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Interview: Jenn Bostic, Singer

01 May 2015

'I pray that my music brings people strength and hope during the challenging moments in life'

When writing songs, I try to focus on writing a great song that stands alone, regardless of production and instrumentation. Stylistically, I gravitate toward the emotive pop-singer-and-songwriter genre. I play both piano and guitar, and write very different songs on each.

Life is the inspiration: anything that makes my heart beat faster and stirs my compassion. I draw from experiences I face personally, as well as stories I hear, or films I see. Most of the songs that are personal to me are the most honest in their lyrics, and tend to be my favourites. The more I discover about this beautiful life, the more I have to write about.

My new album is called Faithful, and is set to be released on 1 June. I've never been more excited to share a project with the world.

With the release of my previous album, Jealous, I was blessed with some amazing opportunities, and had the chance to learn and grow as a person and an artist. The song "Jealous of the Angels" brought so much healing for me personally, and I was able to connect with fans on such a personal level. The entire process opened my heart and enhanced my desire to write songs that bring people strength, encouragement, and hope. I think my co-writers and I have done that with this new album, and I'm excited to see the way God chooses to use it.

I feel blessed for the amazing opportunities I've had over the past few years. It's humbling to know that people are connecting with the music. I pray that people are encouraged and inspired by the music, that it brings them strength and hope during the challenging moments in life.

I feel incredibly blessed to be a full-time musician. Performing, song-writing, and recording have been paying my bills for the past five years. I have a passion for teaching and encouraging others to chase their dreams, and I've conducted song-writing workshops at various schools throughout the United States. It makes my heart so happy to see students get excited about creating and expressing themselves musically.

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My family relocated to Waconia, Minnesota, however, by the time I was two years of age, and I lived in that area until I was 18.

I loved my experience growing up in small-town Minnesota, and I think it's a big part of who I am. I travel there a few times a year to perform and visit family. My husband and I lived down the street from each other growing up, and while my family has since moved to other parts of the US, his family is still back in Minnesota.

I was involved in every musical offering our school had: show choir, musical theatre, concert choir, band, etc. I had my first experiences in a recording studio at 16 for a Blues Americana roots band called Travelled Ground. I learned so much through performing with them at different venues around the area, and singing on all four of their albums. I still perform with them when I'm back in Minnesota. They gave me countless opportunities to perform and grow as an artist. I would cover artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Bill Withers, and Janis Joplin, which taught me to sing with emotion.

I love my family so much. My mom is my best friend and biggest cheerleader. Jeff is a protective big brother with a heart of gold. My mother has always encouraged my brother and me to follow our dreams. Although Jeff lives in Colorado, and I live in Tennessee, we have had many opportunities to perform together, which truly brings us all so much joy. We've been through a lot together, but in some ways that's only brought us closer.

My dad was an incredible man, full of so much faith, life, and love. He encouraged us to flourish musically, and I have so many beautiful memories of the four of us sitting around dad's guitar or the piano, singing together. He was a businessman who always wanted to write songs and play music when he retired. He never got that chance.

It was heartbreaking to lose him when I was ten. Quite honestly, I was confused and angry at God for taking my hero away. Through that grieving process I turned to song-writing, and started to express myself that way.

Watching my mum raise my brother and me after losing our father, the love of her life, with so much grace, had a huge impact on me. Her encouragement, love, and strength are things that I truly admire. And I've had some amazing mentors, friends, teachers, and pastors who have helped shape me into the person I've become, and I'm so grateful for the wisdom they've shared.

I've known about God my entire life. I grew up in a Christian home, going to church on Sundays, and singing in the church choirs. When I was 15, I attended a Christian youth event called Acquire the Fire in Minneapolis, and it truly changed my life. I experienced God in a way I never had before, and I committed my life to him right then and there. His presence was so strong it moved me to uncontrollable happy tears. I felt an unexplainable peace and love.

I have seen God move in some really amazing ways over the past few years. Through "Jealous of the Angels", I saw the worst day of my life turn into a song that not only helped me to comfort and heal, but has also touched people around the world. I'm humbled by the opportunities I've been given, watching the song go to number one in the UK, performing it at the Grand Ole Opry, but, most importantly, the conversations I've had with people who have found comfort, hope, and healing in this song, and others.

I attend an amazing church in Nashville where I've been leading worship, and have really found a beautiful community of people to help me grow in my faith.

Yes, I believe God has blessed me with the gifts to write and perform music, and that all the songs in my catalogue have been given to me by him. I believe he can open doors no man can shut, and that he has a unique and perfect plan for my life. While some days it's hard to trust in that, at my core it is what I believe, and I know that it's my purpose to write and create music, and my mission to share it with the world.

I love travelling. Each place has something so beautiful and unique to it that I'm reluctant to pick a favourite. Over the past few years I've had the chance to travel to the United Kingdom a great deal, which has always been a dream of mine, and this June I will be spending a month touring Germany, which I am really looking forward to.

I'd like to continue touring new areas, sharing the music with new people and collaborating with musicians and artists. I love what I do, and am grateful that I get to wake up and make music every day. There are some really beautiful venues in this world that I've dreamt of performing in, including the Royal Albert Hall in London, and Carnegie Hall in New York.

I'm not sure if it's my favourite sound, but silence is reassuring. There's something about quiet time in prayer and stillness, especially in the morning, which centres me. It helps me to focus on my blessings and silence any negativity I might be struggling with.

I'm not sure if it was truly anger, shock, or heartbreak. But after reading about the Kenya attack, I was very shaken up.

There are so many things that bring me great joy in this life. I love performing and creating music, I love spending time with the people I love most, and I absolutely love leading worship. All of these things fill my heart.

I do pray. I pray prayers of gratefulness for this wonderful life. I pray that God will use the songs he's given me to touch the hearts of hurting people around the world. I pray for protection and covering over myself and for my loved ones. I pray for this world, and that peace would fall upon it. I pray that God would guide me along the path he has set out for me, and I pray for forgiveness for the times I fall short.

In this moment, I wish I could have a few hours alone with my dad, if I found myself locked in a church. I feel like I lost so much time with him. He's been gone for a little over 19 years now, and I was so young when we lost him. I would love to have a conversation about life, music, love, and faith with him, now that I'm an adult.

Jenn Bostic was talking to Terence Handley MacMath.
www.jennbostic.com 

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