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Premiere: Jackie Venson Escapes Mental Prison in Video for “Always Free”

March 11, 2016
Written by
Jamie Ludwig

Jackie Venson’s soulful indie-blues has already captured the attention of the She Shreds crew

So, when the opportunity came along to premiere the new video for the Austin songstress’ single, “Always Free,” naturally we jumped on it.

“Always Free,” is a rallying cry to people to defy society’s expectations of how to live and choose their own destinies instead. These themes are explored through Venson’s daydreams in a video directed by her frequent collaborator Rich Baur.

She Shreds caught up with Venson to find out more about the video and the concepts behind “Always Free.”

How did the video come together? Had you worked with Rich Baur before?

Rich Baur and I actually met in the Austin music scene, he’s a great drummer. He told me he did videos and we ended up doing 2 other videos together, Wickersham Ln and Show My Light in 2014. I had this vision and just knew in my gut Rich was the one to do it.

Where did filming take place? Do you have any memorable anecdotes about the process?

The filming took place on my friend’s properties out in Bastrop, TX. She also let me use her horse named Two. The memorable anecdote would have to be when we went out to film and had the unfortunate news of the scenery being changed from the first day we shot. We had to redo a lot of scenes and it was so hot! It ended up being alright, though, and everything turned out great.

The phrase “work will set you free” in the chorus obviously has some historical connotations to slave labor in Nazi Germany, and slave labor is also implied in the scene with the prisoners working in striped uniforms. Beyond the observations of the struggles of people in your community, are you also drawing a parallel between slavery and today’s overworked/underappreciated public? If so, what is your advice for people who find themselves struggling with these day-to-day situations?

While I do recognize the historical reference, the intent behind that phrase is more about mental slavery of oneself than physical slavery by another person. Growing up in America in the public school system, constantly being exposed to mainstream media, I observed how little support myself and others had in choosing artistic paths. We were told we needed “real jobs” and every day was a battle for [our] individuality. Fast forward to now and here we have a substantial amount of people who have ignored their inner passions in pursuit of this “real job” only to find they’re being overworked and underpaid, and making some other person rich.

My advice is for us all to take a hard look at everything we are exposed to and constantly ask “why?”. There is no right or wrong way to live this life and anything that tries to say differently is in direct violation of our individuality and personal freedom.

The daydream sequence and the video come to a conclusion where you destroy the prison guard with your music. Ultimately, what is the liberating power of music to you?

The liberating power of music is the freedom of expression it grants me. It is always a medium for me to say how I feel or how something affects me, thus giving me an outlet for my observations and experiences in life.

Are you playing SXSW this year? What else do you have coming up?

I’ll be doing an official SXSW showcase at Saxon Pub Friday night, March 18 at 1:00 AM. Also, I will be at the Austin Convention Center on March 16 from 12:30 – 2:00. My next release will be a live album and is set for release this fall.

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