When it comes to making something with your talent, Jessica Rotter is at the top of her class. Which makes sense since she graduated from Pepperdine University. From graduation to now, she’s landed in the Disney sphere and is doing her own thing working on her debut, Plains. She spoke of all that and more below – so let’s get to it!
Kendra: Was your latest single, “Pray For Rain,” inspired by the lack of weather in LA?
Jessica Rotter: Honestly, yes! We were being bombarded by drought talk and I knew El Nino was on it’s way so I was kind of writing a funny song and then moved it into serious territory and made it about a relationship!
Kendra: Let’s go back for a second. You went to the very prestigious Pepperdine University and studied opera and musical theatre. What do you think about that particular educational setting was the most inspiring for your career today?
Jessica: Malibu has a very special energy about it. Some kind of magic gets caught between the mountains and the sea and there’s a sense of freedom in college. I was able to really find myself and dream big creatively while I was there. A lot of people freak out after college but I was excited to take that inspiration and run with it.
Kendra: I say career because you’re doing really well, having had your voice featured in movies like both Pitch Perfect’s, Big Hero 6 and Frozen. Now, we all know that song from Frozen. It’s been driving parent’s insane since the movie was released, but what was one song from your childhood that you played to death around the house that may’ve made your parents a little crazy?
Jessica: I LOVED the Cranberries’ “Linger” and I would imagine my love for the Spice Girls would have driven them the most insane. “Wannabe” was definitely on repeat for a while there.
Kendra: If you could go back in time and redo a classic Disney song, which would it be and why?
Jessica: I guess Lana Del Rey just did this one, but “Once Upon A Dream” was always my favorite growing up. My dad and I would waltz to it in our living room and it’ll probably be the father daughter dance at my wedding. Although, I was always a Cinderella girl!
Kendra: Back to now, you’ve been featured in movies and have a pretty stacked list of artists you’ve worked with including Alicia Keys, Sam Smith and Daft Punk – but who’s on your list that would be a complete dream come true?
Jessica: Can I say Elvis? But of the people working currently, I would love to do something with Sufjan Stevens or Arcade Fire or Jim James or Justin Vernon. When I was growing up, I sang a lot of female harmony with male leads and I really love a good male female vocal duet.
Kendra: Besides working on all that, you’ve been recording your debut, Plains. What can people expect from this release?
Jessica: It’s definitely not High School Musical! There’s an element of fun in some of the tracks but the majority of the album is cinematic and sweeping and hopefully evokes an earthy and spiritual feeling.
Kendra: Can fans also expect some shows once the record drops?
Jessica: I’ll be playing a giant album release show in April and there will be shows scattered around the US throughout the late spring/summer. If you follow me on Bandsintown or like my Facebook page or check my website, I will be updating all of that as it’s planned!
Kendra: Lastly, where do you hope your career takes you from this point on?
Jessica: I just hope I can continue to be creative musically and write music that is authentic to my own inner voice. I think there is a lot of melding to the agreed mass sound right now and I find myself being attracted to those artists that create from within without worrying too much about how it will be received. I also would love to collaborate with artists of other disciplines – filmmakers, theatre companies, dance and other art forms. In my opinion, there’s nothing more moving than one artist being inspired by another artist to create something transcendent.