Timeless Music: Introducing Jessi Zilka

For weeks now, I’ve been trying to figure out a poetic way to introduce myself to the audience of Rock on Purpose. With each attempt, I’d be left completely dissatisfied, eventually resulting in a bad case of writer’s block. Every angle I concocted in my head, once written in front of my eyes, sounded campy and inauthentic. Because of that, I’ve decided to be simple, direct, and transparent; to strip things down to the core with the intention that it’ll adequately display my purpose for writing this. Let’s hope I can get my point across.

Hey there. My name is Jessi Zilka. I’ve recently been brought into the Rock on Purpose family as a contributing writer with a focus on what people have lovingly labeled “throwback” music. In my eyes, however, I’m simply writing about amazing, relevant rock and roll that likely hit your ears decades ago. It’s my belief that good music has no shelf life. If it’s well written and well delivered, it will resonate today just as strongly as it did when it was originally recorded and released. My hope is to bring my audience content that will either evoke a sense of nostalgia looking back on albums and artists that haven’t been thought of in years, or will introduce new material that just so happens to have been released in the past in order to open a door to a brand new music experience. With any luck, I’ll accomplish even a fraction of those goals.

I grew up in a home filled to the brim with music. From a very young age, I was listening to artists like the Eagles, Heart, Electric Light Orchestra, Rush, and many other classics. At the same time, however, my parents were at an age where they were still seeking out newer, current music, so groups like Petra, White Heart, and Stryper were also big hits at home. Beat the System by Petra was a very prominent album for my dad, which led to it constantly being blasted over the family sound system. Only a few years later in 1995, my musician cousin introduced my older brother and me to Jars of Clay’s debut album. That was a game changer for both of us. From there, music flowed into my life like a waterfall. My parents weren’t ones to spoil their children, but when it came to music, they rarely said no. We were completely immersed in it, and it was absolutely beautiful.

I could go on to talk about all the different artists that I discovered, fell in love with, and still listen to today, but I’ll save that for future material. For now, my point is this: I love music, but I especially love rock and roll. I’m not one of those to feel that if it’s not rock, I’m not going to listen. But there’s something about the genre that brings people together like no other. It’s some of the most expressive, most intense, most vulnerable music to exist. There’s a fire in the souls of rock lovers that I feel can’t be matched. When you attend a rock show, there’s a camaraderie that lingers in the air. Where you came from, what you do, and what you believe have little meaning. It’s all about being in that space together, relishing in the music that has kept you sane, afloat, inspired, and alive for so long. As Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters says, “That’s one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people, and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.”

My hope is to showcase music that I feel deserves as much attention today as it did when it was brand new. If I can encourage one person to explore an artist they may not know, or remind someone of an album they found inspiring so many years ago, then I feel I have done my job. I only have my thoughts and words to offer, but with any luck, I can convince others to give the music I plan to talk about a chance. I hope you will tune into my rambles, and I hope you’ll enjoy. But above all, I hope you’ll leave my works knowing the passion I have for music and my drive to share it with others.

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