American blues, jazz, and roots singer-songwriter Jennifer Porter recently talked to ai love music via email about her musical history, influence, and the production behind her newest album Sun Come And Shine. With a striking vocal tones that is filled with such harmony, Jennifer Porter invites listeners to join her with her multi-genre, multicolor musicality. With poignant narrative and exquisite music, you don’t want to miss Jennifer Porter’s newest album.
Continue to read to find out what is the main message featured Jennifer Porter’s Sun Come And Shine. and how was the production behind the album like. Also make sure to listen to Jennifer Porter’s newest album below and let me know what you think in the comments!
Could you please introduce yourself to those who don’t know you?
Sure! My name is Jennifer Porter. I’m a Singer-Songwriter, and a Blues, Jazz, and Roots musician. Over the years, I’ve sung multiple styles of music including, Jazz, Blues, Country, and Opera. I’ve sung with Classical orchestras and various Jazz groups including The World-Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra. I’ve played both Classical piano and Blues piano.
Alongside my music career, I’ve had a parallel career as an actor and have performed over 85 stage roles and multiple film roles. I’ve written two screenplays and have composed and performed the film scores for three films. I’m a member of The Recording Academy (formerly The National Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences), Actor’s Equity Association, and SAG/AFTRA.
I have a second-degree black belt in TaiJujitsu and advanced training in Jeet Kun Do and Kali-Silat. In my spare time, I like to travel and garden and practice speaking Spanish.
How did you get into music? How has the journey in your musical career been?
When I was five, I saw a woman named Maxie play boogie-woogie piano at one of my grandparents’ wild parties, while her sister Linda sang. I was so excited by what I was hearing, and I knew right then and there that I wanted to do what they were doing. The next day, I picked out by ear what Maxie had been playing. My grandmother had a piano sent to our house and I played and sang every day.
It was the happiest part of the day for me, as it was then when I felt the most right with the world. I was pulled into performing classical music by my music teachers, and I loved it, but I’ve always felt the most like myself when I’m performing Roots music, and so was happy to get back to performing it when I left college.
I’ve been performing music now for four decades! Like everything in life, my musical career has been filled with towering highs where I felt like I could do no wrong, and bottomless lows where I wanted nothing more than to quit. But, like life, most of it has fallen somewhere in between. Sometimes it has been filled with work-a-day drudgery and sometimes with boundless joy, and every now and then, and with an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
What artists and musical genres inspire you and your music?
So many, the list would be quite long, but I will try to narrow it down! I’m inspired by various styles of music, from Opera, Puccini in particular, to Jazz, with an emphasis on Billie Holiday. From old Blues with Bessie Smith and Pinetop Perkins to other New Orleans music featuring Dr. John, The Meters, and Professor Longhair. I’m also inspired by great songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson, and Rufus Wainwright.
How has 2021 been so far?
It’s been busy and rather demanding, but exciting, too. My eighth album, SUN COME AND SHINE, was released in June, and I’m getting ready for a release concert at Saco River Theatre, which I’ve run with my partner Dana Packard for the last 30 years. The concert will coincide with the re-opening of the theater, which has been closed for 18 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be the first time I’ve performed in front of a live audience since the pandemic started. To be honest, I’m feeling a bit nervous after such a long interval!
Let’s talk about your latest album Sun Come And Shine. Is there a theme for this album?
There isn’t a theme in particular, but I most often write about my love for the people in my life and my longing for a place that feels like home. Those themes are ever-present in most of the songs on Sun Come And Shine, with the exception of a song called, “Stop your Talkin’”. That song was written for a very specific person who shall remain nameless!
What inspired you to create the tracks off this album?
As I just mentioned, I most often write about my love for the people in my life, and that is what inspires me, but not consciously. I usually have no idea what inspires my songs. I feel like they write themselves, and I’m just the conduit that some creative force in the universe chooses to use. I know it’s me writing them, but they just kind of come to me, usually while I’m doing something else.
I keep a small digital recorder near me, so I can sing the melody or lyrics into it when they present themselves, and then work on them later. I can often identify the source of inspiration for a particular song but it is a retroactive discovery.
What was the production of the album? What was is your favorite part of the production?
Production of this album was challenging, as it all happened during the pandemic. I was looking for a drummer, and I wanted someone who sounded like Bernard Purdie. My partner said, “well, why not just ask Bernard?” He sent him demos of my music to see if he’d play on one or two songs. I wasn’t really expecting him to say yes, but he called the next day and said he loved my songs and my voice and wanted to play on the whole album.
He also suggested I use his band, and record the basic tracks at his favorite studio, Jankland Recordings in New Jersey. This was at the height of one of the first waves of Covid-19 cases in The U.S. So we thought about it for a day or so, then took a deep breath and traveled to New Jersey from Maine, where we live. Bernard’s band was fantastic.
Steve Jankowsky, who runs the studio, and also played horns on the album and did the fabulous horn arrangements, put safety protocols in place. We were masked the whole time unless we were in our isolation booths. My friend C.J. Chenier recorded his accordion parts remotely in Houston, and Christian McBride and Cindy Cashdollar recorded their respective parts remotely in New York. When it came time to record more of my lead vocals, backing vocals, and additional keyboard parts, which we were doing in Maine, all of the studios here were closed due to a surge in cases.
Jonathan Wyman, who is a great producer in his own right, and who was my recording engineer and mixer for the album, turned a room in our house into a small recording booth which worked perfectly, other than the crows and bluejays, who had to be chased away now and then when they got it into their heads that they’d sound great on the album!
Mixing was also a challenge, as cases were surging here again and I couldn’t work in the same room as Jonathan. He came to the rescue once more, and using multiple computers I was able to communicate with him via Facetime, and see and hear the mix coming from his home studio in real-time from our living room. It felt strange not to be working physically side-by-side, but I got used to it after a while, and it went very well. We used similar technology when doing the mastering with Grammy-winning engineer, Adam Ayan.
I think my favorite part of the production was recording some of my vocals at the same time as guitar great, George Naha. We worked off each other very well. I felt like we were on the same musical wavelength, inspiring each other with our improvisations.
What would you like listeners to listen for in Sun Come And Shine?
Hmm. I’m not really sure I can answer that question. : ) I would simply like listeners to experience it in their own unique ways. I always really enjoy hearing what jumps out to different people when they listen to my music, whether it be their interpretation of the lyrics, or a particular instrumental lick or a groove, or the vocal on a particular song. I also love hearing people singing along with my songs. It makes me happy to see the music inspiring them to join in.
Any future plans?
My team is currently setting up a tour in Northern Europe for January/February of 2022. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that new Covid variants won’t force us to cancel, as we had to in the summer of 2020. I can’t wait to get on the road with my fellow musicians!
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