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  • Kenny Sandberg

5 Songs I Love w/ Jess Hunter

Updated: Feb 28

We sat down with Jess Hunter after the release of her stellar new tune 'Anhedonia' to discuss what influences shaped her unique sound. Be sure to check out the single at the bottom and follow her on socials!

Seventeen – Sharon Van Etten.

In 2018, I discovered Sharon Van Etten's music when her song "One Day" was featured in a

Netflix movie. I listened to her album "Epic" repeatedly. A year later, she released "Remind

Me Tomorrow" and I instantly fell in love with her song "Seventeen". Whenever I listen to it,

I am reminded of the years when I was sixteen going on seventeen. At that time, I was

studying photography and had made a final project about my closest friends who were also

on the cusp of adulthood. I felt overwhelmed by the changes in my life - finishing school,

leaving home, falling in love, and struggling with an eating disorder. However, Sharon’s

music reminded me that I was only seventeen and that there was still so much life ahead of

me. When I listen to "Seventeen" now, it brings back endless nostalgia for that time. I hope

to reciprocate that same feeling in my own music, whether through lyrics or instrumentation.

Acolyte – Slaughter Beach, Dog

Acolyte explores a man's perspective on his love for a girl whom he wants to fly to Ireland

with and marry in time. I love everything about this song. For myself and I am sure many

others, Acolyte is a song that you can listen to when you're feeling down, but don’t want to

cry. A couple of years ago now, my best friend sent me this song as she said it reminded her

of myself and my boyfriend at the time. This track holds so much sentimental value.

Whenever I hear the beginning, I am whisked away to a time when I became so much closer

to my best friend, I fell so deeply in love, and things just felt good. I haven't been able to

listen to it for a while, but now I like to listen when the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and

the day is simple. Hearing Acolyte makes me feel ever so grateful for the friends I have

around and the love I have received and shared. I would also recommend seeing Slaughter

Beach, Dog live, I had the best night ever watching their set at The Moth Club.

Frou-frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires – The Cocteau Twins

Where do I even begin with The Cocteau Twins? What an ethereal, beautiful and

unconventional band. I first heard them when I was sixteen and was introduced to their

album Heaven Or Las Vegas. Frou-frou is the final song to conclude the album and I can

distinctly remember listening to it for the first time. I was laying on my bed in my Nans

house, blaring the song and hoping it wouldn’t end. To me, the final few minutes encapsulate

the pure Cocteau Twins sound. Frasers’ gorgeous vocals with the most elegant harmonies,

heavy synths, and dark guitar riffs. It’s perfect. The song’s structure heavily inspired my

second single Blank. Although Blank is not my favourite and I am not in love with its final

sound, I can really appreciate how I went about using a strong Cocteau Twins influence. It

was my first experimentation with synths and heavy vocal layers. Overall, I had so much fun

recording it and in future, I would love to rerecord Blank and potentially record a live

version as well. I cannot wait.

Salt In The Wound – Boygenius

Currently, Boygenius are my top band to listen to daily. If you see me with my headphones

on, just know I am probably listening to them or Adrianne Lenker. I saw Boygenius live at

Gunnersbury Park last summer and it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. I was

my favourite people, in the sun, and beer in hand. Salt In The Wound was not a song I

listened to all the time, however after their set it has become one of my favourites. They

played it last and released so many fireworks as the song was ending. I will never forget the

reaction of those around me. If I could be taken back in time, it would be in that crowd with

my favourite people. I am a big fan of big endings when it comes to songs. My latest release

Anhedonia with Ethan Butler has a great end section where dozens of vocals are layered, a

huge belt is sung, the drums quicken, and it feels like a release. I can definitely say I felt

inspired by songs like Salt In The Wound.

Waiting Room – Phoebe Bridgers

There is so much to unpack when listening to Waiting Room. What an emotional journey.

First, Phoebe’s lyricism in this song is the most powerful. Throughout, Phoebe sings about

being so in love with another person that you would do anything. Towards the end, she

begins to recognise how unhealthy these habits can be and it may be for the better to move

on. I am in awe of how raw the song is and I love how sincere Waiting Room sounds.

Recently, I have noticed how much I enjoy repeated lyrics; for example, Boygenius’ “Not

Strong Enough.” It is as if the artist is trying to ingrain their emotions and really push how

they feel to you. Waiting Room repeats “Know it’s for the better” and later shifts to “No,

it’s for the better.” Genius. I wrote a song a few years ago with repeated lyrics at the end. I

am in the midst of recording it and cannot wait to share the song in time and the

vulnerability of its overall meaning.

Jess Hunter - Anhedonia


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