❖ What’s up Jenna, glad to have you on this interview. Please introduce yourself for the benefit of those who don’t know you?
Hi there I’m Jenna! I am a pop singer-songwriter whose head rules my heart… until I’m writing a song. I write music that speaks to people, especially women, who have falsely been made to believe that being polite and not causing a stir should be our priority. I hope listening to my songs builds a fire that inspires people to be independent and stick up for themselves, their friends, and what’s right.
On any given night you can find me cooking poorly while dancing around my kitchen, watching New Girl or Portlandia with my friends, or learning about astrology. I’m an Aquarius sun, Virgo moon, Taurus rising; aka a pretty organized, independent weirdo, but someone who is pretty reserved and grounded when people first meet me. I hope you dig my tunes and they help you step into the badass you were always meant to be.
❖ Tell me about your background and why you chose music as a career instead of another profession?
From a very young age I used songwriting as a way to process my emotions. When it came time to decide a college major and by proxy a career, however, I thought it would be smarter to choose a more realistic route of a math major. Fast forward a couple years later when I’m doing a summer math internship, and I can’t stand it. That’s when I had to reevaluate what actually gave me true joy was making music. And I did my research on where the best place to move was for pop music, and it was between NYC and LA. Well, I wanted to get away from the cold weather and also actually really love driving so LA was where I chose to pursue my dreams.
❖ How do you feel about the negative, sometimes stereotypical image of women in the music industry?
I always want to work towards having a more equal perception of women in this field. We see a lot of female singers but what we don’t see as much of is a lot of women being given opportunities behind the scenes, when it comes to music production or video production. I want to work past that stereotype that women’s value is just their pretty face or pretty voice. Only 7% of music producers are women, and men in positions of power should use their clout to give more opportunities to women instead of just their male counterparts. I made it my mission with my last music video for Talking in My Sleep to work with a team of all women, Starglow Productions. While I have worked with some talented and kind men in my day, I felt there was an extra level of empathy, accountability and understanding working with these women that I was so grateful for.
❖ What’s the “central theme” behind your latest single “Too Romantic”.
The central theme is the war between logic and your emotions, your head vs. your heart. About the difficulty of trying to resist vulnerability while you secretly yearn for someone, because you don’t want to mess up the strong friendship you currently have.
❖ What’s something that people don’t realize about your music but you want them to know?
I’d love for them to know how involved I am with the decision making process of the small details. I go back and forth with my producer Lucas Sader so much because of small elements I want added or taken away or emphasized or deemphasized, like a vocal part or string part, etc. I am so lucky to have such a patient producer who is always open to discussion on how to make both our visions for the song unite!
❖ How would you describe the kind of music that you make in one sentence?
I would say I make synth pop music that is brutally honest and expressive, where I can shed my armor and show my most authentic inner thoughts and encourage others to do the same.
❖ How has your personal experience with discrimination affected how you think about issues like sexism and gender roles?
I think women aren’t given the same respect as authority figures as men are, you have to be more vocal in order to get what you want and to be taken seriously. And we’ve all heard it time and time before, when you ask for what you want/need you then risk being seen as a demanding bitch, whereas a man doing the same thing is simply seen as a boss. It took me a while to realize that being seen as a bitch was not the worst thing in the world, and that I was betraying myself if I tried to be a people pleaser. It’s taken me a while to get comfortable with that authority. I always act respectfully to people as long as the same respect is given to me, but I had to realize I can’t control people’s perceptions of me.
❖ What would you say is your biggest strength as a musician?
I think my biggest strength is my songwriting, and my desire to always keep improving. Whenever someone else’s song really sticks with me I try to figure out what specifically in the song is pulling me in, both melody-wise and lyrically. And then I try to incorporate elements of those discoveries into my future songs. I also write all my songs in the moment of feeling a big emotion, so I think I bring authenticity to my lyrics.
❖ What would you say are your biggest accomplishments in your music career so far?
I had the greatest privilege of playing a Sofar Sounds show in San Diego a couple weeks ago on Valentine’s Day. Sofar Sounds aims to connect up and coming musicians with audience members who want to discover new music in an intimate setting. To have an audience of 150 people giving you their full attention in a room so quiet you could hear a pin drop was such a special experience. I also got to meet so many cool new people, and to have people tell me how much they resonated with my songs was so heartwarming.