Jenn Grant is a multi award-winning artist. Her latest record Paradise was the third highest selling and streamed new album in Canada week of release. Paradise is the follow up to her 2015 Compostela, which earned Jenn two Juno nominations for both Songwriter as well as Contemporary Album of the Year.
Below is our interview with Jenn Grant:
What inspires you to create music?
My inspiration comes from Discovery. Whether it’s music I hear from other bands or songwriters, going to see a live show, or having the opportunity to dig into dig into an album on our record player. If I didn’t have access to other people’s art I think I would still make music, but it would be a very different experience. Hearing music that I find exciting or moving in some way just makes me want to write until I get a similar kind of feeling. the potential to make something that will resonate with peoples hearts is what I am all about.
Do you tend to write for one genre, or do you find your music crosses genre lines?
I don’t like to confine myself to genres. I never felt the need to be put into a certain box, and in that way I think it was hard for people to categorize me. But as an artist it has given me a real sense of freedom, and become part of my story. If music is good and authentic it’s worth exploring. For me music is often about taking artistic risks and I would really miss that element of the creative process if I felt confined to one genre. I do like to dip into elements of folk, pop, rock and country and I feel comfortable floating between all of those ‘genres’ to create my own type of sound.
How did you learn your craft – was it “formal” or “informal” music education?
I started writing songs when I was a kid. From about age 8 onwards I would write songs in my diary and just sing them out loud by myself somewhere outside where and when I knew I’d be completely alone. I took a few guitar lessons at the age of 12 which really gave me a sense of freedom and discovery, however there wasn’t a lot of guitar training as the teacher liked my voice and kept asking me to sign Anne Murray songs as he played guitar. I eventually just learned the basic chords and did it on my own. I started writing lots of songs on the guitar but kept it hidden for a decade. I felt shy and nervous about it and that stage fright was a really daunting thing for me until I was ready to perform for an audience.
I never had any formal education in music except for a few voice lessons, which was about vocal health, and not about style at all. My teacher knew I was concerned about losing my voice as I had pre vocal modules and we worked together for one year alongside an ENT Doctor to get me back in good health. I think every singer should learn about vocal health and the techniques to keep them singing without harm.
I still want to take piano lessons as I’ve been writing a lot on the piano over the last few years, but formal teaching and schools never really worked for me. I have always been very eager to learn, and very visual, and have found my own path to being able to create without training. But I still have a lot to learn and someday maybe I’ll find the right teacher!