ION INDIE MAGAZINE December 2014, Volume 7 - Page 77

began taking piano lessons when I was 7 and studied all through college where I got my Bachelor of Arts in music. I didn't seriously study voice until I was about 15, but I continued that through college as well. I've also done extensive undergrad course work in Music Education. Nowadays, I teach private voice and piano lessons, direct a choir and musically direct local theatrical productions, etc. I feel like I learn more from all of that on a daily basis! Songwriter me was born at 13, following the death of my grandmother. It started as a way to cope, and grew from there. From early on, I saw the HUGE amount of support I had for my songwriting. I entered the Arts in Education competitions each year throughout junior high and high school, and made it all the way to the state level in the music category. I also submitted an original song to a private scholarship competition before college and won an award there as well. Senior year, my voice teacher (who also taught music at the local elementary school) had me come in and speak to his sixth grade classes on songwriting, to help with their group project at the end of the year. My piano teacher always encouraged my composing/songwriting as well, and allowed me to perform some of my original work in her annual recitals. My high school graduation present from my parents was to record a CD of original songs, though looking back now, I was so ignorant of what actually goes into recording an album at the time that I can hardly stand to listen to it for all the things that are wrong with it! With all that in mind though, among so many other moments, I knew I had to continue songwriting. So I did! CeeJ: You seem to have many different influences, I've heard you do everything from SYSTEM OF A DOWN to STEVIE NICKS. Tell me a little about what you find influential. Jenn: Without question, my biggest influence is TORI AMOS. She never fails to amaze me in the beauty she can hear, and present, in sometimes not-so-conventional ways. She doesn't write strictly for an audience who wants a catchy hook and a one-word chorus. She digs and feels more deeply. Both her music and lyrics reflect that. She's an incredibly talented pianist and vocalist, and has the skill to make even the most complicated of passages sound effortless. She also doesn't stay stuck in one genre. Her songs range from Jazz, to Classical, even Electronica. Yet it is all definitely, and undeniably, Tori. There is no question about whether or not she's "found her sound" or "can't make up her mind" about where she wants her music to fall. She doesn't stick to a pigeon-hole. She is a class all her own and is true to herself, personally and musically. That is a path I truly hope to be able to follow. After that, ELLA FITZGERALD, STEVIE NICKS, and YANNI (yes, YANNI) are on pretty equal footing. I grew up listening to Classic Rock, Country and Pop. My grandmother loved DEAN MARTIN and FRANK SINATRA, and I remember watching THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW and HEE HAW with her too. Then there were my aunt and uncle, who insisted on having me listen to Classical music when I went to visit them every summer. So since childhood, I've been exposed to a wide variety of music. CeeJ: You are part of a wonderful scene...tell us a little about the people who you have played with and who you would like to play with in the future. Jenn: Between all of my musical activities, jobs, and hobbies, I've played with SO many people! I love that. Whether it's opening for an artist/band, joining other musicians in a pit for a musical at a local theatre, or even a small ensemble for a wedding, I feel like it all teaches me something and helps give me new and unique experiences. I've been thrown into unexpected and last-minute situations, which can be terrifying and frustrating at times, but after you get through it, you're a better musician for it. I do have to say so far, my favorite folks to play with are the ones who will be joining me on my upcoming album. My former band mates and I are still very close, and love to work together. So GRANT WILLIAMS (of GRACES DOWNFALL) will be playing bass and DAN SCHULTZ will be playing guitar. I also have my dear friends ANTHONY "SHINY" MONTINI on drums and RACHAEL COASSOLO doing backup vocals. As far as who I'd like to play with in the future, it's been a dream (perhaps an obvious one) to perform something with Tori someday. DAMIEN RICE too. Even if it's just in somebody's living room! I also would really love to play with the band DELTA RAE. They're another group that's just so versatile and talented. I think we could put on a pretty