Not many social media influencers can achieve the ultimate pop star dream—but someone like Jean Watts has made it a reality. In an age where online followers predetermine your success, the 26-year-old succeeds in not letting her internet popularity define her music career.
Her most recent single ‘Evicted’ is a glorious dark-pop jam, curating an unexpected image of the singer-songwriter. We got the chance to talk to Jean about her upcoming EP, her love for Lizzo, and what’s to come in the future.
Your new single ‘Evicted’ is out! Tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind it?
‘Evicted’ is a song about being emotionally abandoned by your loved one. When I mumbled to the melody on the track, Geena Fontanella (co-writer) felt like I was saying “evicted” in the hook. We dug deeper into that and it really connected me to a past relationship when I felt he was emotionally gone before I was ready to let go.
‘Evicted’ has kind of the same dark-pop feel to your previous single “Feel the Same.” Is that the kind of direction you wanted to go? What’s the process behind creating these songs?
It definitely was in the beginning. It’s funny, through the process of writing and recording my EP, there have definitely been stages of the ‘feels’ I was creating. It started out dark, then went bright, then would be so artistic, then stripped back, etc. I write what I’m feeling in the moment or what I’ve been going through. The exciting thing is that the EP will have a little bit of everything, which is what I wanted. I don’t want to box myself into one thing because no one is just one thing, especially me. The hardest part has been picking which songs I want on the EP and to make sure that it all makes sense as one piece of art. These songs are so good though and I see people of all ages liking them.
Can you give us any hints about your upcoming EP?
My EP is a collection of really good songs that we have created throughout the last couple years. It is the door into who I am as an artist, but also the starting point of where I am going to go. In my mind, I’m already on my album and it definitely has a slightly different vibe from the EP, but I’m trying to stay focused on the EP. We keep on getting better and better and the songs reflect that. I’m really excited about the project and where it’s going!
You have a massive social media following! Do you feel like your followers appreciate your transition into music?
I’m definitely in the transition process still. When the following came before the music, it was a blessing and a curse. I actually stopped posting often for almost two years because I only wanted people to know me for my music, but I wanted the music to be right. So that being said, it was a very dreading process for me because music takes a long time, at least for someone who is really serious about it. I think once I put out my project people will see who I am as an artist and move past the surface level of social media.
What was the driving force that got you into music?
I have always been doing music before I even thought of it as being anything. Both of my parents are musicians and I taught myself piano and guitar. Growing up I sang in choir, put on shows for my classmates and sang at every pep rally, parade and game in high school. I’ve been writing music since I was 12/13, so music wasn’t something I just one day got into. But music professionally, I got into, when I was 18 and hit a very low point in my life and felt lost. A producer randomly reached out and said that he heard and saw that I sang and wanted to work together. That’s when I learned how to record and put my songs into a software. A label in Chicago then heard one of my songs and I started working with them, but when it came time to sign the contract, my lawyer advised me not to. Long story short, I moved to LA to go full force into my dream and that’s when the rollercoaster of a journey began.
There are a lot of powerful women in pop music right now. Who is your favorite at the moment?
I have so many, there’s something about every single woman in music that inspires me but one recently has been Lizzo. For me personally, I have never been on a Disney show, or discovered by anyone, or had that one break. I had and have been working really hard from the ground up, which is a much longer race. That’s not meant to sound bitter in any way, but there aren’t that many mainstream superstars who’ve broke out that way. Lizzo breaking out how she did is so inspiring for me; she really broke the mold. It shows that if someone keeps working, keeps going, doesn’t give up, doesn’t change who they are, that eventually something will happen. Everyone needs that inspiration, not just musicians. I hope that I can one day inspire people in the same way.
If you ever got the chance, who would you like to collaborate with on future projects?
I have a long list and it changes every now and then. Lizzo, Normani, The Weeknd, Post Malone, and Diplo.
Is there a future tour in the works?
I would love to do a small tour after my EP is out. I am craving to do shows and meet people. I would be happy even doing fests of some kind. I have spent years in the studio working on my project that I’m at the point where I might burst if I don’t start doing some type of shows.
In your downtime, what do you like to do? Any hobbies that might surprise some people?
I love spending time with my dog; I’m so in love with him. I also enjoy letting go and hanging with friends, so I like planning fun things to do that is more than just going to a bar/club or house parties. I used to be weirdly hard on myself and wouldn’t allow myself to have fun until after my project was done, but one of the greatest things I’ve learned is that you need to have fun every now and then because what is it all for? So I take “fun” very seriously because it reflects on your work. Life’s too short and living an authentic good life with good people is crucial.
For any new fans just discovering you and your music, what’s the one thing you want them to remember you for?
I want my fans to be inspired and I hope to do that for them. It’s hard to do that with just two songs out right now, but in some way I hope it inspires them. A lot of my songs coming out are inspiring. I love people and I feel for them. Contributing to a good collective consciousness seems so fulfilling to me and I definitely have some songs that focus more on that.
Stream her latest single ‘Evicted’ here.