Interview: "Crying In A Church" by Jillian Ann
Q: “Crying In A Church” is such a powerful song! What inspired you to write it?
Jillian: This particular song came from a personal experience, as the title says, it is literally something that I did one night when I was really feeling down about my life and the things that were going on in it. I would go out by myself and visit the North End in Boston frequently, and on that main street, there is a church called St. Leonards, and I would go there to pray and meditate a lot during the night hours when there were no masses going on. The church is very beautiful and is surrounded by statues of saints that you can go up to and pray to. There was one night where I was completely alone in the church and I just broke down and cried to all of these saints and God and was just questioning my faith because there was so much pain and trauma going on in my life at that point. Then one day while I was sitting at my desk at work, I just started writing some lyrics to this experience, in literal terms, just thinking about that night and just started with the lyric, "I'm crying in a church right now", and it just flowed from there because it was such a real experience.
Q: What first got you into music?
Jillian: Since I was a baby there was always music playing in my house since my parents loved music. But I think I really got my love for music from my Nana, who recently passed away. She was a very talented pianist and played completely by ear since she was 2 years old. She would sing to me as a baby to get me to stop crying, especially the song "When You Wish Upon A Star" from the Disney movie Pinocchio. Then when I got older I started to learn piano by ear as well and would always want to sing everywhere I went. So I joined choirs in school and sang in church for many years at my parish. When I got to college I started writing songs and joined bands there and that really sent me head first into music as a career. But none of this would have been possible without my Nana as she passed her gifts down onto me, and I dedicate all of this to her.
Q: What was studying at Berklee College of Music like for you?
Jillian: Berklee was a surreal experience for sure. It almost feels like it was all a dream now. I got accepted there after I auditioned with one of my own songs, so it was thrilling to be able to go there knowing that my songs were "good enough" I suppose. I ended up majoring in Songwriting and got to study with some awesome professors. I met some great people there who helped me record my first EP, "Truly, Madly, Deeply" in the huge studios Berklee has, so that was a really fun experience. I also met my best friend and producer of this latest EP, Jayesh Prakash, while at Berklee, and he became one of the most important people in my life. He really understood what I was trying to communicate in this music and executed it perfectly and I will always be grateful to him.
Q: If you could swap places with any artist in the world for a day, who would you pick and why?
Jillian: I don't know if I would really want to swap places with another artist, because we are all our own unique selves and create our music differently. I really look up to a lot of artists like Kate Bush and Carly Simon, and would love to hang out with them and have a great conversation about music with them, since they are the artists I have connected and related to the most.
Q: What are your favorite hobbies to do outside of music?
Jillian: I played a lot of sports most of my life, and really enjoyed playing basketball especially. I love watching basketball and have a job where I am able to watch it in person all the time which is super enjoyable. I also like to swim and go on walks to clear my head. I am also an avid Disney World goer and am obsessed with Harry Potter. Slytherin House for life!
Q: What can we expect next from you? We can’t wait to hear more!
Jillian: I am actually planning on moving to Nashville soon which is really exciting and will be a huge step forward for me on my musical journey. I'm hoping to get to work on recording my debut album there and get to work with some really talented musicians. I have so much music in the vault that I am itching to record and Nashville is really the best place to do that for me. I'll keep you updated on all that!
Written By Sarah Curry