“She’s got the stage presence, the voice, the ability to interpret songs passionately … there’s a lot of soul in what she does” — Billboard Magazine
Jill Jack’s magical connection to her audience is the result of her generous artistry. By combining her gifts as a conceptual visionary with a warm gathering of musical influences, Jill touches that secret heart of ours with her melodies and lyrics. In her hometown of Detroit, Jill needs no further explanation. She’s been lauded in equal measure to her talents: Since 1997 she’s won 38 Detroit Music Awards (see full list) in every conceivable category that applies to a singer-songwriter. Much of this provincial success is due to her charming stage presence and emotive songwriting. It’s simply called connecting, and it’s the bounty of a true songwriter open to all of life: her own defeats, victories, hopes dashed, dreams fulfilled, her muse, her loneliness, her misplaced love and her romantic successes.
Jill has built her audience with her whimsical, genuine live performances. Genuine is the defining term here. Propelled by her musical exemplars Joni Mitchell and Emmy Lou Harris, there are few performers with less conflict between who they are on stage and off than Jill. She extends the tradition of the confessional (i.e. achingly open, unafraid of intimacy) singer-songwriter, and is proud of that style and its continuation.
You get all of Jill Jack in a performance — her blend of folk and rock traditions, her open humor, her fine band. Jill harbors little of her process from her audience — each performance is about opening a window and shining a light into her songwriting, leading inevitably to the intense relationship with her fans. Her career is founded on folk’s best idea — that there’s a shared knowing between artist and audience, a conversation that flows both ways during a show. Plus she’s a strong woman who’s won over the toughest town in a man’s world — she’s a bandleader, the principal songwriter in a large group bearing her own name, an employer and automatic arbiter of musician’s issues.
“She’s sharp, she’s witty, and she’s got soul. Most important, I think based on her songwriting and style, she’s got staying power” — WDVR-FM in New Jersey
Jill began her professional career singing backup with well known Detroit country and rock names The Forbes Brothers and Stewart Francke. By the late 90s she was writing constantly, fronting her own band and beginning to open for what would become a long list of prominent touring acts — Bob Seger, John Waite, Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, Dan Fogelberg, Marshall Crenshaw, Chris Issak, and Loretta Lynn, who gave Jill priceless backstage encouragement and advice. As well she developed her reputation as headliner at venues & festivals — SXSW (South by Southwest), Ann Arbor Folk Festival, 30A Songwriters Festival, WYCD Downtown Hoedown, Blissfest Music Festival, The Bluebird Café, The Living Room in NYC, and consistent sell-out shows at the historical Ark in Ann Arbor, MI. Regional touring has branched to successful tours of England and all over America. Jill was also a finalist in the Susanne Millsaps Performing Songwriter Showcase, and was chosen as an Americana semifinalist in the International Songwriting Competition for Fallen (A Love Song). Jack now has 10 Award winning CD’s to her name and is currently working on #11.
“Her voice can soar like opera and smoke like the blues … one of the strongest voices in Detroit, or in the country for that matter.” — The Detroit Free Press
Her success in music has led to recent opportunities both acting in and scoring for independent films. After witnessing one of Jill’s passionate live performances, Emmy Award winning Producer Keith Famie decided to follow Jill for a 2 year period to capture the life of an independent artist. The documentary “Live Like Tomorrow – The Jill Jack Story” was picked up by PBS. He has also used Jill’s music in 4 of his Emmy award winning PBS documentaries.
A natural extension of her inclusive music, Jill contributes mightily to those less fortunate. Her recent missionary work to Haiti was life changing and will forever be on her schedule to work with orphans and the poor. She also contributes to her local community either as an active board member, or playing benefits and lending her name and time to organizations such as Detroit Children’s Choir, Michigan Arthritis Foundation, Rock for Jobs, Gilda’s Club, Bras For A Cause, the Girl Scouts of America, and Enchanted Makeovers or volunteering at homeless shelters.
Jill also had the great honor of being asked to write and record a theme song for a Detroit campaign called I’m A Believer. The highly successful pro-Detroit campaign driven by Jill’s anthem recently took Best of Show honors at the international Mercury Excellence Awards in NYC.
Jill will see more touring, film work and charitable activities. Her performing and songwriting comments on and includes both the obvious parts of life and all those things we can’t easily discuss. In this sense, Jill Jack is reaching for one of music’s more elevated purposes — she’s touching those things within her reach, and then extending beyond what even she can see. Sky’s the limit.