Jackie Hayes was born and raised in the suburban town of Waukegan, IL, about an hour north of Chicago; her upbringing was marked by rebellion against the strictures of Christianity and nights spent sneaking into shows. She worked retail to pay her way into the city, and kept working when she moved to the city at age 19 — not to study jazz at the University of Chicago as she'd once planned, but instead to focus on playing DIY shows. Two years later Hayes (who went by her birth name Jackie Carlson in her last band, Family Reunion) is preparing to release her debut solo EP, Take It, Leave It, four songs that showcase her surprisingly world-weary voice and knack for smart rock melodies.
On the album's debut single "Headache," premiering above, Hayes sings about the monotony and frustration of constant labor, willing herself to quit her job but knowing she can't. Much like Hayes's suburban upbringing, it's a working class indie rock archetype, one lived countless times by countless artists — but it's no less engaging as a result.
"Last year, my relationship with music was put to the test for the first time," Hayes wrote in an email to The FADER. "I faced the classic musician’s battle of balancing a job and playing shows. I ended up getting a job at a grocery store to save up for my next tour. I recorded my EP between shifts. Take it, Leave it is what came out of it.
Listen to "Headache" at the top of the page. Take It, Leave It is out June 16 via AWAL.