Photo Credits: Cindy Natalia
Don’t Go Looking For Love, has a brilliant music video depicting a man who is struggling, constantly on the run, and with many women in heels chasing after him, how long did it take for you to have this vision come to life?
JB: I wrote this guitar riff back in 2017 and I had a basic melody for the song. The melody reminded me of a toxic relationship that I was in a long time ago. In this relationship, she was controlling, and would give me a “guilt trip” if I wanted to spend time with my family and friends. I was so young and I did not see how toxic the relationship was until other people started telling me that I needed to get out of it. It is a vulnerable topic to discuss and I knew that there were other people out there that have been in the same situation. I wrote this song to be an anthem for those who needed clarity and help with getting out of a toxic relationship. It is a difficult thing to escape because it feels like the other person in the relationship has a hold on you that you just cannot shake.
Once I launched my music journey in 2022, I immediately prioritized making music videos. I met Alexx Dominguez, a videographer from Montana, who is living in Austin to pursue opportunities in this great city. We met up weekly at a coffee shop in downtown Austin and I gave him all my ideas for the music video. We then discussed how to successfully execute these ideas, locations, and much more. My girlfriend, Emily Williams, the owner of Artistry Scope, is an artist and she came up with the idea of creating a map. Then, I realized that we could incorporate that idea into the music video because it could be a ‘quest for love’ but everywhere the map guides you, that toxic relationship follows you. Alexx Dominguez loved the idea, and then all the ideas came together.
One of your lyrics that repeat in Don’t Go Looking For Love is “Cause there’s a snake inside a dove,” can you please elaborate on what this means?
JB: I wanted this line to stand out in my song because I really feel like it sums up the entire premise. The idea behind the lyric is that you truly do not know somebody even if you think you do. They may seem innocent, angel-like, and sweet (like a dove), but they really have bad intentions and slither their way into your life until they have a hold of you. This is what it feels like to be in a toxic relationship. I wanted to find a way to relate with a lot of people with this song, and I am proud of this lyric, because I think it is relatable. Also, my grandfather was one of my biggest inspirations for me to pursue my dream of being a musician, and he gave me his 1960’s Gibson Dove guitar. So, I had a graphic designer create a logo with a snake coming out of my Gibson Dove guitar. You can see this logo in the credits at the end of the music video. I still think until this day that my grandfather was guiding me to make this song and to come up with this lyric. I feel like it was meant to be.
Your lyrics depict a similar situation for both a man and a woman. What influenced you to write from multiple perspectives?
JB: Too many songs are from a mans perspective where women are always seen as the villain in a toxic relationship. This is not the case and I believe there are a lot of women out there that are currently in a toxic relationship, but just do not know how to get out of it. I wrote this song to be relatable to both perspectives because I always try to make all my songs relatable to anybody regardless of their background. I want this song to empower anyone to end a relationship that they should not be in. Music is a powerful tool that can empower someone to make a decision that would better their life.
The scene in your music video depicting a mermaid/siren stands out as unique. What made you add this fantasy element to your story?
JB: This was the most fun scene to film for this music video. It was very difficult to execute. We filmed this scene in Barton Creek, which is the creek that feeds into Lady Bird Lake. Alexx Dominguez placed his $5000+ dollar video camera in a fish tank so he could submerge it underwater. The fact that he would risk his camera for this music video gives me so much respect for him!
I came up with this idea because sirens in Greek mythology are depicted as evil, even though they are beautiful. I feel like this was very relatable to a toxic relationship. Sirens are manipulative and find a way to control their target by singing a song that leads you to your demise. In a toxic relationship, your significant other may be manipulative and tell you what you want to hear, leading you to being unhappy in the long run once you find out who they really are.
Your Instagram biography states that you have Appalachian roots. How has the transition from your birthplace to Austin, Texas affected your music and life as a whole?
JB: Both of my parents were born and raised near Williamson, a small town in southern West Virginia. A majority of my family still live in West Virginia and Kentucky and many of my family members are coal miners, nurses, truck drivers, and much more. My dad is a structural engineer, so we lived all across the country and moved from city to city. I was born in the Midwest, but we were guided back to our roots because my dad inherited a 100+ acre property in Culloden, West Virginia that has been in our family for over 100 years. My parents live there for half of the year and the other half in Austin. I spend a lot of time at this property, and I have even written a lot of my music while I was there. Growing up, I would spend my holidays in West Virginia visiting my grandparents. My grandfather, Eugene “Poppy” Jackson was one of the biggest inspirations to me for pursuing my dream of being a musician. He was a self-taught musician. He was a man of god and was a preacher. He impacted so many lives and inspired many people by preaching up and down every holler in the region. He played his 1960’s Gibson Dove guitar like a banjo with banjo picks. He played that guitar every Sunday in church. When he got much older, he gave me his guitar and it is my most prized possession. He would always tell me “Son, you sure know how to pick that guitar. Stick with it and you will go somewhere one day”. My music journey is dedicated to my grandfather and to my familial roots. I feel like who I am, has been shaped by my family and all my experiences being around them. I feel like Poppy is guiding me every day and I strive to make him and my family proud.
With another great song under your belt, what plans do you have to continue fueling the soundtrack of peoples’ lives?
JB: I am currently working on an album with my producer, Andrew Middleton, who is based out of Nashville, Tennessee. He is absolutely incredible and he always succeeds at bringing my vision to life. He is a producer I will work with for a very long time. When I launched my music journey last year, I would release a single every two months and then a music video would follow its release. This strategy got very expensive for me and I couldn’t afford to make a music video for each song I released, so I needed a new strategy. I currently have six original songs released and I want to focus on marketing those songs. I have six new songs already recorded and I am working on two more songs with my producer. I have a bunch of live shows lined up with my band in May and June and will make that a priority this year. I have an agent who is helping me with marketing my released music. I am also making funny reels on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube that you all should check out! I will continue to make myself vulnerable by telling stories in my music that people can relate to. Sometimes it is hard to find the courage to express certain emotions, but music is a powerful tool that can capture a story you want to tell in a relatable way.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. It really means a lot and I really appreciate your support. I am excited to continue telling my story because I have so much more to share. I am excited for everyone to hear my new songs that I am working on because I feel like my songwriting keeps getting better. This is only the beginning!
Interviewed By Sophia E. Henry
FOLLOW JB ELWOOD: