It's not uncommon practice for musicians to turn relationship woes into art, nursing their wounds as they try to determine how things went so sideways. But in the case of young singer-songwriter Jillian Jacqueline, a better comparison might be the act of ripping off a bandage – her current single "Reasons" sounds like a peppy slab of country pop, but it lays bare the flimsy excuses she and her companion keep making to remain together.
"It was really the first song I've written that felt extremely painful to really say out loud," says Jacqueline. "I think for a long time I avoided wanting to really open that box. Then when I did, the song came out and I was so proud of it because it is a really sad song, but you can also sing to it in your car. It feels like you're having a good time, but it's about your life and your relationship being ripped apart."
In another new song called "Hate Me," the Pennsylvania native – who spent most of her teen years in New York – really takes off the gloves. Jacqueline recently released the video for "Hate Me," which subscribes to the opposite approach of "Let's just be friends."
"When you're going through a breakup, you don't really want to play nice because that just drags it out," she says. "I think sometimes I write songs about things I wish would happen or people I wish I was, so I'll put my alter ego into the song and try to live it out through the song."
With her honest, no-holds-barred style of songwriting, Jacqueline has much in common with rising stars Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini and Kacey Musgraves. She acknowledges those performers for paving the way and kicking down some of the barriers for women in country music.
“Without them doing what they've done in the last few years, I would not be here right now, I don't think. It's so important to have those first trailblazers. Kacey was really monumental for women, and she bore the brunt of that," she says. "When anybody does it their own way, there's going to be a little bit of a 'Are we ready for this?' But those girls just kept going, and it works. It's amazing to see."
Jacqueline's new album, featuring "Reasons" and "Hate Me," is expected in 2017.