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07 March 2024


A tumble is not enough to throw Jess off her stride

'Unfortunately for everyone, I'm not gonna go anywhere and I'm not going to be silent. '

Dream State went through some big changes back in 2021 replacing nearly their entire line-up. This is where Jessica Powell enters the chat. After being out of the music industry for 8 years, she wowed Aled,the only remaining original Dream State member, with her above and beyond audition; hiring out a venue & bringing her full force attitude to the stage to prove how worthy she was of her new position. Jessie has been in the music industry for 20 years at this point and feels like she has finally hit her stride. 

Starting their 2024 tour in less than 3 weeks and with it being International Women’s Day, we thought there was no time like last week to get Jess in. Stepping into the heart of Mutt Motorcycles, our enthusiastic front-lady greeted everyone she met with open arms and was visibly eager to get the ball rolling. After stocking out the rest of Dream States’ wardrobe and a couple of goes around the carpark (plus a tumble) we sat down and had a chat about Mutt and about being a woman in the alternative music scene.

You've been in the music industry for a fair while now. How have you seen the space change for women?

Jessica: I've seen it change really positively like, I think 15 years ago, I always felt like it was very few of us, whether it be green rooms or just on the lineup, maybe one or two of us, three at a push. What I've noticed since coming back into the scene in the last couple of years is that like, last summer, for example, I was just inundated with like really talented women; I'd be in the green room and they'd be like multiple women who’d either played their set or were waiting to play. It’s definitely shifting in the right direction. I still do feel that it was a bit of a gentlemen's club, especially in the business side of music but in terms of having female artists get a chance to play, I'm really delighted with the way that's going.

Do you think there’s more room for improvement behind the scenes?

J: I think so yeah, absolutely. It's been really good to see female sound women and more female like merch girls. There are female managers and booking agents but there's predominantly more men, and it would just be so cool to have more women doing management and booking. I'm not saying they're not out there, there are some fantastic ones but whilst the actual acts are improving, I just think that the behind the scenes could still improve. It could still be more girls - we're still probably only like a percentage of a lineup, but it's certainly better than just having two or three of us.

What is the best advice you could give to any female that’s trying to make it in this industry?

J: Don't be afraid to speak - Believe it or not, even though I'm really chatty, I used to like not speak out about things I wanted to. I've really made a conscious effort, fronting Dream State whether it be with our booking agent or with other people in the industry, I'm going to be really vocal. As long as I'm respectful, I’m just not going to hold back anymore. I used to feel like my voice maybe wasn't deserving of the platform but now I'm older, I definitely think if I've got an opinion on something or I'm not happy, I'm going to speak up.

Yeah, so many times as women you're kind of told to be as small as possible and make as little noise as possible and it's not really valid anymore. We need to make that noise and as long as you're respectful about it, you can make your point.

J: 100% and I feel like I'm still really trying to be taken really seriously in the scene, especially when I try to do more on the business side of things. It is getting there but you still get the odd face pulling and you know - you could just tell if it was a bloke saying what I'm saying, it would be taken way more seriously. It's not not all the time, but there's been a few occasions where I can see the eye rolls or you can feel the energy. I pick up on energy really well and I just think there's still definite improvement. But unfortunately for everyone, I'm not gonna go anywhere and I'm not going to be silent.

That’s what we like to hear. How do you find the social media side of things?

J: You're always gonna get your keyboard warriors. I don't even bother reading the comments because you get a million good comments and then that one bad comment that can throw your whole frame of mind. So I try to avoid YouTube but from what I'm told it's actually really positive. But social media, I've been really fortunate that the fans seem to have sort of taken me under their wing. I had a decent following before Dream State - it's not my first rodeo so I feel like my own personal social media has been really, really positive. I’m fully aware I'm not the original singer so you're always gonna get those people that are really dedicated and loyal to Charlotte, or CJ, and that's fine; I'm under no illusion that we wouldn't be where we are without her being such a pivotal part of that band. I've noticed as the months have gone on and as we release more and we play live more that the feedback or the negative comments have really dwindled but I do know a lot of bands that get just absolutely rinsed.

It doesn’t feel necessary; it’s enough to make anyone stop doing what they want to do...

J: I can see why girls don't put themselves out there - girls and boys, but you get comments about your body. I just don't understand; if there was a larger guy, you wouldn't make that comment but for some reason if you're not a size six with a crop top on and showing cleavage… Since I've quit alcohol, I have put on like two stone and I'm really happy, the happiest I've been in my life and there's been a few comments, not people calling me fat but being like noticing the weight gain

Feels like that could be even worse? Like they think they’re doing you a favour as if you don't know…

J: People don't realise as well is you don't understand what people go through and I think that if I look at where I am in my life now I'm the happiest I've ever been. So even if I'm two stone heavier, I'm happy. It's just frustrating that we even have to have a conversation around it…

Anyway on to some lighter topics.
You told us earlier that you’ve been on the back of motorcycles but this was your first go actually driving. We got you on the FSR - what did you think the bike and riding as a whole?

J: I loved it! I actually now want a motorbike, I do genuinely. I had so much fun. I used to drive a lot of quad bikes as a kid and it was really annoying that I couldn't get the clutch sometimes because I know the once I’d get it getting I'd have fun. When I was a kid, my cousin had quad bikes and I really enjoyed that. The bike was really smooth and felt like it was really reactive; you'd only have to touch it. Obviously I had a little fall but that was completely my fault and I've been completely looked after by team.

We’ve set you up in the warm with a hot chocolate and some paracetamol

J: I feel like I've got whiplash but I'll be getting that anyway on tour.

We're just getting you started!

J: Yeah, and I got puddle water in my eye but with that aside, I had so much fun and they’re beautiful bikes. I think if I was to get one, I'd want what I rode really - I liked the colour of it…

It was one of the smaller bikes and we thought because it's your first time on one really riding it because you're used to being on the back of them.

J: Yeah, no, that was fun. I actually had a really good time and when you actually go in on it, there's a sense of freedom on it. Even though I've had a little fall and it hurt - I'm actually like drenched in puddle water while I speak, I still want to come back and ride again.

It’s not killed the dream?

J: No, not at all!

Tough as nails, our Jess! She may have taken a tumble, but she’s okay and ready to get back on the bike. Dream State start their incredible 15 date UK tour on March 28th and are doing the length & breadth of the country so be sure to catch Jessie and co in a city near you!

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