Hello WERRRK.com and welcome back for another great edition of “The Haute Seat”. For this month’s guest, I have with me a two time Top 10, four-time Billboard charting pop/dance artist. Recently she released her new single in collaboration with RAYNE, “High Wasted” along with a ferocious new music video. My queens, please welcome singer and songwriter, Jaki Nelson!
Spencer: Hi Jaki! I am seriously so excited to meet you! How is everything?
Jaki: Everything is amazing. I just headlined an awesome show at the legendary Viper Room in West Hollywood. I debuted some unreleased stuff that seemed to connect with people and a bunch of songs that I’ve featured on the last few years that my fans don’t necessarily know I worked on. My dancers were with me and I played piano. It was a fantastic experience and an intimate show.
Spencer: So before we get into your new music I wanted to help the audience get to know you a little more if that’s okay?
Jaki: Please and thank you!
Spencer: You are an incredibly talented singer and songwriter. At what point did you realize you wanted to move into music?
Jaki: I was raised in music. My dad was a rock-n-roller back in the 70s and early 80′ who worked with internationally successful bands (The Beach Boys for example). My sister was in a country band that opened for Kacey Musgraves, among others. I didn’t really see myself going to music, though. I didn’t see a clear path and I didn’t recognize my absolute and undying love for it until I started dating this music producer at the end of high school. He was showing me how the music making programs worked and I was OBSESSED immediately. I had heard my family talk so much about how hard it was to get the right recording of a song and how expensive that can be, and I was staring at relatively cheap technology that would give me full creative control.
Spencer: Like you said, your father was also involved in the music industry. Do you feel like he has inspired you in your own career?
Jaki: Yeah, he was and he did. Both he and my mom brought music into my life while I was still in the womb. He used to drill me on Christina Aguilera songs late into the night and turn the metronome on while I practiced piano. (He still does this from time to time! Always a joy.) Both my parents have been immeasurably helpful.
Spencer: I suspect 2018 was a pretty noteworthy time for you. Not only was your career moving to new heights with the release of your song Dancing With Strangers, co-produced by GRAMMY-winner Dave Aude, but you also had a remarkable coming-out moment live and on stage! Can you talk to me about what that was like and what it meant to you going forward?
Jaki: I was terrified. I was so nervous that I literally woke up sick the next day and had to go on antibiotics. I had been planning to come out live on stage, and then my mom booked a last-minute flight to see the show, so that added an extra layer of freaking the F out. It was so funny at the end, though, because when I went to see her after the show, all she said was “You did great, sweetie! I have a flight in four hours. Good night!” Every parent should be like her.
Ever since that moment, though, the LGBT community has been so supportive and loving and I will always be so grateful. I toured last summer doing SO MANY of the Prides in California. I played the main stage of San Francisco Pride in front of thousands of people. Amazing.
Spencer: Would you say it is important for LGBTQ+ artists to use their platform and voice?
Jaki: IT IS SO IMPORTANT! Growing up, I had all these preconceived notions about what a lesbian looks like, what a bisexual person looks like, what a gay guy looks like. I had no idea that anyone can be anything and I felt so alone in my little closet. Then Lady Gaga happened and I was just mind blown that there was someone out there that is like me, doing what I want to do at the highest capacity. YES. Visibility is everything.
Spencer: You have a new song out, produced and co-wrote by Rayne called High Wasted. I have to say I am obsessed with this song and I have been listening to it over and over. What is the inspiration behind this total banger?
Jaki: It’s a tale as old as touring…. Thank you. This song came to me when I was staring into my underwear drawer. I thought, “High Wasted … that should be a song.” And as I drove to a session that same hour I wrote the whole chorus about this girl I know that only ever likes me right after I’ve played a show. Good times.
Spencer: The song is a lot of fun, but I am sure you had even more fun recording it. What is the recording process like for you?
Jaki: This was a different because I wrote the chorus to no music. I walked into the session with Rayne. He asked if I had any song ideas ready. I sang the chorus, he immediately set up the mic and had me record it. We built the song around the chorus. It was really fun. I want to do that more, because I usually write to a track. It’s fun to change things up.
Spencer: You then went on to release a music video to accompany High Wasted. I can tell you really put your heart and soul into this production. It’s visually stunning but also feels relatable. Can you explain your concept and what you wanted the audience to take away from this video?
Jaki: This video is the prequel to my last video, Dancing With Strangers, which was produced by Dave Aude and a Top 10 hit on Billboard. The goal of the first one was to make sure that my fans picked up on the fact that I have now come out and I am proud of my bisexuality. For High Wasted, we wanted to continue the storyline and bring back the awesome actors that we didn’t feel like we got to use enough in the first video. We also felt like we had sexualized Dancing With Strangers as much as we possibly could, so we took a left turn. So that’s how we got to puppet sex.
Spencer: Tell me, what is next for Jaki Nelson?
Jaki: Wellllllllllll I’m honored to be a part of a full LGBT lineup at The Viper Room for a Pre-Pride party on June 4th (Get your tickets here!). I can’t say who the other artists are just yet, but let’s just say I’m EXTREMELY excited.
Spencer: Jaki, thank you so much for talking with me. I am so excited to see what’s next for you! We are big fans here at WERRRK.com and I hope we will speak again soon.
Jaki: Yes, thank you so much for having me!