Speechless, Emotional, Reflective, Powerful….These are just a few of the roller-coaster of emotions that you will feel after listening to the music of “jENNiNGS”- the one-name moniker of New York/Nashville-based artist, Mary Jennings. Be it in a live performance, or listening to her on record, her sound will draw you in and make you go through an over-abundance of feelings that you might not be able to put into words all at once; but one thing is for certain- you’ll definitely come away changed for the better. With the April 2012 release of her latest album, “Take it or Leave,” a live collection of songs from her previous album, “Collapse, Collide,” it gives you the chance to experience the intimate vibe of seeing her in concert. Her voice has the ability to reach such amazing heights and powerful depths from one note to the next, which only adds to the emotional factor of her lyrics. What is really cool about “Ms. Mary” is that no matter what medium you see her in; her sound is still just as big and expressive as it is on record. You know how with some artists, they sound better on record than they actually do live- with Mary, that is NEVER the case. No matter if she is performing with her full backing band; or on her trademark Casio synthesizer, looping harmonies and instrumentation; or even if she is playing on an acoustic piano, you still get the same explosive effect- the same full, mind-blowing sound. That is the mark of a true musician.
I first met Mary about a year and a half ago, at
legendary venue, Sullivan Hall. She was the featured act there after winning
the Open Mic Contest a week earlier. Seeing her perform that first time, you
never got the feeling that this was an independent act. She was about fifteen
steps ahead of everyone else there. After listening to her, you felt like you
had to go back home and practice….I have never seen a room full of mostly
hardcore rappers and Techno acts completely silent and drawn in by this little
five-foot girl just belting her heart out on stage. She had such a fierce, larger
than life presence- it was truly an amazing sight. It just goes to show what I
always say- that “the power of music is universal- it knows no limits, and has no
boundaries.” Since then, I have seen her perform at several other venues and
have even gotten to know her personally, and I can tell you the same thing that
anyone else who has every met Mary will tell you- that she is one of the
sweetest and most authentic people you will ever meet. She is one of those
artists that every other artist on the NYC Music Scene, no matter the genre,
has heard of- and will probably tell you that she is their favorite. You will
also never find a harder working independent artist than Mary. She is traveling
constantly, doing shows everywhere from Nashville
and back again. Her music is in THAT much demand. If you have the chance to
catch a jENNiNGS’
show in your area, take advantage of it….and then go home, and look up her
music online. Believe me, her songs will get stuck in your head, and you will
become an instant fan.
In this writer’s opinion, both “Collapse, Collide” and “Take it or Leave” are must-haves in your music collection. If you know like I know, it’s not often that great albums come along. There are great songs; and then, there are great albums- where every song is a stand-alone in its own right. Both of these albums accurately fit that bill. They are truly an original a breath of fresh air in an age where so many acts work so hard to sound like others. There is something so beautiful, so poignant in her music that you can easily see it becoming the soundtrack to different points in your life. No matter if you’re reminiscent on a particular moment in your life- a painful memory, your first love, the one that got away, the feeling you got the first time you saw your significant other- it’s all in the jENNiNGS’ songbook. There really is something in there for everyone. That’s the powerful ability that Mary has- the gift of being able to connect with a specific emotion, no matter how momentary, or lasting, and put it into song.
Here is what Mary had to say about her background and her influences that have made her into the musical powerhouse that she is today:
Tanya: Who are some of your influences?
jENNiNGS: A lot influences me. Musically I would say that I am influenced by a lot of the powerhouse females like Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Annie Lennox, Paula Cole, Imogen Heap, and Kate Bush.
Tanya: How long have you been playing/performing? How did you get started?
jENNiNGS: I have been singing since I could speak. My mom used to say that she could find me by listening for the singing. I learned harmonies by singing in the car with my paternal grandparents. We used to sing “When You Wore a Tulip” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” constantly. Who am I kidding? We still sing those songs together. I was also lucky enough to have a piano growing up so I would pluck around until I hit something I liked.
Tanya: How would you describe your sound?
jENNiNGS: I would say that I am rock/pop artist like Sarah McLachlan with a little more edge, Tori Amos with less angst and Imogen Heap with fewer tricks.
Tanya: How do you feel about the current state of the music industry?
jENNiNGS: I think we are in a really interesting time. I feel that with all of the internet and technological advancements we have seen a real empowerment of the indie artist. It has also opened the door for a lot more musicians to put their music out there. This results in a catch 22 to me. We have the ability to really get our music out there to the masses but so does everyone else, which causes each person to have to try even harder to get noticed.
Tanya: How do you go about writing or composing music?
jENNiNGS: It varies. Sometimes the music comes first and sometimes it’s the lyrics. What I have found though is that whenever I get inspired, I need to move on it right then. You never know how long the inspiration will last so you need to use it when you have it.
Tanya: What do you find to be most rewarding about being a musician?
jENNiNGS: Emotionally moving an audience is the most rewarding thing about what I do. There have been occasions where people have told me that a particular song has helped them with their own lives and not much gets better than that. I know how music has affected my life and I would like to think that my music could do that for others.
Tanya: Do you have anything else that you want our readers to know about you? A favorite quote? A particular anecdote regarding music?
jENNiNGS: I have always said that the difference between and artist and any other person is their fearless and relentless willingness to expose their quirks, oddities, secrets, and passions for all of the world to see and hear. I strive to do just that. I want people to know me personally after every song.
If you want to hear more from this AMAZING talent, please visit the following links:
Her music is available through the following sites:
For press & booking, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
To catch an upcoming jENNiNGS’ show in your area, go to http://jennings-music.com/shows/
Until Next Time…….