Five Questions With… Jessie Munro
Since making a splash in CBC's Over the Rainbow series, the Toronto-born singer/songwriter has graduated from Berklee, moved to LA, and recently released a debut EP. She discusses that record, her musical journey, and an early love for the Spice Girls here.
By Jason Schneider
Rising Canadian vocalist Jessie Munro has come a long way from placing sixth in CBC’s search for Dorothy for its 2012 Over the Rainbow series. Since then, the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based artist has been making her own music, and recently released her debut EP, entitled On My Own.
As heard on the EP’s second single “Under Fire,” Munro has everything it takes to find a niche within the adult pop world, as she capably ties together many modern genres with a voice that’s compelling without being overpowering.
It’s an approach rooted in her early forays into musical theatre, which led to a four-year stint at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Now she is focused on songwriting, and On My Own tells the story of living through heartbreak with relatable, honest lyrics.
Follow Jessie Munro on Twitter at @jessieleith.
What was your musical vision for On My Own and how did you achieve it?
I started working on the On My Own EP with my collaborator Jonah Summerfield about three years ago and, in our initial conversation, we both agreed on creating a fusion of old classic rock with modern elements. We took our time on this project, which allowed us to go back a lot and polish. We pulled from our influences a lot, as well as just exploring my voice and finding different colours. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I think we found the sounds we were looking for as well as some we didn’t expect.
What songs on the EP are you particularly proud of and why?
There are two songs that stand out to me and both for different reasons. “On My Own,” the title track, was the first song Jonah and I wrote for this project.
At the time I was dealing with a breakup and learning to find my independence again, and this song helped me acknowledge the feelings that come with being alone and missing someone. I’m grateful for that song because it let me move forward. Similarly, the final track of the EP, “Patiently, I Wait,” was a therapeutic experience. It’s a song about something bad happening between two people and knowing that the aftermath of that relationship is now a part of life. There is something about saying it out loud that makes it more manageable.
What’s been the most significant change in your life over the past year?
I moved to LA this past year, and I think its been one of the most significant choices I’ve made in my short adult life. After living in Boston for four years and studying there I moved out to the west coast with a handful of my peers from Berklee, learning to function on my own and create my network of work relationships and friends. I’m 24, so I’m smack dab in the middle of my “finding your way” twenties, and despite the ups and downs, I’m having a great time figuring it out.
What are your fondest musical memories as you were growing up?
I have one memory that stands out. When I was a kid, maybe 4, I remember sitting my parents down on the couch in the mornings before they would go to work and putting on the Spice Girls and doing a performance for them. I’m not entirely sure why that memory leaps out, but I’ve always appreciated them humouring me pre-coffee.
What do you recall about your first time performing in public?
Growing up, my parents would have me perform in front of whoever would watch but the first time I performed in a professional production occurred when I was a contestant on CBC’s Over The Rainbow. I remember the first live show we did—we were all on the stage in our Dorothy dresses with our backs to the audience waiting to be on air. I was so nervous but so excited to be there with all of the girls. We were all talking in our in-ears [monitors] wishing each other good luck. That’s a very fond memory.