JAX may only be twenty years old, but she's already made a massive mark on the music world. From her humble beginnings as a musical theater kid to becoming one of the breakout acts on season 14 of American Idol, JAX has dedicated her life to her art. After AI wrapped and she performed at her sold-out NYC headlining show, JAX was ready to launch her singing career when she was sidelined with a diagnosis of thyroid cancer. "It was very unexpected," JAX explained to My Central Jersey at the time. "When you're 20 years old, you have this Superman entitlement mentality and sometimes all it takes is God telling you it's time to take a break for you to understand that you are most certainly not." She has since had her thyroid removed, completed radiation and is back to great health and ready to return to her love: Music. In other words with the Funny EP she's been able to channel those emotions into something positive and create something as catchy as it is relatable in the process.
"It's been a weird two years for me health-wise and emotionally and I think the writing process was hugely affected by it," she admits. However JAX experienced a huge turning point when she began writing the song "Stars" with Nash Overstreet (Britney Spears, Meghan Trainor) and realized that her experiences were universal. "I had always felt like I was indestructible so, getting sick was a real shock for me," she explains, "but I needed that contrast in order to get a new perspective on things." That view point informed the chorus hook of "stars cannot shine without darkness," one of the standout moments on the EP. "I felt like I had hit the low point of my life when I wrote that and getting it down was really cathartic and helped me turn things around," she explains.
In other words, the EP is a triumph of sorts that's influenced by female icons ranging from Joan Jett to Alanis Morrisette to Pat Benatar. Admittedly these references span rock history but that makes sense when you consider that writing has served as a way for JAX to express herself for entire life, even back when she was still an adolescent being home schooled. "Every single experience impacts my writing and every song is a part of my journey," she explains. From "Somebody New," a R&B-inspired anthem about a disintegrating relationship to "Wrong Girl," a dramatic piano-driven track about waiting for an unfaithful partner to return home, the songs on the EP have a way of turning unpleasant experiences into perfect pop fodder and display an artist who is wise beyond her years.
While JAX has made relationships and learned musical lessons she never would have been blessed with via her experience on American Idol, she views the competitive television show as a starting point for her career rather than its apex. In fact since then she's been steadily developing different skill sets, most recently trying to improve her ability to co-write. "Co-writing is a collaboration so it's very different but honestly I think this EP is a good representation of where I've been at emotionally for the past few years," she explains, adding that working with people like Overstreet and Nick Marsh (Kelis, John Legend) on these songs helped elevate them. "Honestly I always tell people I don't know how I would get through life without writing because I'd probably be in an asylum if I didn't have a piano or something."
However in order to truly experience JAX one has to see her perform live and luckily she plans to do a lot of that in the coming year, which will inevitably see her appeal burning brighter than the stars she describes on the EP. "I feel more at home onstage than I do in my own room sometimes and there's nothing more exciting than for people be able to hear my story and be on the journey with me," she explains. "There's nothing quite like connecting to the fans and watching them literally preach the lyrics that you wrote; it's an amazing feeling that I really couldn't even describe it if I tried." Thankfully she doesn't have to describe it because you'll get a sense of that intimate connection when you listen to the songs Funny, which serve as the perfect introduction to JAX while also hinting at a career that's just beginning to bloom.