TNM: I Dream of You volumes I and II are both a nostalgic take on songs from over the decades. What inspired you to creates these albums?
JJ: I Dream of You Volume I was created when I was a new mom. Lucy and Nora were both still in diapers (they’re now 10 and 7) and I wanted to release an album full of love songs and lullabies that would play over them as they fell asleep. My husband and I wrote all of the songs (except for one Tom Waits cover) and released it not imagining how many families would latch onto it. Because of the overwhelming response, I decided to make a follow-up record full of some of my favorite songs ever recorded like Here Comes The Sun, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Edelweiss. I partnered with my producer Ben Shive to create lovely, mellow versions of these songs adding a ten piece string section and a children’s choir to the mix. The result is magical.
TNM: How has motherhood shaped your music?
JJ: Before I had my first daughter, I couldn’t write a love a song or even a happy song. The sad and introspective songs came such much easier to me! But as soon as Lucy was born, songs about rainbows and strawberry pie started pouring out! It was surprising and wonderful. Motherhood unlocked a piece of my heart I didn’t know was there.
TNM: What do your girls think of your music and having an artist as a mother?
JJ: Ha! Because it’s what they’ve always known, they accept it as normal. They ask to listen to my music every night while they’re falling asleep, so that’s a good sign! If we every put my lullabies on in the car, though, they ask to turn it off because it makes them too sleepy :).
TNM: How do you think moms should encourage their children to chase their dreams?
JJ: I am by no means an expert, but I think one of the best things moms can do is encourage our children to try new things without being afraid to fail. We do our best to praise the effort and acknowledge when they working hard, rather than focus only on praising them when they “succeed.” I’m hoping that this will help them keep taking risks as they grow up, knowing that it’s okay if things don’t work out.
TNM: You successfully funded your project through Kickstarter. So encouraging how the community rallied with you to create this album. What does that mean to you?
JJ: It’s hard to wrap my mind around. The fact that people would essentially pre-order the album without even hearing what it sounds like is incredible to me. I’m honored to know that people believe in me that much.
TNM: What are your family’s favorite things to do in Nashville?
JJ: We love living here! The parks are incredible and we spend a lot of time on various playgrounds. They also love Jeni’s Ice Cream and Five Daughter’s Bakery (of course).
TNM: Where can we see and hear more of your music in the upcoming months?
JJ: I release a new song digitally on the first Friday of every month! I’m also super active on my instagram account (jjhellermusic), so you can check that out if you want to see cute photos.
Find more on JJ’s website here.