Great LezBritain: Interview with Jill Jackson

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Great LezBritian” is a fortnightly stroll through the very best of British lesbo-centric entertainment and culture. Plus there will be some jolly good interviews with the top ladies who are waving the flag for gay UK.

Forget Helen Stewart, forget Amy Pond and forget Cat MacKenzie, because there’s a new Scottish bird in town and 2011 might very well be owned by her.  “We won’t forsake them,” we hear you cry, but you certainly will, because  singer-songwriter Jill Jackson is not only Scottish, but she’s a real-live person. And the lady has some skills – new album Back To Zero is a gorgeous whisky-soaked confessional about family, loving ladies, being a rubbish girlfriend – and most importantly Cheryl Cole

We first saw Jill perform at the end of last year when we booked her to support Heather Peace at a couple of Lip Service gigs, and her combination of talent, nice tattoos and often inappropriate behaviour meant that we all decided we’d like to spend two weeks in a van with her on a UK tour.

We chat to her for the first time on AfterEllen.com about her new album, the Heather Peace tour and being outed by a tabloid newspaper.

AfterEllen.com: When did you first realise you were going to have a career that would be singing for your supperas. Has it always been what you wanted to do?
Jill Jackson:
I’ve been playing guitar since I was nine and started singing when I was 11; I started gigging when I was 15 and knew that this was what I wanted to do. I’ve never had any interest in anything else.

AE: A lot of people will recognise you from when you fronted Speedway back in 2002. Do you look back on those days with fond memories?
JJ:
I have very fond memories of the Speedway days; we had great times and did so many great tours, Bryan Adams being one of the best. We got to do Top Of The Pops, which was a real highlight for me.

AE: How did you find being a female in the music industry back then and are things the same, or different now?
JJ:
I think it’s probably about the same now as it was then, but that will be a different experience for everyone. I just agree with Joni Mitchell: the best singer/songwriters ever … are women!

AE: One of your songs featured on episode 5 of BBC Three’s Lip Service. How was it to have Frankie riding in on a pantomime horse as you were on in the background?
JJ:
It was really quite exciting to be a part of the whole Lip Service thing. I would have enjoyed being the horse.

AE: Back in 2004, The Scottish Sun broke the story that you were going out with Fame Academy’s Alex Parks. How did you cope with having your sexuality and relationship splashed over a newspaper’s front page?
JJ:
It was a difficult time. The Sun called to say they were running the story so I had no choice but to tell my family. It was such an invasion. I didn’t like it at all but at least it wasn’t written in a negative way. It was really hard at the time and no one should have to come out like that, but things are very different now and you can’t get me to shut up about loving women! I love feeling free to be myself on stage and off.

AE: Did you ever discuss your sexuality beforehand. Were you advised not to?
JJ:
No one knew I was gay, except my sisters … and obviously the girls I’d been with. The record company didn’t know.

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