Q&A with Singer Jenn Bostic
Can you tell our readers about your background?
I grew up in small-town Minnesota and have been singing for as long as I can remember. Music was a part of our family, something we did together. My dad was unfortunately killed in a car accident when I was ten years old, and songwriting became the therapy that got me through that traumatic experience. I threw myself into music, went off to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and shortly after moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where I live now.
I recorded my first album in 2009, and was told my music industry executives that I was “Too pop for country and too country for pop.” It was during the writing and recording of my sophomore album, Jealous, that I truly tapped into the depths of my soul and with co-writers, Zach Runquist and Jimmy Fortune, penned the song that changed my life, “Jealous of the Angels.” This song is a deeply personal tribute to my father, and through a passionate fan across the pond, it was played on Smooth Radio, BBC Radio 2, I performed it on BBC Breakfast, and it went #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart in the UK. That song brought me to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, which was a dream come true, but more importantly, it allowed me to heal and connect with fans in a way I never realized my music would allow. I strive to write from the bottom of my heart and bring messages of hope and encouragement into the world.
What inspired you to start your music career?
I do think it had a lot to do with the introduction of music at an early age and the challenges that I have faced.
Where do you call home?
How did you start your career? What were the first steps you took?
I studied Music Education at Berklee College of Music in Boston because I love working with kids and I knew how powerful expressing myself through music had been for me. I enjoyed the program and followed through with my student teaching, but upon graduation, I just knew in my heart that if I didn’t step out and pursue a life as a performing and recording artist I would always regret it. I then moved to Nashville and recorded my first album.
I had some amazing friends and mentors along the way to guide me. When I finished the album I wanted to go out tour but didn’t have an agent or the first clue about getting one. I picked up the phone and started asked coffee shops if I could perform in their venues, sometimes just for tips. Before I knew it, I had a three-week long tour with a friend of mine booked and it was still one of the best, most educational experiences of my life.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your brand?
Social media is an incredible tool. Since I have fans of the music around the world, I think it’s really important to stay connected. Consistent posting, live online performances, and email updates have been great resources. I am constantly touring, and that in-person connection is absolutely the most powerful.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
Losing my dad was the biggest challenge my family and I have ever had to face. It was so sudden that it took an incredibly long time to process and find a way to truly grieve. I’m so grateful that music allows me that opportunity.
Performing “Jealous of the Angels,” did not come easy at first. I hadn’t talked about losing my dad much before the song was written, but performing it live almost forced me into sharing my vulnerable story over a microphone. However, realizing that the worst day of my life had somehow channeled into a song that could bring hope and comfort to grieving hearts around the world, made every painful moment of performing that song worth it.
How do you stay focused?
Self-care is so important. I have learned over the years that I need to take time for myself to rejuvenate. I am the most effective performer when I am at my best. I try to eat healthily and exercise out on the road, and although it’s difficult I really try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
There’s a place for all the art that’s being created. I think what sets me apart is that my story isn’t the same as anyone else’s. The more honestly and authentically I share my story through the songs I write, the more unique my brand and my music becomes. While the general ideas and concepts of the songs will resonate with many, the specific lyrical moments and styles are my own.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your fanbase?
Understanding what I do well. I have been able to best connect with an audience through my honesty and vulnerability. Therefore, when I’m writing a new song, my audience has given me the freedom to be raw, emotional and real. I have stopped trying to think about what the radio wants to hear and I write music that inspires and encourages me. That authenticity comes through in the songs and I truly believe it pulls people to a connection.
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new musicians, or working women in general?
Stay true to yourself and stand firm for what you believe in. Your work matters and you are strong enough to achieve the success you desire.
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
I love the “Jesus Calling” app. It’s a daily dose of faithful encouragement that sets the tone for my day. No matter what background you come from, the author’s writing is full of love and hope. The perfect way to start any morning.
What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
There’s an app called “Thank You Pro” that I have just started using. This app allows you to design and mail a physical card straight from your phone, using personal photographs and signatures. I believe little personal touches can mean so much. When I perform at an event, sending a little note of thanks with a personalized photo on the cover spreads a little extra appreciation.
Who is your role model? Why?
My mom. She is the strongest woman I have ever known. She lost her husband, and gracefully raised two children on her own. She was a professional model, make-up artist, flight attendant and pageant winner. She is a true dream chaser and continues to be. She now performs in community theater productions in Sarasota, Florida, where she lives.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
I am so excited to be releasing my brand new album “Revival,” today on Amazon. It is my favorite album I have ever recorded and pulls from my influences of blues, soul, pop, gospel, and country. I toured the album through the UK during, as well as Mexico and the United States throughout the summer. I truly hope this album encourages and empowers people to believe they can overcome any obstacle.
How can our readers connect with you?
All of my contact information and music is available on my website at www.jennbostic.com, and I am personally active on all my social networks as well. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me!