Speer is a musical triple threat in my mind. She is a world-class songwriter; she has an amazing voice and has likeable appeal (visually and vocally).

Her lyrical content is straight from the heart and offers a very strong and confident female perspective and spirit. This doesn’t mean many males won’t love her as well because I did. All the songs do exactly what they are meant to do via well-crafted movements and top tiered musicianship.

The overall production value is superb with a crystal clear sound quality.

I must admit “Daggers & Suede” (EP) sucked me in like a powerful drug and refused to let go long after the EP was over. This usually indicates there is something special about the artist or band in question. Thus deserving praise, recognition and musical fame at the international level.

-AllWhatsRock.com by Clarence Mason


Vocal performance based artists like Speer, sad to say, are a dying breed. All music, lyrics, and fretwork invites the listener to sift through a multitude of pop/rock sounds, all of which congeal up a tangible yet gorgeous selection of songs – 6 of them in fact.

Its music that you could use to watch the clouds go by – but also make you want to jump up, grab your guitar and write a powerful song that could change people’s lives. To inspire someone on a very sincere and powerful level – yeah that what music is all about, and Jillian Speer reminds us of this all to well.

-BandBlurb.com by Claudia Schupe


The arrangements are dynamic, ethereal, cathartic, yet vintage in their own right. Bring in the combination of good playing, solid heartfelt vocals, amazing production value and you come to understand why many are talking about her. The best pieces flow and ebb so nicely with surging intensity only to quickly withdraw again into seclusion. I found this to be a very cool trait of her music. The lyrical content provides inspirational subject matter, and potent topics for today’s thinking fan. Whereas most musical production these days are like a cup of Raman Noodles, “Daggers & Suede is like a bowl of seasoned Escargot with Garlic Butter served with a splash of fine Cognac.

-MusicExistence.com by Joshua Eberly


The songwriting is impressive and digs a bit deeper than the next independent artist. Within each one of these pieces Speer bares her soul and delivers what I would call pure musical mojo. It offers much in the way of passion and compelling-thought provoking lyrical content. I get the impression this is one artist that is extremely determined and passionate about the songwriting craft and being a real artist.

With her genuine warmth and dynamic stage presence, Speer blends beloved standards with a delightful taste of jazz and soul to deliver a compelling performance every time she steps to the microphone. Speer also shares unique original tunes that harken back to a classic era. From start to finish this CD from Speer is a very entertaining musical experience. It has a very warm and inviting Pop-Alternative Rock quality to it, and even dabbles in Blues.  I see Speer as a diamond in the rough, with an amazing amount of potential. As time goes by we will no doubt hear more from her. She is a lucrative record contract or Music Licensing deal waiting to happen. I also would not be surprised to hear her music on the Radio someday or even in a film. I’m also eager to see what the future holds for Jillian Speer as it looks bright. In close, most famous artists out there have "it,”

I'm not so sure what it means but Jillian Speer has whatever "it" is.

-MusicEmissions.com by Michael Snyderman


Los Angeles based vocalist Jillian Speer has released a stunning 6 track EP catalogue entitled “Daggers & Suede. At first glance this is a powerful album title. This established LA based star is somewhat of a musical force to be reckoned with. It’s pretty much a short but sweet masterpiece of complexity and adventurous depth proving once again that good Alternative Pop/Rock need not be taken too seriously – but never to be taken to lightly. Speer achieves her own distinctive voice in significant part by featuring the unique guitar/voice combination at the core of all these songs. At the same time with a plethora of instrumentation that 4-5 players can dish out – all making for a unique sonic experience altogether.

The ultimate beauty of this collection is clearly Speer herself, the way she so weaves her ever lamenting voice and battle cry in and out of the foreground of all these tracks. Speer clearly feels equally as comfortable powering through the modern alt-rock grooves of the former as tiptoeing through the more contemplative, sonic alternative punk contrails of the latter. In this musical environment Speer finds the seam between the two approaches, delivering a steady interlude of music in the midst of musical chaos making for a sizzling EP. This is a high-end production, all engineering aspects check out flawlessly. Much of the songs unfold in similar fashion as Speer and crew alternate solo/duo meditative moments with deftly executed, often challenging rocked out syncopation. If she wrote all these then she could be bigger than any of us realize at the moment. They are all quite remarkable players, composers and performers as well.  Vocally she has strong tonality and at times strong intensity. She’s never over the top with her singing thus always in the pocket, with emotions compatible with the score. I cannot overstate that the common thread throughout all of these pieces is her voice via some adventurous playing. Speer is the strong and radiant musical foundation on “Daggers & Suede.” This CD courageously explores the boundaries between modern alt-rock and clever neo-jazz with uncommon subtlety and well-executed grace.

– IndieArtistAlliance.com by Katherine Eddy

EP Review – DA HIP HOP PLACE ! by Amir Aziz

The opening Tracy Chapman remake “Fast Car” sets the stage rather well for a gripping/polarizing CD like this. I happen to love dark and slow moving melancholy music that doesn’t try to hard to win you over. That’s how I would describe the title track. It was an emotionally gripping intro piece that stuck in my head and had me eager for what was ahead.

All in all the whole EP is brilliantly delivered with a richly woven textures with songs that go far deeper than the next artist. Music will remind you of Tracy Chapman, Mary Black, Joan Osborne and Paula Cole. To be honest I can’t say enough about Speer and her overall appeal (visual and vocal) and sound. “Daggers & Suede” captures a very real and pure sound that grabs the listener right from the get go. Speer has a sound that favors many Alternative female artists in the late 90’s yet with a modern day feel.

I’ve never heard an artist so skillfully combine so many genera’s into one unique sound.  If there was one word or phrase I would use to describe Jillian Speer it would be “true to self”. I give her high marks for being herself and just letting the chips fall where they may. This CD will simply make your day more interesting as some of the lyrical content is hard to understand. No doubt the true meaning of some of this material is buried deep between the lines, but there’s an undeniable passion beneath it all. Speer is a capable songwriter but it’s obvious to me her primary goal as an artist is to make the world much more interesting one song at a time.

If that’s sounds corny so be it.

-DaHipHopPlace.com by Ashely Morgan


The urban-meets-singer/songwriter sound of Jillian Speer’s wonderful new EP gives the singer’s soulful songs just the right edge, and it all starts with her guitar. “That’s really the foundation,” says producer/engineer Keith “Qmillion” Lewis (Robert Glasper, Seun Kuti). “We would always start by recording that, and then build everything around it. That way, no matter what we do with the production, her core comes through.” Next steps were tracking Qmillion’s bass parts, drums (that pop, big-time) by Chris Dave (Adele, D’Angelo), and electric guitars by Tim Stewart (Lady Gaga, Jesse J). The musicians tracked in the former Ocean Way Studio A (now United), and then the sessions began moving between Westlake Studios and Qmillion’s personal studio, to capture Speer’s vocals and other overdubs, and nail down mixes. “We cut her vocals through a [Neumann] U 67 and an Avalon 737 [mic preamp], to keep it consistent between Westlake and what I have at my house. I don’t EQ much at all going to Pro Tools,” Qmillion says. During final mixing at home, Qmillion layered on some plug-in processing, as well as the vocal effects that help make this release more aggressive than your typical singer/songwriter record. “I like the LA-2A and some of the other UAD stuff: the Pultecs, the [Neve] 1084, the [EMT] 140 and 250 for reverb. And then with the effects, I used some Roland Space Echo, or sometimes I would go out to my analog gear and then back into those digital effects,” he says. “Jillian’s voice has a very rich and deep sound to it that she likes to sing most of her stuff in, but when she gets up high and starts to belt, it’s super powerful.  As a producer, it was my goal to help her not to be afraid of that big voice, as well as make sure that the songs that she writes in her lower register still come across like a big lead.” - See more at: http://www.mixonline.com/news/profiles/jillian-speer-s-daggers-suede/425004#sthash.3TX01a5H.dpuf

– MixOnline.com by Barbara Schulz


If Carole King had come of age listening to Peter Gabriel, 2Pac and Tracy Chapman then recorded her first album with the Dave Matthews band, her name would be Jillian Speer.

She invites me to take my shoes off and enter her home, and immediately the decor tells her story: The hanging five pairs of point shoes and tap shoes worn from age three through the competition years of her early teens.  Among six custom made guitars arranged high to low on the opposite wall, the acoustic she picked up at age ten to channel the melodies her voice training had already begun to unlock.  A copy of her first three song demo recorded in Seattle at age fourteen, next to the large Ganesh and Shiva altar inspired by her year in India learning yoga and the sitar at age sixteen.  An entire childhood spent nurturing her artistic vision to become a true 21st Century Renaissance Woman.

We listen to final mixes of the songs she's spent the past several years patiently writing and recording now playing through a ‘Beats By Dre’ booming speaker, appropriate given the beats laid down by her live hip hop drummer, the world renowned and legendary Chris Dave.

Speer embraced her path in the major label machine of the early 00’s only to be left very disenchanted by a music business no longer concerned about nurturing the real singer/songwriter but only focused on saving themselves through the pop music consolidation which bullied many a lesser artist into quitting altogether.  She chose to step back and step aside, continued doing live shows in LA (where a devoted following would consistently pack the house and bring the fire marshal) along with the occasional tour as opening act for the artist Jewel. Jillian Speer is a survivor, and that decade's fight to keep her unique voice shines through in every moment on this record.

Hip Hop style live drums with Eastern tinged folk music: the basic vision for Jillian's new recordings.  To find that New Sound we've never heard done before.  And after a period of trial and error with her two-time Grammy winning producer Qmillion to get the sounds right, Mission Accomplished!

DUM DUM DAI plays like a new millennium scat, the Sarah McLaughlan-does-Gospel with haunting bluesy backing vocals on PENDING LOVE, a hypnotic mantra over the hiccupping rhythms of ZION, the chamber orchestra that frames naked emotion for OPEN.  A Peter Gabriel-esque haunting cover of Tracy Chapman's signature FAST CAR, the delicately picked guitar and jazzy horns inspiring us to BREATHE DEEP, Tori Amos channeled to perfection with PALE STRICKEN SUN.  And if DAGGERS & SUEDE turns out to be the title track of this sonically rich album, that label is also an apt description for Jillian Speer's singing voice.

A good album can withstand a lifetime of repeated listening.  This is one damn good album.  Already this writer's musical brain can't stop reflexively replaying these songs in my head on a daily basis.  Soulful longing to painful betrayal to compassionate forgiveness, Jillian Speer takes us on a complete journey through a series of rich emotional snapshots in musical form.

An EP scheduled for release early this summer, a full length Album scheduled for release in the late fall, finishing touches on music videos and a tour to book are all in our near future as an audience.  And Jillian already has been slowly completing a new collection of songs ready to go for recording the next album.  So while the Speer train has only begun to leave the station, the conductor herself is already preparing for our next quality musical excursion.  We can consider ourselves fortunate that Jillian Speer doesn't rest until she gets the job done right.

- Andrew Harlander