At midnight, last night, Jillian Goldin landed at the very top of the OurStage music charts, winning our Grand Prize of $5,000 for her song, “Hajime.” I caught up with her this afternoon to talk about New Age stereotypes, video games, and sharing her prize with collaborator/boyfriend, Andrew (Zircon).
Quinn: So Jillian, first of all, have you slept at all since winning?
Jillian: I was up until almost 5:00 a.m. last night from all the excitement, so I haven’t gotten much sleep yet! The news still feels quite surreal. But my family, friends, and fans have been incredibly supportive and that is really the best feeling of all. I can’t thank them enough.
Q: In yesterday’s blog, I pointed out that you were featured in two songs in the final round. But I didn’t realize that Zircon (Andrew Aversa) was more than just your collaborator on “Breathing You In.” You two are a couple! How does he feel about landing just below your song in the rankings?!
J: Andrew is my biggest fan of all, so he is extremely happy for me. He even called his parents in New York after midnight to tell them the news. And a third place win ain’t too shabby either, so you can bet we are both on Cloud 9 at the moment! As an artist who is already quite established with four albums under his belt, I think he has been quite the gentleman in recognizing that I could use a little jump start myself. He is the most selfless person I know.
Q: I’m sure everyone wants to know what you’re going to do with the $5,000. Have you had time to process this? Is there a plan?
J: At this point in my life, I would like to save as much of it as possible. I’ll be graduating from Peabody Conservatory of Music next month, and have a world to face! A large portion will be going to Andrew, however, as he not only mixed & mastered “Hajime” but also the rest of the tracks on my upcoming album, Origins – and even collaborated on some of them. I will also be making a donation to the community of OverClocked ReMix, because my friends and fans there have given both of us so much over the years. (Even the 4th place winner this month, sgx, is an established musician there! We are all a bunch of geeks.)
Q: With your new album Origins coming out in three weeks, seems like the timing of this win and the exposure from it is potentially more valuable than the cash.
J: I certainly hope so! Origins is really a culmination of ancient and contemporary elements – a tribute to the beautiful music of Loreena McKennitt in many ways, but with that extra modern twist. Daniel Palmer [OurStage VP of Community] described me as a sort of “Celtic Bjork,” and I think there is some accuracy to that statement, as funny as it sounds! My goal with the album is to transport the listener on a sort of magical journey through the wilderness.
Q: From what I can tell, “Hajime” means “Beginning” in Japanese? That would make sense since your song seems to be about some kind of organic renewal. Is that right?
J: Yes, very good! The word (pronounced “HA-jee-may”) means just that, and I thought it would be fitting not only as the “beginning” track on Origins, but to represent the theme of organic renewal as you mentioned. It really sets the stage for the rest of the album.
Q: What drew you to New Age music?
J: Thanks to my baby boomer neuroscientist parents, I grew up listening to artists like Andreas Vollenweider, Ray Lynch, and Ayman. I consider New Age much like the “classical” of today’s society, although it sometimes earns a bad rep for being meditation music. There is so much more to the genre if you really listen. It has always drawn me with its uplifting spirit and magical creativity.
Q: Are you trying to distinguish yourself from other New Age artists in any way?
J: I have always felt that there is too little New Age music out there which actually features the voice in a prominent way, so I am attempting to remedy that situation with my vocally driven songs. Many people out there seem to think that the genre does not lend itself well to lyrics, particularly English ones, but I disagree. As I have described on my website, “Words are a natural extension of the human voice, and it just so happens to be the only instrument capable of using them — why limit the possibilities!” I truly believe that the right lyrics can send such a powerful message, so I will always be striving to reach out to people that way.
Q: What do you do when you’re not making music?
When I’m not making music or doing schoolwork… Well, let’s just say I have a number of nerdy interests. I watch Home & Garden Television religiously, enjoy a number of video games, and I am probably one of the biggest Trekkies you will ever meet!
Q: That’s funny you mention video games. I noticed your voice has been featured in the video game Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword. How did you land that?
J: I had the lucky opportunity to get involved with Civ IV: Beyond the Sword initially when a nearby music studio contacted Peabody Conservatory, looking for classical singers to lend their voices to the main theme. It was truly serendipitous for me, as someone who has been remixing video game tunes for a few years now… So when I told the composer about my hobby, he seemed pleasantly surprised – and asked me to sing solo for another track being released with the game!
I think the video game industry is becoming quite a platform for [up-and-coming] musicians out there. I have friends my age who are already scoring some pretty big titles – even one of zircon’s remixes is going to be featured in Super Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3! (You can hear his music playing in this trailer.) I’ve even discovered a great new artist named Hayley Westenra, just from playing the game Endless Ocean on my Wii.
Q: Well thanks Jillian for taking the time. Congrats! And get some sleep!
J: Thanks again to all the people who make OurStage possible. You are doing artists and fans out there a true service by providing this community!
This blog is written and maintained by Quinn Strassel.