I recently met Jes Winter (officially) while working at Urban Outfitters. I'd seen a few photos, but heard many of her hauntingly beautiful songs. I had been exchanging e-mails with the driving force behind local favorite, the Jes Winter Band. She smiled and told me: “This is so funny, but it’s kind of magical. We were meant to meet.”
Winter was had choosing outfits for her CD release party Aug. 11 at the Waiting Room. It will be her last Omaha show for awhile. She's going to Nashville soon.
“I want to evolve into more of a one-woman-band using vocals and guitar loops. I plan to record with a couple of producers in Nashville. They plan to publish and license my music to TV, movies and other artists,” she says.
Winter’s new album is appropriately titled Bloom , symbolic of her big move and new solo endeavor.
“It is all about coming into my own,” Winter explains. “It is an album that I wrote plainly based from what was laid on my heart: personal experiences and understanding love and relationships. It’s a very personal seven-song album.”
Bloom reflects her progression as an artist a woman. Winter believes a solo career allows her to expand her horizons and learn more about herself.
“A part of me got lost being with a band. It’s easy to lose yourself when working with four other people from different backgrounds. The guys from the Jes Winter Band taught me so much and helped develop me into the artist I am today. I have so much love and respect for them. I had to come to a really hard decision to break away and reconnect with my true songwriting and playing style.”
Winter became solo artist. She focused on her music and writing, creating what she believes to be her most personal album.
“The songs were written the past year, which has been one of change. Past relationships, new love, becoming a solo artist, traveling, and just maturing as a young woman in her 20s. I have always written about love. It’s why I believe we are put on this earth. To be taught to love one another.”
Scott Gaeta, who also performed on all the instruments, produced the album. All songs were written by Winter, who considers songwriting her original passion.
“My mom taught me at a very young age how to journal,” she says. “It took me time to figure out my strengths and weaknesses with writing. Writing poems always seemed to be my strength.”
Winter loved music at a young age.
“I loved music so much that when I would get in trouble with my mom, she would ground me from the radio instead of the TV.”
She would sing at church and school and perform with friends on her dad’s flat trailer, which eventually became the stage. Winter recalls the moment her two passions merged.
“When I was 16, I had an epiphany. It was made very clear to me that I needed to turn my poems into songs and learn an instrument.”
And she did. Winter realized she could easily translate her poems into songs. She asked for a guitar for Christmas and taught herself to play chords.
Some early influences were '90s grunge bands like Nirvana (much to the chagrin of her parents, who only allowed Christian music). Lately, she credits Kings of Leon, Florence and the Machine, Adele and Regina Spektor as among her favorites. She admires local acts such as Sarah Benck, Tara Vaughan, Rock Paper Dynamite and Matt Cox. Winter has toured with some of them, and others throughout the Midwest. She wants to perform in Paris and China next year.
Jes Winter's Bloom CD release party is Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Waiting Room at 8 p.m. She will perform songs from her new album with special opening guests Sarah Benck, Boring Daylights and Matt Cox. Bloom will be available on iTunes and Pandora. For more information, go to www.jeswintermusic.com