Jess Kent


Australian singer-songwriter Jess Kent knew from a very early age that music was what she was going to do. When she was just eighteen years old, she took a huge risk to pursue her career. She packed up a suitcase, her guitar, and moved to Sydney all on her own. “I had no money, contacts, or resources, and no plan either. I literally just bought a plane ticket and left,” she said, “I had no expectations… I just wanted to do it.”

Although she was born in Derby, England, Kent and her family moved to Adelaide, Australia, when she was eleven years old. When asked what she wanted to be as a little girl, her answer was always a singer. “When I was about four or five, I would get my girlfriends together to make girl bands. I just wanted to sing all the time,” Kent explained. She started teaching herself how to play guitar at age seven, then began taking classes and also learned from fellow friends along the way. She studied journalism and creative writing at a university, while trying to get gigs at the same time. Kent realized there was not much for her in such a small town, so she decided to make the move to Sydney.

Kent grew up listening to a multitude of different genres from reggae, to dub, to rock, which resulted in her own unique genre. When writing, she admitted that the rap aspect of it is due to the amount of lyrics she makes. “I kind of just squish everything together,” she said, “A lot of the time I’ll walk around with my notes and I’ll just think of stuff and write some rhymes.”

When it comes to writing about certain topics, Kent makes sure she’s putting something out there that’s important. One of her songs, “Trolls,” is about the way people act on the internet and this idea of “parallel lives.” “I really meditate on it and think about what I want to put out into the world, as opposed to just lyrics about anything,” she explained. Her song, “The Sweet Spot,” off her EP My Name is Jess Kent, is about her experience of moving to Sydney. “[The song] is about the slug of moving to Sydney and having nothing, no money, and thinking about why I actually want to do this,” she confessed. 

While in Sydney, Kent spent a lot of her time exploring different music scenes which she believes has influenced her songwriting. She met a lot of electronic producers, went to raves, and saw a lot of punk bands, to name a few. Kent doesn’t think that her songwriting process has changed much over the years, but has rather evolved, since she is much more conscious about what she’s writing about. The young singer is currently working on her record while in the midst of touring with Coldplay, and she wants to make sure it’s perfect. “I’m trying not to rush it, but I’ve got a lot of new inspiration to write about and loads of songs to sift through,” Kent said.

Follow Jess: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

Photos by Myrah Sarwar.
Story by Caitlin Ison.

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