Jill McCracken, Motown-inspired soul singer, is framed and hugged by three bouquets of hanging flowers, a flower crown, and a cascading robe of the same pattern in her music video for “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” McCracken oozes 70s nostalgia and sunshine as she covers Otis Redding’s classic tune. The now Boston-based singer chose this classic because of its recipe: a simple chorus that’s easy to sing along to, that exudes contentment, but dives into intimate, tender feelings in the verses.

Though McCracken can typically be found with her band—about 95% of the time, according to the artist—she is alone for this adventure. After experimenting with playing solo between band breaks in her live shows, McCracken found “it brought a new level of intimacy and focus on the stories I was telling.” This idea translates to the video, which was filmed in a single shot. Its relatively close-up view creates both an incredibly welcoming and vulnerable atmosphere.

The attention to intimacy does not stop there. Stumble into the video and a few seconds in, it’s clear McCracken is singing live. While she has nothing against layering vocals, McCracken explains: “This song is all about being authentic and intimate with the audience. For this particular song, I wanted to do it very live.”

The authenticity McCracken describes is woven through the song’s lyrics, which follow Redding as he moves across the country to fight a feeling of loneliness, before eventually finding that the feeling lingers. This depressive atmosphere, however, is matched with the calming beauty of Redding’s dock, and the motionless presence of the water. McCracken found the intersection of loneliness and calmness beautiful, and decided to put her own spin on it by belting out the lyrics that personally resonate the most.

Unlike the more mellow melodies of the original, her voice rolls over itself as it slides up lines like “I left my home in Georgia” and the repeated choruses. McCracken describes the decision as “bringing out the emotive nature of them [and that] was my way of making people feel what means the most to me in this song.” The classic nature of the song remains, but now with a her own unique twist.

At the end of January Jill McCracken will be playing a string of solo shows including one on 1/29 at UnchARTed in Lowell, MA. 

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