Jenny Mitchell has released her new single, ‘Wildfires’, the title track from her upcoming second album due for release later this year. Jenny’s previous album, The Old Oak, debuted at #1 on the NZ Country iTunes Charts and #2 on the Independent Music NZ Charts, receiving critical acclaim around the globe. John Apice, from No Depression Magazine, perhaps put it best when he said Jenny ‘doesn’t deserve to be discovered 40 years from now. She deserves to be listened to now.’
Jen got the chance to have a chat with Jenny Mitchell.
Hi Jenny, hope this finds you well.
Great name by the way!
& the same to you! 😉
You have just released your new single ‘Wildfires’ which is your title track from your second album.
Can you tell us a little about your first album? Inspirations, some meanings or what ever you want to sum about it?
The Old Oak was a collection of the songs I’d written between the age of 12 – 15 . The American country sound that I grew up with is a common thread in the album, with the start of my more folk influenced writing coming through in some of the later tracks. The title track, The Old Oak, is still one of my favourites. Inspired by watching my Grandfather lose my Nanna, it’s a song that everyone can relate to in some way & a story I think needed to be told.
How crazy did you get when you heard that The Old Oak, debuted at #1 on the NZ Country iTunes Charts and #2 on the Independent Music NZ Charts? That is an amazing feat!
I vividly remember sitting in History class & one of my friends, Chelsea, played it as loud as she could over the classroom speakers before our teacher arrived! It was very surreal, especially for my 15 year old brain.
Love it! You won a NZ Gold Guitar Award, an MLT Songwriting Award and was named Southland Entertainer of the Year all when you were 19, impressive! At what age did you know that you were going to be an artist?
Oh thanks! I grew up in a really musical family & always knew music would be a part of my life. But after I left home, I quickly fell in love with all the wonderful places & people that I got to meet through music & realised that’s what made me tick.
I think I like your songs not only as you voice is beautiful but there is a story told. I guess that goes hand in hand with the Country music genre. Do you agree?
Storytelling is a huge part of my music & I think that is definitely due to my early education of Country music. Some of the first artists I ever listened to were Hank Senior & J Cash – & boy oh boy, they could tell a killer story. At the moment, I’m really inspired by artists like Jason Isbell or Passenger – who’s lyrics always make me feel something in my heart/gut/bones. I think that’s what storytelling is about. Relating to total strangers through lyrics & I hope that I am an artist who can give that experience to my audience.
‘Wildfires’, as mentioned before is your title track of your new album. Written about a toxic relationship in attempt to justify why you stayed in the relationship for so long…. I can so relate to this! I think that is why I clicked with the song and love it so much. Can you tell us if writing this song was cathartic for you?
I think you hit the nail on the head there. That song is most definitely cathartic. I actually wrote it a long time after the relationship ended, even though it sounds as if it was written right in the thick of it. Which is why I found it so therapeutic. It really was my way of getting all the intense emotions I had felt out of my mind & into a song. I’m pleased you can relate to it! I imagine there are a whole lot of hearts like mine (& yours!) out there.
You crowd funding both albums, I think that is a great idea and I have often supported bands that do this. Would you agree that without this you may not have been able to create two albums?
Because I’m currently independent, my albums definitely wouldn’t exist without crowdfunding. I think it’s become a really fundamental part of the new music industry climate & I always love getting behind artists’ campaigns – especially because I know how it feels to be on the inside of the process. Some of my rewards included singing beautiful brides down the aisle & playing house concerts around NZ & it truly has been the most wonderful experience to take my supporters through the journey of this album from start to finish.
It must feel amazing that people are supporting you financially in this way. Do you think you would do it again?
I truly can’t express how humbling it was to watch the campaign for this record grow. I was nervous to crowdfund for a second time, because sometimes it’s just really hard to ask for support. I’m not sure where the next few years will take me, but I think it’s often the only way for independents to keep making music. So if the support it still there for me – I don’t see why not.
This is an amazing way of describing you ‘The voice of a lioness, the soul of a sage’. I love it! Do you?
Those words came from folk music legend Luka Bloom. I met him after playing a gig in a beautiful little pub in Liscannor, Ireland & he posted those words on Facebook the following day! It’s a pretty special thing to get that kind of praise from such an incredible songwriter.
That is pretty special! You have already done a fair bit of touring, and have an Aussie tour that starts late next month. Is there a country that you are keen on travelling to the most for a tour?
I really love the folk music that’s coming out of Canada at the moment, so I’d love to tour there. Of course, I’m super keen to get to the America. & I felt very much at home in Ireland last year – so I hope to get back there as soon as humanly possible.
I’ve caught the travel bug that’s for sure.
Great that you were able you work with Matt Fell. I like how you did your research, can you tell us about that?
It might sound silly, but I really felt like the universe kept tapping me on the shoulder & pointing me in his direction. Every time I played in Tamworth, at least one person would mention Matt & suggest that he would be a great fit for me one day.
I listened to countless Australian & New Zealand records over the past few years & all the ones that made me feel something had that same name in the credits – “Matt Fell.”
He is everything I wanted in a producer, someone who respected my work but pushed me to create something I might’ve been a little scared to without him.
What is up next for you in the new year? It is not that far away!
I’m convinced album-release-years fly by quicker than any others. I can’t wait to finally have the record out & shift my focus to playing live & connecting with people. I’ll be back to Tamworth in January, then hope to tour as much as I can through NZ in 2019. I did a couple of tours with my dear friend Nigel Wearne (Aus songwriter) & I’m really keen to tour with some other artists in the new year – lots in the pipeline.
Thanks for your time Jenny.
No worries at all. Thank-you for sending such fantastic questions! & for supporting the release. X
Thanks for kind the feedback!