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Artist of the Week: Jake Crocker + Tinsley

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at hello@seattlerefined.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long has the band been around/writing together/performing?
Tinsley: I’ve been singing and writing songs since I was young, but I decided to start pursuing music more seriously in 2017. I made a music Instagram account and played a few acoustic shows, then started going to the Mastering the Hustle workshops hosted by KEXP and Upstream Music Fest and heard about the BeatMatch producer competition. I followed all of the producers who participated on Instagram, and Jake, who won the whole event, ended up following me back and sent me a DM. We’ve been writing and performing together ever since.
Jake Crocker: Geez… I’ve been performing with other artists since I was 15, then recently in the past two years decided it was time to focus on my solo career. That’s when I started playing solo shows. That’s when Tinsley and I first sat down. I had her featured on a couple of my originals at that point and I said well what the hell, let’s throw her on a stage and see how the live chemistry is! And here we are, a year later, two sold out shows and two festivals under our belts together!

Where does your inspiration come from? What other musical artists do you take inspo from?
Tinsley:
Songwriting allows me to make sense of my feelings and express myself, so the words usually come first for me, followed by the melody. When Jake and I are working together, he’ll start putting together an instrumental and then I’ll pull out the Notes section on my iPhone to start writing based on the mood that song inspires. Jake is, without question, one of my biggest inspirations. He’s encouraged me and seen my potential beyond my own self-doubt. I have so many other artists I’m inspired by, but Feist is one of my biggest inspirations – "I Feel It All" is one of my all-time favorite songs. I listen to a lot of local artists like The Dip, Parisalexa, and NAVVI, and I love Fleet Foxes, Alvvays, Maggie Rogers, and classics like Fleetwood Mac, The Psychedelic Furs and The Cure, too.
Jake Crocker: Personally, I gain inspiration from everything around me. Tinsley inspires the hell out of me. I guess our process kind of depends on what we’re working on. If it’s an original of mine then typically I have some kind of idea laid out, then Tinsley and I sit down and find melody/lyrics for that idea. If it’s a Tinsley original, we typically sit down and create everything together from scratch. We start with melody and chord progression, because to me that’s what engages my emotions in any music. I mean, on top of both of our own original tracks, we write and produce pop tracks for placements! That’s so much fun. It lets us kind of step out of our comfort zones and do whatever the hell we want, good practice for writing.

What kind of genre is your music? What kinds of things do you write about?
Tinsley:
I would say I fall more under the indie pop genre and Jake trends more toward electronic, but we like to mix it up. I’m a hopeless romantic, so lyrically, I like to draw from all the emotions that crushes and relationships inspire. They’re often love songs, but they’re also ones of growth, acceptance and empowerment – songs that my younger self needed to hear. Jake and I push each other to write outside of our comfort zones, and I’m really grateful for our collaborative dynamic, having two different perspectives to draw from.
Jake Crocker: Overall, both of us dance around the pop/electronic genres. We flirt with different genres definitely; I come from a hip-hop/electronic background, so you’ll definitely hear some of those elements in our songs, but at the same time I’ve always had a love for anything cinematic, so you’ll hear that as well. We write about life, really; I think it helps that we both have totally different backgrounds. That lets us kind of meet in the middle like, “Alright, well this is my take on this kind of story, what’s yours?” and build from there.

Do you have one song that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
Tinsley:
Definitely my debut single, “In Bloom.” It’s representative of a very transformative time in my life, and it means the world to me, because it’s been my dream to release my own music since I was a little girl. The first time Jake played the final mix for me, I burst into tears. I’m super sentimental – I even got a small tattoo of a flower on my wrist to celebrate the milestone.
Jake Crocker: That’s a tough one. I think they all have different meaning to us. I’m in love with “In Bloom” right now because it’s this beautiful baby of a song that Tinsley and I put together, and it’s the first one that everyone gets to really hear. But I love every song or idea we create differently. I can’t wait to show everyone all the different kinds of songs we have in the vault… Some unexpected things for sure!

What experiences in your life have shaped your music/art?
Tinsley:
Deciding to put myself “out there” as a musician on Instagram and following Jake has definitely had the biggest impact on developing my music. He’s encouraged me to explore more of an electronic pop vibe that I love. I grew up listening to the 80s new wave music my parents would play, so I take a lot of inspiration from that genre. I am obsessed with synths.
Jake Crocker: I think we’ve both seen our fair share of shit in life, but like I said before, we both come from different backgrounds. I personally have experienced a ton of craziness and hardship in my family, specifically with addiction and death in general, but that really just helped me grow up and understand how precious this life really is. It helped me realize that I just can't waste my time; I have to be doing something legendary at all times (well most of the time, I do enjoy my fair share of lazy movie nights with the fam).

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find? What about upcoming shows?
Tinsley:
In Bloom is my debut single, but they’ll be much more coming from Jake and I! Our Instagram accounts (@tinsleymusic and @iamjakecrocker) and websites (www.tinsleymusic.com and www.jakecrockermusic.com) will have the latest updates on new music and upcoming shows.

Jake Crocker: Both of our Instagrams are a great place to keep up with what’s happening! @iamjakecrocker & @tinsleymusic. For the most part, we’re just locking ourselves in the studio to make as much music as possible. New shows coming up soon for sure, though!

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
Tinsley: I’m looking forward to sharing the music video for “In Bloom” after the release, and I’m especially excited about the latest dance-leaning single we’re working on. I started out writing slower acoustic songs, so it’s been a blast expanding as an artist and making the kind of songs that I want to get down to. Every time we’re working on it, I can’t help but get up and start grooving around the studio – Jake likes to make fun of me and my dance moves.
Jake Crocker: Next?!? Geez…So much. We’ve got a ton of my original tracks with Tinsley all over them coming out, a bunch of Tinsley originals, and everything in between! I’m excited to keep writing and surprise everyone with each separate release. We aim for versatility!

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Tinsley:
I usually go for a doppio espresso or an Americano. But for something special, an iced coconut cashew milk latte from Storyville. So good!

Jake Crocker: COFFEE! My lifeblood. Depends on the day. From June-August, I drink three shots over ice with cream. August to about October is drip season! Then winter comes rolling around and it’s latte with whole milk time. Just cozy up in the studio and make some magic!

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