Right now I am on tour in South America singing

backing vocals for Peter Gabriel. I am enjoying

two days off in Santiago Chile. The flight over the

Andes was a sight indeed!!!

At this very moment I am sitting out on the balcony of

my hotel room overlooking the city.

I will do my best to tell you something about myself and

then I'm off to the Markets for some Christmas shopping. Let's see! I think I'll start with the early days...





We would sing in the station wagon, all 7 of us Hoop's. My parents saw to it that within their 5 children they would have their very own choir. It must have been a darling sight indeed and it was great fun to sing as a family. We weren't fucking around either. Jack and Janette had their youngest singing in tune and in harmony as early as 4. Jeremy was our bass, Tyler and Biz the tenors, Carissa the alto, I was the soprano, Mom and Dad the satisfied choristers. We would sing old folk songs. I recall singing a murder ballad called Greenwood Sideo, a story of a woman who gives birth alone in a forest and then well... murders them. We would sing this song on our way to church....Which could constitute the need to go to church in the first place.



They brought us up Mormons in a Mormon community. We didn't fuck around there either...not when it came to Jesus. Church hymns, community theatre, Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, star land vocal band, Ian and Silva, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Simon and Garfunkel informed my musical foundation as a child... For better or worse!



You can't choose the music your parents expose you to. I loved it... I had no idea what I was missing! I started to fall in love with music once my first ever heavy crush introduced me to the Beatles. I wasn't just enjoying music passively the way I would enjoy say...breathing! For the first time I was hiding in my room and getting lost in these the records... Carving myself away

from my parents mould, I was enjoying the music in a private, personal and secretive way. I was finding 'my music'. Just imagine how I would feel when I would eventually discover The Clash, PJ Harvey or Kate Bush.



I was the first freshman to be accepted in to my High-school Chamber Choir. I identified with being a singer. It is where my confidence came from. Even if no one knew, I knew I could sing. My parent's marriage had fallen apart by that time. Finding my out, I declared that I was no longer going to church. I started smoking pot. Awwwww… those were good times, but I paid the price. I learned the hard way that my voice can't handle smoke... Well not if I wanted to keep my upper register. I lost my voice through a combination of being a pot head and singing in a chamber choir a few hours a day. I went on heavy voice rest for a year to recover. My mother who was a brilliant Soprano of the classical kind and a voice teacher tried to teach me how to sing “correctly” and to no avail. The rebel in me however was far to advance to allow me to listen to her. She would say “there is only one correct way to sing”. This was the last thing I wanted to hear. I didn't want my music mixed with same strictures that came with my parents' religion.



I turned to records. This is when I heard Kate Bush for the first time. I had never heard anyone like her before. Still being quite vulnerable in my voice and having lost all my confidence, I, through hearing Kate, decided to nurse my voice back to full strength myself. I did this by listening for the weaknesses in my fragile voice. I decided that my weaknesses could make me distinct. I started to think of them as qualities that needed strengthening. “I worked each weakness to craft myself my very own 'new' voice”. I'm still in the works.



It was in this period that I formed a love for writing. I would muse up these long sprawling melodic tales that I would sing to myself as I walked or skated around town. The combination of writing for the first time and being in the blueprint stages with my voices had me writing incredibly idiosyncratic material.



Leaving the church opened a whole new world to me. I rambled the northwest coast down through the southwest for a span of 7 years. I call this chapter...' My Life, as a Racoon'. I lived very close to the elements during this time. I lived in tents, yurts, barns, domes, converted chicken coops etc. I rode my bike for transportation. I did a lot of dumpster diving, farming, building and whole lot of not giving a fuck about money. I was writing all the while and I always had musical friends. We would sing on porches and around fires and as we walked high desert roads.



These were very free, creative and fun times. After a season of this rambling, I decided that the time had come to settle down and actually focus on my music. So I decided to move back to California, fix up an old shack to live in and to start a band.



I found my shack in an apple orchard completely overgrown with brambles. The shack was uninhabitable at first so I camped under the oldest apple tree in the orchard for the summer until the shack was inhabitable. That was lovely summer. Being a country kid from a sleepy town, I had very little insight on how to start working in music beyond playing in my local venue. I remember setting a distinct intention to find a mentor...not just for music but for life. It was at this point that by some means of magick that I met Tom Waits. Over the next five years I would play them (Tom and his wife) my demos, to which they would encourage me by saying 'you should be very proud'.



At long last I delivered to them what I called 'Sketch-work Songs' which featured a song called Seed of Wonder. My growth as a writer was apparent in this song and Tom's enthusiasm reflected that growth. Tom sent the 'Sketch-work Songs' to his publisher Lionel Conway who then sent it forward to Nic Harcourt who was then KCRW's taste maker. I received a call from Nic one morning while I was asleep in my van (in which I was living). He said he had been playing the song and that people had been calling in and he'd like to be able to tell them something about me. The song went to the top 5 and stayed there for eight weeks. As a result Lionel offered me a publishing deal. He is still my publisher today.



I moved to LA in Dec 2004. Lionel commissioned me to make another EP which I called 'Silverscreen Demos'. I started reproducing them by hand out of his office with the help of his assistant Joe. Joe noticed that a producer named Tony Berg had purchased a demo. Joe took the initiative to call Tony. Tony and I now have 3 albums together... Kismet, Kismet Acoustic and Hunting my Dress. Straight after I'm finished with Peter Gabriel's tour I am going to LA to record my 4th album with Tony Blake Mills and Shawn Everett. This record will be called 'The House That Jack Built'.



I have been touring since the release of Kismet in 2007. My first ever tour I opened as a solo act for The Polyphonic Spree which was complete madness considering there is 25 of them on the stage. I've toured with Mark Knopfler, Andrew Bird, EELS, The Ditty Bops and many more quality acts, as well as my own tours in the USA, UK and Europe.



In 2008 I got a call from Guy Garvey (lead singer of Manchester band Elbow). A friend had given him a mix tape with a song of mine on it called Havoc in Heaven. He wanted to interview me for his radio show Guy Garvey's finest hour. Long story short I joined them on three tours around the US the UK and Europe. We were in Dublin when Guy said to me “move to Manchester Jes”. Having no clue that my path was to actually turn that direction, I moved to Manchester in spring of 2009. I released HMD and the Snowglobe EP. I was very pleased with the response to both.



In February 2012 we will be releasing the Complete Kismet Acoustic which features live acoustic performances from my first studio production Kismet. My most recent work The House That Jack Built is set up for a worldwide release in spring 2012. I have let my course unfold song by song and each has called to me champion after champion. I am a grafter. I work very hard. I write intensely creative and emotional songs. I record them in world bending ways. I am proud of my work and I am ever at the wheel growing in my art.



At this moment I am on a sort of a break, in a way, as I am for these three weeks enjoying the great pleasure and privilege of singing backing vocals for Peter Gabriel and in such amazing places. After this its Christmas and the New Year and then its right back to the grind stone.



Happy New Year everyone!!!



Right!!! Enough with the computer!!! I'm in Chile for Christ sake!!! Time for the Markets… I've got some serious shopping to do!!!