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Monday, 13 June, 2011 2:05 AM
New pop/rock and R&B singer Jess Godwin to play Detroit's Gem Theatre on July 15
DETROIT -- Jess Godwin studied classical music at Vanderbilt University and received a degree in theater from Columbia College in Chicago. She performed in various musicals at theaters in Chicago and New Haven, Connecticut. Her style of music is described as a mix of R&B, pop and rock. Godwin's latest single is "The Guy" and her new EP album is titled Klutz. Look for her to perform at Detroit's historic Gem Theatre on Friday, July 15 at 8 p.m. Michigan native Corey Roberts will open for her at the all-ages show.
"I've been singing my whole life and I actually spent the four years after college doing theater, a lot of acting," Godwin said in an exclusive phone interview. "I was always writing and wanting to be doing writing. I finally decided about two years ago this is really what I wanted to do. I just kind of stopped everything else and put everything towards this. It's been a lot of fun. My mom and dad grew up in Detroit and met here. I have 50 or more relatives in the Detroit area. This is like my second home, I'm so proud."
How does it feel to be compared to Teena Marie, Regina Spektor and Norah Jones?
"It's always flattering," the new singer-songwriter said. "I love that it's such a wide range of artists too. Whenever somebody says that, I'm like 'thank you.' I'm not really like them, but I really appreciate it."
What's the story behind your single "Katy's Side"?
"I had a jealousy streak last year," Godwin laughed. "It just kind of all culminated in one song. The minute I wrote the song I started feeling a lot better about it all. I guess it's just easy for girls to no matter how much you have or what you look like or how great people think you are, you always wonder what's on the other side. It was very therapeutic for me to write it and get that feeling out there and be able to move on."
Her newest single is called "The Guy." What's the premise of that one?
"It is available for a free download on my website right now," she explained. "'The Guy' is about a guy who you've always liked and having the guys to tell them that you've really, really liked them. So I did and I told him, but he didn't feel the same way. I wrote the song about it so that's all that matters to me."
Can you give me some highlights of your new EP titled Klutz?
"Definitely 'The Guy' and 'Katy's Side' are two highlights," the singer-songwriter added. "'Coming Home' is a more jazzy, old R&B-style song that is about traveling around a lot and trying to figure out the balance between love and career. 'Fool Me Once' is just a solo, voice and piano song that I've played in my shows. It's my oldest song. People have been asking me to record it and I finally recorded it. I'm really proud of the whole EP. I'm excited for people to hear it. People should listen to it."
You'll be performing at the Gem Theatre on July 15. Will this be your first time playing in downtown Detroit?
"Yes, I did a show in Farmington Hills about a year and a half ago," Godwin said. "This is my first big Detroit show. I'm going to have a full band and an amazing opener, Corey Roberts. Hopefully, we'll pack the place. I'm really crossing my fingers on that one."
Can you give me a preview of what you'll be playing on that night?
"I will be doing all originals, anything that I have recorded out right now," she explained. "We'll be doing all of that and we'll probably do some fun covers. It's going to be a great night."
As you stated earlier, you've done some work in theater. Which do you prefer more--acting or singing?
"Oh, definitely the singing, but I love them both," the singer-songwriter added. "It's been really fun. I've been able to create sort of a balance between the two of them. I'm going to do a show in Chicago in the fall for three months. Then, I'm going to go back to the music. It's nice jumping back and forth because you appreciate both sides."
What would be your advice for students studying music or theater and are looking to break into the business?
"For students wanting to get into theater, I'd say take dance classes now, it's so important," Godwin said. "For those wanting to get into music, I'd definitely say start playing an instrument as early as possible. The more you're able to play out on your own and not have to rely on other musicians the better off you are."
I'm curious to know your thoughts on shows like American Idol, The Voice and America's Got Talent?
"It's a great way for people to get exposure to a lot of different fans," she explained. "I tried out for American Idol twice and did not make it past the first round. People are like, 'You should try out' and I did, but it wasn't the show for me. I think it's a lot of fun and they're making a lot of money on those shows."
Local artist Corey Roberts, a Michigan native and Carnegie Mellon University graduate, will be the opener. The 22-year-old performs a wide range of genres, including jazz, opera and soul. Roberts is known for his performances of "Bring Him Home" in Les Miserables and "The Song That Goes Like This" in Spamalot. Watch some of his past performances on YouTube.
For more information on Jess Godwin, visit her official website at www.jessgodwin.com.
Tickets ($10) for Jess Godwin at the Historic Gem Theatre are on sale now at the Gem Theatre box office (313-963-9800), Ticketmaster charge by phone (800-982-2787), or at all Ticketmaster outlets, and online at Ticketmaster.com. The historic Gem & Century Theatres, Elwood Bar & Grill, and Colony Club sparkle in the heart of Detroit’s entertainment district. Call (313) 963-9800 for more information about theatre, dinner, lunch, brunch, wedding packages, special events, patio parties, tours and more!
Photo credit: KENNEDY | FERRIS
Jess Godwin will entertain audiences at the historic Gem Theatre.
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