Monday, October 11, 2010

JJ Heller Interview and Giveaway!

I've featured JJ Heller numerous times for Musical Monday -- probably more than any other artist on the blog. I find her lyrics to be stunning, her voice beautiful and her heart to be genuine. So I cannot begin to express how excited I am to feature an interview with JJ today on my blog. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us here!

BigMama: This is the first album you've made since becoming a parent. How has being a mom influenced your song-writing?

JJ: I always try to write from experiences in my own life, and being a mom has definitely influenced my life! The title track of the record is "When I'm With You," which is a love song for my daughter, Lucy. Through my new role as mommy, God has shown me in a new way how he loves me as His child.

BigMama: I love that you work with your husband. Do you find that working together strains your non-working relationship? How do you manage the two?

JJ: So far, so good. Having a marriage relationship and a business relationship has always gone hand in hand for us, and for the most part, it works. Sometimes it gets sticky when my manager/husband pushes me to write songs or answer interview questions and I don't especially feel like doing it at the time. It's great though, because I need someone to push me. Dave is way more self-motivated than I am.

BigMama: When you're writing, do you tend to come up with lyrical or melodic ideas first? How does one influence the creation of the other?

JJ: The melody and lyrics almost always come at the same time for us (Dave and I mostly write together). I've never been very good at putting a melody to pre-exsisting lyrics. 

BigMama: Is there any particular theme to "When I'm With You" (your new record)?

JJ: "When I'm With You" is all about relationships and how they affect our lives. There are are songs that touch on what it means to be a child, a parent, a friend, a spouse and a follower of Christ.

BigMama: You've offered previous albums on Do you have plans to offer When I'm With You to your fans there as well?

JJ: We actually gave away "The Pretty & The Plain" as a free download from our website for a few months (although NoiseTrade did give us the idea!). This time around, we decided not to give away the new record, but it will be streaming from very soon!

Just for fun:

BigMama: What is the last book you read?

JJ: I just finished a parenting book that I really loved called "Parenting Is Heart Work." Can you tell what stage of life I'm in?

BigMama: What is your favorite time of day?

JJ: I love it when my daughter, Lucy sleeps in until after 7am (rare, but lovely) and I hear her singing or saying simple sentences to no one in particular (she's nearly two). She's always so happy to see me in the morning, and the feeling is mutual.

BigMama: What's on your iPod playlist right now?

JJ: Gregory Alan Isakov, Patty Griffin and Jon Foreman.

BigMama: What is your favorite guilty pleasure movie?

JJ: Most any chick flick. I love the remake of Sabrina even though most people think it's deathly boring. My husband, Dave, says that I only like movies that have dysfunctional relationships in them.

BigMama: If you were meeting a friend for lunch, where would you take them?

JJ: Houston's for sure, but if there wasn't one around, I'd take J. Alexander's any day.

Thanks again to JJ for doing this. It's a pleasure to have the opportunity to get to know you a little bit better!

And just because I love this song (posted it a few years ago), here's JJ's remake of "Love Me" (now titled "What Love Really Means"). I really love the new voicing. Beautiful!


JJ has graciously offered an autographed copy of her previous cd Painted Red to one of our readers. It's a fantastic album that includes the song Your Hands that was featured on So You Think You Can Dance. I'm really excited to be able to offer this to one of you! To win:

Mandatory entry:
  • Head over to JJ Heller's site and let me know what song you're most looking forward to hearing on her new album!
Extra entries (leave a separate comment for each):
  • Like JJ's page on Facebook.
  • Follow JJ on Twitter. 
  • Follow my blog publicly on Google Friend Connect.
  • Follow my blog on Networked blogs.
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Like Big Mama's Blog on Facebook.
  • Tweet this contest using the following: Win an autographed copy of @jjheller's Painted Red from @bigmama247! (2x per day at least an hour apart)
  • Blog about this contest. Leave a link in your comment.
Please make sure that I have a way to contact you (if you leave an email in your Disqus comment, I'll have it even though it's not visible to everyone). If I can't contact you, I'll make a different selection. This contest will be open until noon EDT, October 18. I will choose a winner using the random number generator. I will send an email to the winner who will have 48 hours to respond. If I don't hear from you by then, I'll select another comment.

Thanks for entering! Have a great day!
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
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