Jenn Bostic is set to release her new album, ‘Revival’, on 4 May. Steve Holley chatted with the singer songwriter about it, as well as her UK tour.
EP: Hi Jenn, thanks for the opportunity to speak with you about your new album ‘Revival’. You’ve been quoted as saying that this is the music your heart “longed to record”. Does that make it a conscious effort to move away from your past releases or just a show of faith that something this beautiful will be well received whether it’s radio friendly or not?
JB: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. ‘Revival’ dives into the bluesy, soulful, gospel style that has always been hidden in my music, but for this album, I fully unleashed it. I love singing with a band, so I went into House of Blues Studio with some of my favorite musicians, and we captured a moment. There’s something magical that happens when everyone is playing in the studio at the same time and feeding off each other’s ideas, I feel it brings out the best in the songs. While a few tracks ended up being pretty radio friendly, I didn’t go into the studio consumed by what I thought the industry might think of the music, I just created the album I wanted to make, the best way I knew how. I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out, or the ridiculous amount of fun we all had making it.
EP: So, given that, how would you describe this album’s style in relation to your past music.
JB: All three of my previous albums have centered around the song and my voice. Sometimes the instrumentation is more country, other times more pop, but at the end of the day when I sit down and play any one of my songs acoustically, I strive for that song to stand-alone. The album fuses blues, soul, pop, gospel, Americana and country in my favorite way. As the genre lines continue to blur, I love that artists don’t have to stay in a box to be successful.
EP: This album has an incredible feeling of depth with the vocal backing; the title track even has a gospel choir. Is that something you had in mind or was it just how the songs developed?
JB: When I recorded ‘What Love Feels Like’, with a gospel choir, I got the bug. I absolutely love harmony, and when you get a bunch of voices creating a wall of sound, it’s pretty hard to keep the goosebumps away. I knew I wanted to record with a gospel choir again, which I did with ‘Revival’, but featuring the vocal trio that is Kyshona, Maureen Murphy and Jason Eskridge on ‘Haunting Me’, ‘Lamp’, ‘Hollywood’, and ‘Before it Gets Better’, was a decision that developed in production.
EP: I hope you don’t mind me saying but this album feels less produced, almost like it’s a perfect live recording. Was that intentional, did you change the way you recorded for this album?
JB: Yes. I love that old school organic sound of Bonnie Raitt and Tedeschi Trucks. It’s real, it’s raw, it’s honest, just like my songwriting. I love singing with a live band, so I wanted to record it the same way. However, there might be a little pop version of one of the tracks coming your way soon.
EP: “There’s a freedom that breaks every chain”. Is that how you feel about the future? There’s a really positive vibe that threads through this album and for me makes it a real thing of beauty. I really can’t stop listening to it.
JB: Thank you so much! I do believe that. I feel blessed to have the gifts I’ve been given, and I do feel I have a responsibility to spread love and light into the world. There’s enough darkness out there already, and I want to encourage and empower people to believe they can overcome the obstacles they face. It’s a reminder to myself as well, to always believe something good is about to happen.
EP: The album was recorded in Nashville, Home of Country Music, and you have won awards from Independent Country Music Association. However, this album has a quite bluesy feel. Would you consider yourself a country artist or are you, like me, not a believer in the constant need to pigeon hole artists?
JB: Option B. I love country music and have been incredibly lucky to have performed at the Grand Ole Opry and to have won various country music awards, and I do identify with the country music scene, which honestly taught me how to write songs. However, I also fall into the blues, gospel, Americana, and rock genres throughout this record, which is how I’ve developed as an artist.
EP: Your UK tour started in February and will finish in Manchester in a May. How are you finding UK audiences this time around?
JB: I am so grateful for all the love people have shown in the UK. I have had some time to return to the states between shows, but am heading back across the pond today for the final run of shows and to release the album. There’s a beautiful hunger for the honesty in my songwriting that I can’t really explain. I’ve made some incredible friends traveling to and from the UK for the last seven years and I look forward to seeing some familiar faces, as well as meeting new ones this time around.
EP: I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rita Coolidge and she had a lot of guest writers on her new album, which drops the same day as yours. Have you written the whole album or did you collaborate at all?
JB: I love collaborating with other songwriters. This album is made up almost entirely of co-writes, however ‘Faint of Heart’, is a song that I needed to write alone. It’s the autobiographical story of my life as a songwriter, the honest, real feelings and challenges that go along with it. The rest of the album was written with my favorite writers and artists in Nashville and Los Angeles. I chose the songs and the co-writers for this project very carefully. I worked with people who understood my vision for this project and brought out the best in me.
EP: The producer on this album is Paul Salveson, six time Grammy award winner. How was that experience for you?
JB: Amazing. “Salvo” as we all call him is an amazing human being. He’s also the creative director at my home church in Nashville where I’ve been leading worship for the last eight years. He knew what my voice was capable of, he listened to all my ideas for the album, and we built an incredible friendship throughout the process. He was intentional about capturing moments and taking time to reflect along the way. Recording this album with him was an unforgettable experience.
EP: I love your breakthrough single, ‘Jealous of the Angels’, written for your late father. Is your writing on this album as personally based on life experience?
JB: Thank you. ‘Jealous of the Angels’ is deeply personal, and one of my favorite songs I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of. ‘Revival’ is an album full of personal stories as well, the most vulnerable being ‘Faint of Heart’. This song meets me in this specific season of life, and I dare call it my favorite song I’ve ever written.
EP: Jenn it’s been a pleasure to have the chance to ask you a few questions. I love the album, I love the positivity and I wish you all the best with it. I’ll be there to see you at Bush Hall in London and can’t wait.
JB: Thank you so much! I look forward to seeing you there.