'From her home in Portland, Oregon, Jessa Campbell writes upbeat, danceable, STEM - and ecology-based songs that are inspired by the musical tastes of her own children and informed by the styles of the adult bands with which she regularly performs.'
Hit play on Jessa Campbell & the Saplings new album, Forest Flow, and you'll instantly dive into a pool of positive vibes and groovy beats. She has one of the most dynamic, polished voices in the biz. The harmonies and melodies in Forest Flow remind me of some of my favourite mainstream artists. It's full of educational songs that will have you hitting repeat. Each track has a different feel and a different story to tell. When a song can transport you into a new world and inspire you to use your mind and move your body, that's a sign of an album that will stand the test of time. My personal favourites are Vuela, Vuela, Fly and Swim with Me. Amazing album delivered with unique sounds and authentic lyrics. So well done. Go have a listen and see for yourself!
Congratulations on the release of your 2nd full-length album, Forest Flow. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired this album? What track is your favourite and why?
The inspiration behind 'Forest Flow' is a blend of my passion for nature, STEM education, and a deep love for music. This album is all about celebrating the incredible biodiversity of our forests while making learning fun. One of my personal favorite tracks is 'Vuela, Vuela, Fly' because it features my best friend Palo-Mah, and allows me to work on my Spanish! I also love the imagery journeying with the monarch butterflies from egg, to squirmy caterpillar, to flying free down to Mexico. Plus, it's a track that gets my son Cedar moving with his favorite dance move - 'the worm'!
Are you touring to promote the new album? If so, when and where can we see you perform live?
Yes, we've got an exciting program lined up to share 'Forest Flow' with our fans. We've had a busy summer of touring, and now, as we head into the fall, you can catch us performing locally at Taborspace. We are also rolling out our "Saplings Club" afterschool program at a local school! The program will be shared with our online community as well. Our workshops are magical journeys that ignite curiosity and a deep love for nature in young minds! Each session centers around a captivating topic, accompanied by a Jessa Campbell & the Saplings song. Here's what you can expect: We start with a Gathering Visualization Meditation, transporting young participants to the enchanting Pacific Northwest and introducing them to the day's flora or fauna. Next, we dive into a Mini Ecology Lesson, unraveling mysteries like seed dispersal, lifecycles, and more in a fun and engaging way. Then, it's time for a Sing-Along Style Song with Movement, making learning memorable through music. Creativity shines during Craft Time, where kids explore hands-on, nature-inspired crafts. We wrap up with a Closing Game or Circle, reinforcing the day's learning and encouraging group interaction. Our workshops aren't just educational; they're adventures into the wonders of the natural world, fostering a deep connection to our environment while having a blast. Join us for an unforgettable experience that inspires young minds to become stewards of our planet! We hope to bring this program to many more Portland Public schools, but for now, you can catch some of the lessons in our "Saplings Club" facebook group!
How would you describe your style of music to listeners that have never heard it before?
Our music is a unique blend of hip-hop, pop, dance, and folk. It's all about creating an energetic and engaging musical experience that resonates with kids and adults alike. We want our listeners to have fun while learning about the wonders of the natural world.
What inspired you to start playing and making music for kids?
My journey into creating music for kids began when I taught a 'Wonders of Nature' class to 5-8-year-olds at a local learning center. We had a little song for each lesson, and that experience sparked my passion for blending education and music. It led to my first album, 'Can You Feel It?' Now, with our second album, 'Forest Flow,' and the 'Saplings Club' after-school program, I'm continuing to bridge science and ecology with music, inspiring young minds to explore and appreciate the world around them.
There are many aspects to creating music for children. There's the creating and writing phase, the recording and production phase, and then the performance aspect as well. Which part is your favourite and which part is the most challenging for you?
My absolute favorite part of creating music is collaborating with friends, both old and new. It's incredible to see how our collective creativity can bring a song to life. However, the most challenging aspect is selecting which project to focus on! I have so many songs and ideas that are eager to be shared with the world. With the right funding and support, I can continue this vital work of merging science and ecology with music, sparking curiosity and wonder in young minds.
If your music was a plant, what kind of plant would it be and why?
If my music were a plant, it would be like a Trillium flower. Just as I've written a song inspired by this remarkable plant, the Trillium represents the idea that it takes a village to create something beautiful. In the case of the flower, its seeds have oily appendages called 'elaiosomes' that attract various insects, especially ants. These elaiosomes, also known as 'ant snacks,' contain lipids and protein highly sought after by ants. The ants carry the seeds down into their underground tunnels, where they feed the elaiosomes to their larvae and dispose of the seeds in their compost pile. Here, conditions for germination are ideal, and research even shows a greater germination rate for seeds with elaiosomes than those without them.
In an optimal setting, it can take a single Trillium 7 to 8 years to produce a flower. However, if conditions aren't ideal, it may take upwards of 10 years! Much like the genus Trillium, my music is a slow and steady process. Producing an album can take longer, especially when collaborating with so many talented individuals. But just like the Trillium flower, the wait is well worth it, and the result is something truly beautiful and enduring.