Jackie Venson is a multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter known far and wide for her beautifully complex music and blazing guitar skills. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Jackie has traveled the world playing to crowds both as a headliner and as support for major acts such as Keb’ Mo’, Gary Clark Jr, Aloe Blacc, Melissa Etheridge, and Citizen Cope, to name a few. In 2020, Jackie released her studio album Vintage Machine, her first studio follow up to 2019’s Joy. Music from Vintage Machine was featured heavily on Jackie’s taping for Austin City Limits’ 46th season, and she released the full set on “Live at Austin City Limits” that year. In 2021, she released Love Transcends, her first studio album centered around the blues and at the start of 2023 she released Evolution of Joy, a reimagining of her breakout album Joy, with producer Frenchie Smith (Jet, Toadies, Wild Child). With the uncertainty of the times we’re living in, one thing holds true for Jackie Venson- she’s going to play her music, speak her truth, and spread as much joy as she can doing it.
Kam Franklin is a singer-songwriter, music producer, activist, writer, orator, model, visual artist, and actress from Houston, TX. She is best known for her work with the gulf coast soul band, The Suffers, but Kam began performing gospel music at the age of five. A three-time recipient of the Houston Press Music Award for Best Female Vocalist, Kam has performed on five continents and has performed with the Suffers backed by The Houston Symphony in addition to being featured solo. Kam is also known for her unique collaborations, some of which include: her 2018 collaboration with Grammy Award winning Tejano legends, La Mafia, filling in for H.R. (of Bad Brains) during the 2016 Afropunk Festival Superjam alongside members of Bad Brains, Fishbone, and Living Colour, performing in the 2016 March For Science band alongside Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Questlove, Judith Hill, and Fred Wesley (longtime James Brown and Parliament collaborator), and repeated appearances at Newport Folk Festival where she has participated in numerous tributes and collaborations, most notably with Chaka Khan, Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, Lucius, and Deer Tick. In 2022, she released the Bayou City Comeback Chorus EP, a social justice album funded with a grant by The Houston Arts Alliance that features the voices and musicianship of over 20 artists from around the Houston area.
Both Forbes and Vice have featured Kam for her activism and business ventures that seek to create a more equitable and inclusive environment in the arts for black, queer, and femme artists working in all mediums and from all backgrounds. In fall 2018, she joined the board for Headcount.org. Kam’s unique style and fashion-sense has also been covered by Buzzfeed, Refinery 29, and Nylon. Fronting The Suffers, Kam has performed nationally on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and Jimmy Kimmel Live in addition to speaking with Ailsa Chang and Ari Shapiro on NPR’s All Things Considered, Brené Brown’s “Dare To Lead” Podcast, Samantha Brown’s “Places To Love”, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and National Geographic’s “Texas: Spirit and Soul” short film.
At home, Kam remains a very active participant in the Houston music scene, producing events that have featured up-and-coming acts from around the Gulf Coast area while leveraging her and The Suffers’ international platform to represent the City of Houston and champion her entrepreneurial approach to finding success in the arts for women, minorities, and independent artists. She currently serves on the board of HeadCount.org, as Governor for the Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy, and she also served as the inaugural Texas Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ambassador for the Texas Chapter of The Recording Academy.