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Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Folk Indie


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"Pens Eye View//Music and Lifestyle"

It’s not often we speak with a pediatric occupational therapist – perhaps just as rare is how often we get the chance to sit down with an up and coming artist out of the great state of Wyoming. However, pop country folk singer/songwriter Jennell can lay claim to both of these descriptions, jennell_5and her sound is just as unique as her background. Jennell has since moved to some of the biggest musical capitals in the world, including a stop in Los Angeles before landing in her current home of Nashville. She’s been busy in her young career, having released records like Boots N Dukes and Urban Cowboy – but today we’re here to discuss her latest effort (with a slightly different approach), an EP titled Home.

While these first two EPs carry the signature Jennell vibe – a sweet, happy jolt of sound – Home stands out a bit more. The collection is 100% about the artist – a unique look into the life of the voice behind the music. Jennell told us more, saying “Home is 5-song EP that tells the story of my journey over the past few years, leaving home, following a dream, the struggles I faced in between, and finally finding home. The songs are sweet, honest, and mostly happy. It’s a feel-good EP where even the songs that have a more emotional and sad storyline don’t sound sad, because even when times are tough, I try and stay positive and hopeful…It’s honest, authentic and completely true to who I am. I initially pursued country music for a while, because it is what I thought I SHOULD do, but after a while I realized that it wasn’t for me and it wasn’t Jennell. I was playing a part. This past year, I feel like I really found myself as a person and an artist and I think it comes across in this new EP.”

Click to to prepare for Home and check out Jennell’s schedule while you’re at it – she’ll be on stage playing songs from the latest EP while she isn’t working on a new project. Keep an eye out. And keep reading. There’s still so much more to dive into in all the answers to the XXQs below.

XXQs: Jennell (PEV): You’re coming to us out of Wyoming – what kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

Jennell: I used to listen to a variety of music…CCR, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Journey, Boston, Kansas, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Alison Krauss, Sheryl Crow. My first concert was the Backstreet Boys while I was on vacation in Las Vegas. I am pretty sure Brian was singing that I was his fire, his one desire…even though I had a balcony seat waaaay at the top.

PEV: You’ve had a bunch of songs featured on television and film – how did that come about?

Jennell: I was lucky enough to have a few songs picked up by a sync licensing company who pitched them to shows. Crucial Music.

PEV: Tell us your take on the music scene in your hometown right now – what’s was it like breaking into it?

Jennell: There was not really a music scene in my hometown when I was growing up. I was in a children’s chorus and high school choirs, but to pursue a music career, I had to move away. So I went to Los Angeles and then to Nashville.

PEV: How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out from others in your genre?

Jennell: My sound is sweet, enduring and happy. My music is kind of a mix between Colbie Caillat and The Lumineers. I feel like I am not really following a specific genre. I am an eclectic person and so are the songs. They encompass a variety of genres. You will hear some folk, country, and pop influences in this EP. I just do my own thing and hope for the best. I think that makes me different and stand out.

PEV: What is the underlying inspiration for your music? Where do you get your best ideas for songs?

Jennell: These songs were inspired by my journey to follow this dream. Leaving the comforts of my hometown, following a dream, the ups and downs in between, and then finally feeling like I am exactly where I should be. I usually get the best ideas for my songs through personal experiences.

PEV: Tell us about your latest EP, Home. What can fans expect from this?

Jennell: Home is 5-song EP that tells the story of my journey over the past few years, leaving home, following a dream, the struggles I faced in between, and finally finding home. The songs are sweet, honest, and mostly happy. It’s a feel-good EP where even the songs that have a more emotional and sad storyline don’t sound sad, because even when times are tough, I try and stay positive and hopeful.

PEV: How does Home compare to some of your past EPs, Boots N Dukes and Urban Cowboy?

JennellunnamedJennell: Home is completely different from the last two EPs. The last two were country pop and country rock. They were fun and sassy, but the songs weren’t about me or my life. They were just fun country songs. This EP is 100% me. It’s honest, authentic and completely true to who I am. I initially pursued country music for a while, because it is what I thought I SHOULD do, but after a while I realized that it wasn’t for me and it wasn’t Jennell. I was playing a part. This past year, I feel like I really found myself as a person and an artist and I think it comes across in this new EP.

PEV: What has been the most frustrating part of the whole “music business”?

Jennell: It’s frustrating that it’s not just about talent. It’s so much about who you know, how many followers you have on social media, what reality competition show you were on, and how much money you can afford to put on the line to get your songs to a mass audience.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

Jennell: It makes me laugh when I look back to where I started. I literally had no idea what I was doing, how the business side worked, or much about songwriting in general. I moved to LA with a dream and tried to figure it out as I went. I wrote a few cute songs, recorded them, and put them on iTunes. Of course I was shocked when I didn’t have instant success (laughing)…but I knew nothing about the importance of marketing and promotion. Listening back to the songs makes me cringe, but I had to start somewhere. I also had to try country music in order for me to figure out that it wasn’t for me, which also pushed me to really focus on myself and find out who Jennell is as an artist. I feel like I have learned so much since my first EP, grown as a person and an artist, and finally really understand how the music business works. I think I am finally exactly where I should be.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Jennell show?

Jennell: Fun energy!! I get pretty silly and goofy on stage. I like to dance around, make fun of myself, talk about the inspiration behind the songs, etc. I use a toy piano on the new EP which I grew up playing, so you can expect there to be some mini piano playing as well. I usually try and throw in a few covers songs for fun, and love audience participation.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

Jennell: Don’t forget the words, and don’t pee your pants (laughing).

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

Jennell: I haven’t really toured much yet for music. I traveled out of the country frequently as a therapist, but not as a musician. That is my goal for the future though. The few times I was on the road for music, I think the best part is the show and playing for an audience who hasn’t heard your music but becomes a new fan after. The worst part would be keeping the band organized and on time. It can be like herding cattle.

PEV: Is there one area of the world you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

Jennell: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to several different countries; however, I have never had the opportunity to play a show. I would love to go back to Europe or Australia and play all over!!

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

Jennell: I am a pediatric occupational therapist, so when I am not working on music, I am working at a pediatric clinic with kids with special needs. In my spare time, which is very limited, I am usually with girlfriends exploring Nashville…hiking, dining, going to the lake, etc.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?

Jennell: Presently I would like to write or collaborate with Colbie Caillat. I feel like she and I are similar, and I feel as though she is a positive woman influence. Past: The Beatles because their songs were so unique and awesome. They did their own thing, and performing or writing with them would be amazing.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

Jennell: Besides me? Just kidding…he might already be on your radar, but I really like Greg Holden.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now, what do you think you would be doing for a career?

Jennell: I would be working full time as a pediatric occupational therapist instead of part time like I currently am. If I didn’t have that career already though, I would love to work behind the scenes in the music business scouting bands. Or doing voiceovers for cartoons :-).

PEV: Are there any fun facts about you that would surprise us?

Jennell: SO MANY THINGS!! To name a few: I have a monkey mask named Elvis that has been a part of my life for over three years and will occasionally show up in my videos and pictures :-). I also love unicorns and mini versions of things…and I can clap my feet…

PEV: It’s a tough task, but give us one word that best describes Jennell.

Jennell: Free-spirted.

PEV: So, what is next for Jennell?

Jennell: I plan to tour and promote this new EP, but I am also excited to start working on a new project. I would love to make a duo with a male vocalist and write a new EP together. I love male/female folk duos.

For more information, click to - Richie Friman

"AXS-Jennell finds her way back "Home" on her latest EP"

Jennell has a voice that is as beautiful as it is sweet. The arresting innocence of her tone puts nature to shame as she gently coaxes you along on her journey to find the artist that has been lost within her own soul. Home is Jennell’s feathered ray of golden morning sunlight that reaches through your window to warm your heart with the pleasant sparkle of a melodic smile.

The joy that brightens her latest EP radiates from Jennell’s realization that she doesn’t have to conform to someone else’s idea of who she is. “I was trying to do country music because that’s what I was told to do,” she confessed in a recent interview with AXS. “That’s what everyone thought I should do. I look like a country singer because I have the blond hair, so people told me, ‘You should move to Nashville and become a country singer.’ So, that’s what I tried to do.”

“But I realized, I don’t want to put on an act and I don’t want to wear a certain outfit just because that’s what country singers are supposed to wear,” Jennell continued. “I guess I stopped caring so much about what other people thought. Now, I’m just trying to be myself and it’s a lot easier this way,” she laughed.

For Home, Jennell has traded in her tantalizingly short shorts, boots, and a straw cowboy hat for a warm and flowing palette of earthy pastels stylized with a delicate white lace top. “I’m definitely much happier now because I’m doing what I want and I’m not really concerned as much about trying to be famous or even trying to be a country singer,” Jennell confessed. “I’m doing music because I like it and because it’s a part of who I am.”

When asked how she would define her music, the artist responded, “I can’t really classify myself because with all of my different life experiences and growing up listening to so many different types of music, I have become a mix of genres. I guess my genre is just Jennell,” she laughed. “I mix elements of country and elements of folk into indie pop.”

The five-song EP has a wonderful story arc that plays like a movie in your head. She takes the listener from an awakening of “What did I do? How did I wind up here?” to a place of strength and comfort that genuinely “Feels Like Home.”

“It is about my journey and all of the struggles that I’ve gone through,” she acknowledged. “Leaving home to find these dreams, the ups and downs in between, and then, finally feeling like I found home.”

Unfortunately, the ups and downs that Jennell experienced weren’t like getting a flat tire on your first day of work, they were significant events that rattled the artist right down to her core.

“My grandpa died and two good family friends died -- one got kidnapped and we still haven’t found her -- and all of this happened within two or three weeks while I was stuck here, halfway across the country. I couldn’t be with my family,” she told AXS. “I tried to be there as much as I could. It was really hard to get through that because I didn’t have much of a community here yet for support.”

Jennell’s song, “This One’s for You,” was inspired by that tragic situation. “I was going to write it for my grandpa because he was just out here visiting,” she paused. “He died on the drive back home to Wyoming in a parking lot. It was a sudden heart attack. He was with my grandma and they’d been married for 65 years. It was really rough, but you still have to wake up every day and go to work, be a mom, be a dad, be a brother, be a sister, be a wife, or be whatever. You still have to put on a happy face and it sucks! So, basically, the song is saying, ‘This one is for you, you’re not gonna crash, people are here for you, just reach out.’”

Back then, Jennell was questioning her decision to move to Nashville. She felt guilty for pursuing her dreams and wondered if she should have never left home. “It was tough,” she stated, her voice shaking a little, possibly trembling with the remnants of the debilitating emotions that still lingered from that grievous period, “really tough...” she trailed off.

After a breath, she collected herself. “A lot of horrible things happened. And there I was in this new town, not having any friends. In Nashville, it’s pretty easy to make friends, but that’s not the same as the six years of friends I had in L.A. and the twenty years I had in Wyoming. It was a challenge. But I have that now.”

Often, people who have experienced tragedy, loss, or endured hardships become a truly compassionate individual. Such is the case with Jennell. Besides giving back through her music, the artist works at a pediatric clinic in Franklin where she sees kids who have autism or Down syndrome or cerebral palsy. She often sings them songs about “little baby turtles and stuff.”

“Currently, I can’t do music without having a way to support myself,” she pointed out. “I tried doing the waiting table thing, but I hated it. This is so much more rewarding. I get to help somebody. It’s also something that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.”

Jennell’s Home is a remarkable, autobiographical journey about finding your way back to who you are. It’s gentle uplifting power will help you believe in yourself again. The EP will be available on Friday, August 28. On Thursday, August 27, Jennell will be having her release party at the Whiskey Rhythm Saloon in Nashville.

Jennell: website • Facebook • Instagram • YouTube • iTunes - Allen Foster

"Independent Clauses- Premier: Jennell's "Long Way from Home""

Home Submissions
Premiere: Jennell’s “Long Way from Home”
August 13, 2015

The folk-pop of Jennell‘s “Long Way From Home” draws equally from the stomp-clap hoedowns of The Lumineers and the polished country-pop of Taylor Swift, creating a point of connection between the two social worlds that could sit comfortably next to Phillip Phillips’ work. (It even talks about home!)

Fans of folk pop will notice the vocal melodies in the prechorus and bridge, while fans of T-Swift will recognize the chorus vibes immediately. The result is a tune that will get at least one melody stuck in your head (but it depends on which one). The lyrics address the uncertainty of travel and discomforts that come from a lack of community, something that anyone who’s ever been traveling a lot can relate to. Sonically, it’s a great song for the lazy end of summer; lyrically, it can keep the company of those still out there on the road.

Jennell’s EP Home comes out 8/28; you can pre-order it on iTunes now. - Independent Clauses

"Anti-Music-Singled Out-Jennell's This One's For You"

Today indie pop/folk singer/songwriter Jennell tells us the story behind the song "This One's For You" from their brand new EP "Home", which was released today (August 28). Here is the story:
From October of 2014 through February of 2015, my family and I went through a very difficult time. We lost my Grandpa and a few very close friends all within about a week of each other. In late October, my Grandpa and Grandma drove out from Wyoming (where I was born and raised) to Nashville to visit me for the week. We had an amazing time together and I was able to show them my new home (in Nashville). Unfortunately my Grandpa didn't make it all the way back to Wyoming. He passed away on the drive back. I was very close to my grandparents growing up, as they just lived five minutes away. Losing him was the worst thing I have ever experienced, especially after just spending such a great week with him. However, I am so thankful we were able to have spent that time together. As I previously mentioned, around that same week that we lost my grandpa, we lost two other really close family friends... it was a tidal wave of unfortunate life circumstances that we were all dealing with. It was really hard watching everyone go through so much pain. I just felt helpless.

Originally when I went into the writing session with my friend/cowriter Ryan Sorestad, I had wanted to write a song for my grandpa called "This One's For You." When we were in that tiny writers room at NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International), we started talking about loss and all the struggles we were both facing. We discussed how awful it is that no matter what is going on in your life, you still have to wake up, go to work, be a mom or dad, a wife or a husband, a friend, and put on a happy face, while on the inside you are completely broken. "Everyone's got their own story, holding on to the hard times, just living day by day trying to keep it together on the outside." Time doesn't stand still and life doesn't stop just because you are going through a hard time. You have to keep going. We decided that this is what our song should be about. Through deep and heavy verses, to an upbeat chorus, we are letting the world know, that no matter how bad it gets, you aren't alone in your sorrow. We have all experienced some form of tragedy and we are here for you. Don't be afraid to ask for help. "All you want is a little peace but you're fighting your own war, just keep on knocking and you'll find an open door." We won't let you fall. "This one's for you, when your back's up against the wall, this one's for you, when you feel like you're going to fall, don't be afraid, just look around, we won't let you hit the ground, this one's for you." This one's for you.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here! - Singled Out


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