Jillian Ann (OMP Model #1874) has been a major force on the creative scene for the past 10 years, making her living solely from being a model as well as a musician. This is the third of three installments covering our exclusive interview with the artist.
OMP: Tell us about how you started your musical career.
Jillian Ann: I started playing the piano and singing as a child, then I started making electronic music as a teenager, then I got involved with deejaying in my teens. Since then I have been working on developing myself as a multimedia artist, where the modeling has helped greatly.
I had my first record deal in my teens, which was great but limiting. I soon decided I preferred to fund my own work and be able to create what I wanted when I wanted how I wanted. I met some supporters — including some from the modeling world — who have helped me fund and acquire all the gear needed, like the programs, microphones, computers and so on, none of which are cheap. I have released five albums and EPs which I see as major steps in my developmental process.
I am about to release a lot of new music that I have been working on for the past several years which is exciting for me. It has taken a while because I have been building it all one piece at a time. It is all finally at a point where I can create what I want how I want on the level I want. I have been working with amazing producers and remixers from around the world and here the internet has helped me again since many of the collaborations have been done via emails and sharing files:) or visiting for a few days. It may have taken me years to build it, touring and performing close to 200 shows but now between everything I have learned in and through modeling and music, I feel I am just now really tapping into a place where everything I have been working on is coming together. I am very blessed to be here and am super excited about where it is going,
OMP: How does your background as a model help you as a performer?
Jillian Ann: Modeling really helped me see myself as a visual product and helped me get comfortable in my own skin, it also taught me so much about how to be present and how to work with people all over the world. It has taught me about creative collaborations as well as how to communicate even if it is difficult. The people I meet the stories I get inspire my songs, working in the visual arts for so long has my brain wired that if I hear a song, I see pictures, and because of modeling and my experience in it I can not only make music but all the visuals to go with it I can take a song and have it inspire a picture, a video, a vibe, and without years of modeling I would not know how to set up a set, or make sure the lighting is in the right mood, I wouldn’t know how to style or hire or put together a crew which now I am often asked to cast other models and suggest support staff and even photographers.
I have learned how to produce visuals shoots and create in teams. Which is vital as a musician and performer in the current times as everything is about multimedia and many artist don’t understand how to cross a vision into multiple medias.
OMP: Tell us about your new album and your involvement with it.
Jillian Ann: I am writing all the songs, they come from my heart and life experiences. I start the songs on my piano and build the track up layer upon layer, then send the pre-produced work to whoever is chosen to help me finish it. There I am actively involved with everything from the sounds chosen to the mix down. I am really hands-on in all I do.
With the remixes I let go and let them do as they wish initially and then come back to alter things if needed. I have been touring, traveling and shooting all summer so I am looking forward to spending a good part of this winter in LA finishing a whole new record or so. There is no part of this record from writing to releasing that wasn’t under my eye, I worked with a fairly large amount of people to do it all producers, editors, labels, remixers, photographers graphic designers, but my manager and I spearheaded it all and made it all happen with the amazing team of people, including Bruce Somers, Billy Sheahan, Sequoia Emmanuel, and many others all who gave so much to helping this vision become a reality.
OMP: What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?
Jillian Ann: Work on music all the time, that means singing, playing, the visual aspect, and promoting it all the time. Everyone I know who is successful works insane amounts of time on their music and gives their soul and heart to it. If you’re not passionate about it to the point of putting it first, those who are fighting for the stage are. Work hard, learn as much as you can, and as a wise person once said “be nice to everyone you meet on the way up because you will have to see them again on the way down.”
Just because you can sing, or write a song or play drums doesn’t mean you’re going to get my attention, if I can’t feel your soul coming out through your music, your art, your voice then I am bored and they will be too. Do not conform to try to be like Lady Gaga or anyone else, just be you, find the “you” and be the best at it.
No one can be you, there is no competition there is no reason to think there is competition the only one that can hold you back is you, it’s not someone else’s fault. If they are on stage and making records and you’re not, except you. So find your heart, find your soul, find your voice, be it singing or a instrument and never give up and work on it as much as you can. Do it because you love it, from your heart and do the best you can , learn all you can, don’t give up just because you’re not on MTV ( wait they don’t even show music videos) You may not make money for a long time, but do it for more than money, do it because you love it because it makes you happy then the money and doors will come.
Art is a path, a process, a journey. Love it and never give up no matter what anyone says. I just want to encourage all of you to follow your dreams and to be creative.
OMP: What are your touring plans?
Jillian Ann: I have been playing a ton of shows and continue to on the west coast so if you’re on the west coast please visit my site and you can always find my tour dates there that or email me who you are and where you live and if I happen to play near you I will let you know. I plan on doing tons of touring after the winter and once I am finished with all of the music I am currently up to my knees in. I did play 12 shows at Burning Man which was insane and loads of fun and a challenge but a beautiful and amazing experience.
You can visit the model-musician’s site at http://www.JillianAnn.com.
See more of Jillian Ann on her OMP Portfolio
Image by GADImages