Alumna prepares to share talents with campus

Leah Ulatowski, Editor-in-Chief

Jessica Lillie, a 2010 graduate of Lakeland College, returns home on April 10 to play a show as part of her Great Midwest Tour, which showcases songs from her new album.

It was only fitting for Lillie, who is known by her stage name Lillie Lemon, to share her work with Lakeland College.Many of the tracks were written on campus and inspired by her experiences as a student.

“Lakeland has always felt like home to me. It was also the place where I began writing my own songs, so coming back with my full setup seemed like an easy decision,” Lillie said. “The album was partially crowdsourced, and a vast majority of it was funded by people I met as a student at Lakeland, so it only seemed natural that I should have a show debuting these tracks to the people that supported me the most.”

Lillie is an indie electro-pop singer-songwriter who studied writing at Lakeland College.

“Everything about the campus gives me the feeling of being at home. I’m really looking forward to seeing old friends and professors that taught me so much—not just in class but outside of it as well,” Lillie said. “This is the place where I learned to love and live alone, and where I grew into the person I was supposed to be; I can’t wait to bring back the gifts I developed while I was there.”

According to Lillie, some of her greatest adventures at the college took place outside of the classroom, including spending hours in Fessler Professor of Creative Writing Karl Elder’s office listening to stories, working summers as a resident assistant with Director of Residence Life Jim Bajczyk, “jamming” with fellow musicians Professor of Sociology Alan Mock and Associate Professor of History Rick Dodgson and even hitting a deer on the drive home from a concert with Instructor of Japanese Jen Siebert.

Additionally, her time as editor-in-chief of the Mirror created many memories of late-night fun at work and chats with former advisor Martha Schott and fellow staff members.

“Nothing prepared me for leading a band better than taking on leadership roles with the Lakeland Mirror,” Lillie said. “With the Mirror, there is tons of troubleshooting that has to be done under high-pressure deadlines.”

Aside from her music, Lillie currently works for the department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Montrey, Calif.She believes writing majors have endless career opportunities.

When it comes to aspiring musicians, Lillie advises that the music industry is rapidly changing. It is no longer a requirement to move to a large city in order to be discovered. With Youtube and social media, Lillie believes musicians must take marketing into their own hands.

“Scouts aren’t looking for talent—they’re looking to see that you already have a fanbase, a draw to your music. Endless social media is the lifeblood of new artists,” Lillie said. “Finally, I feel that I should warn you—it doesn’t get easier. The workload will not decrease, but that’s why you got into this, right? To work your hands raw and your face bloody for what you love.

“You’re going to feel broken or unsuccessful, probably for a long time. Hold on to those moments of brightness—there’s 45 minutes of pleasure for every 10 hours of pain in this business, but if you love it—truly love it—you know it’s worth it.”

Lillie’s concert will take place outside the Pub at 8 p.m. on April 10 and is sponsored by The Mirror through the Student Activities Foundation.