Jack River (otherwise known as Holly Rankin) is an Australian eccentric, edgy singer/songwriter who kicks ass and can do it all. Speaking of doing it all, the artist just wrapped up a sold-out tour and her new album, Sugar Moutain, dropped on June 22. Despite her busy schedule, I got to chat with Jack River about her music, a female empowered concert series that everyone needs to know about, and more!
TYF: What made you want to pursue music?
Jack River: It just naturally happened. In my late teens, I began to write a lot of songs, so many that I wanted to release them. My ambition kicked in massively. It was the ambition I thought I might use for politics or economics. But now, six years later, here we are. Pursuing music seems like an unreal dream until you’re doing it.
TYF: I read that your stage name is Jack River. What made you want to change your name? Why did you choose the name, Jack River?
Jack River: I wanted another vehicle to express through, one that felt boundaryless and I could take it anywhere. My friends and I made up pirate names when we were 16 and Jack River was mine.
TYF: For our readers who haven’t heard your music yet, how would you describe your sound?
Jack River: Liquid sugar synths pouring all over a mountain of guitars.
TYF: Did you find your sound right away?
Jack River: No, it’s definitely an evolving thing. The sound of sugar mountain took around five years of experimentation to nail.
TYF: Who are some of your favorite folk artists?
Jack River: Neil Young, Bright Eyes/Conor Oberst, Jack White, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash – the classics.
TYF: How did you come up with the title of the album, Sugar Mountain?
Jack River: It’s my favorite Neil Young song. He writes about losing youth but all the magic scenes are inside of it. This album is much the same, and when the words ‘sugar’ and ‘mountain’ are put together, the whole scene just made a lot of sense to me.
TYF: What was the last song that made it to the album and what makes the track special?
Jack River: Confess. It was the first time on the album I really admitted to needing love.
TYF: How did you feel after hearing the news that your new song, “Limo Song” got the #1 spot on Apple Music’s Best of the Week?
Jack River: It’s awesome to get recognition from the legends at Apple Music, every single magic thing counts.
TYF: You recently just got off tour. What was it like playing a sold-out tour?
Jack River: It’s an honor to play to full crowds who I know actually love the music, it’s breathtaking, strange, wonderful, and magical.
TYF: Any crazy, memorable stories from the tour that you would like to share?
Jack River: Most memorable story was getting my first letter from a listener. It made me cry and I framed it to remind me why I’m doing what I’m doing.
TYF: And let’s switch gears for a minute and talk about Electric Lady. What sparked the interest of putting this female empowered concert series together?
Jack River: When I saw the 2016 Women’s March’s on TV I knew I had to create something in my own industry. I had the idea for many years but never knew whether it would be relevant when I saw the images on TV I knew it was the right time.
TYF: What made you choose these particular female acts you did for Electric Lady?
Jack River: We have done three Electric Lady shows now – each show reflects the most brilliant artists we can involve at any time. In the original Electric Lady, we wanted to showcase musical grit in the form of guitars. But from here on out, we involve all genres.
TYF: Any fun summer plans coming up?
Jack River: In my summer, I am actually planning to head to Europe and the U.S., so I may miss the summer. If I’m here, I’ll be by the ocean with my dog and boyfriend.
TYF: What summer jams are you digging right now?
Jack River: Maggie Rogers – Fallingwater
Check out Jack River’s music here.