Jen Murdza
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Jen Murdza

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
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"Northeast In-Tune Magazine CD Review"

If you walked in to a room where a friend was playing a CD by Jen Murdza, you’d immediately begin nodding your head in tune with the music and you'd ask your friend, "who is this?" That’s because Murzda's soulful voice and her danceable music both sound like something that you might hear on the radio. The sounds are polished and the music is contagious in that way, which makes you want to learn the words just so that you can sing along.

But this marketability of Murzda's sound does not indicate that she lacks originality. In fact, the way in which she blends a modern musical backbone with influences from various eras and genres is truly unique. Using the range of her voice to support musical risks, she creates sounds, which are pleasing to the ears of people who like musical styles ranging from alternative to jazz.

Although her music may sound familiar, it's probably not. Murdza has only recently released her first EP, entitled "Things Untold." With this one album, she displays a vast range of musical talent. The overarching theme, which holds the release together as a polished piece is one of playful sexiness. Everything about this girl, from her voice to her lyrics, suggests a kind of easygoing flirtation, the kind of flirtation that you want to draw out as long as possible because the flirtation itself is as fun as the satisfaction.

She paints vivid lyrical pictures. In "Lamb," she sings that she is waiting "for what I feel to fall from your lips, but instead the silence drips slow like wax and strips away the ember from the room". The warmth of her voice makes you want to heed her cry to "wrap yourself around me, melt over me like honey". And yet, Murdza is also the kind of girl who you’d want to be best friends with. She lays her heart on her sleeve but she does it in that way that says, "do with it what you will, because in the end, I'm going to be okay".

It's hard not to fall in love with Murzda's confident ability to create music which manages to both feel strikingly familiar, as though it’s being heard by everyone, and yet which feels as though it’s being sung just for you. - Kathryn Vercillo


"Muruch reviews "Reboundin'""

Boston singer-songwriter Jen Murdza is definitely one to watch. Her voice is sexy and powerful, and catchy is far too tiny and unsophisticated word to describe her infectiously eclectic melodies. Her first full length album Reboundin' stirs together blues, jazz, pop, country, rock, and several sub-genres in a refreshingly innovative way. Her siren vocal style and affinity for horns is akin to Bernadette Seacrest, but the rougher blues edge of her guitar is closer to Michelle Malone.



"Gracious" layers Jen's sultry vocals over a twisted pop melody made of big brass and bluesy guitar. "Allright" at first dips down even further into the seductive jazzy tone of Murdza's voice before kicking in some funky guitar work.

"Did I Ever Tell You" is a torch number lightly laced with twang, and "Soft Shoes" sprinkles doo wop with rockabilly. "Amorous" would be pure pop if not for the jazz splashes. "Reboundin'" is a classic country jaunt with a chanteuse sashay, and the finale "How Long" finally yields to Murdza's inner femme fatale. - Muruch - November 2007


"Indie-Music.com CD review"

Jen Murdza's sound has a similar effect to a buttery, full-bodied chardonnay. It beckons the involvement of senses beyond hearing. Due to the right-in-the-room engineering approach, you can feel the wood of the guitars and see the expressions on her face, much as you can detect all kinds of nuances in the nose of the wine and the way light passes through it in the glass.

I'll bet it's a delight to be able to sing the way she does, with that kind of controlled expressiveness. She puts just that perfect touch of vibrato at the ends of key lines, the operative word being "key." She uses the technique sparingly. Her delivery is full of such indicators of mastery.

"Lamb," the first cut, showcases her unique strengths prominently yet in a completely natural way. The symbol-of-sacrifice image in the lyrics is well-placed without being overly obvious. The chord changes to the three sections - verse, refrain and bridge - lead from one to the next in coherent yet surprising ways. The vibrato effect is on sensuous display here, as is her rich layering of overdubbed harmonies that weave in and out of Steve Fekete's guitar figures. This dance of sound builds and ebbs over the chord changes, giving the song dynamic variety and atmosphere.

The next track, "Here," makes it clear that Murdza is a master of structure. The refrain, with its repetition of the title word at the start of each line, delivered in those lush harmonies, is the kind of musical snippet that lodges itself in one's memory bank and establishes itself as a sing-to-oneself-all-day phrase.

"Flicker" sparkles with minor-key stop-and-start guitar that vaguely suggests a tango. The underlying percussion contributes to this musical conveyance of the passion dealt with in the lyrics.

Murdza's vocal on "Gale Storm" is engineered so up close and personal that I found myself reflexively backing away from the speakers, as if it weren't quite proper to be within feel-your-breath proximity to someone I didn't know intimately. The tune's lyrics, which deal with a woman telling her already-paired lover that she can't resist one more illicit tryst, would seem to indicate that she was going for that precise effect.

"This Is Real" sounds like it may have been composed the earliest of all these selections. While it's well-crafted and well-performed, it doesn't sport the flair for delightfully surprising chord changes and transitions from one section to another that the previous tracks offer. I felt that I could hear creative evolution when I went back and listened to the other tracks.

I'm sure that Murdza, co-producer Craig Najjar and engineer Marty Walsh were deliberately going for an intimate aural environment, and that's why the arrangements are so simple. Still, it would be interesting to hear this chardonnay-voiced singer couched in some reverb and backed by some strings. There's something about her style that suggests a languid breeze blowing through window curtains on a warm afternoon, and I think such a treatment would accentuate that.

I'd also love to hear her try her hand at some standards, maybe "Autumn Leaves" or "My Funny Valentine." Not that she should go full-tilt for some kind of sultry-torch-stylist bag, but it might be a fun little excursion for her at some point down the road.

In the meantime, she can play the full calendar of dates listed on her website with complete confidence that she has a distinctive artistic thrust to offer the public. In the hands of someone with less overall creative vision, her smooth pipes and subdued writing style might come off like some kind of contrived mood fodder. Not so with Jen Murdza. She's the whole package and she's making real music. - Barney Quick


"Northeast Performer reviews "Reboundin""

She's classified as a country singer/songwriter, but Jen Murdza feels much jazzier. Her low, sultry voice combined with heavy brass, Santana-influenced electric guitar, and the occasional unexpected wah-wah effect makes for something distinctly different than your average female country songstress. Her vocals are the album's centerpiece, with an impressive range, resounding vibrato, and effortless transitions between chest and head voice. - October 2007


"Bay Windows reviews "Reboundin'""

If you don’t know Boston’s own Murdza, you better pay attention. Her debut album shows that if there’s any justice in the music world, she’s got a long and successful career ahead of her. True, she’s got some big barriers between her and mainstream success: She’s smart, she’s sophisticated and she’s hard to pigeonhole. Most of Reboundin’ sounds like a blend of country and jazz or R&B. With her smooth, sultry voice, Murdza can’t help lending a bit of jazz chanteuse flavor to most of her songs, even though it’s not always as ostentatious as it is on the delightful, bluesy title track, which features a bit of scat over Murdza’s twanging guitar. At other points the synthesis is more subtle: The eerie use of strings on the wistful ballad "Did I Ever Tell You," for instance, and the Motown nods on straight-up pop numbers like "You’ll Never Know." Besides straddling genres, Murdza has a talent for crossing upbeat tunes with darker lyrics, adding another note of tension to the complex layers hinted at in her precise, evocative vocals. - Brian Jewell - October 2007


"XM Satellite Artist of the Week"

Heartfelt songs, slick production, and a beautiful voice. So many of her peers are only one or two out of three, but Jen is the whole package. Her album, Reboundin', is a great success.
~January 2008 - XM Satellite Radio - Radar Report


"Boston.com"

It's tough to distinguish yourself in the world of female singer-songwriters these days. There are a lot of beautiful voices atop lightly strummed guitar. But soulful standout Jen Murdza has beaten the pack by continually defying genres. - 2007 BMA nominees


"BlogCritics.org CD Review"

Not since I first heard Diana Krall, nearly five years ago, have I been so excited about the advent of a fresh new female vocalist to the music scene, Jen Murdza is going to break a lot of molds and cross lines between genres, mark my words, she is the real deal.

Her voice has exactly what jazz requires, sultry, soft, gripping and passionate. Having said that, there is absolutely no way that the Jazz Genre can possibly hope to contain these vocals all to itself. Pop will call, Blues will beg, there will be plenty to go around, and go around it will. Alanis Morisette, Jewel, bluesy, sultry, these would all be keywords in a technorati tagline.

While slight nuances of others may come to the mind, there is in fact, no true comparison out there today for Jen's style, rhythm and soul. I'm not particularly a fan of the shorter EP's, but this one makes a very big and emphatic exception to that rule. I sound like I'm courting her, I know, but I really am impressed with this woman's approach to a very tired profession.

She brings a fresh and very seductive sound to the table, and with backing by artists such as Craig Najjar, Steve Fekete, and Jenn Oberle along with Marty Walsh, this is a sound that is going to grow rapidly into a crescendo of beautiful noise, as they say. Long anticipated, this EP has five very real representations of Ms. Murdza's embracing talents as a singer and songwriter as well.

"Lamb" is a wonderful start to this EP, hinting of bright melodies and complex harmonies to come. The final track,” This Is Real”, is a very soft and hopeful song that is representative of songs from happier times. Seldom do I take an initial release from an artist and praise it so well, but such is the mesmerizing voice of this 5'2" songstress. Performing live from Georgia to Rhode Island, Massachusetts to California, this is a sound that has flown below the radar for far too long. You heard it here first folks, mark my words. - Paul Jordan - June 2006


"Boston Herald Feature Story"

"Sultry newcomer, Murdza, displays 'Untold' talent"

As a 3-year-old growing up in Medford, Jen Murdza was precocious enough to mimic Elvis Presley. She learned tunes from "Annie" and loved flitting around the house crooning songs like "Jennifer Juniper."

But few people outside the Murdza home knew the size of the talent inside the tiny girl. Even as she went on to high school at Arlington Catholic and thought about trying out for a musical, Murdza couldn�t picture herself onstage.

"I was shy about doing things like that," Murdza said. "So I didn't really go for it."

Seeing Murdza onstage at the Abbey Lounge in Somerville on a recent night, strumming her guitar and singing her deeply personal songs, it's hard to believe it took so long. The voice that pours from the 5-foot-2-inch blonde is jarring: too big, too sultry for such a petite soul. It exudes the presence that eluded her in college at Emerson, where Murdza planned to be a musical theater major but chickened out.

Now a more confident Murdza is determined to leave her day job as a Web developer to pursue music full time. She started her own publishing company and produced her debut, "Things Untold," a five-song EP released in April.

Since then, the Jamaica Plain resident has progressed from open-mike nights to rooms like the Lizard Lounge, where she performs Saturday. Peddling the CD at shows and through her Web site (jenmurdza.com), Murdza's unique blend of soul, folk and jazz has been featured on the MP3 sharing site NumberOneMusic.com, where her songs have hit No. 1 in the weekly poll, ahead of the likes of James Blunt and Matisyahu.

Three of her songs, "Lamb," "This Is Real" and "Flicker," are receiving wide play on Webcasts, and all make a listener wonder who's behind the soulful voice. Murdza examines familiar topics - love, sex, infidelity - but her approach is fresh and her lyrics rich with imagery, a product of her film study at Emerson.

At the starting point of her career, Murdza prefers not to reveal her age for fear of being labeled.

"People either look at you as too young - you don't have enough wisdom or credibility - or too old, where you�re maybe on the way out," she said.

But her songwriting is mature and rife with emotional conflict. On "Lamb," the first song she wrote, Murdza laments to a casual lover: "I feel as distant from you as the sun is from the moon/I can't believe I'm jealous that the stars are closer to you."

Simple but clever, the words sound revelatory delivered by Murdza's strikingly supple voice - and it is that voice that ultimately promises to take Murdza where she'd like to go.

Whether she succeeds or not, singing will always be a guiding force in Murdza's life.

"For me, it's necessary, it's cathartic," she said. "It will get me through anything. It's something that helps me get out all of my emotions - just sing for like an hour, belt and get it out."

Finally. - Nate Dow - June 2006


""Reboundin'" one of Metronome's Top 5 CDs of Dec. 2007"

December 2007

Jen Murdza's beautiful vocals power these well written originals with emotions as expansive as the deep blue ocean. Jen's a natural singer. Nothing ever sounds forced or contrived. Murdza just let's it flow and flow it does. She enlists a powerhouse of players for "Reboundin'" that include guitarist Joe Feloni, drummer David Jamrog, bassist Everett Pendleton, trumpeter Scott Aruda, saxophonists John Aruda and Paul Ahlstrand.

While the music is well played and incorporates funky, uptempo grooves, Murdza's prose holds deep emotional meaning that always manages to shed a sense of hope. Ultimately, Murdza always makes you feel good with her songs. There's no filler tracks either...just a well produced CD filled with great music, Outstanding!

-by Douglas Sloan - Metronome Magazine


Discography

Good Little Worker Bees (2009) - LP
Reboundin (2007) - LP
Things Untold (2006) - EP

Photos

Bio

Jen Murdza (murd-za)

Skillfully maneuvering lush vocals around her unique guitar rhythms, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Jen Murdza has taken peers and critics by surprise with her eye-catching performances and unconventional songwriting style.

"...I got to see [Jen Murdza's] set and I thought it was really amazing. It's really nice to see another girl singing really big and singing loud who's influenced by country and rock-n- roll...we may kidnap her and take her on the rest of the tour with us." - Brandi Carlile

Boston-raised Murdza presents a unique songwriting style based on an ironic marriage of somber lyrics and playful, rhythmic grooves. Murdza blurs genres like no other. Her final sound is a foot-stomping mix of soul, pop, country, and jazz tied together by her "strikingly supple voice" as described by The Boston Herald

With the release of her first full-length album Reboundin' in 2007, Murdza received rave reviews and an array of exciting opportunities including a Boston Music Award nomination for Best New Act, The Starbucks/NEMO Music Makers semi finals, The Mountain Stage Northeast Regional finals, appearances on FOX25, New England Cable News, CBS-4, plays on Boston’s Mix 98.5, 92.5 WXRV (The River) , XM Satellite Radio’s “Artist Of The Week”, write-ups in The Boston Globe, and opportunties to open shows for international recording artists Brandi Carlile, Mark Ballas, James Hunter, Dave Mason, Joe Bonamassa, and The Subdudes among others.

With her sophomore release Good Little Worker Bees (2009), it is clear that Murdza has found her songwriting niche.

The Boston Globe writes, "Soulful standout Jen Murdza has beaten the pack by continually defying genres."

With her first track "All These Little Voices", Jen bursts out of the gate with an upbeat acoustic-pop/vaudeville anthem, and urges her listeners to tune out the constant barrage of advice and opinion and learn to follow their heart.

Even in her smoky blues ballad "Lonely", Murdza may be painfully recognizing her inability to let her walls down, but still ends the song with a zealous "...I’ve got to try to let some love in." The album's title comes from a lyric in the song "Unwind", a retro-soul track that gently reminds us all to take time to let go and relax.

Like her previous release, Bees is laden with instantly catchy melodies, powerful ballads and deep lyrical content, but the message is hope. And she leaves listeners feeling that there is always a silver lining to be found.

For further information, please contact THINK PRESS:
Monica Hopman / (818) 291-9513 / monica@thinkpress.net
http://www.thinkpress.net

HIGHLIGHTS
• Lowell Summer Music Series supporting Brandi Carlile
• Higher Ground, VT supporting James Hunter
• Boston Music Award Nominee - Best New Act
• XM Satellite Radio, Radar Report - Artist of the Week
• Mountain Stage NewSong New England regional finalist
• NEMO/Starbucks Music Makers Competition semi-finalist
• The Center for the Arts in Natick (TCAN) - New Artist Showcase
• Metronome Magazine lists "Reboundin" as Top 5 CD for December
• OurStage Blues Winner in September for "Cold"
• Club Passim - Cutting Edge of the Campfire Festival
• New York's Songwriter Circle at The Bitter End (alumni includes Vanessa Carlton and Nora Jones)