Unstoppable: How Music Star Kristi Jacques Has Redefined Success While Navigating Society With A…

Posted on

Unstoppable: How Music Star Kristi Jacques Has Redefined Success While Navigating Society With A Chronic Autoimmune Illness

Again, I’m going to go back to treating everyone with respect and kindness. Even just a smile to a stranger could impact their entire day. You don’t know. If everybody did just a little bit more, just a little bit better, it could make the world a much better place.

I had the pleasure to talk with Kristi Jacques. Kristi, an inspiring figure in the music scene, is on a transformative journey that intertwines her passion for music with personal resilience. Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, Kristi was deeply embedded in the local music scene from an early age. Influenced by her brother, a musician in a Christian band, and her father’s baritone voice, she developed a love for music that led her to engage in various musical endeavors. She managed a local music store, wrote for an entertainment newspaper, and was actively involved in band and chorus during her school years. However, life took her away from music until a pivotal moment in 2020 rekindled her passion.

During the global shift caused by the pandemic, Kristi found inspiration through online videos and the memory of her brother’s guitar. This inspiration led her to resume playing guitar, songwriting, and collaborating with other musicians, marking the beginning of a new chapter in her life. Despite facing significant health challenges, including a chronic autoimmune issue that requires her to use oxygen 24/7 and seek a double lung transplant, Kristi’s determination remains unwavering. Her condition, while making singing more challenging, has not dimmed her spirit. Instead, it has fueled her ambition to continue her musical journey, evidenced by her efforts to fundraise for her medical bills through a GoFundMe page and her goal of receiving a double lung transplant to pursue her passion without limitations.

Now based in Myrtle Beach, SC, Kristi’s recent work, including her latest single, a cover of ‘Brass In Pocket,’ showcases her undeniable talent and infectious enthusiasm for rock music. Her story is not just about a return to music but a testament to the power of perseverance, self-belief, and the relentless pursuit of one’s dreams despite life’s obstacles. Kristi’s journey from her musical roots in Charleston to facing health challenges and finding her way back to music is a compelling narrative of rediscovery, resilience, and the unbreakable connection between an artist and their art.

Hey Kristi, good morning. Thank you so much for joining us. So before we dive in, our readers would love to learn about your personal origin story. Can you share with us a story of your childhood and how you grew up?

I lived in a very small town in South Carolina until I was about five years old, called Norway. We had another town next to it called Denmark. But I actually grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, where I lived until the mid-90s. In Charleston, I was in the music scene. I took music lessons when I was young, starting with piano lessons. Then later in life, I took guitar lessons. I worked for a music store and managed one of their satellite offices. I also worked for an entertainment newspaper and did a few open mic nights here and there. So, I was completely immersed in it. Then things changed. I moved away to Myrtle Beach and kind of let music slip away as life happened. But I found it again back in 2020 when everything changed. The world changed, and my world also changed, but ultimately for the better.

So can you share with us the story of what brought you back to music?

Absolutely. Well, again, in 2020, I had nothing else to do. So I ended up watching a lot of YouTube videos, which I think a lot of people did. And I was watching a lot of videos from someone who’s my favorite musician. I had been listening to him in different bands and really dove down deep into some more of his personal music, his solo, his acoustic playing. And then I remembered I used to be able to do that. I used to be able to play my acoustic guitar and sing. So, I was inspired to try again. And I haven’t looked back since. I’m so happy.

So you probably have a lot of fascinating experiences from all the different parts of your career. Can you share with us either the most memorable, the most interesting, or the most humorous story that you can recall from your career?

Well, I think one of the highlights has been finding my producer. He’s my co-writer. I call him the magician because he helps me sound halfway decent. And I found him through a mutual friend. Working with him has been fantastic.

Amazing. You’ve been blessed with success in a career that can be challenging. Do you have words of advice for others who may want to follow a similar path but are intimidated by the prospect of rejection and disappointment?

Well, to be honest, I never really thought about rejection when I started. It was all about my love for music. Once I began creating, that was all that mattered to me. I find writing songs therapeutic. It allows me to express feelings and thoughts in ways I couldn’t otherwise. Music has been a way for me to release emotions and clear my mind. Besides music, I see cooking and painting as creative outlets too, but music is my true passion. So, for those just starting out, you must truly love what you do. Don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back.

Beautiful. Let’s pretend you were the queen of Nashville or the queen of the music industry. What changes are you happy about seeing over the past few years? And what changes would you like to see moving forward?

Well, streaming services are a bit of a double-edged sword. They’re fantastic because they make it easy for artists to share their music with the world. However, this ease of access also means the market is saturated. Anyone can record a song on their phone and upload it to platforms like Spotify, making it challenging for artists to stand out.

Another concern I have is the rise of artificial intelligence in music. The use of AI to write songs threatens to diminish the human connection that is so vital to music. Out of curiosity, I once tried writing songs with an AI program, and while some of the output was interesting, it lacked the personal touch I value in music creation. It was an unsettling experience, and I chose not to use any of it, fearing it would influence my work in ways I didn’t earn. Moving forward, I’d like to address the impact of AI and find ways to better support artists financially through streaming services, as the current model offers little compensation.

Wonderful. Okay, Kristi, you have so much impressive work. Can you share with our readers about any exciting new projects or releases you’re working on? We’d love to hear about it and learn how we could support you.

Absolutely. I’m thrilled to announce that I have a new single releasing on the 19th. It’s a cover of “Brass in Pocket” by The Pretenders, a band I’ve adored for years. I’m eager to hear what people think about it — the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m committed to releasing new music roughly every six weeks, always writing and creating. Music, for me, is a labor of love, incredibly fulfilling despite not being a lucrative career. Producing songs and investing in equipment costs a lot, but my passion for music drives me. If it weren’t for this love, I’d probably be in a completely different field, perhaps even customer service. But here I am, excited to share my work and hoping for your support.

That’s beautiful. Can you explain to our readers a bit why you love The Pretenders? What’s your connection with them?

I’ve always been captivated by Chrissy Hynde’s voice and have loved The Pretenders for decades. There’s something about her tone and style that I resonate with, and I’ve even been told I sound like her at times. My admiration isn’t limited to her, though; I’m drawn to strong female artists across the board, including Anne Wilson and Bonnie Raitt, among others. Their talent and presence in the music industry have been a huge inspiration to me. I mostly focus on rock and roll. My debut album had a mix of pop and country influences, reflecting the wide range of musical styles that have shaped me. However, I’m now honing in on rock, committing to the genre that truly speaks to me. It’s a thrilling journey, and I’m eager to contribute to the vibrant legacy of rock music.

Okay. Can you tell the readers how you’re trying to use your music to make a positive social impact? What’s the broader impact you’re trying to make with your music?

I have a song called “In Plain Sight,” which is all about encouraging people to be better and treat everyone with kindness. The message I want to convey is simple yet profound: if we all embraced kindness, the world would be a significantly better place. My music often reflects personal experiences or causes close to my heart. While I’m not necessarily aiming to change minds, my goal is to share my passions and stories in the hope that they resonate with others. It’s about making a connection, sharing a piece of myself, and perhaps inspiring someone to see the world a little differently.

That’s amazing. Why do you think music, more than any other art form, has the power to influence, change hearts, and heal minds? Why music in particular?

Music is a universal language that connects people from all corners of the globe. It has this unique ability to bring individuals together, regardless of their background or beliefs. For instance, when attending a concert of one of my favorite bands, I can arrive alone but leave with numerous new friends, united by our shared love for the music. Music possesses an incredible power to evoke memories, stir emotions, and even alter moods. A single song can transport you back to a specific moment in your life, triggering a profound emotional response, whether it’s joy, sorrow, or nostalgia. I’ve experienced songs that have deeply affected me, and even decades later, they evoke the same feelings as when I first heard them. Music, in its essence, can capture and express the human experience in a way that nothing else can, resonating on a deeply emotional level.

Amazing. This is our signature question. For those who are looking to start out, can you share the five things you need to create a successful career as a music artist?

  1. First, you need thick skin. Don’t take anything personally.
  2. You have to have a passion for music.
  3. Take risks.
  4. If you’re writing something and you’re not sure, just keep writing. Share it with others and get their feedback, but don’t be afraid to try something new.
  5. Connect with others, find friends, and find other musicians to connect with. Having support from those people can really help. I’ve been blessed in that sense.

Kristi, I see that you’re wearing an oxygen tube. Can you explain?

Yes, I’ve been dealing with a chronic autoimmune issue for the last 15 years. Over the last four or five years, it has gotten progressively worse. I am now on oxygen 24/7, which makes singing a bit more difficult, but I keep going. I’m also working on getting on the list for a double lung transplant. That’s my goal — to get brand new lungs at some point soon so I can continue doing what I love. I do have a GoFundMe page on Facebook and Instagram to help pay those medical bills because health insurance isn’t quite enough. But my ultimate goal right now is to get new lungs to keep doing what I love. A link to the GoFundMe page is here.

Because of the platform you’ve created and your great work, you’re a person of great influence, and many people take your words very seriously. If you could spread an idea or inspire a movement that brings the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that idea or movement be?

Again, I’m going to go back to treating everyone with respect and kindness. Even just a smile to a stranger could impact their entire day. You don’t know. If everybody did just a little bit more, just a little bit better, it could make the world a much better place.

Beautiful, amazing. How can our readers continue to follow your work? How can they purchase your music? How can they support you in any way? What’s the best way they can do it online or otherwise?

Well, they can go to my website, which is christijacquesmusic.com, spelled JACQUES. I tell people that Jakes is the Southern way to pronounce that. It’s good to know. I’m also on Spotify, on all streaming platforms, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, and I’m trying to start TikTok. I don’t really know how to use it yet, but I’m working on it.

Website — https://kristijacquesmusic.com/

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/KristiJacquesMusic

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/kristi__jacques/

Spotify — https://open.spotify.com/artist/758pjx2kvBFGx1cUyPfP7k?si=3m3KFRT1SoCu-u_8XgZmPw

YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeb52fFy7hU7dvEEfqNlGNA

Okay, this is beautiful, Kristi. Thank you so much for this wise and thoughtful interview. I wish you a complete and quick recovery. You should be blessed with good health, good lungs, and may you share your amazing music with the whole world.

Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Unstoppable: How Music Star Kristi Jacques Has Redefined Success While Navigating Society With A… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.