Jaclyn Reinhart — Sleep With Ghosts interview
While Jaclyn Reinhart’s new EP Sleep With Ghosts reveals the emotional scars left behind from the challenges she has faced, she is also unafraid to share the inner workings of her impassioned past and hopes to take her listeners on a journey from “hurt to hopeful.” The 5-song roots-driven collection features collaborator John McLaggan of Tomato/Tomato and is available now.
I recently sat down with Reinhart to discuss the unpredictability of life, discovering her worth, and embracing – literally – Grace Potter.
Americana Highways: With your new EP Sleep With Ghosts, you’re really pulling the curtains aside on your life and giving people a glimpse inside. Can that be a daunting and sometimes scary prospect – putting so much of yourself into your songs, especially in the age of social media where everybody seems to have a megaphone they’re willing to scream their opinions into?
Jaclyn Reinhart: I have always been a very open person and unafraid to share my feelings, at times to a fault. Music and social media give me that outlet, which has been a blessing and a curse.
AH: Having such strong emotional ties to your songwriting offers up the kind of truthfulness that an audience can relate to and find themselves in. What do you hope people take from the album?
JR: I hope that people will recognize that although life can be unpredictable, the beauty is that we get to choose how to react with the challenges. I’ve hit the bottom before and it was a tough road but I put in the work. I want people to know that it is possible to heal and thrive.
AH: What would somebody learn about you in sitting down to listen to Sleep With Ghosts front to back?
JR: It is a journey from hurt to hopeful. They would learn that I recognized that I wasn’t being treated right by others AND myself, but found the confidence to embrace who I am at my core and that things continue to get better.
AH: You have said that the you on your last album and the you on Sleep With Ghosts are, in some ways, two different people. With that in mind, what would the Jaclyn from 2016 think of this EP?
JR: I have a hard time putting myself back in shoes that I tossed out long ago, but I believe she would feel like it was a breath of fresh air and be inspired. She was only beginning to see her worth at that time, so she might not have believed she could get better, but here I am!
AH: The record was originally due in 2020, but then, as we all know, plans were forced to change for so many. With that in mind, did Sleep With Ghosts take on a new breath of unexpected air given the pause you had to take?
JR: It certainly did! I had time to take advantage of some professional development through using some amazing songwriting seminars. I couldn’t help but to dissect the songs and rework lyrics. John McLaggan and I also reworked some parts of the arrangements that impacted the tracks in such a beautiful way. With the goal of moving my sound to more Americana, roots rock, we added Wurlitzer and organs along with piano by John’s friend, Jon Estes in Nashville, to some tracks AND I invited the Juno-nominated Saint John String Quartet. Also, I ended up adding background vocals by Mike Biggar who is also a powerhouse, award-winning musician/songwriter.
AH: What is something that has come out of your journey with music that you could have never considered when you started in this creative direction, but now that you have experienced it, you can’t imagine your life without?
JR: I think that the biggest impact that I have had along my journey was spending eight weeks in Toronto at Canada’s Music Incubator in their Artist Entrepreneur program. It was an experience that really unveiled the music industry to me and helped me be realistic about my goals and the work that I had to put in. Being from a very small area sometimes the idea of “getting famous” or “making it” seems so romantic, but it is very vague. I actually don’t fantasize about being famous anymore – I focus on creating and enjoying the journey. I set goals and celebrate reaching them, readjust when I miss the mark, continue to learn how to become better than I was yesterday and enjoy this crazy journey.
AH: At any point in your career did you have a mentor who helped guide you, and if so, do you long for a time when you can help chaperon the dreams of a future singer/songwriter?
JR: I have had many mentors along the way and each one brings a unique perspective to the table. There is no way that I could have felt this confident about my new record without them because I know that I made better informed decisions because of them. I have actually done some forms of mentoring to other artists who have reached out and advised them based on my own personal success up to this point. Now with this record, I feel that I will have more to offer and in turn be able to continue to help up-and-coming artists on their journey!
AH: We spoke about the Jaclyn from 2016, but lets go back even further to the Jaclyn who first picked up an instrument. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give her if you had a chance to be there at her first lesson or artistic epiphany?
JR: I wish that I could go sit down with that girl and spend some time talking to her! I’d tell her that if she wanted to pursue music to NOT compare herself to other artists but to take inspiration from their paths only to carve your own. Keep honing your craft, ask questions, get constructive feedback and find a mentor (s) who will be a mirror to you. Also, I’d tell her to trust herself more and not look for validation from anyone else because being confident brings you to a beautiful place.
Also, relationships are hard but they make for some good songs!
AH: While it’s not always healthy to compare ourselves to others, who is a songwriter that you wish you could tap into the creativity of? Whose body of work would you make your own if you could?
JR: GRACE POTTER!!! I’d like to note that Sheryl Crow will always be my queen but Grace is also just off-the-hook amazing. Her style, voice, musicianship, writing and overall attitude just make me want to be a better artist.
Side note: she hugged me once!
AH: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
JR: I hope that I’m able to travel the world performing in theaters where people are so pleased to sit down and listen to my stories and laugh at my jokes. In addition, I hope to have my life fully-supported by my music and written with many more co-writers, have placements for licensing/sync, and that people who connect with my music continue to heal and celebrate themselves.
No matter what level my career hits… music will always be a huge part of my life. I am on this journey, so here we go!
To get your hands on the independently-released by Jaclyn Reinhart, Sleep With Ghosts, visit www.jaclynreinhartofficial.com.