus was finding my birth mother and discovering I have all these musical genes in my family. I was adopted when I was a baby. My birth mom is a singer, my birth father is a pianist, bass player and composer, and graduated from the Manhattan School of Music. My maternal grandfather was a percussionist for the Boston Symphony for over 20 years.
Q: Did you grow up around music? Were your parents supportive of you getting into the music industry?
A: I did not grow up around music in my immediate family, but my uncle is a musician and actually was in a band with Paul Simon many moons ago – before he formed the infamous Simon & Garfunkel. My adoptive parents are caring and loving people but not creative types and are pretty conservative in their views about careers. They would rather me have a steady 9-to-5 job with great health benefits. They had a hard time supporting my music career because they knew I started much later than most people and it’s a really crazy, tough business even for youngsters!
Q: Who were your musical influences growing up?
A: Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Sarah McLachlan, The Cure, and Peter Gabriel.
Q: What was the first song you recorded and what was that experience like?
A: The first song I recorded was “A Place I Belong.” It was a great learning experience. Tracked the song all in one day. Improvised with new string players (violinist and cellist) and two back-up vocalists. The musicians did an amazing job. The biggest learning curve for me was adjusting to recording vocals in a studio. I was used to performing live, and it’s a very different beast.
Q: What inspires your songwriting?
A: Often I’m inspired by my own experiences or family or friends’ experiences. Sometimes my inspiration comes from a mood I’m feeling, or an observation of something new that resonates with me. Could even be a
news story or an article I read. Many times, I get song ideas when I’m hiking or driving - which can be quite dangerous because I get distracted and excited about it and need to be paying attention to the road!
Q: Which tracks have you gotten licensed to TV shows?
A: I’ve had vocal licenses on TV and in film for: “Free Free,” “Beautiful Neurosis,” “Don’t Run Away” and “Walk Away.” Instrumental licenses for: “Beautiful Neurosis,” “Don’t Run Away,” “Flawed,” “Walk Away” and “Bare.”
Q: How did that licensing come about?
A: Some were through my own submissions and others were through non-exclusive music licensing companies.
Q: How have you evolved creatively as an artist throughout the years?
A: I’ve really learned to experiment more over the years and try different musical sounds and instrumentation. Also, I’m not as constricted by “typical” songwriting structure. For example, I may start with a chorus instead of a verse. Or I might add a post-chorus instead of a pre- chorus. Or I might put a bridge in an atypical place in the song. I try not to dictate how the song “should go” and let the process just happen more organically.
Q: When are you planning on releasing a follow-up album to The Great Unknown?
A: I released two singles “Wake Up Call” (acoustic) and “I Like You (Inside Out)” in August 2013 and have been writing several other songs that I plan to release with those singles on a full album hopefully in early 2015.