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Jenna Interview 2008

Murder Inc Online recently sat down with multi-talented Canadian singer/songwriter and Murder Inc. affiliate, Jenna. Jenna talks about working with The Inc., her singing career in Canada, writing for renowned artists in the states and her aspirations as a solo artist.


MIO: Hi Jenna, first off let’s just clear up your label status for all the people on MurderIncOnline.

Jenna The Inc RecordsJenna:  I am a free agent right now. I’m an independent, I’ve been independent in Canada for a few years. I’ve released videos and singles over there through Golden Child Music, which is my own company. Now I’ve come to the States and I’ve basically been doing a lot of collaborations, obviously here at The Inc. and writing.

MIO: Have you written anything that’s been released that we might know?

Jenna: Yeah actually, the new Lloyd album “Lessons in Love,” I wrote a record called “Day in the Life” which was produced by Irv and that, actually, is the bonus track on the album. That’s a great record to check out.

MIO: What’s Lloyd like to work with?

Jenna: I actually wasn’t in the studio with him! [Laughs] I got ripped off! No, but I definitely hope to work with him in the future. But he was tracking the record in Atlanta and I was actually writing the record in Toronto at the time. Yeah, so he tracked the record with Irv in Atlanta about three weeks after I wrote it for him.

MIO: As a solo artist, how many records have you released in Canada?

Jenna: I’ve released 3 records in Canada since 2004 so I’ve pretty much built myself as an independent artist over there, but also been a part of several Universal Music Compilations and those have come out over the past two or three years. I’ve also had a few different collaborations with reggae artists and that type of thing.

MIO: How would you classify your genre or style?

Jenna: I would say right now my own project is very acoustic R’n’B with a lot of old school R’n’B as well. It’s very eclectic in the sense of the writing but the tracks have a little more edge and a little more grit, also working with a lot of the producers that are here, they obviously have that very solid sound.

MIO: So far, have you mainly been working with Murder Inc. producers or have you branched out?

Jenna: I’ve been working with a lot of different people, people from New York, people from L.A, people from Atlanta, a few people from the UK.

MIO: Who have you been working with from the UK?

Jenna The Inc RecordsJenna:  They’re called Dutch Dragon, they haven’t come out yet, they’re actually from Germany, they’re pretty much the “newbies.” They’re two guys, both 22 years old and they do a lot of house, dance and now they’re doing r’n’b.

MIO: Sounds like a pretty versatile mix, do you venture into dance and all that?

Jenna: Yeah! I just love music in general so I like to do everything, the only thing I haven’t tried much yet is country! But you know, maybe someday! I mean, I would write for a country artist! But really, anything across the board, I’m a fan of dance, I love drum and base, I’m pretty much a fan of music altogether.

MIO: You recently collaborated with Ja, Harry-O and Newz on the “So Fly” remix, did you enjoy that? How did it come about?

Jenna: That was awesome, it was kind of just everybody being in the studio together and just vibing on the record and it ended up being a great collaboration.

MIO: A few months back you had the track “Warning” over the Kanye West beat…

Jenna: Yeah actually what happened was one of the producers, actually the main man here, Buck 3000, he and I listen to a lot of different records and we came up with the idea to do like a double play on the “Warning” record and a lot of people responded well to it. It was just talking about the situation in the industry obviously and the female perspective and society’s perspective.

MIO: What else have you been working on ?

Jenna:  I’ve really been focusing as a writer, working with the producers that are part of The Inc. and the affiliates and obviously with Irv and with Chink Santana as well. A record that we recently did is called “Activate” which is for [Bad Boy Ent. Recording artist] Cassie and that’s set to come out in the New Year. She did a great job on it, it’s a really exciting record and you’ll definitely hear about that.

MIO: Do you prefer writing for others or performing your own stuff?

Jenna: Well I’m a singer/songwriter in no particular order, it’s kind of like, one in the same. Fortunately the great thing about being a singer is that the songs that are in my head and the songs that I need to showcase and demo to other artists, I can sing it and showcase it myself. But definitely, I’ve always been a singer, I’ve always been a performer and that’s how I built my name in Canada. Now that I’m in the States, I’m building myself as a writer.

Jenna The Inc RecordsMIO: Your back at the bottom again?

Jenna: Exactly which is great, because I‘ve had amazing experiences here so far and I just plan to continue with that.

MIO: Do you ever feel, when you hear somebody else singing your record, that you could have done a better job?

Jenna: You know what it is? It’s actually really liberating to be a writer because you can write about anything. It’s kind of like being two separate people at the same time because for yourself as an artist there might be certain topics that don’t suit what your approach is or what you do musically. So you’re able to write that type of record for a different artist. The first time that I ever placed a record was for a group with Universal [Music Group] and that was the first challenge of “Oh I’m in the studio and somebody else is singing my song.” And it’s definitely strange at first because normally when I’m writing I’m just writing to express the song and I’m not thinking about who it’s going to go to or who it’s going to fit unless it’s for a specific project that somebody has asked me to write for. Once you actually hear somebody else doing it it’s amazing, it’s fun in the sense that your hearing it and you get that recognition that “wow somebody else appreciates what I wrote, and now they’re showcasing it.” Ne-yo has been so successful at that and now he’s a huge writer and now a huge artist and I model myself after him in a lot of ways because you want to have longevity and credibility as an artist, especially with so much reality tv and everything being so in your face. I grew up around music, my father has a latin flamenco band so I’ve been really fortunate to always have had that part of me nurtured and appreciated as a whole. Being a writer is just as great as being an artist but being an artist has always been in my heart, for sure. 

MIO: Do you have a creative process when it comes to writing or do you just wake up suddenly with an idea and go for it?

Jenna: It happens! I’m definitely a night person; the creative vibe usually happens at night, it tends to be that way especially with studios because most people work long days. But yeah, sometimes I’m in starbucks, I get a song idea and I’m writing on a napkin, thank god for the iPods and the blackberry! Usually that’s my team, I have all my music on my iPod and I put all my notes onto my blackberry, but as far as inspiration, it could be anything. It could be starting from a track and working that way or it sometimes it could be making a track and building it around a song idea or a melody.

MIO: You said your father had a Latin band and you mentioned earlier that you have a little Irish in you, what is your background?

Jenna: Well my mom’s side is Canadian but mixed with a lot of Europeans, Scottish, Irish, I think there’s even some British in there. And then my father’s side really has the Spanish fusion, They’re called Senada, they’ve had so many types of musicians and music but his band is called Senada and they’re really more world beats, I would equate it to The Gypsy Kings, but without the vocals because it’s all instrumental. But It’s great, it’s like a latin fusion, I love Spanish music and I gravitate towards that as well as Spanish pop and I plan to, in the future after I’ve done an R’n’B album, do a Spanish album. [MIO : Shakira watch out!] Well I don’t know if I can shake my booty as well as Shakira but she’s one artist I’d actually love to collaborate with as well.

MIO: Back in February, Ja likened you to Gwen Stafani , how does that sit with you?

Jenna:  That’s really cool, definitely, I was always a fan of No Doubt and I was always a fan of her style, I think because she has always reinvented herself, she has that really quirky, out there personality that I think people really love – I personally love. So for him to say that I’m similar to that, I definitely take it as a compliment.

MIO: Would you hope to work with Murder Inc. more in the future?

Jenna The Inc RecordsJenna: Definitely yeah, everybody here is like family to me and I’ve had a great time and plan to keep working with them.

MIO: How do you find the crackhouse? A lot of history has been made here.

Jenna: Yes, definitely, it’s funny because when I had first come to the studio I was like “It’s called the Crackhouse?” But now they kind of say it’s “CHS.” But it’s great because this is one studio where you can go from room to room and everybody has a different vibe going on and it’s definitely conducive to your creativity and it’s great because it also sets up the competitiveness too. Everybody is in their own room, everybody wants to come up with a hot record, everybody wants to impress the boss, right? So it’s great because everybody feels everybody’s creative energy.

MIO:  There’s a good family vibe around these studios too.

Jenna: Definitely, and it really stems from what The Inc. was built on which was really like, they started deep and they still are deep and they still have that comradory  and that family mentality that really keeps everybody together.

MIO: Is there anything else you would like to say to the fans over on MurderIncOnline?

Jenna: If you would like to keep up to date on things that are happening with me you can go onto my MySpace page which is www.myspace.com/jennasmusiconline and when you’re on there you’ll see that I have a page for a blog and a video blog and a YouTube channel so all that stuff is always updated.

MIO: Well thanks so much for your time, and best of luck with everything.

 

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