Rock is here to stay and so is Jax Hollow. This badass singer-songwriter and guitar shredder brings elements of classic rock, Americana, and blues and adds a fun, fresh new voice that is turning heads in the music industry. Her new single “High Class Bitch” is burning up the airwaves and is just a tease of what we can expect when her full album, Underdog Anthems releases in February of 2021.
Hollow fills us in on what’s behind her high energy spirit and her inspirational lyrics.
What inspired you to start playing music?
As an introverted, awkward, thirteen-year-old kid, I just needed to attach myself to something, and music was the perfect outlet. I feel like a lot of kids from uneasy home lives need something they can control and see progress in. I also wanted to be the female Jimmy Page, so I’d go to bed every night dreaming of playing Earls Court.
Do you feel that being a female has helped or hindered you from getting ahead in the music industry?
Both. Sometimes you get the gig because the company you’re playing for wants to look more “inclusive,” and other times, you’re overlooked because they haven’t taken you seriously yet. There’s been a strange change in just the past five years or so where it’s changed from “you play really good for a girl” to men in the industry holding their tongues and realizing that saying that isn’t the best thing to do.
In your video for “High Class Bitch” you have an all-female backing band. Do you prefer playing with females?
I’ve never been on the forefront for all-female bands because I’ve tried for them and failed over and over. But Angie and Leilani are game-changers. I absolutely adore and respect the hell out of them and am just beside myself that they want to be part of Jax Hollow. Their talents are out of this world. I will say, in my experience, that when playing with women, the egos are thrown out the door, and it’s easier to connect and be vulnerable when writing and rehearsing.
You called your album Underdog Anthems and your bio describes you as being an underdog due to you graduating as one of the handful of female guitar principles at Berklee School of Music. What else do you think makes you an underdog?
I’ve been an underdog for so long that I’m under the blissful delusion of being proud to fight. I couldn’t even afford the audition at Berklee, let alone attending the school. I was on the brink of homelessness—heck, I’ll be honest, I was for a hot second—but I kept going to that d––– school because I wanted to be the best artist I could possibly be. I now realize that I could have gotten that same education being thrown to the wolves here in Nashville, but I love getting in a fight and coming out with bruises and scars because it means I learned something. I’m an underdog because I make a habit of being out of place.
You are quickly becoming a big part of the Nashville music scene. Obviously, Nashville is a hub for music, but what else do you think is special about it? Do you feel like it’s inducive to creativity?
Nashville is rising creativity; there’s a beautiful energy that lives here. I think it’s because everything happens naturally here. Pre-COVID, you’d walk around and go from bar to bar and hear, see, smell completely different styles, foods, and culture around you. It’s hard not to be inspired by the level of talent at the writers’ rounds or open mic at the Blue Bird, where people from around the world will get up on stage—just to do it. It’s expression and excitement.
Your lyrics are very empowering. What type of messages do you like to convey through your lyrics, and how do you think they inspire others?
The absolute best part of being an artist is when your songs resonate with another human, with the same magnitude you felt while creating/writing it. Sometimes songs are like having a significant dream—you can’t wait to tell someone about it because it means so much to you, but no one ever wants to actually hear what you dreamed about. So if anyone feels empowered, inspired, or moved by my music, that’s the only validation I need.
Besides being a singer-songwriter, you’re also a great guitarist, which takes a lot of work. What sort of discipline do you recommend for guitarists and other musicians trying to increase their skill level?
PLAY SLOW! I swear, it’s worth it. Make friends with your metronome. Go outside your comfort zone. I recommend getting a very “genre-fluid” headspace. If you can draw influences from anything from classical technique to sweep picking, know that these are all just tools. The more tools you have, the better equipped you are for any gig/situation. And always make time for playing something that just feels fun.
What equipment do you prefer using and why?
This is where I lose people because I’m not a huge gear head. I believe tone comes first from your fingers; it’s in the attack and dedication. I’ve only ever owned one amp at a time. I mostly use a Fender Strat because of its versatility and playability, and also because that’s just what I’ve owned.
What can we expect from Jax Hallow in the future—new releases, tours, etc.?
You can always expect honesty, relentless energy, and passion. Some of the songs I write have been hacked apart, rewritten, and built back up ten times over the span of six months, and others come out perfect in forty mins. But I never stop working on my craft until I’m happy about how it makes me feel and how it sounds. The Underdog Anthems will be available for streaming in February, and before then, we’ll be releasing two additional singles off the album, including “Say My Name” and “Drift Together.” We can’t wait to play live and start touring, and we hope to see you out there!
Hollow recently released her single “Say My Name.” “‘Say My Name’ was supposed to be THE Underdog Anthem off the Underdog Anthems album,” Jax says. “It’s a song about social unrest, 2020 leaving the entertainment industry in ruins and on the brink of collapse, and the resilience of all the Creatives. We adapt fast because we’re used to being punched around, but we will stop at nothing to continue pursuing our passions and share our futures with the world. That’s why you’ll see me destroying my friend’s work and screaming, ‘Starting from nothing again!’ — because that’s what it feels like.”
She continues, “I worked my whole life to play music for a living full time, traveling the world and that was yanked out from under me in 2020, so I’m even less afraid of failure and even more determined now. It can be fun to start from the bottom again because you have experience and time to re-envision yourself.”