Name: Jaqualyn Taimana Williams
Music Genre: Rock
Auckland-based singer-songwriter Jaqualyn Taimana Williams (Jacqui) could be described as a multiracial Kiwi fusion of Alanis Morissette, Taylor Swift and Pink, stretching from Anika Moa to Devilskin in styles with a Tina Cross personality. This is in an edgy, dynamic artist who is captivating to a broad audience. A kindergarten teacher by day, Jacqui has teamed up with producer/guitarist Tim Skedden (Op Shop, The Feelers, Babysitters Circus) to create sixteen robust, engaging and seriously catchy indie rock/pop songs representative of many years of song-writing and performing live. Empowerment, freedom and courage come out through rebel lyrics and gritty rock guitars in Amber View, Spiders and Bully. Playful, feel-good energy pops in tracks like Diversity, Yeah Nah and Trees and gentle, deep anthems like Safe and The Sower balance the album’s energy. With no shortage of pedigree musicians willing to input their talent, Jacqui’s album Statues Of Liberty features tenacious drum work by Corey Friedlander (City Of Souls), spunky bass lines by Clint Harris (Op Shop) and Marika Hodges (Troy Kingi, Hollie Smith) and tasty keyboard by Stephen Small (the Verlaines). Demos for new singles will refresh Jacqui’s classic 90s rock/pop sound and touch on the moody electronica of Massive Attack and Morcheeba. In 2018, Jacqui created an eight song bilingual children’s album Waiata Tamariki, produced by Ian Rushton at Black Sands Studio. Many copies of the album have been sold to parents and other teachers and it has been picked up by radio children’s shows here and in Australia. Jacqui performed the songs live at Music In Parks Flava at Hayman Park, March 2020 and plans to record a new set of bilingual children’s songs this year.
Producer Tim Skedden: “I love these songs, at first they sounded pleasing to my ears and palatable, but as I started working and got more in depth with song structures I soon realized that they are intelligent pieces of music that are often driven by clever lyrical content . Jacqui’s delivery of metaphors still keep me guessing as to whether these songs are personal or political, but either way Jacqui has an impressive ability to be playful and skilful with her lyrics, I’m still finding new ways to interpret her songs after many listens, it’s a great record.”Mastering and Mixing Engineer Chris Chetland: “Jacqui’s songs have really strong hooks with progressions that not only make you think “that is a really clever way to take a melody” but also stick in your head and keep coming back (in a good way).” Songwriter Jacqui Williams: “I have a real backlog of songs I’ve always wanted to record. Finally, life has given me the people and tools I need to do them justice. This is a very fulfilling and cathartic process for me and because of the many personal challenges I have overcome, I am all the more grateful and driven to back myself all the way. I know people will relate to these tracks – that’s my motivation to keep reaching new ears!”
Websites or Social Media Pages
What Musical Genre Do You Feel Best Describes Your Music And How Would You Describe Your Sound?
My music is multi-genre but mostly rock with country and reggae feels in some tracks.
How Did You Get Your Name? Is There A Story?
Yes, there is long and interesting story about my name. I have unique spelling of Jacqueline which I chose because it says “aqua” or Spanish word for water which is vital for life, “lyn” which I share with my birth mother Helyn and half-sister Tracey-lynne who I only discovered when I was 19 years old. Taimana means diamond in the Māori language of New Zealand and I like to think of myself as sharp and valuable like a diamond. Williams is just my long time ex-husbands surname but I’ve performed with it for 30 years now so I’m keeping it in my artist name.
What Are or Have Been Your Musical Influences?
I grew up in the era of Duran Duran, Devo, The Cure, INXS, Blondie and Chrissie Hinds so I’m pretty sure thay have influenced me. I also performed in a 90s grunge rock band for a few years and loved Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Alanis Morrissette and Nirvana.
What Are You Working On Now? Any Future Collaborations We Can Look Forward To?
I am working on the videos for my second bilingual Māori children’s album,
What Is Your Ultimate Goal In The Music Industry? What Is Your Plan Of Action?
I aim to build up my sales and streams, win some NZ awards, play live and develop an organic local following.
What Is Your Favorite Track To Perform Live and Why?
Bully because it’s dynamic and angry and my musicians love this one too.
What Has Been The Biggest Challenge In Your Career Thus Far?
The fact that awesome regular live music in bars isn’t as much a thing in my country now we have restrictive drink-driving laws and since Covid the bars have really struggled. It is also a challenge getting help from our Government Arts funders. It probably doesn’t help that I’m 52 years old and not exactly a fresh spring chicken doing rap music lol.
What’s Your Typical Songwriting Process?
It all comes together like giving birth
How Has Social Media Influenced Your Career As An Artist?
It’s been great! I love seeing the analytics and communicating with people who love my music and creating content.
What Are Some Tracks and Artists Currently On Your Playlist?
My hands-down fave at the mo is “Bohemian Like You” The Dandy Warhols, tracks by Letters To Cleo, The Breeders and Kiwi artists.
What Did You Do Before You Started Making Music?
I started writing my own songs at 7 years old so um school?
Any Advice For Young People (Men or Women) That Want To Succeed In The Music World?
Be yourself, work with the best people you can find or afford and perform as much as you can.
What Would You Change In The Music Industry If You Were A Top Music Executive?
I would be tempted to KILL SPOTIFY! But I like it that my streams are getting up over the >1000!
How Do You Feel About Originality?
I embrace it totally, I am an Aquarian and it’s the dawning of my age.
Is There Anything Else We Should Know About You Or That You Would Like to Add?
I’m a fully qualified and registered Kindergarten teacher and I have created upbeat children’s rock songs.