Kerri Watt displays her musical genius once more with the release of Jessie, a whirlwind tale of the wild-spirited and daring character Jessie, a “girl of the night with curly auburn hair,” and her tragic demise. It is an energetic and folk-like tune, a country song highlighting some of Watt’s influences as she has continued to broaden her music and win the hearts of fans everywhere.
‘Jessie’ really illuminates Watt’s imagination and ability to enthral an audience in a story. The opening guitar is both upbeat but also laced with a sadness, as though remembering the story of the infamous Jessie, and this is perfectly matched with Watt’s melodic voice – excited and lit up when recounting the “lion-hearted” Jessie, but softer, sadder, when Jessie falls into the wrong hands.
This emotion is particularly emphasised in the mesmerising music video (which, may I just inform you, was produced by Watt during lockdown – take that, Covid-19). Watt uses lighting and shadows in a way which perfectly suits the telling of this tale that feels as though it has been passed down through generations, and we can see the wistful, looking-into-the-distance expression etched onto Watt’s face as she does so. It feels as though we are being given access to this tale from someone who personally knew this character, and I love the characterisation from Watt, as sometimes she even seems to portray Jessie herself.
‘Jessie’ is certainly a beloved creation, as Watt has admitted that it was one of the first songs she wrote back in 2011! I personally am really glad that the story of Jessie has come my way, as I love the song’s style. It has a really interesting, enthralling story, and this is brought further to life by Watt’s voice. Firstly, by the fact that her Scottish accent is brought to light: as someone with a strong regional accent, I absolutely love and admire when singers don’t hide their roots and embrace their accents, as this is something that we should be proud of. As briefly mentioned, her voice is also full of performance and emotion. Her powerful voice soars through the first two choruses – “Oh Jessie, don’t be shy tonight / It’s show time, get in line, she’s such a crime.” It becomes edgier in tone when Jessie’s immanent danger is revealed, these jagged edges exposing the cracks and adding further depth to the story. Finally, Watt is able to turn the third chorus into something much more mournful, as Jessie’s story reaches its fateful ending, before then returning to the energetic choruses previously.
Watt is no stranger to music, and has immersed herself in it all her life. When she was sixteen, she moved to California to pursue her passion at a music school. Following this, she returned to the UK, and her success has only continued to grow. She has played at numerous festivals, such as Glastonbury, Isle of Wight, and Cambridge Folk Festival, toured with the likes of Nina Nesbitt and The Overtones, and had her own headline tour. She even joined Embrace onstage to open for Coldplay at the Millennium Stage on their A Head Full Of Dreams Tour!
With this impressive resume, it is clear to see that Watt is a genuine powerhouse. Yet it is the variety and heart that she puts into her music which I truly admire and love. Having listened to some of her other music (I particularly liked the darker ‘Cut Me Loose’), it is clear that Watt is not afraid to embrace different music styles and genres. Her career has been so packed with experience, and I love that she embodies what inspires her through her music.
This year, despite making the agonising decision to postpone the release of her first album in light of Covid-19, she has instead chosen to release three EPs over the next few months – or, as she has named them, ‘Chapters’ – thus keeping her fans certainly very excited for her return! Watt is very conscious of making the album release special for her fans, as she wants to wait until she can truly interact with them at future concerts before fully releasing the whole thing. Needless to say, ‘Jessie’ certainly sets the bar high, but I have no doubt that her next songs will meet this challenge and continue to surprise and delight. All I can say is – watch this space for some live shows in the nearby future when it is safe, as Watt has already expressed her eagerness to hit the road and celebrate her music with her fans!
You can check out Writebase’s full interview with Kerri Watt here!