Jobi Riccio Talks Diversity in Country Music

We stopped by the ASCAP Music Cafe during the Sundance Film Festival for their annual celebration of songwriters and composers of music for film and television. Jobi Riccio is a musci artists based out of Boston, Massachusetts. Originally from Morrison Colorado, Jobi Riccio found her way onto the ASCAP Music Cafe stage by winning the NewSong competition. We managed to wrangle Jobi into an interview and performance at the Park City Barber Shop in Park City.

Jobi Riccio: “Hi Everyone, my name is Jobi Riccio, I am here at the Park City Barber Shop in Park City, Utah and we are here and we are here chattin’ at the Sundance Film Festival.

So I grew up in Colorado and my parents bought me a Patsy Kline cd when I was five or six and everything just kind of snowballed from there. And I heard her voice and I said, “well dang, I gotta find a way to do that with my voice somehow, come hell or high water I am going to find a way.” And I began to write my own songs. Always especially growing up in the early 2000’s and the late 90’s, so artists like the Dixie Chicks were a huge influences on me. Eventually I learned to play guitar, my sister and I would play at local talent shows, Dixie Chicks songs, you know. And then I just kind of decided to really go for it. Once I entered high school I started playing blue grass as well and I picked up a Mandolin. And then I decided to go to music school in Boston at the Berklee College of Music where I am finishing up a degree in songwriting right now.

Jobi and Her Songwriting Inspiration

You can’t rely on just your own life for songwriting I’ve realized. I learned that the hard way because otherwise you are just sitting around waiting for the bolt of lightning to strike you. But it has been really great to study songwriting at the collegiate I suppose, because I have found different ways to seek inspiration so all sorts of things inspire me. I kind of opened my ears and eyes to the world around me. I am always looking for things to write about, like not even consciously at this point.

I love country music because I love how it feels and how honest it is, and how raw it is. It moves me in a way that not a lot of other genres can. I mean I love all types of music and there is a special place in my heart for all sorts of genres, but at the end of the day I find my most favorite songs are just those like beautiful, simple and true and just like gut wrenching country songs and those are what drove me to songwriting in the first place.

Diversity and the Future of Country Music

It’s really cool growing up as a country musician in this age, because I see country music as becoming a lot more diverse. You kind of got to look for it a little bit, but it is there. There is LGBTQ representation now in country music. Amazing artists like Orville Peck are totally changing the game on that. There is people of color doing country music, Rhiannon Giddens is a favorite of mine and a huge role model to me. And it inspired me to study American Roots music as my minor at Berklee as my minor too, to learn more about this music that I love and where it comes from and the diverse roots of it. I am really passionate about, too sum it up, some people say “Y’all means All” and I am very passionate about that.

I didn’t grow up in the South but I mean Colorado definitely has a country side, those little ranch towns, it is damn country out there and most everyone I knew grew up listening to country music and I think it is really cool to see and interact with these different groups who also love country music just as much as anyone else and are just as entitled and the stories are just as valid stories be told through the medium of country music.

I grew up in a smallish town outside of Denver called Morrison. I I loved growing up in Colorado. I grew up in mostly a conservative area and I think that it taught me a lot of important things. I live in a very liberal city now, I live in Boston Massachusetts. Growing up in a place that is one and then moving to a place that is kind of totally the opposite has allowed me to understand this country from both perspectives and I think that is pretty important when you are thinking about being someone who is a songwriter and trying to chronicle experiences and trying to understand and empathize with others and also get your own experience out there as well.

So I don’t think people realize that about Colorado. I don’t think people realize that about Colorado. Maybe just like Utah as well, people think about skiing and in Colorado people think about weed. But the background that I grew up in, it was a lot more traditional and I have a lot of love in my heart for where I came from and feel totally spoiled by the place I grew up in, just scenery wise. Truly, nothing beats wide open spaces.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *