Jackie Carlson (Family Reunion) is a Waukegan, IL based artist who has been building up buzz by producing lush and immersive soundscapes. It's safe to say that we immediately became fans of her nostalgic and dreamy merging of infectious melodies and candid lyrics. We recently had the opportunity to talk to Jackie about her aspirations, music, and minion sized Shreks. Check it out!
(Photo by Iridian Salazar)
1. Who would win in a fight? 1 Shrek sized Minion, or 2 Minion sized Shreks?
1 shrek sized minion for sure.
2. Would you ever consider playing at the gathering of the juggalos?
I mean...if the opportunity presents itself.
3. What bands or albums have you been into lately?
I’ve been listening to “Peak” by Choker on repeat. I’ve also been listening to a lot of 80s hits.
4. We’ve been trying to come up with a slogan for the site. What is the first thing that you think of when you hear the words “Born Loser”?
I just got home from Denny’s and the only thing I’m thinking about right now is pancakes.
5. Can our cats be friends?
Our cats can do a facetime call.
6. Can we recreate the entire Everybody Loves Raymond series, but with our cats?
I don’t think we have enough cats between the two of us to be able to execute that properly.
7. I ask this all the time, but nobody ever actually does it. Can you do a cover of Dancing Queen by ABBA?
Maybe I can do it at a show for fun.
8. Favorite rapper?
Earl Sweatshirt or Saba..
9. You think that you can out-yodel the walmart kid?
Hell no I can’t. Fun fact though, I found out that we both are from Illinois.
10. Uhhhh on a scale from 1-10 how cute is the pill from Osmosis Jones?
10.5 out of 10
BL: For those who may not be familiar with you, can you tell us a bit about yourself and about your musical background?
Jackie of Family Reunion: I am an 18 year old from Waukegan IL who sings and writes songs. As far as musical background goes, I was in choir in high school. I graduated early so I could teach myself to play guitar better. I like watching TV and movies in my free time.
BL: I’m going to try to guess where the name “family reunion” came from, and you tell me if I’m right or wrong.
Your family planned a Christmas trip to Paris, but forgot you at home and didn’t even realize it until they were on the plane. Meanwhile, back in Chicago, the “Wet Bandits” were on the prowl. You found out that they planned to break into your home. You decided to rig the house with numerous booby traps. Harry and Marv (the wet bandits) broke in, sprang the traps, and suffered various injuries. While the duo pursued you around the house, you called the police and fled the house, luring the duo into a neighboring vacant home. Harry and Marv managed to catch you and discussed how they would get their revenge, but a man named Marley snuck in and knocked them unconscious with his snow shovel before they can harm Kevin. The police arrived and arrested Harry and Marv, having identified all the houses they burgled due to the latter's habit of flooding them. Then your family came home and it was a reunion.
Jackie: I’m going to be honest, i read this like 3 times before I realized you were reciting the plotline to home alone.
BL: When did you start making music, and what was the transition from making these songs to actually performing and recording like?
Jackie: I started to seriously make music last summer. Performing these songs for the first time live was terrifying. It was at my old high school for a dance. I messed up a lot since it was my first time. It was really funny though because right after they played the cha cha slide and I was just watching everyone dance from up on stage.
BL: How do you come up with your sound?
Jackie: I write songs that I myself would want to listen to. My music is just a culmination of everything that I’m listening to at the time.
BL: What is your favorite thing about music?
Jackie: I can use it to express myself in ways that words can’t. Music makes me feel like myself.
BL: What do you want your music to evoke in your listeners?
Jackie: I don’t necessarily want them to feel any certain type of way. If my listeners are feeling *anything at all* when they listen to my songs I will view that as an accomplishment.
BL: What do you enjoy most about the music making process?
Jackie: My favorite part of the process is hanging out with my producer and friend Ian (a.k.a. Tombo) and being able to listen to that very first draft at the loudest volume possible in their room. That’s always the most special part.
BL: What is your local music scene like? Would you say that it’s pretty supportive?
Jackie: Where I’m actually from, Waukegan, doesn’t really have a music scene. I play most of my shows in Chicago, which is a 45 minute to an hour drive south. I love playing in Chicago and all of the people I have been able to meet at these shows. It’s an amazing community.
BL: Who would you consider your musical influences?
Jackie: My main musical influence forever will be Hayley Williams. I also really like Amy Winehouse and King Krule when it comes to vocal inspiration. I learned a bunch of King Krule, Alex G and Cosmo Pyke songs on guitar last year which helped me choose a lot of the chords that I use in my songs.
BL: One of my favorite singles that you've released so far is 'Vision', can you talk to us about the story behind the lyrics ?
Jackie: Kind of. I met someone I really liked right off the bat and just wrote a song about it. The song is about being cautiously optimistic about someone you’re crushing on.
BL: You ever find out the reason they called?
Jackie: I mean, I don’t think I did, no.
BL: You tweeted a picture of your goals for this year. So far it looks like you’re accomplishing a lot of them. One of the things on the list is conquering your stage fright. How is that coming along?
Jackie: I’m definitely getting there. The more shows I play the more used to it I get. My main fear is messing up on guitar live but since i’ve been practicing a lot more it’s getting better.
BL: So you have your goals for 2018 set, but what are your goals for the next 5 years?
Jackie: Definitely #1 on that list is to get out of my hometown. After that, I guess I just want to inspire people by my music, just like how the artists I look up to have inspired me. Maybe also buy a boat that me and my manager Angel can live on.
BL: What would you say is the best way that we as listeners can support DIY artists that are just starting out?
Jackie: Any ounce of support means the world. I would say showing your friends said artists’ music helps a lot.
BL: Do you have any memorable onstage moments?
(Photo by Iridian Salazar)
Jackie: The last time I played live my zipper was down the entire time.
BL: What do you do before you take the stage at a show? Besides checking your zipper.
Jackie: I usually just walk around with my guitar just hanging around my neck and drink a lot of water. I don’t know. I still get pretty nervous before sets so I pace around a lot.
BL: Are you hoping for music to continue to grow for you into a full time career?
Jackie: Most definitely. It’s why i’m not in college right now. The dream is making a living off of doing what I love.
BL: What would success look like to you as far as your musical career?
Jackie: Being able to quit my job at Olive Garden would be a nice start.
BL: What can we expect to see from Family Reunion in the future?
Jackie: Lots and lots of shows and hopefully a few music videos. Definitely a lot more music before the year is over. I also plan on selling t shirts soon.
Bl: Any final thoughts or anything that you’d like for everyone to know?
Jackie: I bought my own guitar around this time last year and it is so overwhelmingly cool to see where things are right now. I really just want to thank anybody who has ever listened.
Listen to Family Reunion Here
Keep Up with Family Reunion: