Music is a shortcut to emotion, says indie singer-songwriter Jaclyn Bradley Palmer

Jaclyn Bradley Palmer highlights the importance of music in enhancing the sense of a film through her one-shot film Love the Body You're In

Music is a shortcut to emotion, says indie singer-songwriter Jaclyn Bradley Palmer

An indie-singer songwriter and published music therapist, Jaclyn Bradley Palmer was first introduced to pop songs when she was a contestant on the 8th Season of 'The Voice of Holland'. As the only participant from America, she has been a resident of Los Angeles where her music was featured on TLC, VH1, MTV, HGTV, Time Warner, and Bravo. She believes that music can actually add character to a movie, as she has portrayed in her one-shot film 'Love the Bodies We're In'.

Her music video 'A Loaded Gun', which is against gun violence, was an official selection at the 2017 Orlando Film Festival. She also holds a Masters degree in music from the Colorado State University and has a Bachelor's degree in vocal performance from Indiana University where she studied opera.

In an interview with Meaww, talks about music as a healing force against depression and says that she has seen hospitalized patients move from depression to hope in three minutes from just one song. Excerpts:

What inspired your EP ‘Be it Wild or Poetic’?

The wild-hearted are often torn between the nostalgia that ties us to our past and the strong urges that lead us toward new experiences. This EP is about the strange struggle of living between the two.

What has been your most difficult hurdle in the making of your one-shot film?

The only semi-hurdle happened the day before filming when Eva Walterbolk, the artist who sings on the recording with me, became ill with the flu. Too sick to perform, we found actress Masruschka Poolman who filled in at the last minute. It was lucky for us because she brought something beautiful to the film, and pretty flawlessly at that.

Otherwise, this film was remarkably easy to make. It was the lovechild of many authentic souls and when things are meant to be, they just seem to flow. After much planning (especially with timing) by the director, Willem Serné, the entire film was completed in only three takes. We ended up using the second take. 

Jaclyn's EP Be It Wild or Poetic is about the struggle between the past and the future for a wandering mind (Facebook)
Jaclyn's EP Be It Wild or Poetic is about the struggle between the past and the future for a wandering mind (Facebook)

How has participating in ‘The Voice of Holland’ helped you grow as a singer?

As a singer, it reintroduced me to pop music. Before the show, so much of what I was listening to was singer-songwriter/folk music… It was really great to fall in love with new music again and that has definitely influenced my writing and listening playlists. It was also beautiful to be surrounded by so many other artists, now friends, who inspired me greatly.

Could you tell us about your experience while working on your documentary ‘Made of Gold’?

It was a decade-long adventure to discover what happened to my great uncle who went missing during World War II. We learned so much about him and, in doing so, learned about ourselves as well. It was an unforgettable project.

How important is a soundtrack when it comes to the plot of a movie?

So important. I just watched the brilliant film 'Call Me by Your Name' and the music of Sufjan Stevens fit and enhanced the film so beautifully. Music is a shortcut to emotion, so the right song can allow you to feel exactly what the characters are feeling. 

Cleveland Magazine has named you one of the most interesting people in the city. What do you think actually makes your songs interesting?

My songs come from a real place. Bob Dylan said, “The world doesn’t need any more songs… unless someone’s gonna come along with a pure heart and has something to say. That’s a different story.” I hope that is what people feel with my music.  

What sort of effect does music therapy have on people?

I have seen hospitalized patients move from depression to hope in three minutes from just one song. I have watched families who don’t speak sing in unison around a dying relative. I have helped patients to write in music what they cannot say in words. Facilitating hospital music therapy and seeing these changes, through music, have been among the greatest joys of my life.

What inspired you to write ‘Love the Bodies We’re In’?

Listening to a lot of sad songs, namely that of Lera Lynn and Noah Gundersen. It was my way of getting out of my own head and into my heart during a difficult time and, at such times, it is much better to create art than to be at war inside.

Jaclyn's song 'A Loaded Gun' is against gun violence (Facebook)
Jaclyn's song 'A Loaded Gun' is against gun violence (Facebook)

Your song 'A Loaded Gun' is against gun violence. As one of the most divisive issues in the US, what do you think could be done about it?

I wish I had the one answer but I’d be a fool to think I alone have the cure. I do believe that a solution begins with more listening than talking and more peaceful action than turbulent surrender. Living in the Netherlands, I know a world with less gun violence is possible. Perhaps we can look to our neighbors for clues.

I believe an overall "unlove" is at the source of this issue. It’s amazing what happens when you, as an individual, decide to take responsibility for putting more love out into the world. It begins to ripple and spread.