Jenn Bostic is a talented, driven, and absolutely inspiring young musician. A smash success already in the UK, the enchanting singer songwriter is now making waves in the US. The beginnings of her musical career can be traced all the way back to early childhood in Minnesota when her beloved father taught cherished folk songs and turned her on to iconic artists such as Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt. In a tragic turn of events, Bostic lost her father in a car crash when she was a preteen. This traumatic experience had a profound effect on the budding artist, and she wrote an amazing song to come to terms with his loss. “Jealous of the Angels” is a beautiful ballad that boasts touching lyrics like “God must need another angel/Around the throne tonight,” and “Your love lives on inside of me/And I will hold on tight.” Bostic recently performed in Denver at the Walnut Room and I had the chance to chat with her. The gifted and humble musician gladly opened up about being on tour, her forthcoming album, and finding inspiration in The Gilmore Girls.
How do you like performing in Denver? Are the fans good to you? Does the altitude really affect you?
I absolutely love Colorado! I try to jump on every opportunity that comes up in that area. It's so unbelievably gorgeous! My brother Jeff [who played bass with her at the Walnut Room] lives in Fort Collins with my two precious nephews. We've made a lot of great memories snowboarding and hiking in the mountains, and we've made a lot of great friends and fans playing shows all over the state. The people are so genuine and really appreciate the music. I'm still getting used to the altitude, I tend to need an extra cup of coffee when I'm out there.
What is one thing you can't do without while on tour?
Vitamins! In order to perform at my best I've got to be healthy. Lack of sleep, traveling and germs are inevitable out on the road, but I do my best to eat healthy, workout and take lots of vitamins!
What is/was your goal for your new album?
Jealous is a really special album to me. It is a collection of my best songs thus far. Many of the songs are personal, and have very deep meaning to me. The title comes from the first single off the record, "Jealous of the Angels." This is a song about my dad who passed away in a car accident when I was ten-years-old. He was the first person to ever encourage me to play music. After I lost him, songwriting became a form of therapy for me. It took about fourteen years to process through everything that had happened and put it into one song, but the day I wrote "Jealous of the Angels," it felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had absolutely no idea that the song would touch people the way it has. Last year it went #1 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart in the United Kingdom, and it currently has over 1.3 million views on YouTube. I have received countless messages from people all over the world who have been touched by the song, telling me how much it has comforted them and helped them heal. It has been an incredibly humbling experience, and is something so much bigger than I could ever take credit for.
"Not Yet" is an anthem that gives me strength every time I sing it. I wrote this one with my producer, Barrett Yeretsian, most well known for producing and co-writing "Jar of Hearts" with Christina Perri. I was frustrated with the music industry. I felt I was knocking on every door, and having each one slammed in my face. It's the same day I promised myself that I would never give up on this dream to write and perform my own songs. It has been such a blessing to hear others find encouragement and strength through the song as well. As a writer, that's what I strive to do.
Is there a location where you do your best songwriting?
I spend a lot of time in the car traveling from city to city, and a lot of ideas have started in my baby blue Ford Focus. Eventually, when it comes time to complete and arrange the ideas into songs, I like to be in a comfortable space with a great piano or keyboard, but my iPhone is full of little song ideas that I record whenever inspiration strikes.
What is the strangest thing to inspire a song?
I am big fan of the television show, Gilmore Girls. When I first moved to Nashville and was writing for my first record, Keep Lookin' for Love, I had a slight obsession with the show and one of the episodes inspired a track called "Mess It Up With Love". In this episode two of the main characters had been dating for three months and the boyfriend decided to drop the 'L' bomb (I love you), as I like to call it, and the girlfriend did not say it back. Unfortunately this caused quite a stir and the two broke up at the end of the episode. Very disappointed, I headed into my bedroom and wrote them a song.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
I wrote my first song when I was eleven-years-old. It was one year after my dad had passed away, and it was a song called Being Without You. It truly was the therapy that got me through that tragic time. I'm very grateful for my piano teacher, Kathy Hasse, who encouraged me to continue writing and introduced me to notation software. My mom has always been my biggest cheerleader, telling me I could be absolutely anything I want to be in this life. If it weren't for her strength and support, I wouldn't be where I am.
Your voice is very beautiful and unique. How do you take care of it?
Thank you so much! I try to stay as healthy as possible, and touring can make that difficult. About a year ago I got back into voice lessons with an incredible teacher named Jeff Mathena. He works for Brett Manning Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, where they use a program called Singing Success. It is an absolutely amazing program, and is honestly the first one that has ever really worked for me.
If you could grace the cover of any magazine, which one would it be and what would the headline read?
That's a great question! I love American Songwriter. The artist stories are put together in such a beautiful way. Any positive headline about how my songs are touching people's hearts would be incredibly humbling.
What was the first album you ever owned?
Oh my goodness! I'm not sure what the very first one was, but I remember having Britney Spears' ...Baby One More Time', Christina Aguilera's 'Genie in a Bottle', and anything by the Spice Girls (I wanted to be Sporty Spice back in the day). As a child, I remember hearing a lot of Emmylou Harris, Frank Sinatra, and Bonnie Raitt in our home.
If you could have anyone in the world as the #1 fan of your music, who would it be and why?
I've never really thought about this. I'm so grateful for every single person that becomes a fan of the music, because without the fans I wouldn't have a career. Bonnie Raitt is my absolute favorite singer in the world. She has been such an inspiration to me, and I'd be honored to know that she enjoys the music I create. I also rely very heavily on my faith, and always try to promote a positive message. I like to think my dad and the big man upstairs have a front row seat to all my shows.