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Check Out Jenna Nation’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenna Nation.

Hi Jenna, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Music has always been a large part of my life. I come from a musical family so music was always playing in the car or house and we would sing together or play musical instruments. Singing is a part of my identity because I always remember doing it and loving it. My family realized that I could sing when I was about two years old. I started taking piano lessons at a very young age and then shortly after that started singing lessons. I was very fortunate to have some amazing music teachers over the years. I began my music career doing competitions in various styles from musical theatre, pop and classical. From there I was scouted for my first professional gig at the age of 9. I was asked to sing on Parliament Hill for the Canada Day celebrations. My career seemed to snowball from there where I was getting regular gigs at local music venues, government functions and music festivals. I then seemed to take an interest in jazz music and recorded two jazz albums as a teenager.

I knew that music was what I wanted to do so I was fortunate enough to attend my dream school, Berklee College of Music in Boston. There I really began to develop my sound and style as an artist and made some great connections. This is also where I began to focus more on my songwriting. After school, I was invited down to Music World Entertainment in Houston, Texas (Matthew Knowles’ music label and recording studio) where I wrote and recorded my first original album (R&B /Pop). I continued to travel to write and record with various producers, songwriters and musicians all over the world and completed a second original album and am now working on my third. I have been based now in Toronto for the last 8 years and I perform regularly in and around the Toronto area as well as internationally. I have been fortunate to work with some incredible producers and musicians like Boi1da, Tommy Brown, Victoria Monet, Roger Ryan, etc.. performed at major venues and festivals like the Toronto, Ottawa and Beaches International Jazz Festivals, MIDEM, New Skool Rules, Live Nation HQ, etc.. and opened for artists like Shawn Mendes, Lauv, Chromeo and Snarky Puppy.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
When you love something you continue to do it and pursue it no matter the struggles but the music industry is definitely not easy. There is no right way to do things or a road map of how to be a successful musician or artist. There are many people as well who may take advantage of your talents i.e. stealing your music and compositions claiming it’s their own; promise you the world and tell you what you want to hear only to take your money, and the music industry is not only about talent but these days about social media, numbers and followers which at times can be frustrating. No one can teach you this so a lot of it comes from experience and lots of succeeding and failing over the years. You have to know the business inside and out. You also can’t be afraid to fail and hear the word ‘no’ because you will hear that a lot more than yes. Some days it’s tough but you have to find the strength to keep going.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am an R&B singer and songwriter. I have an extensive background in classical, jazz and various styles of music and you can hear those influences in the music that I do. I also really love 90s R&B and soul music so that also tends to influence my writing and vocal stylings. I look up to some of the older great artists like Ella Fitzgerald. Sarah Vaughan, Judy Garland, even Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson whose music will live on for many many years. My goal with my music is to not only want to be able to reach many people and connect with others through my music but to have music that is timeless like these great artists. I think where I feel the most comfortable or feel the best is when I am on stage. Being able to share and tell my story through music or my interpretations of songs that everyone knows, having people come together, singing along to the words is the best feeling. I feel that I am most known for how deeply I feel or am in the moment when I sing and how I can connect with people when I sing. I sing with my whole being and it is my hope that others feel that too.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
It’s difficult to pick just one lesson because there have been many invaluable moments but I think one of the biggest ones is to not give up. I know this might sound cliche but there will always be days we doubt ourselves, we don’t feel like we are good enough and we get stuck. It’s ok to feel that way but then find a way to make it happen for yourself. You can’t rely on anyone else to do that for you. You have to find the strength to pick yourself up, be resourceful and make it happen.

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