Jess Williamson – Mama Proud


Jess Williamson - Mama Proud - Photo

Mystic folk artist Jess Williamson has shared her second single off the forthcoming Cosmic Wink. Tinged with Williamson’s Austin roots, “Mama Proud” unfolds slowly, her intimate delivery drawing you in and wrapping you up in its soft details. That the spirit of Texas is infused throughout the album isn’t surprising, considering Cosmic Wink was recorded at Moon Phase Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, where the band lived, worked, and cooked meals together for a week, with occasional breaks for wildflower gathering and loops through the cedar-spotted woods.

Yet Cosmic Wink is also punctuated with the sounds of another city—Los Angeles—where the artist moved before embarking on the project. Both musically and lyrically, the exploding postmodern spirit of California is embedded in the DNA of Williamson’s latest release.

On this new album, the artist’s third release and first for Mexican Summer, Williamson emerges with another self part of an even wider consciousness. A self that bears wise evidence of past lives, but also feels new and unfamiliar, if at times from a different artist entirely.

Cosmic Wink drops May 11 on vinyl, CD and digital formats. First pressing limited to a run of 2,000. Receive a limited edition Cosmic Copal incense with pre-order. While supplies last. 

Pre-Order LP/CD Here


“Mama Proud” is one of those songs that started out as a few seeds and once we took it to the studio they all came into bloom. It was a very collaborative and free undertaking. A little mantra throughout making this record was “that’s what happens when you feel safe”. When you’re safe to experiment and you trust the people you’re working with, anything can happen and sometimes it works! We just wanted to play with this song and we agreed that nothing was off limits.

So we started off with only the guitar and lead vocal as our foundation, and then we ran wild together. My voice is sampled, turned into a synth texture, and used as a rhythmic element. The keyboard is played at the end like a bongo, and when I hear that part I always envision bubbles underwater. We layered maybe 9 or 10 of my vocals to create the layers of harmony on the “dance” section and then Dan Duszynski (the co-producer and engineer of the album) added the jazzy drums and piano behind it. The repeating vocals in the outro were a completely unplanned, spontaneous thing. I just started singing the oohs out of nowhere really and we kept it and added more vocals. It felt like that idea came from somewhere else and we grabbed ahold of it before it got away. I attribute things like that to the magic of studio energy.

Recording this song was a huge departure for me musically, and that felt a little unnerving at the time. I remember driving home from the studio and listening in the car to what we’d done and being like okay I think I love this but is it actually really bad? It’s easy to second-guess yourself when you’re in new territory. It’s also the best place to be when you’re making a record, or anything creative, because trying new things and not limiting yourself usually leads you somewhere good.

Lyrically, this song is about making a big decision and accepting all of the consequences and lingering questions. – Jess