Biography

“Life,” says Jessica Gall, “is loud enough...” She leaves the rest of the sentence to the imagination, though it’s not too difficult to figure it out. She would surely have continued with: “… my music does not have to add to it.” And loud it certainly isn’t. Her music is intense, haunting, near impossible to forget, now more so than ever. Compared to its predecessors, and contrary to its title, the album ‘Picture Perfect’ is gratifyingly imperfect – in the best sense of the word. Recorded by a native of Berlin in the capital, one might have expected an urban work. Jessica Gall smiles, “the opposite is probably true, isn’t it?” Yes, exactly. But why? “The first thing I see in the morning is a garden with apple trees and lots of birds.” In other words, she does not live near the centre of town. “I want to reflect this expansiveness in my songs, or at least hint at it.” Her need to intuit space and transform it into sound has grown in the last few years, she says. Space has become increasingly important in her music. “It has been an inspiration to me since childhood. On the new album we are aiming for a much more reduced sound.” Jessica and her musicians have travelled quite far in terms of reduction, “but I think, we still have some way to go.” The “we” in the preceding sentence includes herself and her husband Robert Matt, who has not only co-produced and co-arranged the album but also worked with Jessica on the compositions and lyrics.
This new expansiveness is also reflected in her vocal delivery. Just a few years ago, a daily newspaper, one not renowned for its wit and sophistication, referred to her as “Germany’s mellowest voice”. “At the time,” says Jessica Gall, “I quite liked this expression.” Now, however, she is more willing to let her hair down, “because I have noticed that there is more to me than this mellow side, especially on stage.” Although she still stops short of screaming or screeching, “I no longer confine myself to breathy whispers. I do have a rather low voice, though, there’s nothing I can do about that.” 
While her first albums were rather unheedingly categorised as jazz, even undiscerning record dealers would be hard pushed to do the same nowadays. Jessica Gall herself is not really interested in categories, “what inspires me much more is being able and allowed to do music at all. Diversity appeals to me and that influences what I listen to in my private life, artists ranging from Lady Gaga to Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits and Ella Fitzgerald. What attracts me most is strong lyrics.” And that’s something her new album has plenty of. Probably because it was conceived in just the environment that suited Jessica. The songs were written in conjunction with her husband, “we both just start writing, luckily this can all take place at home – the home with the apple trees and birds in the garden. Of course that makes things much easier for us and our children.” One can almost hear the relief in her voice. “Then the band comes in,” she says. Aside from Robert Matt (piano and programming), this includes Johannes Feige (guitars), Björn Werra (bass) and Martell Beigang (drums). “The band record everything live and have a big influence on the final result,” says Jessica Gall, “because they help me with trying out Robert’s and my musical ideas and allow me to cast a critical eye on them.” 
These days, this also applies to her live performances. Jessica is “very happy that I am no longer the control freak on stage that I used to be in the studio.” On stage, the unforeseen transpires, “I used to find that really exhausting, but now it comes out as some incredible magic.” A view her fans would surely share. 
 
Born in Berlin as the daughter of musician parents, Jessica Gall studied jazz at the Hanns Eisler School of Music. Early on in her journey towards her unique style, she allowed herself the freedom to do whatever she wanted, even if it meant stepping outside her genre. To finance her studies, she sang backing vocals for Phil Collins and Sarah Connor, to name just two. “Picture Perfect” is her fifth album following on from “Just Like You” (2008), “Little Big Soul” (2010), “Riviera” (2012) and “Riviera Live Concert”. Together with Robert Matt and co-lyricists Robin Meloy Goldsby, Shannon Callahan and David Anania, Jessica Gall has carved out a niche between jazzy memories and the newly restored Olympus of the singer/songwriter world. From here on in, anything seems possible.