Growing up with a mother who spent her time in the jazz scene, it should’ve been easy to guess Rebecca Jade would you end up in music. She says however that her mother never forced it on her and let it come naturally and said of her mother, “She simply shared with me her experiences and musical influences, which were often jazz-related, but she also exposed me to many other genres, like R&B, classical, soul, rock, harmony-based groups, as well as musicals. Her exposure to me of music in general was such a gift that I wasn’t able to appreciate until I finally took music seriously as a career.”
It was actually sports that ruled her teen years, but later on she discovered where her life needed to be and that’s where we’ll begin…
Kendra: On top of being into music, you headed off to school and studied theatre and later marketing. Some artists would rather just skip school and focus on their career – why did you choose to have some education under your belt?
Rebecca Jade: I had a wonderful situation where I was able to earn my undergraduate degree by way of a full basketball scholarship from UC Berkeley. And at that point, I still wasn’t sure in which decision my career path was going. Music was a part of my life, but wasn’t my focus at that point, I was more focused on sports. It wasn’t until after college that I started thinking that music might be an option, so going back to school for my Masters had a dual purpose: I would gain a better understanding of the business of marketing which might help me in my career, and also have an education as a fallback plan, in case music didn’t work out. Also, one thing my mom used to tell me is that no one can ever take your education away from you. I love to learn and I’m very proud that I’ve accomplished those educational goals.
Kendra: You were smart and now you’ve made quite the impact on the music scene in Southern California. How do you balance your music, working with The Cold Fact and also being a part of Siren’s Crush?
Rebecca: I know it has to be done and that’s what motivates me, even when it looks like a daunting task at hand. I think my background in sports has contributed to my drive. And I am in many more bands than these two, and have to be to be able to pay the bills as a working artist. I even started my own corporate band to challenge myself and learn what it takes to run a band. To balance doing music professionally while pursuing my original music, it’s a lot of juggling and scheduling and sometimes I mess up and try to learn from my mistakes, and sometimes I get things right and I’m just grateful to get through another day. It’s not all glamour and having people who work for you, like the superstars. I’ve had to keep hustling to keep busy, and often I work 8- to 12-hour days, six to seven days a week. But it’s all worth it, as I continue to get closer to my dream and creating my brand as an artist. And I’ve finally gotten a manager, Derrick White, and he’s been amazing. So I’m on my way to building a team and it’s exciting to start branching out. And also, I recently signed with Pacific Records and that has been a good situation. So, the hard work is paying off, and yet it’s just the beginning of a new chapter.
Kendra: Now moving to another subject, this interview is part of a series focusing on women in music. With that, have you felt you’ve had to work a little harder than your male counterparts to get where you are?
Rebecca: I don’t feel like it’s been any more or less, but I may have just had just been lucky and have had an overall positive experience. But from the beginning of my musical journey as a professional singer, I’ve had really wonderful mentors who have guided me and gave me fantastic advice that I still rely on to this day that I believe has helped me along my path. One very important one is how important it is to maintain a good reputation. And I try my best to stay in the good graces of people in my community who keep my lights on and food on my table. I want people to enjoy working with me and trust that I’m reliable.
Kendra: Let’s talk about your latest video, “Weather The Storm.” It’s very vintage meets old Hollywood. Have you always had a love for the past in terms of the arts?
Rebecca: I absolutely do have a love for the arts, as well as an appreciation for its history and evolution. I used to be part of a fun educational program at the House of Blues, where middle and high school kids would be sent over by school bus and we would put on a presentation for them, describing and providing musical examples of how the Blues came into existence. I loved that experience because we were teaching the kids, and being reminded of this history as an adult made me appreciate music more than ever.
Kendra: Thinking back to how it may’ve been for women in music back in say the ‘50s, what strides have female singers made in this industry that you’re grateful for being an artist today?
Rebecca: With my love for jazz and having grown up listening to some of the iconic women, like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Nina Simone, I think of the struggles that they endured in their lifetimes, when racism was very much active and common place, and blatant hatred of someone for the color of their skin was a very real thing. I can’t imagine what it must have been like being an artist during that time, having persevered while also gaining success as an artist, in spite of so much adversity. It’s really inspiring and reminds me to not take these opportunities of working as a professional artist for granted.
Kendra: Back to the here and now, you’re playing a healthy amount of shows all around the San Diego area into early March. Playing the same area, how do you switch up the shows from place to place?
Rebecca: It’s a matter of doing different styles of shows, which is why performing in different types of musical situations helps keep the variety interesting, as well as expands my repertoire. I do jazz, R&B, pop, dance, soul, funk, etc., and both originals and covers. The challenge is to not over saturate my exposure locally. But there are plans to begin traveling and go on tour later this year, which is exciting!
Kendra: Will you be heading back to the Joshua Tree Music Festival this year?
Rebecca: Possibly! I haven’t heard yet, but I hope we do.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape that featured some classic vintage voices, what five songs would have to be on it?