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Serving Up The Blues

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Parent Category: Entertainment

 

 

 

jennifermarriott1Put on your favorite flapper wear, set your finger waves off with an ornamental headband and paint your lips siren red ‘cause you are going back to the “Roaring Twenties” to an infamous Chicago speakeasy with Jennifer Marriott on stage belting out the Blues.

Imagine you have just entered a dimly lit club with your lady adorned in rich satin on your arm.  The two of you make your way over to an exclusive corner booth close to the dance floor.  The soft glow of a candle burning low illuminates her face in amber light.  Surrounded by the delightful lilt of the piano, the grinding groove of the guitars and Jennifer’s rich velvety purring notes about ‘Pleasure’ engulfing you in the wicked witchcraft that is the Blues. A truly unforgettable experience, you are forever changed.

Even if you have never listened to the Blues before, you will find yourself captivated by the sultry, smokin’ tones falling from Jennifer’s lips as they cast their spell making you sway and swoon your night away!

“Raised on a farm where listening to music and riding horses” were primary pass times; Jennifer “began life with a love of music”.  “London is rich in music history and was famous for open mike night entertainment and a gathering for musicians like Gordon Lightfoot while on the road”.

“Growing up in a musical community in London, Ontario, Canada” Jennifer Marriott was “exposed to many diverse genre of music from all different eras.  The youngest of seven children with the eldest being 12 years” her senior, Jennifer draws her influences from many musical styling’s and artists considering it a collaboration of them all.

“Playing the alto saxophone in High School fulfilled a desire to be the only female sax player” while fueling her passion for music.  Experimenting with reading music rather than simply hearing and playing music also provided knowledge and progression as a musician.  Learning to “seriously play the guitar at 18” enabled Jennifer to accompany herself and gain some independence from “male band members” who “always thought of her as a girlfriend” and began her path to the stage. 

Performing before “an audience of 40 or more musicians” was Jennifer’s first live experience.  Having an “older brother who organized a jam night” provided the avenue for an introduction to playing and singing live.  Wanting only to accomplish “getting through a song both singing and playing without stopping” launched Jennifer into a natural evolution of her musical talents.

“Playing and singing simultaneously is difficult” to accomplish.  “Figuring out the compromise” between the 2 tasks, “deciding which will suffer” through the division of your attention in order to have the whole production come off well is challenging. Accomplishing such a task with a “hand-me-down Yamaha guitar that was used as a boat oar at one point” was out of the question! 

Happy with the final results of her jam night debut in spite of a slick pair of jeans, her “older brother’s borrowed guitar hanging  from an oversized strap and its continual efforts to slide away to the ground”, Jennifer “made it through her 3 songs without stopping or breaking her brother’s guitar”!

Thoroughly involved in being an artist now, Jennifer began taking on gigs in a supportive environment of local taverns.  “Owners loved promoting independent and original music”.  Scheduled to “open one night at Leadbellies for a band coming in” from the states, Jennifer came face to face with her future.  “Avoiding the usual delay at customs, the band arrived early, eliminating the need for an opening act”.  Jennifer’s “job was stolen by Pete” Marriott’s group.  Such a turn of events left Jennifer without a job so she “made Pete marry” her instead!  That is an interesting way of meeting your husband!

Discovering an eclectic “group of individuals to play with” in her “current band Odd Sheep Out has been wonderful”.   While “similar to her first band in High School” in that Jennifer is” the only female among multiple guys’, the “contrasts between now and then include playing for large audiences versus community center parties around holidays and all members playing their instruments really well”. 

Possessing individual “similarities as a collection of 5th wheels all sharing an enthusiasm for music, Odd Sheep Out is much more, they are like a family”.  This group is mutually devoted to the music they create and you can hear the intense pleasure they derive from the creation of their music in every track.  Making music should always be done in such a pleasant manner! 

“Everybody totally digs the music and what each member is playing.  We are equally matched in enthusiasm; there are no egos, drama, diva, nor temper tantrums.  Being the only female with a group of guys is not a problem because they are all equally great players who connect, producing energy on stage and creating together”.

Curious about the type of music performed people will ask the question, “what kind of music do you play?”  Jennifer always responds, “stay for 15 minutes and you will hear something you like.  We are doing what we like and we have a story to share with our fans that we think they will like.  We call our technique genre bending.  Our music is a combination of blues, folk, and rock which appeals to a broad and diverse range of listeners”.

Being “paid to set up and tear down gear is the labor, what we do in between is all fun”!  “Music is a living breathing thing that is actually composed every single time you play it and we don’t believe in recording or mixing the life out of it.  What we record and what we perform is our sound, there is no distinction between live and recorded because we record in a live manner.  This is our personal preference and as long as the fans are giving to us and we are feeding them that makes it all worthwhile”!

Characterizing herself as a “geeky, hippy, musician chick”, Jennifer Marriott has consistently been on the outer fringe. “Competing in equestrian events throughout her youth left little time for much social interaction”.  A “bookworm, who loves nothing better than to tear something apart just to turn right around and reassemble it”, Jennifer now puts that gift to use in “web design and sound set up”.  Certainly you can see the creative ingenuity in that!

Preferring “web design because of its close association with music”, Jennifer hones her skills “without any formal computer programming education’ in “another art form”utilizing “composition”.  Everything she does “involves a journey toward better musicianship in one form or another”.

Majoring in “journalism” in college, Jennifer “developed a new songwriting perspective.  Whether you “write from an interior or exterior perspective is entirely up to you and what you want to say to your audience”.  Jennifer also discovered “increased observance, developing a better understanding of what people are really saying when they speak”.

Emerging from such reclusive tendencies only for music, Jennifer puts all she has into every performance, demonstrating creative genius as well as musical prowess.  Gifted with a musical ear, possessing an incredible soul, and well grounded philosophies makes Jennifer Marriott an entertaining joy to be around!

“Inspired by artists who write music about life and its journey”, Jennifer prefers “Cheryl Wheeler’s75 Septembers’ and ‘Ain’t Life a Brook’ by Ferron from her Shadow’s On a Dime album for pleasure and creative drive”.

Captivated by their songwriting skills, Jennifer selects “Shawn Colvin and James Taylor, for their amazing ability to turn a phrase and Etta James for the experience”. Impressed by “their mastery and command of song, stage, and the moment” Jennifer would “like to duet with Joe Cocker and Bonnie Raitt.  Both individuals are honest and sing from the heart in every performance”.

Drawing on each of her influences has made Jennifer the amazingly talented artist she is today.  “Totally supported by her family”, albeit “from a distance in her native Canada, her parents financed the production of Jennifer’s first CD in 1994”, launching their daughters star into her fans hands!  Nothing more to say than, thanks Mom and Dad for sharing Jennifer Marriott with the world!

Enjoying life outside of music through “cooking”, Jennifer “loves anything with a sauce”.  Coming by it naturally, influenced by her “father’s love of cooking and his collection of leather bound gourmet cook books”, Jennifer made her “first sauce at age 5/6.  Preparing Eggs Benedict for 9”, Jennifer “made scratch Hollandaise successfully” and has been saucing up her world ever since!

Rounding out her passions Jennifer has “been involved the past 3 years in an Open Source Content Management project utilizing her web programming skills”.  You can check out the fruits of her collaborative labors at www.joomla.org.

Believing that “early detection of cancer” is paramount has led Jennifer to the “Canary Foundation and its efforts to find cancer”. Working “benefit events for Cancer Sucks” has been a priority fueled by a passion to further aid research efforts. Participating in the “Florida Songster Series for ACT to help women and children in need” and promoting the “Blues in Schools programs” are also endeavors touching Jennifer’s heart.

Peculiar artist tendencies, Jennifer has only one, and it involves her compulsion to be “early to all of Odd Sheep’s gigs”.  Jennifer “prefers to have 30 minutes after we unload and set up to sit and check over all of the sound equipment”, she “hates pressure”!  The “band members try to tolerate” the tendency and it “has always been this way”, so you know it is not going to change now.  Considering the fact that Jennifer is the sound technician, I think that they are getting off easy and I am quite certain they know this!

Earning the right for eccentricity is about “memorable performances like the Fort Myers Beach, FL concert on the pier in 2001.  Performing before over 10,000 fans” set the stage for the ‘Wow’ moment.  “When the first song began and Jennifer witnessed the whole crowd bouncing to the rhythm” the event was sealed historically.  “To know that you have that kind of effect on people is really powerful”.  This is how an entertainer’s life is sustained!

Judging that “when you perform from the heart and you’re honest about what you are giving, audiences are really quite wonderful”! Jennifer “enjoys the chance to experience everything the crowd has to give”. Now she would “like to tour Europe during the Blues and Roots Festival broadening her fan base with a group of people that have a different perspective and a greater appreciation of music”.

“Songwriters use art to express themselves, telling a story they want to share from their particular platform”.  Jennifer “tries to do the best she can, living everyday with compassion, empathy, understanding and forgiveness”.  Choosing to “live life in love, laughter, and passion” Jennifer is an inspiration for any female to follow. 

Advising fellow female artist’s in survival of the “Good Ole Boys Club” is something Jennifer desires to do.  In music you can often suffer the stereotypical notions that women cannot carry equipment, or set up sound rigs, such discrimination will continually be there and it is every woman’s job to endure it or dispel it. 

“Learn to command respect and in some cases demand respect or you’re up for heart break”.  The ideal woman must be “happy, content in her own skin, unafraid of their own style and know they’re beautiful just the way they are”!  In the music industry there will always be somebody to tell you who you are and you need to know that for yourself before you lose your individuality and become part of the “cookie cutter production” line of artists.

Determinedly at peace with her surroundings and everything in it, Jennifer is inclined to “Indie music because there is more control and limitless possibilities.  Corporate music contracts don’t last forever and you need to have a good sense of the business that is music or hire a manager who does”. 

Advising future artists to have radar for the potential pitfalls that can come their way in the business, “never sign a contract until a lawyer examines it.  Never pay up front for support, development, or endorsement”.  People should recognize your talent and “wait for” the inevitable “percentage” returns of the future.

Avoid “fabrication”, there are already too many people out there making it an issue.  “People who book themselves as live and sing to a karaoke box for 3 hours” are a dime a dozen and that is “not real live performance”, nor is it “true talent of an original artist”.  “Technology has provided many people with musical opportunities and I am sure that their parents are very happy for them, but that is not a true dedicated musician.”

Realistically, music “is what it is and it will always be evolving no matter what”.  Change is inevitable.  For too long too “few have been in control of the industry”.  The domination of “3 companies and their ownership of so many radio stations have caused the evolution of more independent radio stations about 300”.  “The Largesse made a mistake by not being more supportive of Indie artists and it is hurting them” presently.

Artists now have “NPR and satellite alternatives to get their music out to the fans.  Home office veto’s of local artist air time” have led to an increased presence of Indie artists on You Tube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and ourstage.com.  “Now artists have many other” avenues to travel “promoting themselves” and their abilities for a smaller investment than before.  “Artists no longer depend on corporate music labels.”

Avoid concern over piracy, “put yourself out there and don’t worry about the trolls.  You know you have arrived when someone thought you were important enough to pirate and share”!  This “sharing is nothing new, we have all swapped cassettes” or records in the past we just have different media forms to share now. Remember, you make your music special and no other can duplicate your originality.

“Mentored” initially by her “elder brother” Jennifer was “inspired by Sandra Wright to put herself out there” fully and overcome “mousey” tendencies of youth.  Now “mentored by” her “husband as a guitarist” and a singer, Jennifer has valuable male influences and would “choose Madonna” for a female influence to round out her repertoire of mentors.  “Madonna has reinvented herself a million times over and each time successfully”, who better to learn from than her? 

Looking forward to goals in music, Jennifer “would like to win a Juno as well as a Grammy.    The Juno is the Canadian equivalent”, which provides a means to bask in accomplishment and recognition from her birthplace as well as her current home in Oklahoma.  “Any award would be nice” to receive and certainly appreciated by this humble artist.  Otherwise Jennifer’s only desire is “to keep creating music the world wants to listen to”. 

“Blues is an art form that is being lost.  Very few women even attempt Blues and it would be nice to see that change”.  If you are interested in being a Blues vocalist, Jennifer recommends you “attend the closest university receiving professional lessons to learn how to hold your mouth and throat to avoid damaging your vocal chords.  Learning techniques of standing and breathing properly are basic” but definite necessities for every Blues artist’s success and longevity.

Regardless of your interests, “involve yourself with things you are passionate about, because life is all about feeding your passions”.  “Happiness” is fleeting otherwise and “you must create it for yourself”. 

Observing an individual like Jennifer, in harmony with her environment and at peace in her life is awe inspiring and a total pleasure.  No matter where your music leads you, I am sure that people are unmistakably affected by your aura and your passion for life.  Whether you realize it or not you are already well accomplished in life because of your attitude exemplifying your infectious love of life.

May God bless you and your team throughout all of your musical pursuits as you bless those in your audience again and again.  Thank you for your generous time and dedication to music, may you never tire of the gifts you share with fans.

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jerry@stardomemagazine.com