While other kids were busy tuning into the latest music to hit the Billboard charts, a young Jenna Andrews was being exposed to Donny Hathaway, Carly Simon, and Carole King. The budding artist’s mom used to put these soulful songs on during long drives and Jenna grew up with a real connection to this kind of music. “She loved soul music, so I was introduced to music that none of my friends knew about,” Jenna explained to I AM THAT GIRL. Listeners can certainly detect that old-school influence in her music, including the track, "Kiss and Run." Its black and white video seems simple enough, showcasing the Canadian singer/songwriter apparently coming to terms with a one-night stand, but the twist ending really adds another element to both the video and the song.
Since music was the only thing she ever really loved, Jenna relocated to Vancouver after several months of college. Success definitely didn’t come easy, though, and there were times she couldn’t even afford to put gas in her car. It was those times stranded in her vehicle that really allowed her to hone her craft, learning the guitar and penning heartfelt songs based on “all kinds of love and lust.” Jenna eventually found her way into the offices of some big deal management and record executives where her authentic sound landed her a record deal. Her debut seven-track EP, Kiss and Run, features a hybrid of songs touching on everything from straight-up pop to R&B and folk. Just don’t try to confine Jenna’s music into any one category. “I can't really classify it; I use all my inspiration and put it all into one to make me,” she testified.
Even though she was raised on some of the more classic singer/songwriters, Jenna still appreciates her contemporaries. Songs from the likes of Brandy, Emeli SandÃ©, and Michael Kiwanuka are on heavy rotation on this rising star’s playlist and she even dreams of someday collaborating with Frank Ocean. Taking inspiration from the other diverse performers who have come before, Jenna knows she still has a lot to learn. “I really respect Alicia Keys' career,” she confessed. “I think she has a really good balance of everything.” Much like Alicia, Jenna is keeping a busy schedule, putting out her full-length album this coming spring as well as embarking on a tour through the U.S. and Canada. She not only writes her own songs, but composes for other artists and has also started to pursue acting.
Even with all her talent, Jenna has still had to deal with the often unrealistic image standards of the industry. Reviews not only center on her music, but also on her model-like looks. Such intense criticism would lead anyone to be a little self-conscious, but Jenna tries to use it as a source of motivation, which is just one more reason we absolutely love her.
“Well, it can make me self-conscious for sure, but honestly music helped me get through it because it makes me a lot happier than obsessing over something that can be so hard to control,” Jenna said. “Seeing so many young kids suffer from having various eating disorders also inspires me to be an example.”
Watch Jenna’s captivating video for “Kiss and Run” below before heading over to I AM THAT GIRL’s YouTube channel. While you’re there, don’t forget to tune into our Music Mondays playlist, which is updated every week.