‘T.O.M.L.’ is the smashing new tune from Berklee College of Music student, singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jessica Woodlee. Inspired by her uncomfortable and eye-opening freshman year at the acclaimed music school, ‘T.O.M.L.’ (Time Of My Life) sees Woodlee team up with fellow Berklee students to create a track that’s fierce, fiery, catchy, gritty, and unashamedly honest. “Cause maybe I’m lying when I say I’m alright. And maybe I’m crying when I say that I’m fine”.
Brought up on a steady diet of Eric Clapton, Carole King, Muddy Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jimi Hendrix, Woodlee now finds inspiration in the works of Taylor Swift, Maisie Peters, and Maggie Rogers. It’s this beautiful and eclectic blend of influences that has given the musician her unique and distinctive sound. She’s beginning to build up a serious reputation for her music, and we at Indie Top 39 feel it’s richly deserved!
‘T.O.M.L.’ is a fiery, crunchy, and honest pop-rock banger from a seriously gifted artist! INDIE TOP 39
What does the song mean to you?
The inspiration for T.O.M.L. was born my freshman at Berklee College of Music. I had expected college to be fun and easy-going based on what I’d grown up seeing on social media, in books and on tv shows. However, the fall of 2021 proved to be filled with imposter syndrome, extreme workloads, anxiety and stress. I quickly became fed up with the societal pressure to enjoy the supposed “time of my life” and turned to music to express my frustration. Thus, T.O.M.L. was born.
I spent hours in dorm rooms, rehearsal rooms and the Berklee studios with my new-found Berklee family. Together we wrote lyrics, created synths, rehearsed drum parts and recorded background vocals to create the ultimate pop-rock teen angst banger. I wanted to capture the angst and turmoil I was experiencing and turn it into something fun…the perfect song to scream with your friends. I always find it funny how some of my favourite songs come from times of such insecurity. I hope you love shouting this song with the windows down as much as I do.
Tell us about your creative process and how the song came to be.
Creating “T.O.M.L.” was an all-hands-on-deck process. It began as a writing session with my good friends Sasha Campbell. In a span of hours we took my budding idea and fleshed it into a full-grown song. Then we sent it off to my friend Tucker, a pop producer at Berklee, to lay down some basic production ideas.
Originally, Sasha and I envisioned this song as a laid-back, Lauv-esque. light pop song. However, after showing the track to some Berklee professors, they helped me to realize that it wasn’t living up to its lyrical potential. The hard-hitting and brutally honest lyrics I had written called for a more fitting pop-rock live band arrangement. This was a major blow to my creative process and I found myself in a hole of imposter syndrome trying to figure out how to make the song feel right.
I altered the chord progression and underlying rhythms to be harder-hitting and less light-pop. Then we added cool drum fills, bass licks and synth lines that cut much better into the core of the song. With the vision re-imagined we hit the studio again. This time, we brought in my friend Andrew Brinkman to help produce the new vibe. After two more months of recording sessions, mixing and mastering the song finally felt ready.
Who do you hope the song resonates with the most?
This song is meant for anyone having a rough time and experiencing pressure to just “brush it off”. ‘T.O.M.L.’ says that no matter what society expects or demands, your frustrations and anxiety are valid. I’m all for looking for the good but every now and then what we all need is to let out our angst and feel heard. I hope ‘T.O.M.L.’ gives you all the words to scream what you’ve been feeling and release it.
Which Netflix series or movie would you like your music to be featured in?
I feel like ‘T.O.M.L.’ perfectly encapsulates the teen angst and self-discovery experience present in a lot of my favourite Netflix shows and movies. A few that come to mind are Sex Education, Euphoria, Teenage Bounty Hunters and Never Have I Ever. However, I think the overall driving rock nature of the song could also fit many action movies and series such as The Umbrella Academy, Hawkeye, and The Blacklist. It would be so amazing to see ‘T.O.M.L.’ on the big screen!