Jenni Potts
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Jenni Potts

Bellingham, Washington, United States | INDIE

Bellingham, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band EDM Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Jenni Potts Right Where She Belongs"

For four years, Jenni Potts has been known as a through-and-through singer-songwriter, but in the wake of the release of her newest album, Belonged, she prepares to paint herself in a new light. Belonged is rich with thick-laden, brushstrokes that obscure genre and show Potts as a plucky experimenter.

For Potts, writing and playing music is an evolving process. As a kid, she played cello and would sing to no one in particular. “I was always making up little songs as a child, but they couldn’t really be considered songs until I started playing guitar too. I was probably 13 years old.” She released two acoustic guitar driven recordings through Bellingham’s Clickpop Records: The Fourth EP (2007) and Take This and Go (2008). These albums are variations on indie and folk rock tropes, but they stand out on the merit of her kind of spooky vocals/lyrics.

The issue I take with Potts as a folk songstress is that her voice has always seemed to float on top of the music. It has never been able to squeeze into the cracks and really settle in and in some ways, that’s the appeal. Her voice is cool and unsettling against soft strummed patterns. It is listenable, sweet, and ephemeral compared to the rootsy, grounded sound of her folk styled music.

Maybe this is what Potts was thinking about in the three years since her last release. Where to go from here? What direction to take the music? What vehicle should drive the vocals? For all these questions the answer, it seems, was found in a computer. “I’ve wanted to make beats for a long time,” Potts said. She bought a MacBook two years ago and immediately jumped into the fray with music production programs like Garage Band and Absynth.

This act–of turning something she wanted to do into viable art–was ballsy. And the outcome? Belonged. “Take This and Go…and The Fourth EP are an entirely different type of feel than Belonged. Playing guitar and singing is so dear to my heart. However, in the last couple years, playing around with electronic music has helped me develop as a musician immensely. Sitting in my bedroom late into the night obsessing over every little detail with a song has helped me bring out my darker sides.”

The album is drenched in electronic sounds and manipulations. Ascending synth lines, tinny cymbals, compressed kick drums and noise blips make their debut. New experiments with white, empty space on the album lets the sound and quality of her voice tell its own story. On her website, you’ll find her songs loosely labeled trip-hop and shoegaze, but the most appropriate descriptor seems to be dreampop. Vocals and sounds are smeared with reverb giving the album a transitory quality, as if passing between dreams or dreamy memories.

At times, as with “We’ve Never Been This Lost Ever,” the music is almost funky and awkwardly danceable. And at other times, take “Down There,” the motif is scratchy and nervous. But the constant throughout the album is a new genesis for Potts’ voice. “My voice is my strong suit but I think with my electronic music it works more equally with the other elements. My folk recordings are organic and very free sounding. Belonged is very dreamy and slightly dark.”

On each track, the vocals are treated differently. Her voice is given a fluid, stark quality on “Find Me” through a series of delays and reverb and layered vocal harmonies that lend to overtones and ominous chords. Here, she sounds like Leslie Feist, if she were friends with folks that produced the beats for The Weekend. On “Been There Done That” and the synth-spastic, Daniel Anderson of Idiot Pilot featuring “Sea Troll,” her voice trills and reaches a slightly higher register that seeps deep into the track. Her voice bears the ambient weight of the album, not unlike My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden or Portishead’s Beth Gibbons.

On Belonged, Jenni Potts’ voice also becomes a tool and an element woven into her song infrastructures. Specifically, she uses pitch alterations to turn recorded vocals into hits, beats, and synth sounds. You can find this throughout the album, but profoundly on “Belong” that couples stretched vocals, which act as a sort of time keeper and ambience maker, with her sung melody. It is a technique Crystal Castles use to make their brand of jarring electropop. She brings it to life even more so on the non-album, and kind of mysterious (but youtubeable) song, “Jenni Potts/Electro Song/Video,” where her twisted, chopped vocals become an instrument. The video, like most she produces, is a melancholy pastiche of images that expand the emotional breadth of the song. (As a heads up and a sort of endorsement, her youtube channel is a strange place with art projects, love songs to Michael Cera, and animal videos with sexy voiceovers).

At the point in the interview when Jenni admitted that “playing around with electronic music has helped me develop as a musician immensely,” there was a little blip of self-insight and humility. It is this quality that makes her a really defendable Bellingham artist. She experimented, stepped outside of her musical comfort zone, and learned a new craft. And with this record, we see that it pays off. With the prospect of a future collaboration with local beatmaker IG88, we can rest assured more will come from Jenni Potts’ late night ponderings and darker side. And that, friends, is a good thing. - Whats Up Magazine

"Review - The Fourth EP by Chris B"

“What came first, the music or the misery?” asks John Cusack’s character Rob at the beginning of High Fidelity. For Jenni Potts, a twenty-year old singer-songwriter from Bellingham, the answer is clearly the latter. She has taken the misery plus angst, depression, denial, and uncertainty, and rolled it into one very compelling record.

The Fourth is Potts’ debut record and it strikes all the right chords. It's introspective and personal but never whiny and always accessible. It's also a thing of beauty. Potts has a soft, delicate and gorgeous voice that suits her songs very well.

The album opens with the title track which, according to her bio, refers to the date of her first suicide attempt and the due date to the child she miscarried. It's a remarkable song both for its lyrical content and execution. In a voice that sounds like she could be Chan Marshall’s estranged younger sister, Potts delivers the most chilling line I’ve heard in a song in many years with a harmony that sounds like she is on the verge of crying (“Do you even mind that I lost our baby?”). Yet throughout the song she tries to remain optimistic. The song (like pretty much the rest of the record) is very stripped-down and focuses almost exclusively on Potts’ voice and her acoustic guitar.

“Friends” is another song similar to “The Fourth”; it's raw, minimalist and revelatory. She sings about a friendship going south when sex gets in the way (“You were the one I made myself think I could trust; I don’t know how it happened but somehow it turned into lust”). She assigns herself much of the blame and wonders how the snap decisions she’s made could have played out if she followed the different path. The final line of that song (“What happened to you, you used to love me? What happened to me, I used to love me?”) is personal yet, like lots of great pop music, for a lot of people wholly universal.

-ChrisB, October 10, 2007 - Three Imaginary Girls

"Potts Creates Ambient Rock"

Despite her ability to play a variety of instruments — she's had lessons on piano, cello, guitar and singing — at a Jenni Potts acoustic show, expect two things: a girl and her guitar. "It's not rock at all really when I play," the 20-year-old says of her musical style. "I think people just say folk because I'm a girl with a guitar, but it's not really folky." Potts lists her influences as Radiohead and Thom Yorke, Cat Power, Sigur Rós and especially Jen Wood, whose voice can be heard on collaborations with The Postal Service. Though she often gets compared to folksy singers like Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos, she thinks she sounds like a girl version of Coldplay’s Chris Martin — probably because she grew up listening to his music and appreciating the melodic slur of his words. "Live, people would describe it as acoustic, indie, folkie sad girl music," Potts says with a little smile that doesn't seem all that sad. “On the recorded stuff, it’s more ambient, indie rock."

Potts will perform her "sad girl" music this Friday at Western Washington University's Underground Coffeehouse.
"I think the student crowd is a better audience for me to aim for," she says. "I like the Underground Coffeehouse because kids are doing homework and listening to music. It's a really good atmosphere. It's really intimate." - Bellingham Herald (daily newspaper)

"Emotional Rescue : Bellingham singer/songwriter opens her soul on debut CD"

Many of the songs on Bellingham singer/songwriter Jenni Potts’ debut CD reflect a difficult period in her life: promiscuity, a miscarriage, two suicide attempts, “looking for love in the wrong way,’’ says the 20-year-old. But Potts says she hopes listeners identify with the emotions in her music, and find some comfort. “People say it makes them cry, but I think it has a hint of hope to it.’’

Potts performs songs from the seven-song EP “The Fourth’’ Friday, Oct. 5
at the Old Foundry in Bellingham, and Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Common
Ground Coffee House in Burlington.

The songs on “The Fourth EP,’’ released by Clickpop Records, reflect her ethereal influences: the Cranberries, Cat Power, Explosions in the Sky, Coldplay, Thom Yorke of Radiohead. The music “takes me out of myself,’’ she says. Potts was raised in a Christian household in Bellingham, where her father listened to Neil Young, her mother to classical music and Christian artists such as Amy Grant. Potts started playing the piano at 7, the cello at 10, the guitar at 14. She was singing with her worship team at church when she began recording her own improvised tunes on a digital recorder at home. The demo caught the ear of Daniel Anderson of the Bellingham electronic rock band Idiot Pilot, who passed it on to his former label, Clickpop. After Potts made her solo performance debut at the former Bay Street Coffee in Bellingham, she was signed to a recording contract.

Potts’ current tour takes her to coffeehouses and bars in Washington, Oregon and California. Someday, she’d like to be backed by a band. “I’m not doing this for me,’’ she says. “When I’m on stage singing, I’m more content there than any other place ... I’d like to make a living off it.’’ Potts calls her music “the biggest thing I have to offer to the world ... I feel like God blessed me with this voice.’’

- Go Skagit

"Review: The Fourth EP - by Shrie Bradford"

I’ve been putting off this review for a couple of weeks now. I was thinking, all of this time, that Jenni would turn out to be bland – another pretty girl with a bad habit of playing guitar. 1.76 songs into The Fourth EP, her debut out on Clickpop Records, Jenni convinced me that she is not talentless or boring. A mere 20 or so years old, Jenni Potts makes music that proves to be much more elegant and sincere than her years display. The Fourth does it all right – it’s pensive and pertinent; it’s slightly ambient, but jagged with rock girl mentality. Jenni has been through a lot, and you feel it in every croon of her voice. It seems as if all her anger, frustration, past tragedies, and depression are the fabric of this heartfelt unveiling. The first track, “The Fourth”, alludes to the date of her first suicide attempt and the
due date of a baby she miscarried. It is clear that she isn’t trying this music thing on for size, but is groping for some clarity and peace, and this music is a product of that. She tells her tales with the power of Neko Case and the sensitivity of Cat Power. Complimented on this EP by pedal steel, vibraphone and cello, among other instruments, Jenni swoops in telling her tales of misery, mistakes and what could have been. Though she is young, her yearning message is universal. Just as Michael Stipe so knowingly said, “Everybody hurts sometimes”. Channeling the sometimes cerebral and always angry Ani Difranco on the second track, “Friends”, Jenni talks about the painful result of a friendship turned relationship, and the ruin that follows. Her voice, and the absolute control she has over it, holds so much promise. The accompanying vibraphone adds a lot to this slow piano-driven track, conjuring a chilly Fiona Apple. “See Home” starts very similarly as “Friends” but is backed by simplistic, and slightly radio-rockish, percussion. This track is just a bit too short, and the shortest on the EP at 2:36. It feels like filler, or like an intro to a song that sounds just like it. Jenni plays an unaccompanied acoustic guitar on “Goodnos”. Her vocals are lilting and sparse, like Chan Marshall, but more authentic in their despair. A sparkling pop sensibility isn’t what Jenni specializes in. She is
sad, angry, bitter and she’s showing it. “April” and “Tunnel City” follow in suit, with Michael Harris jumping in duet-style on vocals for “Tunnel City”. Sometimes the poppy drums and tawdry fills make it seem like a fitting favorite on your Mom’s radio station back home, but the intensity in her voice betrays that genre all together. There is more going on here, her heart is breaking in every song. Jenni is definitely consistent in her sound... maybe too consistent. The songs all flow together and her delivery is silky smooth, but in an album of work, even one as short as an EP, you have to have a bit of variety. A high to the low, some sugar and some spice. Through all this Jenni uses her music as a tool to hash things out, and in the process reveals to us what is sometimes the hardest thing to let people see - who we really are. Jenni Potts will have a career in music, just as long as she is still feeling, hurting, searching and singing.
- U sounds

"20 Bands to Watch in 2007"

"Probably in the best position to not only gain a following in the area, but all over the world. Her voice is absolutely amazing coupled with wonderful songwriting. Look for a new record from her in 2007" - What's Up Magazine, Brent Cole - Jan 2007 - What's Up Magazine (Bellingham)


"Take This And Go" album released 2008

"The Fourth EP"- ep released July 2007

"Belonged" - digital album released Sept 2011



Jenni Potts was born in Bellingham, WA in July of 1987. She grew up playing piano and cello. At age thirteen she picked up a guitar and began experimenting with her voice. In 2006 her friend Daniel Anderson, of Idiot Pilot, exposed a demo she had made on an 8-track to Clickpop Records. After playing her first official solo show she was signed. The label put out her first release, "The Fourth EP" in 2007 and her full length, "Take This and Go," in 2007. Many talented artists devoted their time and effort to playing on these releases. Some of them include: Daniel Anderson, Michael Harris, Kristin Alen-Zito, Paul Turpin, Dylan Riek and more. Her hit single, "The Fourth," was recently remixed and released by a well respected d&b group, Blu Mar Ten.

Since then she has collaborated with a handful of musicians and also toured the country playing with Forgive Durden. Potts sang on two tracks of Kristin Allen Zito's 2010 release, "The Atlas." She was featured on a few tracks of the album titled, "Rat King" by The Ghost and the Grace. She records and preforms with artists such as IG88, Michael Harris (of Idiot Pilot) and a handful of rappers. She made a digital album with Chance Random titled, "Cute Attack." Jenni Potts released her first electronic dreampop album titled, "Belonged" in September of 2011. It can be found on Potts is currently recording and producing her next album which is estimated to release in the summer of 2012.

Jenni Potts is known for her angelic voice, passionate performance and youthful stage presence. Although her songs are comforting they also exude some darkness. However, Potts' tends to resolve her songs with a hint of hope making her recordings and performances comforting and uplifting. If you haven't already; check this songbird out!