Jax talks UK breakthrough single Victoria's Secret: "It's been group therapy for me"
With so many artists emerging from TikTok in 2022, it can be difficult to cut through the noise. One artist who's managed to transcend the app and replicate her social media success on the Official Chart, though, is New Jersey export Jax.
The singer-songwriter, born Jaclyn Cole Miskanic, has seen her track Victoria's Secret experience truly organic growth to reach the Official Top 40; with its powerful message of body positivity resonating with a generation keen to oppose archaic ideals.
To celebrate Jax's breakthrough moment, we caught up with her to talk modern-day pop star pressures, how she's created a loyal community and what's next musically.
TikTok was instrumental to helping you gain a platform. That was actually thanks to a babysitting gig you had at the time, right?
The girl I babysit, Chelsea, actually made me download TikTok back in 2019 and we would make goofy dances. Eventually, when I started using it to share my music and parody songs, I asked if she wanted to make a song together and the rest is history!
Please say you're not still babysitting...?
I will actually say that I’m babysitting more than usual now, because I feature a lot of kids on TikTok and their parents just consider me a babysitter! But Chelsea has been requesting that I say we’re 'homies' and that she doesn’t need a babysitter any more. So we’ll just say I’m a friend, haha.
You landed a record deal in 2020, during the pandemic, after a few songs went viral. Under a major, did you ever feel pressure in yourself to engineer another viral moment? It seems increasingly hard to force something into virality without it gaining a grassroots audience first...
I think it’s really important to not lose sleep over views and numbers. The times that I tried to force a viral moment were the times that people on TikTok didn’t connect in the same way. It’s definitely a new type of pressure, to have music industry folks around me now, but I really try my best to stay true to who I am on and off camera.
Victoria’s Secret is first a great take down of body image standards, and also a massive banger. Which came first for you - did you want to write about socially-conscious things, dressing them up in this pop coating?
Aw, I appreciate this! I don’t feel like I said anything new in the song, however. I was lucky enough that I got to see a really impactful body positivity movement in my lifetime, and we still have a long way to go. I just told my own story in a pop song, and then a bigger story was told when people used the song to share their own experiences with their body images. That was never my intention, but I can’t express enough how much it’s helped me personally. I’ve been calling it group therapy!
The reaction to the song has not only made me feel less alone, but it’s been able to accomplish something for me personally that therapy never has. I’ve been WAY more kind to myself when I look in the mirror and I feel like I made so many new friends who have been through similar things.
The Victoria’s Secret CEO writing a letter about the song was also rather hilarious...
That one was a conversation for a community of people…I felt weird taking up more of the floor. It was pretty cool to see that we all got their attention though!
View this post on Instagram
Who are the artists you would say have inspired you most; from your look to your writing and sound?
I love Billy Joel as a lyricist and I’m obsessed with Julia Michaels. As far as my style goes, I just started dressing in what makes me feel the most comfortable. I will say I have a lot of pop-punk roots for sure.
Victoria’s Secret is slowly but surely becoming your breakthrough hit in the UK - have you been hard at work on a follow-up? What can we expect?
I didn’t even know that until this second, and it’s really mind-blowing to think that people outside of the US have heard my music! I write a whole lot of songs so I definitely can’t wait to get them out into the world for people to hear.
Thank you to the UK for giving me a shot over there! I can’t wait to visit and have some real fish and chips, haha.
Jax's Victoria's Secret is out now via Atlantic Records.