Hanging out on the porch swing just picking on that old mandolin. Thinking about what once was love, now is lost. Her mandolin and a porch swing can sometimes be the best kind of medicine to get over a broken heart. Check out what Jenny Leigh has to say during our interview.
How long have you been singing?
I’ve been singing ever since I can remember. I was always involved in school plays and remember setting up an annual Christmas recital for my family as a kid. I would sing and play piano while making my siblings sing, dance, and dress up as angels or Christmas trees. Not sure if they’ll ever forgive me for that..
Which instruments do you play?
I play a little acoustic guitar, but mostly mandolin.
Describe your music interests and abilities.
I’ve always had a big voice. Singing has been a love of mine for a long time. I write music and play in acoustic settings, but feel most at home rocking along with a full band. My music and writing style is within the modern country genre, but I’d like to think there’s a soulful edge mixed in.
What famous musicians inspire you?
I love to belt like Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood. I remember the first time I heard LeAnn Rimes sing, “Blue.” I was being driven to soccer practice; I would sing it over and over again, likely to my mom’s chagrin. I was fascinated, and knew that with a little determination and some elbow grease, I could sing like her someday.
What is some of your best musical memories?
My first big show was in the summer of 2009 opening for, “The Eli Young Band at The Carroll County Fair in MD.. I had prepared to death, and all of my friends made “I <3 JLB” Jenny Leigh Band – Tank Tops. They got off work early to come out to the show.
We had family in town, and as soon as I arrived to the show, a tornado warning was put in place. I got a call from my upset parents that they were going to be late because our house and entire neighborhood had just been hit by a tornado. Our neighbor’s barn was found in the next town over, and there were over 200 trees down in our neighborhood, some of which were in people’s living rooms. Within a few minutes of that call, the show was cancelled and I actually burst into tears. This was hysterical and awkward because I don’t cry often, and my band didn’t know me that well.
The person in charge took pity on me and said that if I wanted to perform half of my set IMMEDIATELY that I could still play so I jumped up, and performed a few songs as people sat in ponchos in the mud and watched. The Eli Young Band came out of their trailer to watch the performance and gave me two thumbs up when I was done.
That was enough for me! Then I went home with all of our family in town, and we sat in our tornado-destroyed house and popped open a cooler with food & drinks in the candle light.
I was a finalist on CW’s The Next two summers ago, and John Rich was my mentor. It was a great experience. He came to Baltimore and practically lived with me for 72 hours to get me ready for a performance at The Hippodrome.
He surprised me while I was at a restaurant with friends by arriving as a server with a tray of crabs. We had a funny few days together, and after the live performance in front of thousands, I literally tripped over some cables back stage and fell. There was a production staff member working the lights that saw it and instead of trying to catch me, he did the “Darriah playing volley ball” arm out half attempt as I laid there looking like the, “wicked witch of the west,” with my feet sticking out of the curtains. At least he was the only person who saw. Besides, I consider falling on stage to be a rite of passage!
I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of great shows recently, including performing at The 2014 CMA Festival in Nashville and most recently opening for Cole Swindell in Ocean City, MD. I’d have to say that was my favorite performance yet because it was a sold out audience, people really responded to my music even though many of them had no prior knowledge of me as an artist. I got to share original material that I feel represents me as an artist. I actually sold a lot of merch! Moving on up… 🙂
What public events do you have coming up?
I host a writer’s night every Wednesday at Nashville Street Tacos on the 2nd floor lounge. I have 2 dates scheduled for the writer’s showcase at Soul Shine Pizza on Sept 9th and 16th. The next big ticketed show will be on Oct. 14th at Exit/In. More details to come on that one. It’s going to be a great line-up!
What would you say to beginner musicians who are nervous?
Fireball shots! Just kidding! Nerves are a good thing! Just learn to use that energy to your advantage. I feel like I get a couple of extra notes out of my range when I have that energy to tap into!
How do you balance your music with your family and friends?
Balance is definitely difficult, but I am fortunate that in Nashville, TN. My friends are also invested in music so we share a bond, and support each other much like a family. Since moving here in October, it’s been tough to keep in close touch with folks back in Baltimore, but I go back whenever I can, whether it’s for shows or family vacation, or both!
I have two nieces and it’s hard to be away from them because I feel like I miss so much between visits but I’m looking forward to spending some time with them, and the rest of my family this holiday season!
Should we be expecting anything new to be released?
We filmed a music video for “This Time” from my recent EP, “Tipping Point” which is available on YouTube, and is being put into full rotation on ZUUS Country T.V.
Jenny Leigh – This Time – Official Video
Where can we follow your career at?
About Johnny Naylor:
Johnny Naylor is the founder and owner of 1st Shot Music and a feature writer for Jammerzine. His work can also be found on 1st Shot Music and Naylor’s Notes. You can also get his latest updates on his facebook page.