Sleep deprived and delirious, it’s just another day in the life of singer Jackie Marshall. “I’d forgotten what it’s like,” she says, “getting an album out and all that stuff.”
It’s been eight years since the Brisbane songwriter made firm her place in the industry as one of Australia’s most distinctive voices, and what an eight years it’s been.
Her third studio album, 'Lilith Shrugs', tracks Jackie’s experience through a tumultuous time in her life involving pregnancy, hospitalisation for mental health reasons, and a multitude of health problems including breast cancer.
With its flooring honesty of sentiment and its remarkable ability to tug at the heart strings, 'Lilith Shrugs' marks a triumphant return for Jackie. It’s incredibly humble, funny, sometimes sexy, sweet and pensive, and while Jackie has had her fair share of struggles over the last eight years, 'Lilith Shrugs' is the result of those tumultuous experiences.
“As an artist you’re supposed to have a little distance,” she says talking about the album's personal influences, "but I just couldn’t [with this album], you know? It is a bit of a musical memoir but I always try to keep things universal, where they touch, and myself overlaps with everybody else.”
That is what has always made Jackie’s music attractive, that she’s not only staying true to herself but she’s giving her listeners a truth they can relate to.
One of her greatest truths are the areas of the album that have a correlation with her recent past. But given the horrors she’s been through, it’s hard to know where to begin.
“I’m a completely different person to who I was before everything happened,” she says. “It’s been a transformative experience.
“There’s been the classic thing where people say ‘I wouldn’t change anything’. It’s been terrible but I wouldn’t change anything.”
Experiences are what shapes a person and for Jackie, it helps make the music. Though she’s clear of her third cancer scare now, Jackie’s first experience with the disease at only 17 years old, set her up, she says, to have a great mentality to cope and to live.
“I’m like, ‘okay death, yeah whatever.’ I went straight into the philosophy of, 'what is it to be human?'.
“I’ve had trippy experiences as a kid of the world dissolving into atoms, but really, it sounds a bit wanky, questioning the nature of existence – then to have that cancer, it’s like, 'okay well what’s death? What’s on the other side?'”
But what of life? Jackie, as she reflects in 'Lilith Shrugs', has had battles with her mental health with depression affecting her life. “You become very dense in that space,” she says.
“It’s a catch-22 – you become denser so you’re less able to receive the good stuff, it does perpetuate itself, it does take quite an effort to launch yourself out of it. There’s a discipline involved, I think.”
Which is how it was for Jackie, who, once able, catapulted herself into her craft. “It came to be that way. I had depression from very early on, there were a lot of contributing factors, but that’s the thing.
“It’s funny, ‘Don’t Wake The Baby’, it sounds dark but I’d actually done it as a voice memo before I was pregnant. Then in the hospital, I did something with them.
“'Don’t Wake The Baby'; in having an infant child there’s that side of it, but the crux of it is me resisting waking up to myself and stepping in to looking after myself properly – 'don’t wake me up, I’m a baby, I don’t want to have to take responsibility for myself and face the dark things'.
“It took me a really long time to just be able to sit and not run from all the terrible things and sit inside them and park each one.”
'Lilith Shrugs' is released 10 September. Click here to pre-order the album.
Fri 21 Sep - Basement Discs (Melbourne, in-store performance)
Jackie Marshall Tour Dates
Fri 21 Sep - The Spotted Mallard (Melbourne)
Sat 22 Sep - Piping Hot Chicken Shop (Ocean Grove)
Thu 4 Oct - Leadbelly (Sydney)
Fri 5 Oct - Junkyard (Newcastle)
Sat 6 Oct - Smith's Alternative (Canberra)
Sat 20 Oct - Sonic Sherpa (Brisbane - in-store performance)
Sun 21 Oct - Brisbane Powerhouse