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I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!
I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!
Join Now
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I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!
Join Now
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I Heart Songwriting Club is a global community of passionate songwriters who love to help and inspire people to become great songwriters!
Join Now
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Embracing the Mystery of Creativity with Jackie Marshall

Based on the Podcast Episode: “Embracing the Mystery of Creativity with Jackie Marshall” – Episode 47, The Magic of Songwriting with Francesca de Valence

Lots of creatives dream of being a star in a film and a famous singer. Jackie Marshall is precisely that—a shining light in the independent music and film scene. Jackie, a unique and magical creative soul, is an independent songwriter, performer, and recording artist, and she also happens to be an I Heart Songwriting Club member! 

Her music spans alternative contemporary genres, gliding through folk, country, rock, improvised, and art music realms. With four critically acclaimed LPs and numerous collaborations, Jackie has recently ventured into the world of film. She starred in and composed music for the independent feature film “Three Chords and the Truth,” which made waves at various film festivals, including the Brisbane International Film Festival and the Sydney Film Festival.

Jackie’s journey to this golden opportunity has been anything but conventional. Her story is one of living in the mystery of creativity and allowing the practice of songwriting to lead her to unexpected places.

The journey to songwriting

Jackie’s journey into songwriting began in her early teens, sparked by the discovery of an old guitar and some Bob Dylan song charts. With a background in piano, she taught herself guitar chords and started creating music. Despite her early struggles with formal music education, Jackie found solace and expression through her self-taught musical explorations. Songwriting became a way for her to process life’s experiences, evolving from diary-like entries to a more intentional practice.

For Jackie, creativity is not about strict discipline or rigid schedules. Instead, it’s about living in the mystery and being present in the moment. She places importance on “song allowing” rather than “songwriting,” creating space for songs to emerge naturally. This approach is rooted in an ability to read people’s intentions and respond to the energies around her.

Let’s use a pivotal moment in her career as an example; the film ‘Three Chords and the Truth’ saw Jackie tasked with writing a song for a character’s emotional moment the night before shooting a crucial scene. Embracing the challenge, she bought a piano, set it up in her hotel room, and created a song overnight. “Song allowing” had her step into the unknown and produce something beautiful on demand, thanks purely to her faith in the creative process.

Living in the mystery requires a deep sense of presence and trust

It is important to tune into the present moment, notice physical sensations, and release tension. By doing this, you open yourself up to the flow of creativity and allow inspiration to come through in unexpected ways. We could consider this presence as not just a practice for songwriting but a philosophy for life!

As Jackie notes, to help achieve this, avoid being critical of your past works. Rather, see them as stepping stones that have brought you to where you are today. This positive outlook allows you to appreciate your growth and the unique path you have travelled.

Practicalities of film and album versions

Working on a film like ‘Three Chords and the Truth’ presented practical challenges for Jackie, especially in translating songs from an album version to a film version. The process required flexibility and adaptability, as songs had to fit seamlessly into the narrative and emotional arcs of the characters.

Jackie’s experience as an improviser and her ability to read the room played crucial roles in navigating these challenges. The film features a selection of songs that are intricately woven into the narrative, serving as the emotional and thematic backbone of the story. These songs, performed by Jackie, who also plays the protagonist, were chosen through a combination of intuition, past works, and new compositions.

The songs included in the film stem from various stages of Jackie’s career and creative practices. Some were selected from her extensive back catalogue, including contributions from her time with the I Heart Songwriting Club and The Soldier’s Wife project. However, these older tracks were revisited and reimagined to fit the film’s context, blended with new pieces during the pre-production phase, some even as late as the night before filming.

Jackie’s music not only complements but also informs the film’s script. Certain tracks influenced the narrative development, demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between the screenplay and the soundtrack. This integration allowed the songs to enhance the storytelling, often reflecting the characters’ inner journeys and emotional arcs.

Key songs and their origins

The Breeze

This song, written in 2016 during Marshall’s battle with breast cancer, plays a pivotal role in the film. It resonates deeply with the character’s struggles and the film’s themes of resilience and hope. The track is a significant “hero song” within the movie, symbolising strength and recovery.

Little One

Written for the character Ruby, this song is pivotal in showcasing Ruby’s growth and the bond between the characters. It encapsulates themes of understanding and acceptance, contributing to the narrative climax.

The Album: ‘You’re Not Too Much and You Are Enough’

The album accompanying the film features both newly recorded songs and re-recordings of older tracks, which leads to a cohesive listening experience and offers fresh interpretations of Marshall’s earlier works.

The recording process for the album

Jackie worked with various collaborators like Chris Pickering and Rob Davidson to workshop and refine the songs for the record. These sessions were instrumental in crafting the album’s sound, blending her distinctive vocal style with the musicians’ contributions. She utilised platforms like SoundCloud to share demos and playlists with her collaborators, a method that allowed for a seamless and collaborative process despite the constraints of the pandemic, with continuous feedback and iterative development of the tracks becoming a process staple.

It’s also very important to note that in the film, all musical performances are live, capturing the raw and authentic essence of the characters. Marshall’s portrayal of Angie features these live renditions, reflecting the character’s imperfect yet powerful journey. This approach most certainly adds a layer of realism and immediacy to the film, distinguishing it from productions that rely on pre-recorded tracks.

Revisiting old songs for the album and the film allowed Marshall to bring new perspectives to her previous work. This process of reinterpretation aligns with the film’s themes of growth and transformation. For instance, songs like “You Want What I’ve Got” were recorded anew, reflecting Marshall’s evolved artistic vision and the changes in her life and career.

Finding a voice through songwriting

Jackie Marshall‘s contributions to the film extend beyond mere soundtrack duties. Her music is a narrative force deeply embedded in the storytelling fabric. The album ‘You’re Not Too Much and You Are Enough‘ serves as both a companion piece to the film and a standalone testament to Marshall’s artistry. Through a blend of new and reimagined songs, the album and the film together create a rich, immersive experience that resonates with themes of resilience, identity, and creative expression.

We are so proud of Jackie and have loved watching her songwriting journey evolve into the world of film. If you are interested in seeing how your songwriting can grow and seeing where it takes you, the first step is just like Jackie’s- joining our Club!

By |2024-06-19T15:21:19+10:00June 13th, 2024|0 Comments
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