JJ: True. And it takes some, for a lack of a better term, some guts and some belief in yourself, and that’s been part of this process for me, probably working on that and holding onto what I believe about myself and the music that I like because certainly there are people who come along and tell you that you should do something different.
Smitty: Yes. Would you say that geographically it’s been to your advantage?
JJ: Well, it’s been (laughs)….it’s been difficult because the studio that I record in is in North Carolina, at Tim’s studio, Cottage Lake Music, and we also did sessions in New York, and I’m in Seattle. That’s quite a commute. And the way we did it was about once a month or every six weeks I would go out for a week and we’d work and then I’d come back and we’d work on other things, writing and stuff, during that time period. So it’s been difficult and it did add time to the whole process because we didn’t do it all at once.
Smitty: You must have some energy level and perhaps that goes along with your weight loss and all of those things, because to still somewhat have a foot in corporate America and then you’re doing this new record, you’re trying to market it, the commute cross-country, that’s gotta take a lot of energy to accomplish that.
JJ: It does. You’re right. (Laughs.) And, yes, again, because I’ve made some other changes in my life, I have more energy than I used to, and I do work out a lot, and that helps.
JJ: So, again, I’ve really got some great people on my team, certainly when there are times when maybe that energy or that belief begins to lag behind a little bit, I certainly have folks that are there to help bring that energy level back up.
Smitty: Perhaps you can continue to be a consultant, perhaps to aspiring musicians, now that you’ve gone through this process and continue to do so because not only would you be a consultant in corporate America, but now look at the experience that you’ve accomplished just making that transition, so maybe consulting is just something that’s a part of your life as well.
JJ: No, it’s funny you said that. I thought about that, and sometimes Tim and I joke about writing a book, not that other people haven’t done that before, but this project’s gone in a lot of different directions, we’ve met and talked to a lot of different people and learned a great deal about the business and about the fact that there is not just one way to do this, and that’s been another big learning lesson and another thing that I would tell people who want to try this. There is no set way to do it. Because we certainly talked to some experts who all specialize in one area and they’ll all tell you different things because different things work for different people, and you also have to be willing to try those different things and not give up when you try one thing and it doesn’t work.
Smitty: Absolutely. You attended the University of Miami as a vocal major. Talk about that experience. What was that like for you and how much did that weigh on you getting back into the music business?
JJ: That was a huge factor in me getting back into it because we ended up working with a lot of people that Tim and I both went to the University of Miami with as did Matt, the executive producer, and we were able to pull in some different folks that we knew or were still friends with or had worked with at the University of Miami. And as you probably know, it’s a pretty big jazz school, so I would say that pretty much 95% of the people I went to school with all ended up in the music business and I’m kind of the odd person out. So that’s been an inspiration for me too, just watching friends and people I knew go on to do all different types of things in music, and also just the experience of being there and being around those people, being appreciated as a musician and not just a vocalist, because a lot of times if you’re a singer, your instrumental friends will kinda treat you differently because oftentimes the two don’t go hand in hand (both laughing), being a musician and being a singer. So going to school there, that’s, you know, it’s pretty hard not to build some chops in some other areas of music. So I think going there, again, has been a really big part of me being able to do this.
Smitty: That’s very cool. Now, getting to this new CD, its self-titled Jill Jenson, so we can’t make a mistake about who its CD is attributed to, huh? (Both laughing.)
JJ: I hope not.
Smitty: Talk to me about how you really put the lyrics and this whole interpretation together because when I look at the titles and hear the music, my first impression was “Wow, there’s a lot of different genres here,” and you seem to be adept at fusing different genres together to make it a beautiful blend of music, and that was what grabbed me initially.
JJ: Thank you.
Smitty: I love the style of your interpretation of the music, which is very cool, because I hear some jazz, pop, R&B and some AC stuff there as well. Talk about how you decided to construct the CD to make it your own.