Only months after becoming New Zealand’s first X-Factor winner, Jackie Thomas, affectionately named Greymouth’s “Rainbow”, topped the voting polls for seven wildly successful weeks and has now released her self-titled debut album. She celebrated its launch by performing at the stunning downtown The Roxy Bar. Humbled and overwhelmed by the support of the media, X Factor crew, family and close friends, she serenaded her audience that evening with the platinum-selling number 1 single It’s Worth It and her audition piece, a heartbreaking rendition of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love.
Congratulations on being the first-ever X Factor NZ winner. Tell us about your winning night; what was going through your mind? Has it settled in yet and how has your life changed after the show?
I have no idea what was going through my mind when my name was called. I was in total shock. I hadn’t prepared myself to sing again, or anything I was going to say because I didn’t think I would win. I was super happy, especially when the other contestants and my family came on stage. I’m not sure whether it’s all settled in yet either… I’m still amazed that people want to hear me sing so I guess it’s a no. I’m so happy now and I think that’s the biggest life change that has happened since the show. I love getting up in the mornings now and I love my job!
At boot camp, it was clear that you were battling with your weaknesses and fears. Your vulnerability was what the public found endearing about you and it was their support that ultimately scored you a second chance. How have you become stronger since?
I have become a lot stronger and a lot less shy, but the vulnerability is still there. I like to use it when I’m singing and kind of just let it all out there. I’ve had a bit of hate just because of how sensitive I am, but I know it’s what makes me, me.
Tell us about your first album and your chart-topping single It’s Worth It. How involved were you with choosing the songs?
I remember some Sony reps came over to my hotel room and SKYCITY to show me some of the songs they had in mind for my first single. It’s Worth It was the first one they played me and I just though it was perfect. Moody but still powerful, with a message that people could get. I said yes straight away. They album is full of my songs from X Factor, which I chose myself anyway so no qualms there! And it was a mutual decision not to include Lovefool. I’d rather forget that week…
Who are the artists in the local and international music industry that inspire you?
Locally, I loved Bic Runga and Brooke Fraser growing up. I think they had a lot to do with the kind of music I like to sing and how my voice has developed. Internationally, I seriously love all types of music and listen to bits and pieces of everything. I love Lana Del Rey and her style, and how her voice is not particularly powerful but she puts so much emotion into her songs that it gets to you. I love Florence Welch and Sia’s voices: epically powerful and soulful. I also like Sia’s style of songwriting – she is a pretty big influence of mine in that sense.
You’re the first New Zealand X-Factor winner, you’ve just released your first album… what’s next for you?
Just focusing on this album at the moment and doing some gigs here and there. I’m going back to Greymouth for a weekend soon and it’ll be the first time I’ve been back there since I won X factor so it will be a big event. Mum is going to cook me a roast too: amazing! I’m hoping to get cracking on some songwriting on my own for the second album as soon as things quiet down a little bit.
Anything else that you would like to say to our readers?
I am generally a girl of few words. I like to put them into my music instead.