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Jennie B and the City
Jennie B, a music artist from Ireland, had a difficult choice to make when it came to deciding where she was going to lay her roots. “I had just returned to Ireland from living in Australia for 2 years. I had decided I wanted to pursue music as my career and I was thinking of either moving to London or America. I was researching dance schools at the time and I came across Peridance in Manhattan. They took international students so I applied and got accepted. It happened very fast and I moved to New York one month after leaving Australia.” She states.
And while she was aware that she would have more opportunities to succeed in New York City, she also wanted to meet people in the music industry in an effort to further develop her artistic abilities. Jennie goes on to say, “I was always a massive fan of Hip Hop music and I wanted to move to the city that inspired that culture. I also wanted to experience the American Lifestyle and be in one of the cities where a lot of my favorite artists grew up in and made it like Jay-Z, Naz, 50 cent, Moby, Alicia Keys, Redman (New Jersey but close), Methodman, J-Lo, Busta Rhymes etc. I was just very intrigued to find out what was so great and inspiring about the city that produced so many Superstars. I wanted to be in that environment and see what it was all about. So that’s why I chose New York.”
Check out our interview with Jennie B below:
How would you describe your music style?
Jennie B: My music is definitely pop with a dance influence. I like to experiment with many different styles. I have also worked with a lot of rappers from Brooklyn so that has influenced my style in a certain way also. When I started I was mainly using dance and EDM style beats but recently I have been experimenting with acoustic sounds too which I am really enjoying.
What are some major differences between NYC and Ireland?
Jennie B: Everything! They are really like polar opposites. I come from a very small, rural, quiet village in the center of Ireland. It is really scenic, it’s quiet, calm, a much slower paced lifestyle where as New York is extremely fast paced, lively, buildings everywhere (instead of trees and farms), constantly noisy. Every time I walk outside my door in Ireland I know everyone I come in contact with, we stop have a conversation, in New York it’s not like that! It’s just a completely different environment, climate, vibe, energy. They are both so different and I like different things about both. New York is multi cultural, I have friends from every part of the world, from every race in New York. In Ireland all of my friends are Irish. Honestly I don’t think there are two more opposite places in the world than New York and Glasson (the village I’m from). And my energy changes too depending on whether I’m in New York or Ireland. I’m actually inspired to write different music depending on where I am. The vibe of a place changes your inspiration. I find it really hard to unwind and relax in New York, I’m constantly on the go so I come back to Ireland usually once a year to recharge, spend time with my family and take a break. After all New York is the city that never sleeps……
When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Jennie B: Always. I always knew I wanted to ever since I can remember but as a young girl I pushed it to the back of my mind because it wasn’t the norm where I was from. I took dance classes, was always obsessed with music, took piano lessons, joined a dance school, learned all the songs from my favorite artists, saved up my pocket money to buy cd’s every Friday, did dance shows but it wasn’t until I started traveling outside of Ireland and opening up my mind that I really thought “hey I can do this too or at least I can try”. To me there is no shame in failing but if I never try I’ll never know and I couldn’t live with the “What if’s”. Living in Australia really gave me the confidence to move to New York and to try it because I felt like I had nothing to lose. I had been getting singing lessons out there and taking a lot of hip-hop dance classes and it was like my love for music just keep growing and I kept becoming more passionate the more I learnt. Australia has such a free spirit type of vibe. It’s so sunny, chilled, the people are so nice, it made me feel like “ok anything is possible”. It was very freeing living over there and I just built up my confidence to follow my dreams.
There’s a certain perception about Irish people, do you drink a lot?
Jennie B: YES! Of course, that’s all true I will never deny that! We love to enjoy ourselves and have fun. We work hard too though. I think a lot of us Irish live by the motto “Work Hard, Play Hard” I love being Irish. I love Irish people. We know how to let loose that is for sure. And why not? Life is meant to be fun and I’v never met anyone anywhere who can drink as much as we can. It’s in our blood I think! I was recently just in Ireland at a Birthday Party and it was just in a small pub in a rural village (in the middle of nowhere) but so many people showed up, we were there till 5 in the morning and the place was hopping. I hadn’t danced or drank like that in a long time and I had forget how well we do it! Epic.
What was the hardest decision that you had to make in your music career?
Jennie B: Honestly there have been many. It’s not easy trying to establish yourself as a new artist or get a career up and running. As enjoyable as the creative side of it is, it is hard getting the business side together and meeting the right people and knowing who to trust I suppose. I still feel like I am only getting started. I am constantly learning and growing. I’v made mistakes but I think that’s all part of it. My Dad always says “What’s for you won’t pass you” and I agree with that. I’v been fortunate enough so far to work with some great people who helped me and who I learnt a lot from and then I have worked with some people who lets just say did not have my best interests at heart and have not understood my vision or what I want to achieve or who I want to be as an artist. The hardest decision has been letting certain people go because artistically it did not work. On paper it might have “looked the part” but I believe in going with your gut feeling. That’s so important for me. If something doesn’t feel right it’s because it is not right and that is a lesson I learnt the hard way. Every time I’v went against my gut instinct I’v always ended up in trouble! So now I trust it much more. It’s always right.
Is there a different between Jennie Buckley the artist and the person?
Jennie B: As an artist I am much more expressive. I talk about my feelings more. Writing music is very therapeutic for me. I mean I write almost everyday. I love it and I have so many songs written that I probably won’t ever release. I can say things through music, through a melody that I would probably never say to someone in person. So in that way there is a big difference. I’ll let someone hear a song I wrote and they’ll be like “wow, I never knew you felt like that” and I’ll be like “neither did I till I wrote the song”!! It fascinates me actually because I never knew I could song-write until I moved to New York and started going to studios with rappers. I met some amazing artists who encouraged me to write and bring that side out of me. At the time I was like “you’re crazy, you write the song and I’ll sing it” I had no confidence in that area. They were like “No you write it and we will go to the studio tonight and record it” so I did and that was that. I’v wrote about 200 songs since. It’s crazy really because now it’s such a huge part of my life. That’s why I would never say no to trying new things. You never know what you can do until you try.
How hard is it to balance your personal life and music one?
Jennie B: Well I focus a lot on music. I put almost all of my time and energy into it so in some regards I suppose I neglected having a personal life. Just because I am so passionate about music and really love doing it so much. If I am not doing music I want to be doing it. It’s always on my mind. I am getting better about that but a lot of my friends are music artists anyways so it’s at the forefront of everything I do.
Are you allowed to have a boyfriend, we’ve seen in some situations female artists aren’t allowed to have relationships?
Jennie B: You know what’s funny I was about to be like “Of Course I’m allowed, who’s going to stop me” but when I look back on it certain people I have worked have tried to block me from having one. It’s so ridiculous I mean I’m over 25 I’m not a 16 year old. So that explains why that working relationship didn’t work out. lol! I don’t mind taking constructive advice from people who I respect and who I feel like I can grow from and who are trying to steer me in the right direction musically but silly things like that irritate me. I mean I am an artist so I have strong opinions about things and I like to do things my own way. Of course there is compromise and you have to know when to admit you’re wrong or let people that are more experienced in this industry guide you but No you can’t tell me that I am not allowed have a boyfriend. Come on it’s just ludicrous, honestly.
What are you currently working on?
Jennie B: Well I have just finished my first EP and it’s available to listen to at www.jenniebmusic.com. I have just finished setting up that website also. I took a break in Ireland for a little while and now I am back in New York starting to write for my first album. I am meeting with new producers, I am between management and I am listening to a lot of music right now to be inspired and decide what direction I want to go with it. I am going to a lot of gigs, concerts, listening to old music, new music just to get a feel for what energy I want. I want to record the album in L.A. so I want to move out there for a few months or even a year. I love New York but I am a traveller at heart. I love experiencing different places. Also I am secretly a sun worshipper so L.A. would make me very happy in that regard. Also I want to see what kind of music I would create out there. It will be interesting to find out!
What’s your plan for the rest of 2015?
Jennie B: To keep growing and establishing myself as an artist. Keep making new connections in the music industry who I can learn from and grow from. I want to learn how to produce also. I want to get deeper into fashion and I am actually into all types of art, not just music. Music is my main passion but I am fascinated by art, painting, drawing all of that kind of thing. Things outside the box interest me so I would like to visit more art galleries and draw inspiration from that. As I said I want to go to L.A. and continue to work on new music and doing music videos and performing. Performing is a huge part of me and definitely something I want to work on because I have spent so much time writing and in the studio that I feel like I have become a little rusty at performing which is not cool and will have to be rectified haha! All in good time! I’m really excited about the future and what it holds. I have a really good feeling about it!