The first song she wrote, was a tale of a woman late for work at age 10 in her hometown of Taranaki, NZ.
Weaving in and around school, Jessy Wadeson accomplished many of her growing ambitions – Kapahaka, 14 years of dance, fronting a band aged 11, recorded an EP at age 12, came 5th in the Play It Strange songwriting competition, and played Nancy, the lead role in a 3 month production of Oliver at age 17 for New Plymouth Operatic Society.
Following high school & film school, Jessy went to Australia to check out the music scene and after experimenting in a few different bands and genres, she was recruited to sing in touring blues band “Frank Sultana & The Sinister Kids”. After 4 years with Frank, her desire to perform her own songs, in her own band, had become impossible to ignore and she decided it was time to leave Sydney.
Instead of heading home, she headed toward somewhere that felt almost as far from home as you could get – Central America. In Guatemala, she discovered that she could get paid enough to live on, playing her own songs; very backwards from the western world she was raised in. The 18 months there proved to be an important development period in her solo career, and as a songwriter. She honed her songs in front of audiences every second night, while also squeezing in (long) trips North to perform in creative hot spots Austin and San Francisco.
But there’s no place like home. With the intention of building a band as a foundation, she moved to Auckland early 2017, and fortuitously, into a home with a basement. A basement with musical bones. Piece by piece, within a few short months, she meticulously built her band – The Volunteers – and emanating from that basement are the sounds of their future; a sexy, bluesy meld of funk, rock, and soul.
In their first year, they played a live broadcast show from their basement to a live audience online audience of 3k people, filled live shows across Auckland and played Earthbeat festival at Atiu National park in Mar 2019. Their debut video “Phone Face” was a hit last winter with the Official NZ Music charts mentioning them in their “Ones to watch”.
The summer of 2020 saw them play, ‘Summer Soul’ festival in Taranaki with ‘Sola Rosa’ & ‘Goodshirt’. They opened for ‘Katchafire’ to a sold out crowd at ‘Meatstock Auckland’, an Australian owned festival.
That opened up another opportunity and J&TVs were booked to play the Sydney Meatstock and a NSW/VIC tour in May but fell through due to Covid. They also were unable to play Earthbeat Festival this year for the same reason.
With an incredibly strong drive to create and inspire other young Kiwis, Jessy & The Volunteers are working on their debut album with producer Nathan Judd of Rageous Records (Hipstmatics/Lou’Ana/Kiko)
“Time Is Laughing” will be released Spring 2020 … followed by their debut album later in the summer
They’re festival kids, thru and thru, crank a high energy live performance now including horns and tight backing vocals. The band is growing more (humans) for the 2021 summer festival season … don’t miss them!
- Established in our basement, Grey Lynn – July 2017
- Members: Jessy Wadeson, Sam Nash, Lane Twigden, Francesca Parussini, Florence Fitz, Jordan Neal
- Influences: D’Angelo, Prince, Janis Joplin, Joss Stone, Anderson Paak
- Genre: Funky Soul fused with Blues, Rock n roll & Rnb