Review & Interview: “While He Sleeps, Vol.1” by Jes

Singer and songwriter Jes has just released her debut EP While He Sleeps, Vol. 1, an incredibly soulful collection of songs that will inspire you to light your nicest candles and feel your feelings. With spacious instrumentation, personal lyrics, and a whisper-like voice that makes it seem like every line is a secret, While He Sleeps, Vol. 1 is a beautiful collection of songs that introduce the artist’s style in a confident, magnetic display.

The album begins with “His Eyes”, a slow and steady song marked by consistent, rhythmic instrumentation. Jes’ voice is breathy and light as she emotively sings the pleasantly laid-back tune. “While He Sleeps” features a spacious arpeggiated melody as the lyrics dance around it, creating an effect that is intricate and captivating.  “Afterparty” shows a slightly more upbeat side to the artist with ambient chords and a pronounced rhythm that creates plenty of space for Jes’ flawless lyrical delivery.

The next song is the dreamy track “When You Love Someone”, a thoughtful song with light, airy orchestration and drawn-out verses that leave you in the midst of a daydream. “Someday” is next, a vibrant song that features a light piano accompaniment that complements the delicate nature of Jes’ voice effortlessly. Echoing melodies create a cinematic scene as she sings “I’m all yours, someday”. The final track “24” begins with a reverberating guitar intro that continues the trend of minimal instrumentation for maximum emotional effect. Featuring her signature heartfelt, honest lyrics, “24” perfectly draws the album’s story to a close.

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Jes’s debut EP is an incredibly vulnerable, personal album that showcases the singer’s sweet, emotive voice, soulful style, and unique perspective. While you may find the album ends too soon for your liking, you’ll be pleased to find that Vol. 2 is in production and is set to be released later in 2021.

Written by Katrina Charles

Q&A with Jes

Q: You have a memorable voice and sound. What is your musical background?

JES: I was raised by singers. My mom, grandmother and aunts were all beautiful singers and I was surrounded by music since I was born. My mom told me I started singing/humming at around 18 months old. My musical background and taste is very eclectic. I was raised on classic rock from my dad and 90’s pop and country from my mom. Later on I ventured out and fell in love with Motown artists and 90’s R&B like Boyz II Men and Alicia Keys. I am also a huge pop punk fan. I play piano by ear and write all of my songs on it before I take it to the studio.

Q:  I really enjoyed “When You Love Someone.” It’s such a haunting yet beautiful tune. Can you explain the story behind this song?

JES: “When You Love Someone” is near and dear to my heart. This song is about a love that got away. I was in a relationship that lasted a few years and even though it has been a few years since that relationship has ended, the memory of that person is now becoming a feeling and it hits me every now and then. This song is my thought process out loud. It is crazy how vivid a memory can be and how jaded you can become from heartbreak.


Q: Putting together an EP can be a lot harder than it looks. What keeps you motivated?

JES: I have been trying to put an EP together for the last 5 years. It honestly took a pandemic to stop all of the distractions I had going on in my life with work, school, and social endeavors. This last year in solitude, I was able to sit down at my piano, take a look in the mirror and really pour my heart out exactly the way I wanted to but never took the time to. I have worked with around 10 different producers over the last 6 years and finally found someone who I can easily work with and who understands the musical direction I was trying to go in. I started this EP in May of 2020 and finished it within a few months.


Q: If you could only listen to three EPs/albums for a year, what would they be?

JES: I actually am terrible at listening to new music. I am a creature of habit so I usually have three albums that are constantly on repeat. I am obsessed with SZA’s “CTRL”, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors”, and Paramore’s debut album “All We Know Is Falling”. All different genres but I am a huge Paramore fan and get most of my singing control from practicing with Hayley William’s voice.


Q: While He Sleeps, Vol. 1 is such a stellar debut EP. What’s up next for you?

JES:Thank you so much! I am working right now on recording a few singles and then almost all of the songs for Vol. 2 are ready to be recorded as well. I am excited to keep writing and releasing new music.

Interviewed by Sarah Scott

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