ION INDIE MAGAZINE December 2014, Volume 7 - Page 78

awesome, and fun, show together. Locally, I love playing with the ladies of KEEP COMING BACK. Recently, I've opened for BLINDED PASSENGER. I'm looking forward to playing with them again, and collaborating with their drummer on a piece featuring the handpan. I'm also really excited to be doing a show with THE RUSSELLO PROJECT in the near future! CeeJ: Recently you were nominated as “Female Vocalist of the Year” for the ELECTRIC CITY MUSIC FESTIVAL...Congratulations on the nomination. What are your thoughts on the ECMC and the music scene we have in our area? Jenn: Thank you! I think the ECMC was electrifying! (Pun intended)! I'm grateful to KEN NORTON and JOE CAVISTON for coordinating it! The music scene in Northeastern Pennsylvania is so varied and to see everyone come together on one night to celebrate each other like that was something I never could have imagined. I was thrilled to be part of it! It was an honor to be one of the night's performers and presenters, not to mention being nominated among so many other talented ladies. The award show itself really put into perspective how close-knit this music community actually is. I was moved by that, and by the tremendous outpouring of support for each and every musician. Conference weekend was also a great chance to meet new people, learn new things, play for new fans, and listen to new music! I got to hear a band from the Hershey area called MARATHON, who were absolutely FANTASTIC, as were the jazz trio the ALEX MARINO GROUP! I wouldn't have had the chance to hear either of them without it. I can't wait for next year! CeeJ: I had the honor to catch another one of your performances at TRAX during the conferences...I always enjoy the songs you cover but you have such great original songs. Tell us a little about your writing process. When you write a song, what comes first...the music or the lyrics? Jenn: Thank you so much! My writing process tends to vary greatly depending on the song. Some start with piano, some with lyrics. In the case of my song, "If I'm Lucky", it started by some ELLA-style scatting in my car on the way home. I still have the recording on my phone of my "Ba dada dum, doo dahs” that turned into the piano part. Several times, and you can ask some of my students about this, I'll be in the middle of a lesson and just tinker around on the piano while they're getting their music out, and that will turn into a song. Other times, I'll sit down and come up with an entire song in a half hour, music and lyrics together, without even trying. What it all comes down to for me though, is inspiration. I've learned over the years to not force a song. You have to be true to it, and all its elements. If a note or a lyric doesn't belong in a song, don't put it there. It's not a mathematical equation, and there isn't a perfect "formula". Every song is unique and has its own story to tell. Your job as a songwriter is to honor that and not get in the way of yourself. I've heard of authors who have said that they don't write their stories--their characters do. Almost like the characters are whispering his or her tale in the author's ear, and all they do is write it down. Sometimes writing music feels like that. Like something inside me knows exactly what it needs to say, and how, and all I do is translate it to words and piano keys. But it all comes from ME. It's all my experiences, feelings, or observations. I feel things very deeply and I think that always comes through in my music. It's also honest. I've said to people that if they really want to get to know me, just listen to my songs. It's all there, in about as true and raw a way as I can ever express it. CeeJ: From chatting a bit, I know that you are working on your album. Tell us a little about it and what we have to look forward to. Jenn: I am indeed! And I'm SO EXCITED about it! It's called “Window”, and will be composed of thirteen original songs. What I love most about putting this album together is that I get to add all the other layers that I've always wanted to include. Oftentimes, after I've finished the structure of a song, or maybe even when I'm still in the middle of writing it, I hear other parts, other instruments. When I'm playing live shows, it's just me with my piano, so the