Thursday, January 18, 2018

Local songbird soaring with release of third album

At age 27, Jessica Mullikin has achieved what countless musicians only dream of — supporting herself financially solely as a full-time musician.
And the singer/songwriter has been doing that for the last three years.
Recording under the name Ira Wolf, Mullikin just released her third album titled “The Closest Thing To Home,” — a collection of her signature folk/Americana/Bluegrass genre style self-composed songs, which she performed Sunday night at a house concert in Columbus.
“I play a lot of house concerts, which are really unique events,” said Mullikin Tuesday, before heading back on the road on a six-week tour of the West Coast to promote the new album, which can be found streaming on Spotify and available for download on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp.
A little more than four years ago, Mullikin moved to Nashville, Tenn., to make a go at a music career. A talented vocalist, instrumentalist and composer, she knew not one soul in her new hometown. Courage, talent, dedication and the willingness to work tirelessly toward her goal have brought her to this point.
And she likes where she has landed.
“I’d like to maintain a somewhat low profile, while still being financially stable and able to travel off and on,” said Mullikin. “The idea of ‘fame’ has never been a comfortable idea to me, but I do love being able to record and share my music with people, as it gives me the chance to connect on a really unique level.”
Last year, in particular, was big for her, garnering more than 20 million plays on Spotify and being named as one of Spotify’s “Best of Folk/Americana 2016” artists.
(Spotify is a music, podcast, and video streaming service that provides digital rights management – protected content from record labels and media companies. It gets its content from major record labels as well as independent artists, and pays copyright holders royalties for streamed music.)
Recording and touring really go hand-in-hand these days, she added, saying that artists tend to record and then hit the road to promote.
“Last year I lived in a 1988 VW Vanagon for five months straight while I toured the U.S. I spent a few weeks in Scandinavia last fall, and a month in Australia/New Zealand in January. It’s been a dream come true to travel the globe while sharing my songs,” said Mullikin.
Along the way, she has been recognized as both a composer and singer at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase, the Great American Song Contest, the International Songwriting Competition, Gate City Music Festival Songwriting Contest, CT Folk Festival Songwriter Competition, Blast on the Bay Songwriter Contest and Eddie Owen’s Open Mic Shootout.
The Columbus High School graduate and daughter of Columbus residents Tammy and Ken Mullikin of Columbus, has no regrets about following her dream.
“This journey has been the most magical thing that could have ever happened, but it’s also the most work I’ve ever put into anything,” said Mullikin “I feel so grateful to do what I love most and to be able to support myself doing so, but ‘the dream’ looked a bit different in my mind a few years ago. It’s full of a lot more peanut butter sandwiches and hours spent in front of a computer, hoping someone will book a show with me. The first song on my new record sums it up best: ‘Some days are good, some years are not’.”