There are many ways to describe Trance music: emotional, melodic, uplifting, danceable, fun, energetic. It can make you feel passion and pull you through pain. Vocal Trance is not solely about the music, but is also accompanied by equally important lyrics and the structured melodies around the vocals. A familiar voice behind the trance music phenomenon is JES.
A classically trained singer, songwriter and DJ, JES has been at the forefront of trance music for over a decade. After three artist albums – Disconnect, Into the Dawn – The Hits Disconnected, and High Glow – and touring throughout 6 continents and countless countries, JES added DJing to her live show, singing along to her tracks as she mixes. She has worked with the top producers in the industry including Tiesto, BT, ATB, Kaskade, Armin Van Buuren and more. Unleash the Beat, JES’ highly regarded mix show has just entered its second year of syndication and due to demand has now been launched as a weekly show. Last weekend JES brought her Unleash the Beat Tour to BLEU, gracing us with her angelic voice and powerful stage presence.
Detroit legend, DJ Godfather, is pumping up the crowd when Emily and I arrive, and JES is behind the booth getting ready for show time. Her petite stature almost surprises me when I think of the power and punch behind the voice that this body is attached to. She greets us with a warm hug and we all just start dancing like old girlfriends for a few minutes before finding a quiet(er) corner to talk.
RebeccaMich: I interviewed BT a few months ago and he had so many nice things to say about you.
JES: Aw, yeah! I know that he was just recently here.
RM: He was here performing on the release date of A Song Across Wires, which I know you worked with him on a few tracks for. Can you tell us about that and some of the other projects you have been working on this year?
JES: Yes! I did a few songs with BT, which are already out, and some with ATB which are coming out. I’m going to sing one of them tonight, the song called Tonight. I love BT. It’s great because he’s a real friend too. We’ve done a lot together, traveled a lot together and spend time in the studio together. You don’t always even get that, so it’s a great relationship that we have.
RM: He and I touched on your songwriting process since you two have worked together for so long now. I wonder how that works with the other projects you’ve done. Do producers usually send you something or do you typically write something first then send it out and say, “Hey, let’s put something to this”?
JES: It’s a little bit of both. A lot of times I’ll just send a song that I love in, depending on who it is to, and a lot of times if I do hear something that would go to a track, right off the bat, then I know it belongs there. If it doesn’t come, I hate to try to make it work into tracks, unless I can just feel it right away. It’s a bit of both though.
RM: I know myself and many others consider you to be the voice of trance music and really love all the work you’ve done in the genre. I also know that you are into acoustic styles and playing with a band in more of a rock setting. Do you feel that you have been limited to stay in the trance genre because of your notoriety in it?
JES: I think sometimes, yes. I actually don’t consider myself to be such a trance artist, as people do. I guess that’s mostly because the people I have worked with and the people who remix a lot of my stuff tend to be in that world. It’s been a blessing in so many ways and it’s coming around. It goes out of style… it comes back in style. The fan base is so strong and still there. It was very niche, but now it’s wider. I’m doing a lot of different things now and I think it’s good to grow and change. But, I’ll always work with BT and I’ve done some great things with Cosmic Gate and Tiesto and so many others.
Emily: I was just curious how you feel being a woman backstage with all the boys. Do you find it to be empowering or more limiting?
JES: You do have to be one of the boys a little bit. It still is such a boys’ club. I try not to think about it so much, and I never really did even when I got into this whole world and genre. It’s interesting and I just try to do and be my best within it, and that’s all you can do. You work hard, get to where you’re supposed to be and then the boys will have to take notice!
E: I know you travel a lot and are a forefront woman. It’s so admirable, especially to the people who look up to you. But what does your family think about what you do?
JES: (laughing) That is a very good question!
I think for a long time they didn’t even know what I did. I mean, they sort of know. Now I live half the time in California (she spends the other half living in New York, where she was born and raised). My mom has been to some shows. She came to the ATB show. I send her my promos and articles and other things and they kind of live vicariously through that.
RM: She probably stalks you on Facebook too I bet.
JES: Yea she sees my Facebook and stuff like that, so she does know more of what I do. I think when I finally started to really make a living out of it, it was like, “OK!” But they’ve always been very supportive and think it’s great. They also think I’m crazy, but so are they a little bit.
E: So the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree then?
JES: No. No, it doesn’t.
We took all of our crazy back to the floor and danced our asses of for the next couple of hours. JES brought the house down with our favorite throwbacks like Ghost, Imagination and an epic closeout with her famous hit track As the Rush Comes, a collab with Gabriel and Dresden under the moniker, Motorcycle.
As promised, we got to hear her sing Tonight from BT’s latest album, ASAW, and some of the newer songs like As We Collide, a track released the beginning of the year that JES teamed up with Christian Burns and Paul Oakenfold on.
She mixed in some trance classics like Tiesto’s “Flight 643”, danced just as hard as we were, and didn’t miss a note while singing us through a magical show.