The Rocks Off 200: Jess Walker, the Pride of Pride Houston
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? Since 2012 Jess Walker has been slowly but steadily making a name for herself in pop music. Her voice is a potent combination of R&B/soul mixed with the high-energy electro-pop that Houston used to manufacture so well. It's standard dance floor fare, sure, but Walker has a penchant for classic production sounds that sets her apart from the flavor-of-the-day crowd. There's a difference between tricks and techniques, and Walker is the latter.
Photo by Hussain Najeeb
"Steady Pace," her most notable hit at the moment, is the best example of that skill. Walker wrote it for Venice: The Series, which was featured on the most recent Daytime Emmy Awards. The attention has her planning to jet out to Los Angeles for a fan event for the show and perform for the Hollywood crowd. She's become a true Houston pop export.
Home Base: She's a bathroom writer. Walker does her best work in the tub, bouncing her amazing voice of the acoustics of the tiles. Her favorite place to sing in Houston isn't a place at all, but an event. She's performed at the Houston Pride Celebration two years in a row, and looks forward to doing so every year.
Good War Story: "I spent a total of three years creating my EP," Walker tells us. "In those three years, I spent every weekend in the studio writing and recording which left me no time for my family and friends or just to relax.
Photo by Arielle Myers
To make a long story short, my blood, sweat, and tears were almost all for nothing. There were no contracts signed and the price to complete my EP just kept getting higher and higher to the point where I was given an ultimatum -- pay by this date or I will be forced to sell your songs.
So I created a crowd-funding campaign to raise the money and my amazing fans came through to help me make my dream come true. It was such a heartbreaking experience for me to think that what I had worked so hard for could be gone in a matter of days.
Now, I'm so grateful for every day I get to make music and keep pursuing my dream because it could all be gone so fast.
Why Stay Do You Stay In Houston? "I stay in Houston because it's my hometown and I love it!", Walker says. "But also, I can feel the city changing. I really feel that in a couple of years the music scene in Houston is going to explode and we'll slowly become another hub for music like LA and New York."
Story continues on the next page.