Jennifer Porter is a singer, actor, and scriptwriter who has won numerous awards. Jennifer is a musician’s musician with a wonderful voice who has performed a wide range of music from jazz and blues to country and opera. She has performed with orchestras both classical and jazz, including the world-famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Luckily for us, Jennifer stopped by for a chat.
Colby: What Do You Enjoy Most About Being A Musician?
Jennifer: First is the feeling of being a conduit. When everything is flowing, my voice, and hands on the keyboard simply feel like channels for the energy of the music. I feel so connected to the music, it’s like the music is using me as a medium. I usually feel like this when writing songs as well. I know it’s me writing them, but it feels like I’m connected to something much bigger, like some giant cosmic creative well. Second is the camaraderie. I love communicating musically with my fellow musicians. I love singing or playing a phrase a certain way, or choosing a particular note in a chord, or in the bass of my left hand, as a way to signal an idea I’m having in the moment to the people I’m playing with and to have them understand what I’m saying, and to answer me back musically. That is the happiest feeling in the world.
Colby: Which Track Of Yours Means The Most To You?
Jennifer: It is a track off my newest album, SUN COME AND SHINE. The track is called Bitter New York Night. It is my memory of one of the loneliest nights of my life, when I paradoxically felt at the same time intensely and joyfully close to another human being. There was a blizzard going on in New York City. It was midnight and Time’s Square was utterly deserted but for my partner and me. We were carrying the incredibly heavy sound mags and negatives for the feature film we were working on in a duffle bag between us, while walking through knee-deep snow, block after block in a strangely quiet Manhattan.
Colby: The First-Ever Gig You Played, Can You Remember It? How Was It?
Jennifer: Yes I do! I was 15, and was hired to sing and play for a wedding. It would be my first paying gig! The wedding party was held up for some reason and the mother of the groom asked me to keep playing. I played every love song I could think of from memory for half and hour. I had just about run out of songs when I got the cue to start the wedding march music. I was so relieved! Afterward, the pastor said she thought some of my songs were inappropriate. I didn’t care. I had a bank account to open, so I could cash my first paycheck!
Colby: What Do You Think Is The Key To Success As A Musician?
Jennifer: The obvious answer is practice and perseverance, and it’s true, but I think being true to yourself as an artist is also very important. Don’t chase after trends. Trying to be the sort of musician, or to write the sort of songs you think everyone wants to hear will leave you miserable and exhausted. On the flip side, make sure not to smother yourself with a label. If you are a jazz musician and want to try folk music, go for it! Boxing yourself in will lead to exhaustion through boredom.
Colby: If You Weren’t A Musician, What Job Would You Be Doing?
Jennifer: I already have a second job as an actor. I’ve been acting almost as long as I’ve been doing music. But if I weren’t a musician or an actor, I would have to say landscape architect or garden designer. I love gardening. I have far too many gardens for one person to take care of, but I can’t seem to stop putting in more! Thanks for the fun question!