Following on from our article about the lovely Jenn Bostic, we were lucky enough to catch up with the singer-songwriter for an exclusive chat about life, hobbies and future plans, as she prepares to release her second studio album “Faithful”. Here’s what she had to say.
EP: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
JB: I was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in the beautiful state of Minnesota, studied at Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts, and now reside in Tennessee. Life is a beautiful journey full of challenges, surprises and blessings. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, and have been humbled to see some of the lofty dreams in my heart come to life. The last three years have been surreal, performing at the Grand Ole Opry, having a number one single in the UK, and collaborating with some of my favorite artists and songwriters. I am so grateful to have an incredibly encouraging family and community.
EP: What first drew you towards a career in music? Who are your musical influences?
JB: I really have been singing as far back as I can remember. I have fond memories of singing with my family in the evenings after dinner, Dad with his guitar or behind the piano, overlooking the lake in our Minnesota home. My favorite song to sing with him was “On The Sunny Side of the Street.” It’s amazing that back then, the lyrics to that song were just words, but now they hold such a positive message in my heart. Unfortunately, my dad was killed in a car accident when I was ten years old, music was the only way I felt I could still connect with him. Songwriting became the therapy that got me through that tragic time. A few of my favorite musical artists are Bonnie Raitt, Marc Broussard, Sara Bareilles, Susan Tedeschi, Sarah McLachlan & Sam Smith.
EP: How did you feel when you heard your previous album, “Jealous”, was such a hit in the UK? How did that come about?
JB: That entire experience was incredibly humbling. I filmed a low-budget music video for my song “Jealous of the Angels,” in honour of my late father. A woman in the United Kingdom found the song on YouTube and sent in to Simon Bates at Smooth Radio, along with her story of loss for a programme called “Our Tune.” I found out on twitter that it was played, and shortly after found out just how large a station Smooth is. BBC Radio 2 play-listed the song, and I was then invited to open for Christian Kane on a three date tour of the UK. While in the country, I performed “Jealous of the Angels” on BBC Breakfast, and that day the song went #1. Honestly, it was a dream come true. I kept pinching myself thinking I was going to wake up from this magical moment. Since then, I’ve created relationships with incredible people throughout the UK, as well as the US. I love creating, traveling, touring and sharing songs with the intention of touching people’s hearts. I am so grateful for this life.
EP: You’ve performed at the Grand Old Opry, that must have been an amazing experience! Tell us a bit about it!
JB: The Grand Ole Opry is one of the most amazing venues in the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to perform on that stage on five separate occasions, with a sixth performance next month. Every time feels like the first. I remember the very first time I performed in December of 2012, when the show was at the Ryman Auditorium for the winter. I had my eyes closed at the piano singing “Jealous of the Angels,” and when I finished the song and opened my eyes, the audience was on their feet. I won’t forget that moment as long as I live.
EP: Having toured Ireland and the UK, did you find the audiences any different to those in Nashville, and if so, how?
JB: I have so enjoyed touring the UK and Ireland. The radio support I received for “Jealous” exposed the music to a large number of people, and with the content behind “Jealous of the Angels,” I was truly able to share my heart right out of the gate. People in Europe have connected to the music in such an amazing way, and there’s a certain hunger in the audiences for the music and the hope that it holds. I love touring the United States as well, and have been blessed to play shows from coast to coast. While US fans have also connected with the music in big way, the lack of major radio play in the US has created a different environment.
EP: Your new album, “Faithful”, is due to be released on June 1st, Can you tell us a bit about that, and talk us through a few of the tracks?
JB: I am jumping out of my skin with excitement for this album release. I honestly believe it to be the best album I’ve ever made. My heart had a lot of healing left to do when I wrote the “Jealous” record, and sharing my story of loss each night on stage when playing “Jealous of the Angels,” allowed it heal. I found a strength in the last year and half, that I didn’t know I had. That strength is represented in the new music. After the release of “Jealous,” and all the emotions behind it, I was able to write about other topics my heart beats for.
Each song is like my baby, and it’s tough to pick a favourite. However, there’s a song called “Counterfeit” on the album, that I may put on a bit of a pedestal. I wrote it with a dear friend of mine, and wonderful songwriter, Lauren Christy. Her brother Brandon Christy, along with Paul Wiltshire produced the track. The first time I heard the demo of this song fully produced, I had tears streaming down my face. I am so pleased with the way it turned out. The song is about quieting the negative voices in your mind that tell you you’re not good enough and that you don’t have what it takes. Those voices are lies, they’re a counterfeit.
The title track, is also a favorite of mine, tapping into the bluesy elements of my voice. This song is currently available, and it’s a song of integrity. I believe the person you are when no one is looking, is your true self. Filming the music video for this song in Los Angeles was a really fun experience, going between a glamorous version of myself, and the real me. You can check it out Vevo.
EP: What do you like to do in your spare time, away from music?
JB: What spare time? I kid. I love films, going to the movies is one of my favourite things to do. I get so wrapped up in the story, that I often develop song ideas in the process. I also enjoy spending quality time with my loved ones and staying active. My husband is a fisherman, so whenever I’m home in the summertime, we try and get out on the water. We both grew up in Minnesota, and after all it is “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”
EP: What advice would you give to any other independent artists out there?
JB: Don’t give up. Ever. Set goals, both lofty and realistic. Know that there are challenges in every vocation. If you get to touch people’s hearts through your music, there’s food in your stomach, and a roof over your head, know that you’ve succeeded.
EP: What are your hopes for the future, both musically and personally?
JB: I feel incredibly blessed to see a lot of my dreams already come true, and I’m constantly redefining success in my life. I want to continue writing and performing songs that encourage, inspire, comfort and heal people. Collaboration is such a wonderful piece of this business, and I would love to do more of that. Touring with other artists, co-writing, and performing all over the world.
EP: What’s one question nobody’s ever asked you, but you wish they had?
JB: I still hold the high jump record at my high school in Waconia, Minnesota. No one ever asks about that, I’m not sure I really want them to, but it’s a fun fact. I really loved sports growing up, I was a dancer (tap/jazz/ballet), volleyball player, basketball player and ran track and field. I think I learned a lot about discipline through that. Last year I became a member of my high school Hall of Fame, and every former teacher who spoke mentioned my 5 feet 5 inch high jump record with a laugh.
‘Faithful’ by Jenn Bosic is due for release on June 1st. For further details visit JennBostic.com