John Moher catches up with exciting new talent Jennifer Austin on the eve of her debut album’s release.
How enjoyable has it been making the album? “It’s been a massive journey — probably one of the biggest journeys, and chapters, in my life! It’s full on but I love it.”
Has the album exceeded your expectations? “I’m blown away by how it’s all come together with the help of my producer and writer, and the people supporting me on the album.”
Do you think you have challenged yourself with this project? “Yes! Definitely; it’s tested my abilities in terms of finding myself within my music and having the emotion come through. Being a trained singer is quite challenging as you’re always trained on trying to sound a certain way, so for me it’s about letting go of that and staying me.”
So what’s your microphone technique like? “It’s my best friend now. I learned a lot on how to be more mic conscious and how to use the mic to the best of your ability — the mic is like a camera focused right on your voice, and it’s up close and personal — and that’s something that really scares people — but it can really enhance your story and you get to tell an intimate story, which I find really cool.”
“It’s been a massive journey — probably one of the biggest journeys, and chapters, in my life! It’s full on but I love it.”
Did you use Melodyne on your vocals? “No, I did not actually; in this industry, I think that’s something most people do use and it’s hard to know if they have. So no, I have not; it’s almost like Photoshop is for photos but I’m just going to be real and, if real is imperfect, then that’s me and I think that’s what we need. So it’s me; I’m not hiding.”
So what are the stories behind some of the songs on the new album? “’Take Me With You’ is about being far away from your loved one and you know that you can’t be away from them for any longer. It’s about that struggle of being away from someone you love and then coming together and being together. It’s based on personal experience and I think it’s the most personal and vulnerable song on the album.”
“’Butterfly’ is about a woman being the colour in a man’s world that might only be black and white: being that freedom, that colour, and bringing someone to life. I think when you’re in love with someone and you have that special bond or connection, that’s what it feels like.”
How have you found working and collaborating with other people? “This album has become a bigger journey and also a bigger entity in itself and explaining your vision to somebody or trying to take what’s in here (your heart) and put it out in your voice and create a world is really challenging for me. But I’ve had amazing people to help me. So it’s really cool to see it transform from just my vocals or me playing some chords — and seeing it become this whole new world.”
Thoughts on mPHATic as a producer? “He really pushes me to bring out that vision and the meaning of the song; he has been a massive support and guidance and has been amazing.”
How has creating this album changed you? “I don’t think it has changed me per se; it’s made me stronger in knowing what I want for myself and who I am and what I stand for. And I think that’s really important because you can lose who you are and, if you don’t know who you are, then someone else will make you who you are. But I think as long as you stay true to yourself and go with that then that will show in your music and it’s just trying to not be somebody else and saying ‘this is me, I hope you like it’.”
Jennifer’s album “Take Me With You” can be preordered on iTunes now and will be released on CD on 19 June.
Words: John Moher