By: Joe Letizio ’22
After having the pleasure of connecting with Jillian Caillouette, the artist of the album Phases, I was truly impressed not just by how humble she was as a person but also by her music background. In the interview, Jillian expressed that she had been singing and writing music her entire life; from this inspiration grew her desire to create her new album, Phases.
For the past two years, she dedicated each waking moment to construct this remarkable piece of art. In those two years, she worked six months writing and editing the lyrics, then, for the remaining time, she recorded, mixed, and mastered it. In this 33-minute album, the listener is taken on a journey through Jillian’s personal experience and those she collaborated with. While listening to the various tracks on this album, you will be able to recognize genres such as folk, country, and pop, as this not only inspired Ms. Caillouette but influenced her writing style for the album. Some of the tracks which stood out to me the most were The Fox and Summer Goddess. For these two songs, in particular, they both represent a deeper meaning.
In the song The Fox, there is no mention of a fox; however, there is no reason for one as the fox represents someone or something you do not trust and the feeling of wanting to be set free of that pain and attachment. As for Summer Goddess, it is easy to recognize that this song is about the fear of losing yourself even though the title is light and fun. Jillian expressed to me that this can mean different things to different people. While listening to the album, the listener will feel uplifted and inspired to push through the things they are currently dealing with.
Although the pandemic has caused some strain within her music career, some positives came out of it. When the pandemic first began, Ms. Caillouette expressed that her anxiety and stress caused her to feel uninspired. Still, through time, she soon realized that this was an excellent opportunity to use this fear and transform it into something inspirational. Through this feeling, she felt inspired to help people feel less afraid and more connected through music’s power, which led to her finishing the album.
However, COVID is not the only factor that impacted her motivation as an artist; Jillian voiced that her family, friends, and yoga studio kept her strong during these difficult times. As a certified yoga teacher, she has changed other people’s lives, just like yoga has for her. While working on music, she conveyed that yoga has helped her write music more mindfully, as she approaches songwriting with more curiosity rather than perfectionism and expectations. This is not the only benefit she gets from yoga. It also helps with her self-identity and self-exploration. She also enjoys going for walks and hikes, which clears her head when she feels stressed.
After her first album, she took the world by storm performing in various places such as The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, placing as a top finalist in the 2013 Jimmy Awards, then returning in 2018 to sing again at the Kennedy Center. In addition to this, she performed on tour with Broadway star Linda Eder and at the regional theatre. While in college, she interned at some of Connecticut and New York City’s top recording studios. She graduated college in 2019 with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Western Connecticut State University and became a yoga teacher in 2018.
Jillian has had many mentors throughout her career who have inspired her in one way or another. Her mentors include Linda Eder, Tim Howard, Mark Mazzarella, Sean Pallatroni, Elizabeth Parkinson, Scott Wise, Janelle Robinson, MaryAnn Lamb, Sal Trapani, Mark Simpson, Stacy Perrone-Petta, Pamela McDaniel, and John Hickok just to name a few.
Many of these individuals have performed on Broadway and bring expertise that has influenced Jillian’s life and careers as an artist and voice teacher.
*Valley Girl does not own the photo used in this article.