My name is Jess Araten. I am a guitarist and loop-pedal artist. I started playing the guitar at 9 years old, and have been deeply passionate about music ever since. My roots are in classic rock and blues. I’ve also played classical guitar, and more in the past couple years I’ve gotten into alternative and hip-hop music. I participate in the School of Rock, and have toured with both my local House Band as well as the national All-Stars. I attended both Grammy Camp New York and LA for guitar performance, last summer in NY and this summer in LA. In February, I was fortunate enough to be selected by the Grammy Foundation to play guitar for the Grammy Camp Alumni Band. We were flown out to LA by the foundation, and opened for Hunter Hayes at Club Nokia, as a part of Grammy Week. Currently, I am attending the Tisch Summer High School Recorded Music program.
I have a wide range of musical influences, but three that really stand out are Janis Joplin, Jeff Buckley, and Billie Holiday. While they all have very different and distinct types of music, they are unified in that their music expresses raw and true emotion. When I first picked up my guitar, I only wanted to play as honestly and fearlessly as Janis sings. Jeff Buckley’s lyrics are so beautiful, and I am inspired to communicate like him both instrumentally and lyrically. Billie Holiday, to me, was one of the bravest artists of all time. Janis, Jeff, and Billie have all shaped my development as both an artist and as a person.
I am able to market myself in two ways; as a guitarist and as a looping artist. As a guitarist, I have found I am able to garner the attention of older men who are really into rock, as well as hip-hop artists who need riffs for their tracks, and girls/women who are into what I do. Basically, since I am a pretty versatile guitarist, I’d be happy touring with nearly anyone as long as the music was good. As a looping artist, however, that is more marketing myself as opposed to just a skill I have. I think that aspect appeals primarily to a younger generation of people who like artists such as Kimbra or Marian Hill or Sylvan Esso. It is a different vibe than when I am solely playing guitar. I am still honing my craft as a looping musician, and I hope learning production will aid in the electronic aspect I want to add. I am also looking to add a visual element to my looping performance, where I am able to live loop graphics/photographs/videos behind me as I make my music.