Written by Kelly Holm
“The world is getting smaller, Patricia.” It may seem like a casual observation on how the expansions of technology and social media have made long-distance communication easier, but coming from the mouth of Patricia Jetton’s father, it was the greatest compliment she ever received.
“My dad wasn’t the type to flatter or boost your ego just because,” Jetton said. “The way he made me feel in that moment was indescribable.”
Jetton has lived all over the world, from her birthplace of the Philippines, to San Diego where she formed her band HIRIE, to Hawaii, the childhood home that she identifies with the most. When relocating across such great distances, it’s not hard to feel alienated in a new location where you don’t know anybody, especially being so far from those that you hold dear. But through music, universal emotions that anyone, anywhere in the world can relate to, have the opportunity to be expressed.
Jetton or Hirie, which she calls herself as well as the band minus the all-caps, is understandably big on acknowledging the contributions her family and friends have made to her success as an artist.
“My biggest challenge as a musician has been providing for my family monetarily, versus needing the constant help which is the reality of most musicians starting out,” she said. “We have to depend on our loved ones a lot of the time because our constant touring schedule doesn’t allow for a stable income.”
She recalled times when she and eight other band members had to cram into one hotel room while on tour for over a year in order to save money. Talk about no personal space, yet after several years, Jetton realized that “…now I look back and laugh at it, because as the cliche goes, those were the funnest days of our lives.”
Today, Jetton is not only a singer, but a mother who is driven to make a living off of her music in order to show her daughter that following one’s passion while taking care of family are not mutually exclusive. For up and comers like herself, she offers this advice:
“In the beginning, always say yes to an opportunity. Know how to smell out bogus people and deals, but always say yes to the latter. Do your research and don’t give yourself away. Try and be independent for as long as possible and NEVER rely on anyone or anything for your success.”
When it comes to her music, specifically her upcoming album, Dreamer, she wants her fans to recognize the often-unsung heroes of music production who all too frequently get pushed to the wayside in the public consciousness. It takes a village to release an album, and even if she does not personally know all of those who contributed, they all left an undeniable impact, big or small.
“It took many different people to create Dreamer,” Jetton said. “From my band and the musicians we hired, to the songwriters, producers and co-producers, the environments we were allowed to create, the tours and shows and hugs and tears and everything else in between.”
Yes, production is often a lengthy and tedious process that takes a crew to wallow through. But, even that is sometimes a walk in the park compared to songwriting. Inspiration, after all, strikes at all times.
“This shit just rains out some days, and is a barren desert on others,” Jetton comments.
A recent track is “She Go,” a carefree celebration of female empowerment and self-love that brilliantly illuminates and showcases HIRIE’s reggae influences, Damian Marley, and, oh, his Dad, Bob. Jetton’s Hawaiian background understandably drives her music as well, with her favorite reggae song being “Kamaile’s Castle,” an obscure Hawaiian tune.
The confessional “I’m Messed Up” is Jetton’s favorite song to perform. Having written it while crying her eyes out in the midst of very frustrating times, she declares it as, “an anthem for the screw-ups like me.” These two songs, and many more, will be found on Dreamer when it drops Sept. 13.
“Dreamer is unlike our previous albums because we wrote it in a way that everyone, no matter their background, could find a song that they can relate to,” Jetton said. “I traveled across many emotions and tried to be as raw and open as humanly possible to those feelings.”
She hopes that these new directions will enable HIRIE to “keep touring and bringing music to places and countries we’ve never been to before.” She’d love to one day jam with fellow Hawaiian, Bruno Mars, but knows that no matter how far she goes, the initial exhilarating rush she got starting out will always stick around.
“I wouldn’t change that feeling for the world, and I still get those same terrorizing butterflies!” she comments.