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Interview With Jacqueline Loor: Latina Singer-Songwriter With Passionate New Album

Andrea has studied film, writing, and music for her career. She loves to find and work with talented artists to give them some spotlight.

Who Is Jacqueline Loor?

Jacqueline Loor is a Latina singer-songwriter based in Tenerife, Spain. She grew up in Miami and recently moved to Spain and got closer to her roots. She is a rising star in the indie music community: her songs have appeared on the TV show Batwoman and on a PBS special.

Jacqueline has big plans for her career. She just released her debut album, Show Them. She is planning to release new music next year. I recently had an interview with her to talk about her new album and music video. She also talked with me about her creative process and her biggest dreams.

The singer-songwriter was a lot of fun to interview. I found her perspective on life and music fascinating. One thing that really stuck out to me was her charisma: people gravitate toward her. Jacqueline has a loyal fan following, and she really cares about them.

Keep Jacqueline on your radar, especially if you like indie music. She specializes in heartwrenching ballads and groovy salsa pop. Her voice reminds me of Shakira and Tori Amos; her penmanship is on par with Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow.

Jacqueline Loor's New Music Video

Interview With Jacqueline Loor

Q. Hi, Jacqueline. I'm excited to meet you. I'm sure your fans will be excited to get to know you more. Can you tell us about your new music?

The album starts with "Coming Undone", that song was the first single, I'm excited about it, and it's about my twin sister.

It's funny—I'm always giving Caroline advice, but she never listens to me. I figured I'd write a song about her toxic situation to try and wake her up. I had her listen to it, she loved it, but she didn't realize it was about her. I was laughing because she didn't see the connection.

Eventually, Caroline realized "Coming Undone" was about her—I had to tell her. She was in a rough relationship for years. I was trying to reach her—you know, when you're in a relationship, and I've been there (we've all been there), but you don't see the outside. . . kind of like you're trapped in it?

Anyway, she would look at me and my husband. . . she told me we're always so happy, you guys don't fight and he only lifts you up—well yeah, that's how a healthy relationship works! She felt like she always had no way out. No choice but to make it work, you know?

So a lot of what the album is about is empowering someone that's in a similar situation. Those who feel like they can't get out. The song is about the moment you realize you have to get out and to find the courage to do it. Later you'll realize you don't need to be with someone to be happy and fulfilled.

My twin, she loves to show people "I Can Fly", that's her favorite track. It's a happier song. She connects with it now because she is single and happy. It was a huge deal for her—to leave that relationship.

Q. Did you both grow up in Miami?

Yes, I was born and raised in Miami. I somehow ended up here in the Canary Islands. La Palma, that's where my great-grandmother was from and that's the one with all the erupting volcanoes. I'm not on that island; I'm on one of the other Canary Islands.

Q. Did your sister move there too?

She just did a week ago! I released "I Can Fly" just as she was flying here to Tenerife.

Q. Do you feel closer to your ancestors/roots in Tenerife?

Absolutely. Let me give you some backstory. My mom lost her dad when she was 17. He was from here, Tenerife. He went to Cuba as an adult, and my mom was born there. My mom left Cuba right when Castro was coming in and taking over; she left when she was four.

Anyway, they had to start over—it was nuts. They ended up in America. When I was a kid, she'd always talk to me about her dad. She always wanted to go back to Cuba, but she couldn't because of the situation there.

She eventually went to Tenerife, and when she did, she immediately felt her dad's presence. She decided right then to move—she wanted to retire in Tenerife. I told my mom, "Wherever you go, I go. I want to go visit, I want to come check this place out." So I went.

As soon as I got to the island, I felt like I belonged. I felt so at home. I was on vacation without my husband. When I went back to Miami, I couldn't stop talking to him about Tenerife, and he was like—babe you're so crazy, stop talking about it. And I'm like "No, no, no. I see us living there. This is going to happen. And where there's a will, there's a way."

Q. How would you say Tenerife compares to Miami?

It's a whole different pace. I don't think it's perfect for everybody. I really love nature. I love mountains, I love hiking, and going off to volcanoes, so those kind of things are cool to me. If you hate nature, don't come here.

I love beaches, I love to be in the ocean, I'm always looking at the ocean. I like that the people here are friendly. That's one of my favorite things—everyone here wears their heart on their sleeve.

In Tenerife, I feel my soul. My friends here have become family. We're all very close. As soon as you meet people, there is nothing to hide. Everyone is all out. It's totally different from the US where people tend to focus more on their individuality.

Seriously, put Tenerife on your bucket list!

Q. Did you write most of your music while you were in the US or in Spain?

The album mostly came from when I was in Tenerife, but I went back to Miami, like two years ago, to help my family. My stepfather-in-law got cancer, Caroline was getting a divorce, and just all these things came up. I needed to go back for a year. We went back for a year and then COVID hit; I ended up staying in Miami longer than I had planned.

In that time, I took a course for music licensing; it was a six-month course. I started to write more music and collaborate with other artists. It was amazing. Most of the songs came from Tenerife. . . some of the songs came out of Miami.

I do want to mention Cathy Heller. She heads Catch the Moon/6 Figure Songwriting. She taught me about sync. She has extensive knowledge on music licensing.

Q. What was the recording process like for Show Them?

"Coming Undone" I wrote for the guitar. I taught myself guitar when I was 18. As I played the notes, the lyrics started to come together. Usually, songs come to me pretty fast. I was in a mentorship program, The Songwriting Academy. My mentor, Shelly Poole, said, "As soon as you have a seed or a thought, just go with it. Write the song, don't fudge it so much."

While playing the guitar for "Coming Undone", I bumped into a memory. I thought of my grandmother actually, and I wrote the song in about five minutes. A lot of my songs are like that. It's super cathartic. I'm usually crying.

My favorite part of "Coming Undone" is the bridge. I played it to my husband, and he was like, "I don't know about that"—seriously, he knows nothing!

I love the bridge, it's the best bridge. . . it's still my favorite part of the song. I created most of the song by myself. And then recording it. . . I hired a ton of different producers.

Awesome producers are everywhere. Austin Hall is one of them. He started a huge Facebook group called "Make Pop Music." I feel like a lot of people, indie musicians, who are starting out want to connect. I feel like that's an awesome platform where people can genuinely support each other and collaborate.

Austin Hall, he produced my song "Coming Undone". I went to his studio; I sang the vocals in Tenerife. I realized as much as I was writing songs, I had people giving me advice. They kept telling me to buy my own gear and equipment and to record music myself.

I first thought that was crazy. I can't do that! I was in my own way, thinking I couldn't. Then one thing led to another. I bought the microphone, all the cords. A ton of the new songs were recorded in my home studio.

I produced the song "I Broke My Heart" after taking a course with Kris Bradley. I never thought in 100 million years I would ever produce. People on my team were encouraging; they told me I could do it. But it was hard to wrap my mind around.

It's really male-dominated. . . the whole field. And I'm all about female empowerment, so what the hell? I should do this. Why not? What's stopping me from recording my own songs?

Q. Do you see yourself as a poet?

I started out as a poet! That's so funny, no one has ever asked me that. I mean, yes!

When I was a little kid I loved poetry. I loved writing poems. I would totally crush on somebody and write them a poem, I'd put it in their locker. I loved reading poetry, literature, and I studied literature. I was an English teacher for seventh graders. I did my Master's in literature.

Ever since I was a little kid, I've written poetry. When I picked up a guitar when I was 18, it was the easiest thing in the world. It was the most natural thing in the world to write words to music.

I've been honing in on the skills of songwriting from literature. I used to ask others if what I wrote sounded good, but I don't worry so much now. I have a clear vision; I have something to say.

I am proud of the journey I've been on because I've worked hard to get to the point I am now. I still love going to songwriting sessions with people. I feel like I just keep building and adding more tools.

Q. What were some of your favorite parts during the recording process?

The actual singing, I remember when I sang "Coming Undone" in the studio I really didn't know what I was doing. I was overwhelmed.

The other songs, like "Burn It Down", for example, I remember when I wrote that song—me and my piano—I hired an awesome producer Chris Durkin, he lives in Manchester. I worked with him a ton. Chris has been there from the beginning. I met him on "Make Pop Music." It's cool to see how things have progressed since we first met. . . when I first got into this business. . . I didn't think I could sing. I thought I would just be a songwriter.

So then I bumped into a vocal lesson. And this guy was amazing, Francisco Javier Díaz Loreno, he's like an opera singer, one of those classically trained types. He told me I have a crazy range. And I'm like what, are you serious?

He taught me so much. He really shocked me. As soon as I had the idea that I could sing, I started practicing daily. I was a maniac. Chris kept telling me I could do better, I could sing higher, stuff like that.

It's weird sometimes working with people who believe in you more than you believe in yourself. So I'm really proud of how my vocals have progressed, and I kind of scattered those songs around the album. I loved producing "I Broke My Heart". Even though it was a lot of work, it took two months of my life and so many hours, I'm proud of that song. I picked those background sounds, I put it together, I feel like that's—I don't know—I didn't think I'd ever be doing this kind of stuff.

Producing was one of my favorite parts of the album process.

Q. Did he classify your voice? Tell you what kind of voice you have?

I think he said soprano.

Q. How do you feel about the piano?

I taught myself how to play piano about a year ago. I was super intimidated. One of my teachers told me, "Oh, it's just like seven notes. You know? Over and over." They helped me to figure out the keys, major and minor. This is the C. . . it helped so much in my writing process. I used to just go to the guitar, but then I started to go to the piano. My mind was blown. I love, love, love writing with the piano.

And I love playing it. I may suck at it, but I still love it.

Even though I'm not perfect at the piano, I realize when I do lives, like I'm going to do a live later today, when I do lives, I realize it doesn't have to be perfect. That helps me be authentic with people.

I used to freak out, like oh no, I'm not going to hit it—who the hell wants to see perfect? I think ever since I started thinking that way I've been performing better. Just not to have that pressure. Just focus on being in the moment with the words. My hope is that the message I want to deliver reaches the fans.

Q. How do your fans connect with you? Do you get a lot of messages about heartbreak and grief?

It sounds dark, but I love getting messages like that. I feel like to heal you've got to feel all of that. So I take messages on Instagram and Facebook very seriously. I write back to them because I care about them.

I want to know what's going on, why people are responding the way they do. When I first started this journey, about three and a half years ago, people would send me supportive messages. I know many of my fans by name.

One time, I found someone who created a playlist with my song "Just a Memory", I reached out to her, and I posted an Instagram story about it. I thanked her for sharing my song. She wrote back, "Oh my god, I love your song." She was surprised I posted about her playlist on Instagram, but it meant a lot to me. I mean, are you kidding? Of course, I think it's cool when people make a playlist, and they put my song in it.

The song "Just a Memory" didn't come from anywhere, so I don't know how she found it. Most people have found me because "Burn It Down" was on Batwoman and then they downloaded it. I keep all those fan messages.

My mind was blown when I saw Batwoman and what they did. I didn't see it until it aired. It was like a hot and heavy makeout scene. And I was like, yes! I love it!

"Burn It Down" is a female empowerment track. It was cool to see it used the way they used it. I showed my daughters the episode, and they were so proud. Especially since it was a superhero show. That was a proud moment for me.

Q. What was it like working on the Latin PBS special?

I actually dreamt that song. I woke up. I had the hook in my head. And I was like, "I need to write this song." I collaborated with two people on it.

My friend encouraged me to sing it, but I wasn't sure. I usually do dark pop in English. I started messing around with the song, and my twin heard it, she said, "Jackie, you sound like Shakira. You should do this."

I honestly thought she had lost her mind. Shakira? I mean, I wish I sounded like her.

I had so much fun recording "No Me Digas". I was dancing and singing. When I do dark pop, it's really emotional. There were songs where I literally was in tears for the album recording. I write heavy stuff in English. But in Spanish? I have a blast.

The director wrote the short film for PBS. It's called Un Pequeño Corte, and it aired as part of the LATINXPERIENCE program. The director, Mariana Serrano, she loved my song. So many unique opportunities have come my way recently, and I'm thankful for it.

I just found out that another song of mine, "Find Your Way", is on a Christmas movie. It aired November 1st.

Q. Who are some of your biggest influences/inspirations?

Aretha Franklin. I adore her. Ever since I was a kid doing karaoke—I pick her songs all the time. "Respect", like that's a go to. Janis Joplin, one of my favorites. "Piece Of My Heart", get out of my face. . . that's everything. Sia is one of my role models.

The Stones, U2. . . I love all classic rock stuff. Beatles. I feel like if anyone ever tells me they hate the Beatles, I'm automatically never going to talk to them again. We'll never understand each other. So why bother?

I get compared to Kate Bush sometimes. I remember listening to Kate Bush as a kid. In the movie She's Having a Baby, it's an '80s movie with Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern, there is this scene that's so beautiful. . . heartwrenching. She's in the hospital. She might die. Kevin Bacon is outside the hospital ward, and it's just—your heart is in your mouth, you're crying, and the song playing is "This Woman's Work." That scene is special to me. It's been stuck in my head all these years.

When I hear that song, I think a lot about the people I've lost in my life and how others can relate. It's crazy to me that I'm on a similar path to Kath Bush: I'm putting my music out there and hoping people will connect. I hope others can hear my songs and put a scene to it. It would be a dream to have one of my songs play during a crazy pivotal movie scene, like a heartwrenching moment.

But I think the most important thing is to write good music. Write good songs, get them produced really well. Sometimes people rush to finish something, but they're not ready yet. Hone in your craft, make awesome songs, and they'll find their place. As long as you're authentic.

Q. Do you have a favorite song from the album?

It depends on my mood. I love "Coming Undone." If I played songs for you, I have certain favorites I want to play. Today I was going through the setlist, and I was like I love singing "I Broke My Heart", I love it.

I loved recording "Burn It Down." I had never done that before, playing it live. I wrote it, I hadn't played it for anybody. . . it's like acoustics and piano and rage.

I won't listen to "Burn It Down" at home. I'll listen to "Show Them", "I Can Fly", "Find Your Way"—my kids love all those uplifting songs. I absolutely adore when my kids put on my music and on their own. They'll put a song on and start dancing to it. It puts me in tears. That's what I want.

This album, I hope I live to be 100, at least. But if something were to happen to me, I love the idea of leaving behind my music, so my kids can hear it. I want them to think about the meaning behind the songs. I want them to have a piece of me.

I want to empower them to where they feel like they can do anything. They can be exactly who they want to be—anything is possible. So when they put on "I Can Fly", and they're dancing beautifully, and you can see in their eyes that they feel strong and beautiful—that's everything.

That's what I'm doing it for. For those moments.

My daughters are eight and ten. They are in my new music video, "Show Them". Recording that video was the most magical day. My daughters and seven other girls went to a forest in Tenerife; there's an absolutely breathtaking view there. An instructor taught them how to do a dance. It was a whole new level of excitement for me: a female empowerment song and my girls.

Q. What was it like making the video? How does working with video compare to recording music?

It's cool. It's another form of artistic expression. In the video, I love when the light comes through the trees. I was adamant about the forest shots, and the director was on board. We went at the right time of day. To me "Show Them" is about finding yourself and being proud of who you are, so I wanted the environment to convey that. You know, you're kind of lost in the dark and coming out of it. You find more strength and beauty in the light. It felt right to have the focus on the kids.

One of my friends, her daughter was there. She said her daughter is sometimes shy, so it was amazing to see her be so confident and dancing.

I'm doing what I really want to do, helping these little girls gain confidence in themselves. So that was my favorite part of filming, seeing them and their excitement. The director kept giving them instructions and they're high fiving, they're laughing, and proud of themselves. This is what I'm meant to do, empower girls.

Q. How many songs are on your album?

13.

What's crazy is when I first started releasing the music I didn't know what I was doing. I was just releasing singles. Then I tried to do Spanish music. My mentor, Shelly, goes, "You know, you should do bodies of work; you're doing English and Spanish. You should wrap it up, so people know this is your album, it has a story."

That whole concept made things click for me. As soon as she gave me that idea, I had a whole plan. Drop Show Them, then in January I'm going to start releasing Latin pop. . . I have all next year planned out.

You've got to have a calendar. Indie musicians are so passionate and creative and brilliant, but it's important to have a business mindset. You need a plan. How are you going to do it all?

Q. What are your thoughts on putting out more Latin music?

There is a demand for it. Agents and people working in music licensing want it. I figure I should do more Spanish songs because people need it. It's a growing niche, so I'm leaning into it.

I write in Spanish, I dream in Spanish, so it comes naturally to me. It's fun to sing in Spanish, to have that release where you don't have to be so deep. I feel like my Spanish pop songs might do well in ads, commercials, etc. I'll let you know what happens.

Q. You said you dream in Spanish; when you're awake, do you think in English?

I usually think in English and then I have to translate in my head, but what's been happening as I spend more time in Tenerife is that Spanish will come out first. It just depends.

I had a huge dream that inspired Nunca Te Olvidaré (Never Forget You), that song came to me after my grandfather passed away. He visited me in my dream, and I was speaking Spanish with him. He showed me he was okay; he had his hat on like he always did, and I woke up with the song in my head. I grabbed my guitar, and I wrote it in minutes.

I never wanted to release it. I wanted to keep it for myself, but then I thought, why not? My producer helped me, and we released it. It's totally sad but beautiful. My dad cried when I played that song for him. He usually doesn't cry in front of me.

Q. Do you get a lot of inspiration from your dreams?

Yeah, it's weird because No Me Digas (Don't Tell Me) and No Nunca Te Olvidaré were from my dreams. Also, right before going to sleep and right when I wake up those are the moments that I write, like certain ideas come to my mind. I'll write things out and get the start of a song.

I feel like when all the noise quiets down—I feel like when I'm just with myself—that's when my ideas make authentic and deep stuff. I feel like the best songs come from an honest place. Sometimes it is hard to be honest because it makes you vulnerable. So when you're really in those moments, dreaming or going to sleep, it's like oh my god, I have to write this.

One of the songs I wrote, "Drowning", I wrote it, and I kept crying while playing it. I've finally found a way to play it and not cry. It kind of ruins the performance if I'm crying too much.

Q. You have a lot of songs about sadness, do you have songs where you channel anger or more charged emotions?

There is a song coming out on the next album—I'm obsessed with it. It's called "Devil Inside of Me", and it's like, when I sing that song I feel like—who is this person? I sound angry, but I feel strong—a don't-mess-with-me kind of thing.

I played it for my twin and my other friend, Gaby, and they were like—what the hell was that? That was crazy! They were blown away because I usually play softer things, or something sad.

Anyway, we already have it produced by Federico Ferrandina. It's going to be on the album. I want to do a video for it too. My daughter Bella, I want it to be her singing the song. I can see it being used on TV; it could be used for a total badass moment. Who knows?

Q. Did your daughters sing on the new album?

They both sang on "Show Them." They sang on the chorus. They're the cutest things in the world. They were excited to sing it, and then with the video, it was like next level.

Q. What would be the perfect thing to happen in the next five years?

I would love to do a tour. A tour for people who would actually buy tickets and sit and watch me play. I went back to Miami about two years ago for that one year. I went to an open mic night, and I was playing, me and my guitar, and this guy reached out to me, and he was like, "I want to be your drummer." And I responded, "Who are you?"

He said, "You're awesome, I love your songs, I saw you on Spotify, you have great music, we can do that. We can form a band here in Miami." I told him I couldn't pay him, and he said, he didn't want to be paid. . . he just wanted to be my drummer. Next thing you know, we find this other guy for the guitar—one thing leads to another, you're on a path, and the universe says hell yeah, and doors just keep opening.

We played all over Miami—it was a dream come true. It was craziness. I was just singing my songs, the drummer, the bass, everybody, the bars were super cool. I adored the venues! But a lot of times, you're playing to people while they're drinking, smoking, doing whatever they're doing, and that's great and all, but it's a lot of work to be in a band. You've got to spend long hours in rehearsal.

I realized I love to play, but I feel like a tour would be perfect. My efforts then would be in the studio creating music that I'm really proud of, that really show who I am, and then put it out there. Then people listen and they're like, hell yeah, I want to see this artist in person.

That's the dream. In the next five years, if that tour happens, yes, I have arrived.

Q. Where do you do lives?

Mostly on Instagram. I used to do them once a week, and then it got exhausting after a while—so I jumped ship. Now I'm getting back into it. I'm trying to be better about it. I actually get messages from people when they miss my lives, asking when will I go live again.

Q. Where can people follow you on social media?

On Instagram and Facebook. I have Twitter, but Instagram and Facebook are better for what I'm doing.

I only go live on Instagram. I challenged myself to start a Twitch. I feel like it might be a good platform for me. I will explore that.

Q. Where is the best place people can find your music?

Everywhere! Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, even TikTok. I have found people using my songs on TikTok. Somehow they were using a song that wasn't even released yet. How'd that happen? Did they hack into my computer?

They were using "Show Them", and they had my original art cover. I changed that art cover! How did that happen? It's a mystery.

Q. How is it going with organizing all your music and balancing your life?

It's so important for me to tell people that I have an awesome husband, he's an amazing partner who believes in me so much. He totally has my back. He believes in me before I believe in myself. He knew whatever I needed he would have my back. He picks up the kids, he's a super hands-on dad, he is a tank.

I don't know what I did in my past life, but thank you. I feel like doing my passion as an artist and writing songs, my kids see that, and they're inspired by it. I feel like they could do anything.

Both worlds collide all the time. It's not like I have to leave my children, like someone made a comment the other day and said to me, a blogger, he was like, "Oh my god, your kids must really miss you." No, they don't. I'm always here! I have a studio in my house. They're in my music videos, I'm always showing them my songs, and I'm writing. They come into my studio, and they're inspired to write. They're starting to play piano. So all worlds collide in the best ways.

I am passionate about my family and music. My husband sees me working at all hours, and he's like, how do you do it? (Because I love it, honey.)

I'm a bit of a workaholic, but you got to do what you got to do. So when people see me getting opportunities, it's because I bust my ass. I work really hard. If you put in a lot of effort and work into something, opportunities will just start coming your way.

Q. Do you have any advice for musicians?

The business thing is a huge thing. I ran my parents' business as an operations manager for many years. I have the mindset that you have to have it organized, you've got to have that business side, and not just write creatively. I have all kinds of calendars, the night before I plan out my day, get my stuff together, and get organized.

Some musicians need to get more comfortable with social media. Like they'll say they don't like posting, but that's necessary. That's your business card. I've had opportunities because of my Instagram. I hold all of that and I have to be responsible for it. You have to have a mission. Look at your music as a business because that's why it's there.

Q. Do you have any last thoughts you'd like to share?

As a kid, I would listen to an album from beginning to end. It would be so cool if people would actually listen to my album from beginning to end. I'd like for them to see how it progresses. I hope it helps somebody who is in a bad situation. Here's to hoping.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

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