A Good Sign quickly anesthetizes strong emotions from a past relationship.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan electro-pop singer-songwriter welcomes instant romantic indifference on her latest atmospheric single, “Numb.”
“‘Numb’ is that feeling of when you’re in a relationship with someone who has manipulated your feelings a lot,” said Kierstin Jackson, aka A Good Sign.
“You have these heart-wrenching feelings over and over, and then you’re just at a point where you’re numb to it. You no longer have control over your emotions.”
Throughout “Numb,” A Good Sign regains that self-control as exuberant synth, wistful bass and intrepid electronic percussion provide a jolt of confidence.
She sings, “High off of your touch / Or shattered by your silence / I used to stay fucked up / On your spiritual violence / But now I’m breaking up with / The ropes that I got tied with.”
“It’s a freeing feeling in a way because that person doesn’t have control over you anymore,” Jackson said. “That was a relationship recently I experienced where there a lot of ups and downs. My heart was fully in it, and then it ate away at things until there was nothing there.”
To bring “Numb” to life, A Good Sign collaborated with engineer-producer Jezreel Santos at Ypsilanti’s Traxside Recording Studio.
“It’s EDM-y, but lighthearted … I love sad lyrics and a happy beat,” Jackson said. “[Jezreel] is so talented; I can make a sound at him, and he can do that on any instrument.”
A Good Sign also worked with Santos on the dreamy indie-pop ballad, “Taste of You,” which explores the challenges of unrequited love.
Hopeful electric guitar, pensive synth, pulsating bass and soft drums echo her infatuation with another as she sings, “We could go to outer space / Play with the stars all day / Knew you were the one / I’d walk barefoot on the sun / If that meant I could have a taste.”
“The thing about infatuation is that you don’t really know the person. You’re so enveloped with them that you’re just only seeing their good qualities. You’re like, ‘I would do anything to be with them,’” said Jackson, who released the single in late 2021.
“When I wrote this song, I was dating this person … we were hanging out in my apartment and then falling asleep. The moonlight was shining on their face, and it was so magical even though the person wasn’t that great.”
Soft Spaces, Moths and Parasites
Before releasing her two latest singles, A Good Sign shared three other magnetic tracks – “Soft Space,” “Moth to the Light” and “My Parasite” – via SoundCloud. As underground releases, they reflect her versatile approach to electronic music.
The cosmic EDM-meets-hip-hop ballad, “Soft Space,” explores A Good Sign’s everlasting connection with a former love.
Glistening synths offer a warm embrace as she sings, “I’ll catch you like a teardrop fallin’ / If you feel like you might be alone in the dark / And if you ever need a place to hide in / There will always be a soft, safe place in my heart.”
“I’m letting this person go and saying, ‘I hope you land in a soft place, and I’m wishing you the best. There will always be a soft space for you,’” Jackson said. “The person I wrote it about was having a hard time in their life.”
While consoling an old partner on “Soft Space,” A Good Sign then shuns a toxic suitor on the infectious dubstep anthem, “Moth to the Light.” Buzzy synths swarm her as she sings, “When everything is good / They try to come back in your life / Crawl out of the dark / Like a moth to the light.”
“That was super experimental for me … and I did a lot of the production on that one,” said Jackson, who also worked with Santos on her first three singles. “It’s about when you’re in a really good space in your life, and you attract all kinds of people, especially negative people. You’re glowing, and they’re attracted to that light.”
A Good Sign also faces unwanted attraction from a creepy lover on the invasive EDM earworm, “My Parasite.” Alongside slithery synth and electronic percussion she sings, “I feel you crawling under my skin / You consume my mind and thoughts / And my mistake, I never should have let you / And I know I have to pay the costs.”
“I wrote it from a place of being in a relationship where a person is feeding off of your energy,” said Jackson about her debut single, which came out in 2020. “You’re in a dark place with them, and you feel like they’re parasitically getting your energy.”
Nashville to Ann Arbor
A Good Sign first discovered her musical energy in preschool. At the time, she started writing and performing songs with her cousins. She also developed a passion for storytelling and shared short-story ideas with her mother.
“I’ve always had this need to do it and for other people to hear it,” Jackson said. “There’s this quote from James Dean that says how a lot of art comes from this incessant need to express ourselves. It’s almost like a compulsive thing. That hits so close to home for me.”
Coming from a military family, A Good Sign lived all over the country and listened to music with her parents. The likes of Sting, The Police, The Judds, Stone Temple Pilots, Fiona Apple and Matt and Kim played on repeat.
“My parents are really musical people in the sense that they love music. I heard a really eclectic mix of music growing up,” Jackson said. “In high school, I did random talent shows and formed bands with my friends. I never did anything super professional, but I always knew I wanted to do that as a career.”
By 2015, A Good Sign moved to Nashville, Tennessee to become a songwriter and penned tracks for other artists. It served as a valuable five-year journey filled with creativity and collaboration.
“I hit the ground running and joined songwriting groups,” Jackson said. “I also did open-mic nights, but it wasn’t until I came here that I started doing vocals for myself.”
Once the pandemic hit in March 2020, A Good Sign relocated to Ann Arbor to be closer to her family. It served as an opportune time become both an artist and a songwriter.
“I started coming out of my shell with that, and it was a natural progression for me as an artist to start exploring that part of myself,” said Jackson, whose artist moniker stems from being “good omen” for a few Nashville acquaintances. “I also wanted to be closer to my family.”
Over the past two years, A Good Sign has released five singles and launched “The Girl With the Bookworm Tattoo Podcast,” which showcases her love of different books and authors. She’s also writing new material and collaborating with several artists, including ones in Nashville.
“I might put out one more single before the end of the year, or I might just work on putting the visuals out for the songs that I have right now. I also might try to do some live performances around town or do some livestreams,” Jackson said.
“The next step I really want to focus on is writing for other people. I have some collaborations with people that may be coming out in the fall or toward the end of the year.”