While thinking about ’90s pop groups, it seems many badass female artists have followed some intrinsic pull to become solo artists succeeding the rise of their careers. From Beyonce and Kelly Rowland, to Fergie and Gwen Stefani, there is no doubt that these decisions are a cultural paradigm of blazing American independence.
This is not just exclusive to the world of pop artists. To leave the bracketed comfort of a known name or branded identity to stand on your own is an admirable example of fearlessness and self-actualization, more than a lofty risk.
Greenpoint case subject: We have Jackie Mendoza, a neighborhood resident and musician who joined the 5 piece indie band Gingerlys as lead singer 2 years after its formation. When she’s not working in Gingerly’s, she writes for her self-titled solo project, working towards an EP with a music video that’s to be released in April.
Feeling inquisitive about her personal direction and goals, I asked her to share a bit about herself and some perspective on what it’s like to perform independently and collaboratively.
GP: How would you describe your music to your grandmother?
Jackie: I would describe us as her classic “mole de olla” recipe with a new fusion twist. Our music takes influences from the past and we create a sound that is new to us and is rhythmically stimulating.
GP: How long have you been living in Greenpoint? What are some of your favorite places to frequent in the area?
Jackie: I moved to Greenpoint summer of last year and I see myself living here for a while and as long as I can. I love to roam around and pop into the different shops on Franklin Street. I usually get coffee at Littleneck Outpost and I eat at Jungle Cafe almost every other day but recently I’ve been on a Cassette kick, it’s a brand new French restaurant on the corner of Kent and Franklin.
GP: What have been some of your favorite memories as a performer?
Jackie: Last summer we were asked to play a benefit show at a doggie daycare in Bushwick called Brooklyn BowWow to help raise money and awareness for the local animal shelters. We played with Frankie Cosmos, Lost Boy, and Dom, but the greatest part were the dogs running around and wagging their tales while we played our songs.
GP: You also have a solo project – how do you balance having two different acts? When did you find the need to start something on your own?
Jackie: I’ve written songs since I was about 12 or 13 years old but began producing and recording songs in high school. It’s been pretty easy to focus on my solo project as well as Gingerlys mostly because of how drastically different they are. My songs come from me 100% and I have complete control over the sound and atmosphere I want to create, whereas Gingerlys takes collaboration and group effort.
GP: What have been some of the most difficult challenges of being an independent artist?
Jackie: Promotion is a bit difficult to handle without outside help. It’s easy finding the audience you want to target but hard reaching that audience and “hooking” them into what you have to give. Social media is a great way to make yourself known and to have an online presence but it’s all about being persistent and constantly posting content in order to not completely fade away. Patience doesn’t exist online.
GP: What are some projects or shows you’re looking forward to?
Jackie: I recently shot a music video for my solo project for my song “Islands” – directed by Asa Westcott with cinematography by Htat Lin Htut. The video displays a series of whimsical and post-internet scenes that help portray my sound, mood, and look that I want my music to show. The video will come out the first week of April along with a EP for my solo project!
You can also follow Jackie on Instagram.