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Poetry in Motion: An Interview with Jackie Hill Perry
Reach Records' latest signee speaks about her new label, the latest single, her current tour, and what the future may bring

AN NRT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, Poetry in Motion: An Interview with Jackie Hill Perry
Posted: June 20, 2024 | By: JoshuaGalla_NRT
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Jackie Hill Perry is an established poet, best-selling author, mother of four children, wife of ten years to Preston Perry, and renowned hip-hop artist. However, she hasn't released new music since her sophomore album dropped in 2018. Her focal point the last six years has been on writing books and raising her children while a few speaking engagements were sprinkled in too. During our interview, Perry explains why music has become important again and what the future may hold. 
How far back do your ties to Reach Records travel regarding the official signing as their newest artist?
It’s been pretty recent. Some of the connections started when one of the ladies [ToyaLove] who rapped on the original “Stay Low” track posted on Instagram’s Threads that I should be part of the remix. From there, I became connected with Ace Harris, the A&R lead at Reach. I never knew Ace’s connections to Reach [even though] we attend the same church and have even served in children’s ministry together before. When all the connections began to surface, it felt like something more may become possible out of this situation. The “Stay Low” Remix is where it began [released March 22]. It’s literally all happened within the last six months.
Having already established yourself as a best-selling author, a major social media influencer and speaker, and seeing the reach of the 'With the Perry’s' podcast (over 328,000 YouTube subscribers), why the itch to return to music and sign with an iconic label such as Reach?
When I got away from music back in 2018, I wanted my main focus to be on preaching and writing. That seemed to be the space where God was creating a lane for me to walk in. For what our generation needed, it seemed the most necessary and timely. When I made the decision to take a pause on writing [books] this year, that created space and margin for me to be able to return to music.

In regard to the partnership with Reach, it was based on my recent connection with Ace and seeing his heart combined with his integrity. Also, being aware of the excellence Reach puts into their brand and music led to an easy decision for me. It wasn’t even solely the style, but the quality of mixing. Stuff like that all played a factor in my decision. Thinking about everything, it just seemed like a partnership with Reach would be worthwhile for me.

You released your first book and your second album in 2018. Talk about that.
I recorded Crescendo and wrote Gay Girl, Good God both in 2018 which is obnoxious! Also, I was pregnant with my second child [Autumn] while doing the rollout for the album and related videos. Like I said, I was just doing too much, and something had to give with music being that thing which had to go.

How’s the ‘With the Perry’s Podcast Tour' going?
It’s good. People are being equipped to make disciples. The crowds are interactive and engaging.
While on tour thus far, has there been any tour stop more impactful or meaningful than another?
All of them are meaningful in their on way. Every region has their particular need. You go to Dallas and you have a lot of church people which need to be stirred up to do work. Basically, treating the church like a mission field. The more you’re in church, the more comfortable you get.
However, now we’re touring the east coast where people are always connecting to people of a different faith or tradition. So, I feel like we’re just here to encourage disciples to keep making disciples--even in light of the climate they navigate. I think every region has its own joys and difficulties.

You recently stopped in DC on your tour. DC is quite diverse and interesting in its own peculiar way. What kind of vibe was present during that stop?
DC and Philly have a large Hebrew Israelites and Muslim population. Therefore, you know you’re training and engaging people of a faith base people in the Midwest or rural areas don’t necessarily have any contact with. There’s a certain level of social economical advancement that people in DC might be experiencing. I think their level of financial comfortability makes a difference in how we make disciples. I’m always aware of whatever the needs and even idols of a particular region before I go there on tour or to speak.
We’re not here to just entertain people but do some work.

Switching gears, how did your new single “First Draft” come together?
Honestly, [it was] quite random. Over the last two years and during the pandemic, I was writing random freestyles and uploading them to Instagram. Writing, in all its forms, is a muscle. The freestyles were just me exercising that muscle to keep it strong.
“First Draft” just came out of me writing two random freestyles which happen to coincide with me signing with Reach. Therefore, I just took some of my most recent freestyles which I didn’t upload yet, turned them into a single and called it a day.

With your proverbial plate being full as a mom to four children, wife, author, speaker and so forth, what was the driving force to return to music?
My schedule got freed up a little bit. I’ve really been writing “something” every year. When space became available, I felt like it could be a cooler opportunity. When I connected with Ace at church, it felt like there was more to it than even the meeting. So, I prayed. I asked the Lord if He wanted me to do music with Reach, then to make that happen. Then, He did. I don’t make moves without the Lord’s “yes." I just don’t want to be out here without Him and without His Hand. As soon as He told me yes, that gave me the freedom, “we gonna do this thang!”
I doubt after the project or projects I create I’ll create more because I want to write books for the rest of my life. However, I will enjoy this season while I’m in it.

Personally, I think the news of your new label acquisition will prove to further your own goals to connect with as many people as possible for biblical conversations.
It’s a special thing (signing with Reach). I was even talking to someone earlier about how music is quite a powerful medium. It’s influential in every way. For me, it’s an opportunity to expand. Not so much meaning my personal influence but possessing another avenue to influence people with the things I write. I can help people think “right” about reality, about truth, about themselves and of course about the Lord. I love music, I enjoy music. However, I have a mission when it comes to this stuff.
Having two daughters of my own, I’m constantly seeking our positive female emcees, artists, and creatives. Now being with Reach and along the side of Wande, what influence do you feel you have on Christian Hip-Hop as a female emcee?
If I had to guess what I add, it would have to be a certain level of experience. Not even with rap, but with life in general. I’m at a different life stage then when I put out Crescendo (2018) and Art of Joy (2014) I was in my early twenties, a couple years married whereas now I’m 34, ten years married, four children… way more life experience. I feel like maturity in all forms is what I bring to the table as many of the current female rappers are still in their early twenties. I think wherever you are in life, it’s useful. It’s just there is distinction.
I have to ask, are fans and listeners to expect an album or just continuous singles?
There will be an album. That’s why the first single is called “First Draft.” It’s not perfect and there’s even a level of insecurity because I just threw those verses together for the single. I feel like it’s not even my best. It should be a preview for something you (the listener) should be expecting on the other end. 
I came across a post from July of last year stating no albums were in your future. However, it feels like God had other plans?
I had no idea that signing with Reach would be a thing or even to release music again. However, when God calls--you follow. I’m glad it’s here.

Joshua Galla is an audiophile hyped about all forms of art in music, but his passion rests behind CHH and soulful vibes. He's a devout husband, father, and child of God. Concerts are his happy place.

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