Friday, April 12, 2013

Spotlight on Music: Jeni Carr


Interview by JccKeith



“Country singer/songwriter Jeni Carr has a HOT new fire, and the flames are quickly spreading!  Jeni’s music has reached a new level and her sultry, soulful sounds are reaching into the hearts of people everywhere.  With real words about life and a ‘truth be known’ attitude, her fiery smile becomes contagious and her ‘listen to me’ vocals seem to warm you from the inside out.” – Jeni Carr’s website


Talented singer and songwriter Jeni Carr is making a scene with her amazing stage presence.  This song, Don’t Throw That Dog A Bone, is off her self titled debut album. 

She has performed this and other songs for the Kentucky Derby Festival events, WHAS Crusade for Children events as well as for big name companies like Churchill Downs, Kroger, Harley Davidson of Louisville and The Kentucky State Fair.  Jeni has opened for some of country music’s biggest stars including Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, George Jones, Brad Paisley, Neil McCoy, Reba McIntire, Diamond Rio and Rodney Atkins to name a few.


You can catch up with Jeni and learn more about her accomplishments and upcoming tour information at her website www.JeniCarr.com or on her facebook page www.facebook.com/JeniCarrMusic.  I was lucky enough to interview Jeni to ask her a few questions and bring you more information on this incredible performer.

I hope that sounded professional.  I worked hard at crafting those couple of lines.  Truth is, I was so nervous about this interview I had to write out my questions in advance and in between questions, put the words

…Let her answer

I have this habit of rambling on when I’m nervous so I had to give myself a hint to shut up and let her talk.  Jeni was great though and answered my questions despite a brief interruption, my frequent apologies for being new at this and a little bit of bumbling on my part with the order of the questions.

[I figured I’d start out with a question most interviews start out on, the whole how did this become your life?]


I read on your website that you have been involved in the music industry for more than 19 years.  How did you first get into the music business? 

On a dare.  A friend in school dared me to join concert choir and I did.  I eventually earned a solo and really enjoyed it.  My aunt owned a place where I would go and sing Karaoke growing up as well.  She knew a guy in a band and it just so happened they were looking for a new singer.  I auditioned and they liked me and I ended up playing with Pure South for 16 years.

[We won't get into the dares I did in high school]

Did you always want to be a musician?

No.  I wanted to be a professional gymnast.  I was in gymnastics all throughout my school years.  I wanted to go to the Olympics.  I ended up a cheerleader at UofL.

As a musician now, do you write all your own songs?

Most of them.  At clubs we do a lot of cover songs because those are what people are most familiar with but at our bigger shows and at acoustic performances most of the songs I perform are ones I wrote.  On our new CD only one of the songs was not written by me.

[At this point in the interview, the Empire called.  Yeah that’s right, the Empire called me up.  My phone has a ringtone specifically for telelmarketers.  It is the Imperial March.  I was recording the interview with my cell phone so not only did the Imperial March and Darth Vader saying, “The Dark side is calling” interrupt my call and reveal my nerdiness but it cut off the recording.

Not having any idea how to turn off the incoming call without disconnecting the recording and not knowing that the incoming call had in fact already disconnected the recording – I had to get up off the couch, my favorite spot on Earth it seems these days – and leave the room to get away from the loud Imperial March. 

When I came back after they left a message and my phone signaled this with the charismatic shout, “Woohoo, text message!” I realized the recording had to be started over. Stupid Empire.  This disrupted my order of questions, so I came back to the list with a few more apologies.]


Where do you get the inspiration for your songs?

Everywhere.  I have the strangest methods.  It could be a word or a note that sticks with me. It could be something I hear that I think sounds neat.

[Hmmm…. Strange methods… I completely relate to that.  Anyone who read some of my prior posts knows I’ve had whole universes come to me from looking at a bar of Irish Spring.  Driving on interstates staring at the road brings whole posts to mind.  Speaking of posts, let’s not forget the pictures of the top of the post in my backyard… but back to the interview.  I was trying to stay on track.]


I know you perform both big shows and smaller acoustic shows.  Which type of performance do you like best?

Those are two totally different beasts.  I couldn’t live without the big shows but I also love acoustic shows.  I feel like I can communicate with people one on one [in acoustic shows].  Our bass player is a police officer so he’s only available every other week so I try to fill in the times between performances with the band [Twang Town] with solos.  They’re just two totally separate things.

[I can also relate to this although I’ve never performed a music show of any kind in front of a crowd of cheering and adoring fans.  I’ve never performed in front of a crowd at all except maybe for 4-H talent shows in grade school.  My fan club right now consists of a dog, a cat and three rats.  But someday, maybe someday I’ll write in front of huge crowds of people.  Probably not.  I don’t think people would pay money to watch me sit on my couch and write while watching Stargate or Star Wars.

I recall, for whatever reason mentioning to her my dog and cat companions and thinking, why am I telling people my dog watches me write and is my biggest fan?  I seriously need better interview skills if this is what I’m chatting about in between questions.]


What is your favorite song on the album?  Why?

The last song on the album is the first song I ever wrote.  It’s about domestic violence.  It is one we’ve performed a lot and at big rallies to raise awareness.  We’re doing a raffle right now to benefit the Center for Women and Families and victims of domestic violence.



A portion of the proceeds from this raffle will be donated to the Center for Women and Families
.

Who are your favorite musicians?

I love traditional country music that tells a story.  I love Elvis, Patsy Cline and Conway Twitty.


Finally, last question, What suggestions could you offer to others looking to get into the music business?

Protect yourself.  As much as people say it, it's true.  It is a cutthroat industry.  So protect yourself.  Don't change for someone else. 



I would like to thank Jeni Carr for taking the time for an interview and for being the first musician to be featured on Bite My Book's new music spotlight.  I would also like to thank her for her patience with my rambling comments and awkwardness.  I couldn't imagine interviewing anyone nicer.

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