- Interview w Matt Feddermann, Phase Radio, featured on WRLR- - Dec 2009 -Matt Feddermann
[ link ]
Jen discusses her Grammy-nominated producer, Chris Steinmetz, and more on the new album, "Closer to the Surface" in a candid interview with Phase Radio.
Click the link above to hear the entire show
- Feast of Fun Podcast - Dec 2009 -Marc & Fausto
[ link ]
Jen talks about her new album, "Closer to the Surface", and all sorts of topics with the Fabulous Hosts of Feast of Fun, Marc & Fausto.
Click the link above to hear the entire show
- Indie-Music.com Review of "Closer to the Surface" Oct 2009 -Barney Quick, Indie-Music.com
[ link ]
EXCERPT:"This is real music, wide and deep. It’s accessible,
but still invites you to take your time to see what’s really there. I don’t need any
comparisons to get a handle on what she’s doing. She’s setting a standard by which
others down the pike will be compared."
Click the link above to read the entire article
- Women's Rising Review of "Closer to the Surface" Sept 2009 -WomensRising.com
[ link ]
EXCERPT:"Porter is a powerhouse. She's been compared to Joplin and this doesn't seem too far-fetched. What she brings to the mic is earthy strength moving at a torrential speed."
Click the link above to read the entire article
- Jen Porter's Sunny Muse Sept 4, 2009 -Andy Downing, Chicago Tribune
[ link ]
EXCERPT: "There's a wintry feel to “Closer to the Surface,” singer-songwriter Jen Porter's fourth full-length album. The songs are filled with allusions to bitter cold and snuggling for warmth, Porter singing: “It's … cold tonight”; “She was trying to get warm”; “I was cold and alone. … It's been a very, very long winter.”
And yet, oddly enough, the Chicago-born singer spent a bulk of the last two winters plying her trade in the Caribbean, performing monthlong residencies at bars in Aruba, St. Martin and Barbados. "
Click the link above to read the entire article
- JJP Productions & Stonecutter Records Release
Closer to the Surface
[ link ]
CHICAGO (August 19, 2009) – The sounds of rhythmic piano combined
with emotion, passion and fire are on display throughout “Closer
to the Surface” – an album that Jen says “truly captures me as
Jen Porter, born and raised in Chicago, has been playing piano
and singing ever since her parents put her in lessons at age five.
“Closer to the Surface” was born, and most of the writing devised,
based on her personal and musical journey. “I don't think an artist
ever says, ok I'm done. I finally achieved everything,” said Jen.
“That being said, I think this album brings me so much closer to
where I want to be as a musician. Just as the title says, I'm closer
to the surface. This album is a testament to how far I've come.”
Directed by Grammy-nominated producer, Chris Steinmetz of Stonecutter
Records, Jen says that “Chris brings an edge to my music and vocals
that has never been captured before. I FINALLY feel like I've found
someone who gets me. He was able to provide outstanding direction
and strength to my songwriting.”
Over the past 20 years, Steinmetz has worked with various artists
such as Kanye West, Ben Harper, Tori Amos, Jay Z,Smashing Pumpkins,
Alice in Chains, Mavis Staples, Common, Kiss and Feist, to name
a few. “Jen Porter is powerful performer that can bring down the
house with her high energy. She can also move a listener with her
emotional and dynamic performances,” said Steinmetz. “Jen's new
CD, Closer to the Surface, sets out to show the diversity in her
talents as a singer / songwriter and push the limits of her creativity
as an artist. This album gives fans melody, emotion, energy and
a sense of common ground.”
This is especially evident on such standout tracks as “Long Winter”
and “Discarded.” Long Winter is a song about Jen's experiences
working in the Caribbean these past two years. She says, “Working
on the islands has given me some balance. I feel calmer and more
relaxed and fulfilled, even though I'm working harder than I ever
have before. This song reflects that.” While sometimes difficult
for her to play and hear, Jen thinks that many fans will be able
to relate to “Discarded.” “It's all about heartbreak and despair,
but also about recovery and how to pick yourself up.”
With 11 tracks of powerful vocals, “Closer to The Surface” also
features Jen's stirring bandmates; Tommy Sanchez playing guitar,
Joe Thomas on bass, world-class percussionist Ernie Adams on drums
and Chris Foreman featured on Hammond B3 organ, all of whom provide
a killer rhythm section to Jen's soulful, sultry vocals and melodic
With the release of “Closer to the Surface,” Jen Porter and her
band give a whole new meaning to a combination of indie, rock,
folk rock and adult contemporary genres and add yet another album
to an already impressive resume including, “Moving On” ©2006, “It's
About Time” ©2002 and “Faces” ©1999, celebrating it's 10-year anniversary.
“This new album shows real growth in my songwriting and in me as
well,” says Jen. “I'm doing new things in my career and working
with new people and it's exciting to see these changes culminate
in a new addition to my body of work. ”
For media inquiries, contact rachel@impressionsPR.com
- Stonecutter Records - MY OWN HAND video download
[ link ] (note:
this is a video download - $0.98)
"With a voice that’s both enthusiastic and sexy, Jen Porter
has the piano skills to match. “My Own Hand” takes the elements
of a rock piano ballad and transforms them into an edgy, double-entendre,
using her undeniable know-how for clever expression. With an
explosive pulse provided by the bass and drums, Jen’s thunderous
voice and piano playing make for an electrifying listen."
- Feast of Fools Radio Podcast
[ link ] (also
posted at AmigoFish)
This is the 2nd time I've been on the show with Marc & Fausto
and I had a GREAT time, yet again! We talked about my upcoming album,
politics, sex, drugs and rock and roll. :) I performed three songs
from my new album as well.
On Tuesday’s election night, Jen was hammering away
on the piano in the recording studio, working hard to put out her new
album “Clever Compromise.” On today’s show, Jen debuts three never-heard
before songs from this new album.
Listen as we talk with Jen about the new sex-drive
enhancing patch for mature women, the mouse found inside a block of cheese
and the jogger who got bitten by the fox.
Plus- Jen accompanies me in Marc’s hilarious tribute
to Sarah Palin, based on Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind.”
A video of the new song Clever Compromise will be posted there soon, too...
- July 2008
THE SAULT STAR
Janis, Jodie, Jen - Angie Gallop
Feature article on the front page of the Entertainment section
Personal Note from Jen: This is probably the best press I've
ever had. Plus, she makes me sound like a complete angel...which
of course I am! ha ha :)
- February 2008
Check out the Jen Porter interview footage available from Stonecutter
Records - check
- Anguilla News - January 2008
Jen was playing on the neighboring island of St. Maarten
- November 2007
footage of Jen & the Fab Trio @ Underground
Wonder Bar's 18th Anniversary Party
Acoustic Chicago Compilation [ link ]
Release Date: November 20, 2007
I've been working on a new track with producer, Chris Steinmetz
Records and Chicago
Recording Company. You can check out footage from
the DVD/CD compilation, plus come
see us perform @ Joe's on Weed, Wednesday, November
Featuring many great Chicago artists including Marty Casey & Lovehammers,
Andreas Kapsalis, Howard Levy, Micki Croisant, Sarah Potenza, Malcolm
Palmer, Tim Nagle, Noah Gabriel, Scottish McMillan, Mike Mangione & Shannon
here to see Jen's recording footage
- June 2007
Anthem for Sox v. Cubs Crosstown Classic -
While I wasn't able to obtain the actual broadcast footage, this
is the video from US Cellular Field singing our National Anthem.
This performance was my first major league performance to be nationally
broadcast and the only thing missing is the WGN logo in the corner
and commentators blabbing at the end of the song...or maybe they
said something nice! I don't know...I forgot to set my DVR!
At the end of the 2007 season, I was also given a personalized Sox jersey,
which I will wear at every performance at US Cellular Field in the future.
I was also told I was the new regular for Anthems and that I sang more Anthems
in the 2007 season than every other Anthem singer, except one. Woo hoo!
Jen has performed the Star Spangled Banner for several major league teams,
including the Detroit Pistons, the Chicago Fire, the Chicago Cubs & the
Chicago White Sox.
- June 2007
After All These Years - 200,000 strong -
I had the distinct pleasure of sharing the stage with some amazing
performers, like The
Sumter & Teresa.
I had the even greater honor of singing with The Washington Mystics WNBA
team, Patricia Shih, Harolyn
Blackwell & Kathleen Herles, the voice of Dora
the Explorer!! We sang together on the National Mall in front of the
Washington Monument in Washington, DC with over 200,000 Girl Scouts!! Thanks
to all who made this unprecedented event come together!
here to see pictures
here to read my journal entry
- Review of "Moving On..."
Moving On, the third album from Chicago-based artist Jen Porter,
showcases the singer's sultry, gutsy voice and ability to seamlessly
blend rock and roll, blues and country-folk influences into a contemporary
sound. Featuring a solid backing band, this collection of songs is
polished, down-to-earth, and full of energy, the perfect soundtrack
to a dinner party with friends or a night out on the town. Residents
of Chicago can easily catch a live performance, as the hard-working
Porter plays four to five shows a week around her hometown; for the
rest of us, Moving On brings Porter's powerful vocals right to our
The album gets started with "Along the Way", a pop-tinged blues
anthem that quickly sets the stage for Porter's no-holds-barred vocals and
fine piano work. "Get Out", a driving ode to a former lover, calls
to mind the intensity of Fiona Apple combined with the self-sufficient attitude
of Alanis Morissette. Other tracks, such as "Aaron's Song" and "Brotherly
Love" are softer both musically and lyrically, highlighting Porter's
diverse talents as a singer-songwriter. Throughout the album, Porter's technical
skill is apparent.
One of the strongest points of Moving On is its blues rock and country roots
that sustain and clearly influence Porter's music. The song "Gracie" has
a great classic-rock feel with piano work reminiscent of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet
Home Alabama". The vocal styling of "Heaven to Me" evokes
some of Bonnie Raitt's best work.
Jen Porter is clearly a seasoned and talented performer; Moving On adds
another successful album to her already impressive resume. Judging by the
rousing quality of this album, I'm sure Porter's live performances are soulful
and energetic. Those with the opportunity to see her in Chicago should definitely
do so; those not lucky enough to live in the windy city will be sure to put
this album in regular rotation on their stereos.
- Review of "Moving On..."
Moving On, Chicago-based Jen Porter’s third cd and 2006 release,
expertly exhibits her playful, cocky, and fully-rounded voice. From
the very first title, Along the Way, you’ll be ready to pack your
bags and travel a little further down this gutsy road with Porter.
Aaron’s Song, puts perspective on our human and political trials
today and is of a deeper mood, offering powerful incentive for further
contemplation. “Oh say can you see, what we’re meant to be . . .
together we can fly.” Performing vocals, guitar and piano, Porter
flows a little softer on this cd, showing us yet another side of
her talents without losing any of that blusey-feminine power.
- December 2006
Interview on HereandThere.net. Click
here to read the blog on MySpace!
- December 2006
Indie-Music.com Top 25 Artists of 2006
I placed # 8 - check
- November 2006
receive proceeds from 2006 Christmas CD
I've been selling this Christmas CD for 3 years now. Last year, I
donated $450 to the American Red Cross. This year, BEHIV is my charity
of choice. Feel free to check out this CD, listen to a track, and
purchase it for only $5 here
PRESS RELEASE - January 2007
Chicago musician, Jen Porter, Donates $645 to local charity, BEHIV
Chicago , IL– Local musician, Jen Porter has donated a whopping $645.00
to a local non-profit organization called BEHIV-“Better Existence with HIV”.
How does a “starving artist” come up with that kind of money to donate to
charity? This artist recorded her own Christmas CD and sells it each year
for $5.00. She generously donates all – not a portion – of the proceeds to
the charity of her choice. This year, Jen sold 130 CDs and the benefactor
is a charity she’s worked with in the past: BEHIV-“Better Existence with
“I’m a capitalist,” says Jen. “I really like the simple act of providing
goods and services and being compensated for them. I also enjoy that the
“goods” are my CDs, T-shirts, etcetera, and that the “services” are entertaining
people. I truly love my work and I love to share it with others.
But from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I sell these CDs that I recorded myself,
in my measly home studio, and sell them for five bucks. It’s only seven Christmas
songs, and it’s just me playing the piano and singing, so it was simple to
record. I take all of the money and donate it, even though it costs me a
little bit to copy and package the disc. I just decided this was going to
be my good deed for the year, every year. Its three years running and I want
to keep adding one song per year so that even if you bought it last year,
you’ll buy it again, for charity, year after year.”
Last year, Jen donated $450.00 to the American Red Cross, with recognition
from the Red Cross for such a generous donation. Two years ago, Jen donated
$150.00 to a special Tsunami Relief Fund through the Red Cross as well. This
year, Jen decided to donate the proceeds to an organization doing great work
here in Chicago .
BEHIV is a non-profit organization based in Evanston , IL . “BEHIV’s guiding
vision is to STOP the spread of HIV throughout our service area. Everything
we do is towards this end.”
“I think I get it from my parents,” quips Jen. “That sense of wanting to
help people, I mean. Mom’s a nurse and Dad’s a minister. Both jobs require
so much giving of ones’ self – I remember volunteering at the hospital when
I was 14 and we’d had a huge snow storm and the power was out. The hospital
was on generators and I went to work with my Mom because school was closed
and I passed out food trays to patients and generally helped the staff. I
also remember going out with my Dad to distribute baskets of food around
the holidays to needy families in our community. Sometimes the day we’d distribute
would be my birthday – it’s December 21 st – but we’d go and help others
whenever we could.
I volunteered for the Red Cross at the Big House – Michigan Stadium – as
a first aid responder. There’s over a hundred thousand people in that stadium.
Someone’s going to have heat stroke, someone’s going to have a heart attack,
someone’s going to get a bee sting and have an allergic reaction. We were
the first responders to those emergencies. I’ve always loved medicine – it’s
my second calling. So when I found out about BEHIV, I jumped at the chance
to work for them. I’ve got several friends who are HIV positive. While it’s
not a death sentence, merely a chronic condition, the medications are grossly
expensive. Also, education and programs to test throughout the community
are and will always be needed. BEHIV has such a great program and they’ve
got great people working for them. I’m lucky to count myself as one of them.”
Jen Porter is an artist who is truly giving back to a community that supports
- September 2006
"Porter is wowing audiences across the Midwest with her deep lyrics and
The interview is not posted online, BUT you can download
this PDF and check it out! The magazine has debuted
in 15 countries worldwide - I'm very proud to be part of the first
issue! If you'd like to check out the entire issue, head to to link
- June 2006
Interview & On-Air Appearance
Tuesday, June 13th, 4:00p-6:00p
I had a great time again being in the studio and on the air with
Fearless Radio. Thanks to Rocco, Kris & Patrick for all of their
- February 2006
Chicago musician, Jen Porter, to collaborate with Producer/Drummer
Ed Toth, on new album
Chicago , IL– Professional local musician, Jen Porter, is back
in the studio recording her third studio album, entitled “Moving
On... ” and scheduled for release in June of 2006. This will be
her third independent release, though it's the first time there
are some heavyweights in her corner, namely Ed
Toth. Ed, former drummer for Vertical
Horizon and currently one of two drummers touring
Doobie Brothers, will be producing and playing drums
on Moving On... .
“I’m really excited about working with someone who has a stake
in today’s music but also appreciates the past, especially the
Doobies!” exclaims Jen.
“Seriously, I am both humbled and thrilled to be working with Ed & Steve”,
says Jen, referring to Steve
Cook, who will be playing bass on the album. Steve
most notably worked with King Konga, who had a top 100 hit in 2001
with “Something Good”. Steve has also worked with Hootie and The
Blowfish, Sister Hazel and Edwin McCain, to name a few.
Jen and the band are recording Moving On... at Farm Fresh Studios
in Bloomington, Indiana. The album is scheduled for release in
June of 2006 through JJP Productions.
- January 2006
Press Release - Chicago musician, Jen Porter, Donates $450
to American Red
Chicago , IL – Local musician, Jen Porter has donated $450.00
to the American Red Cross. How does a “starving artist” come up
with that kind of money to donate to charity? This artist recorded
her own Christmas CD and sells it each year for $5.00. All, not
some, of the proceeds go directly to the charity of her choice.
This year, Jen sold 90 CDs and the lucky benefactor is the American
“It feels good to do something for others, especially around the
holidays,” says Jen. “All year I take people’s money for entertaining
them. I make them laugh or cry or just stop and appreciate something
beautiful. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, I sell these CDs that
I made myself, in my home recording studio, and sell them for five
bucks. It’s only six tunes, and it’s just me playing the piano
and singing, so it was simple to record. I take all of the money
and donate it, even though it costs me a little bit to copy and
package the disc. I just decided this was going to be my good deed
for the year, every year.”
Last year, Jen donated $150.00 to a special Red Cross Tsunami
Relief Fund. The Red Cross recognized Jen for her generous donation.
“I imagine I’ll get even more recognition this year, though that’s
not why I do it. I do it because I innately want to help people.
The Red Cross is there for people affected by national disasters,
but also for a family on the south side who has lost their home
to a fire and has nowhere to go. I used to volunteer for the Red
Cross myself so I know that my money is going to a good cause.”
Regardless of the recognition, Jen Porter is an artist who truly
gives back to a community that supports her.
- M'Coul's Public House
St. Patrick's Day Street Festival - 2005 Opened for LifeHouse
Sponsored by 98.7
[ link ]
2004 proceeds from "Jen Plays A Little Christmas Music" have
been donated to the American
Red Cross Disaster Relief in Southeast Asia
($150 donated - Click the link above to make a donation)
- Featured Artist on LoveToSing.info
Thanks for the great honor! [ link ]
- Renowned Chicago musician "Jen Porter" to
become part of Pioneering International Music Compilation to Help
Benefit Breakthrough Breast Cancer in London, England, and to Breakthrough
Independent Musical talent from around the World
Chicago, IL - Local musician, Jen Porter just confirmed she is
to be included on the groundbreaking International Music Compilation "The
Greatest Music You've Never Heard" Volume 1., to help benefit
Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research in London, England.
The process of elimination was pain staking for the Producers
at Mosquito Media in London, England. There were hundreds of Independent
artists and bands that sent their music in the hope of being involved
in the project. Jen's song "Dance of Time", taken from
her 2002 release entitled "It's About Time" will be featured
as one of the tracks on the album.
Seventeen phenomenal artists have finally made the album, with
just 4 making it from the United States. The best of the best Independent
bands and artists from all over the world were chosen on talent,
lyrics and music and regardless of age, sex, race, creed, color,
size or appearance.
Kicking sand into the eyes of the American Idol philosophy the
release of "The Greatest Music You've Never Heard" Volume
1., is set to revolutionize the way independent artists break into
the "business", and is exactly the backlash musicians
and audiences around the world have been waiting for. Simon Cowell,
et al, watch out!!
"The Greatest Music You've Never Heard" Volume 1., will
be released in England, Europe and the United States, becoming
an International tribute to Independent artists. Jen Porter feels
that when there is a need for causes such as Breakthrough Breast
Cancer Research the music and imagery of musicians brings people
together to find a way to help raise money and help bring awareness
to needy causes. Jen feels honored to be part of this project and
is delighted to be helping to raise money for such a needed cause.
The CD will be released in the UK on May 18th through an extensive
campaign on UK National Radio stations, Television and print media
by Mosquito Media followed by showcase parties at the Cobden Club
in Notting Hill, and Cargo in Shoreditch, London.
- May 2004
REVIEW of It's About Time
"She is potent and brawny"
- December 2003
CD REVIEW of It's About Time from ChicagoGigs.com
written by Joseph Filipak. Click
here to read the full review on their site.
I first saw Jen Porter a few months back, during a Singer Spotlight showcase
at Fitzgerald's, and I was impressed. So when I received the CD for review,
I was excited to sit down and listen to it.
Track two, "How it Feels," has a great bar Blues feel to it and
Porter does bring something to it that makes the vocal her own. Before you
think that it's all about the voice, let me say that Porter is a very fine
writer, there is no question that she can craft a fine song. Tracks like "Shakespearean
Tragedy" and "Tonight" offer more of an original sound, as
did my favorite track "Your Child." With its haunting melody and
lilting vocals, I was caught up in playing "Your Child" over and
- October 2003
CD REVIEW of It's About Time from StarPolish.com. Click
here to read the review on their site.
Jen Porter's piano-driven, bluesy rock has a very distinctive 70's art-prog
sound. This is partly owed to the flute accompaniment on "How It Feels," which
always reminds me of Jethro Tull. Jen has a true Janis Joplin feel to her
deep, soulful, very rocking voice; but you will also hear qualities of both
Natalie Merchant and Tori Amos in her phrasing. "How It Feels" has
a jazz swing to the beat because of her drummer's time keeping on his hi-hat,
and that adds a nice texture to this very appealing performance of a perfectly
arranged song. And how can you find any fault with a woman who apparently
held a crowd of 40,000 Detroit Pistons fans in rapt awe as she performed
an acapella version of the National Anthem? She definitely has a voice with
commercial appeal and a great band. Her songs may be a bit too good for the
radio (i.e. too complex), but with more mainstream material (maybe working
the Norah Jones vein) there's no reason she couldn't be huge.
Another Day from Jen's latest release It's
About Time has been sought out for use in a new television
show brought to you by the people behind the smash hit Queer
Eye for the Straight Guy, Scout
Productions. Stay tuned for more information as this project
- August 2003
Jen Porter showcases at Smith's Olde Bar for Atlantis
Music Conference in Atlanta, GA
I had a GREAT TIME at Atlantis! I met two WONDERFUL new girlfriends: Kyler
England and Nicole
McKenna. I really enjoyed both of their sets and both of their
albums. GO CHECK THEM OUT!!!
- June 2003
Review of It's About Time by
Mark Lush, MidwestBands.com
Quote: "I think that any recorded noise blended with Jen's
vocals would come off sounding incredible!"
- April 2003
here to read a well-written in-depth review of It's
About Time by Ashley Chappell on Indie-Music.com
Quote: "Her firm and soulful voice impassions the daily routine
that sometimes seems to trap us."
- January 2003
here for a Review of the Chicago Singer Spotlight
2-Year Anniversary Show at Fitzgerald's January 8, 2003
"Jen Porter, who plays a very nice piano and has a beautiful
voice to match, took me in and held me throughout her four song set.
Two of the songs were original, "Another Day" and Tonight." My
first thought was that she has kind of a Vanessa Carlton vibe going
on, but as she played her set she seemed a little too far ahead for
that. Porter has the pop sensibilities of Carlton, but she's all
grown up, and without a doubt an artist to keep your eye on. Jen
Porter has that something that will take her to that somewhere."
by Joseph Filipak, ChicagoGigs.com
If YOU would like to be a part of the Chicago
Singer Spotlight, click the link! Go to the Photo
Page to see photos from the show by Dan Locke.
My newest endeavor...electronic music! I went to Minneapolis and
sang with my good friend DJ
Corey Valentine. (Click on the link to see his catalog
on CDBaby) We TORE IT UP that night in January '03...and we're
releasing a double disc to prove it! That's right: There will be
a double disc of Jen Porter and Corey Valentine entitled "Live
at Starlite Lounge".
UPDATE - June '03: Disc One of Live
at Starlite Lounge is almost ready for sale! Stay tuned
to the Discography Page to
hear sample tracks and buy the album when it's completed!
- October 2002
Jen Porter competes in Battle of the Bands
Jen competed in her first Battle of the Bands on October 1, 2002.
She gave a stellar performance and garnered much respect and many
new fans from her appearance on this widely-viewed morning news program.
From the WGN Feedback page: "I watch the morning news everyday. I was
excited about this round of battle of the bands. You finally had a girl on
who totally rocked. (Jen Porter) Too bad that a woman didn't take the honor's
of winning. Submitted by: Mike
Thanks, Mike!! Maybe next year...
- September 2002
MIDPOINT MUSIC FESTIVAL Cincinatti, OH
Thanks to everyone who was there, including my newest musical friends The
Katie Todd Band and Ellen
GET THEIR CDS!
- Click on a link below to read past articles about
Interview and in-studio appearance on Windy
City Radio, WCKG 105.9 Sunday, December 22nd, 2002 and
Sunday, August 4th-11:30pm.
- June 2002
Did you see me on the Nightspots float in 2002?
I made it onto WFLD Fox-Chicago's newscast as well!
Interview appearing in Nightspots Magazine:
Scout Goodie or Cookie Pushin' Bad Girl?...You Decide!
Washington DC gig for a crowd of over 120,000 June 8th, 2002
Read the Press
Release for the event
Read Jen's Account of
CD Review of The Jen Porter Project from Red Is
All The Rage
Quote: "It is hard to pinpoint Porter's influences, although one
has a feeling that if Carly Simon and Stevie Nicks played piano the resulting
sound would be similar to that of Jen Porter's."
- May 2002
PERFORMER OF THE WEEK
for the week of May 20, 2002 on PowerGig.com
Jen Porter of Chicago, IL, is a talented and dedicated performer.
She sings smoothly, seductively, delivering wonderful musical intonation
and creativity among musical genres in her original songs, all the
while with vocal clarity that is Tide clean and Evian clear. She
is performing at the piano bars and public venues, and she is ideal
for corporate and private events.
- November 2001
Interview from KissMyHeart.com
What type of style is your original music?
JP: I always said
I wanted to have a job when I finished school. To ensure
that, I did get a degree from the Univ. of Michigan in
both Communications and English... so I can read and write
(super). I had a band and a solo career going in Michigan
at the time, too. I was working with a guitar player whom
I adore, and various other musicians through those years.
There were times when it was a 5-piece band, other times
when it was just the guitar (we both sing). Then I began
to build my own chops on the piano and to write and branch
out as a solo artist. I began playing in a piano bar in
Ann Arbor and that was the beginning of the show I do now.
With your day job, it seems that it would be hard for you to
travel outside of the Chicago area for gigs. When you have
vacation, do you gig or spend time with family and friends?
JP: I try and do both. As a singer/pianist, there
are opportunities for me to gig without bringing any of my own
equipment. That's the upside of playing piano bars. So when I go
out of town to visit friends, I try and find a piano bar I can
book. That way, I can write off the trip as business and my out-of-town
friends can see my show! I do value my time off as well. There
are times when I just kick back...Like the holidays, for instance.
I'll be at my folks house for about 5 days. My Dad will make me
sing in church (I'm a preacher's kid) but then that's about it.
I get to rest, relax, enjoy my time off and my family.
KMH: What is your ultimate dream
and/or goal, whether it's music or non-music related?
JP: It's DEFINITELY music related...the ULTIMATE
goal would be to "make it", so that I can write music,
listen to music, and perform music as much as possible. I know
the life is hard and being on the road will be tiring at times
but I cannot imagine my life without that goal (I say goal instead
of dream because I'm doing all I can to attain it). I want to live
in the Rockies somewhere in a beautiful home with lots of wood
accents - cedar, oak, cherry...it'll have huge bay windows, especially
in the recording studio, so I can feel like I really am out in
the mountains all the time. My heart just feels RIGHT when I'm
in the mountains.
KMH: How long does it normally take
you to perfect an original song? When you write lyrics and
music, does the final version sound like the first version?
JP: I would say it takes anywhere from 5 minutes
to a week to perfect a song. Mostly I write lyrics first. I am
almost always a poet before I'm a songwriter. Usually, I'll write
an entire verse/chorus and then I'll sit down at the piano. Now,
a melody comes in, if it hasn't already popped into my head (sometimes
they come along with the lyrics, sometimes they don't). I begin
playing chords, working out different voicing, rhythm, etc. Finally,
I end up writing more verses, tweaking words from the original
verse, adding a bridge (mostly) and voila! A song is born! Most
of my songs are strong starters so they don't change much by the
KMH: When you play out, do you mostly
play piano or guitar? Do you have other musicians with you?
JP: Like I said earlier, it used to be that I always
had my best friend playing guitar and we would both sing. Then,
more and more, I'd play piano, too and sing more solo stuff. There
was a drummer that was around most of that time as well...I miss
playing with those guys! I ended up moving back to my hometown,
Chicago, so I could go farther with music than I was in southeastern
Michigan. Alas, that meant I was gonna be a one-woman show for
a while. I'm always on the lookout for musicians with a similar
taste/style/groove as my music but I haven't found them (or they
haven't found me) yet. Now, I'm almost always by myself, singing
and accompanying myself on piano. I enjoy the control I have of
that situation but really miss the full sound of more instruments.
Every once in a while, someone will play and I can just sing. Lately,
there's been a guy that comes in and plays harmonica with some
of my more blues-y tunes...that's been really fun! I hope that
I can get to a point where I have a band behind me and I can just
write, sing, and perform, only sitting at the piano when I want
to. But for now, I'm a hard workin' one woman show.
KMH: What's the name of your new
CD being released in Spring, 2002?
JP: Gosh, I haven't even thought about names yet.
I've got about 12 songs ready to go but I should really consider
the whole effect of those songs when choosing a title. My first
album, Faces, was so named for all the different pictures of me
that were around the lyrics in the jacket. That's the first question
that I haven't had a easy answer to!
KMH: If you were going to describe
your music in one sentence, that would it be?
JP: Powerhouse vocals backed by smooth melodic
piano with lyrics that reach universally into people's souls and
tell stories that everyone can relate to.
KMH: Describe the feelings you feel
when you're performing for an audience.
JP: Performance is a rush. Every time it's an outpouring
of energy, emotions, ability, and fun. When an audience responds
strongly, I become stronger. I actually get more nervous performing
in front of an intimate group of friends and family than in front
of a huge crowd. I've sung the National Anthem in Detroit and Chicago
for as many as 40,000 people and it feels great! Sure, I'm always
a touch nervous, but that just boosts my energy level. If I'm in
front of friends and family, like when I played last New Year's
Eve, I get super nervous. Again, that adrenaline rush is good though
- it fuels my desire to perform well...and I've learned over time
that an audience isn't nearly as in tune with mistakes, missed
notes, missed words, etc. as I am. I just try and relax and let
the music flow out of me. It's better than worrying about every
little mistake anyway.
KMH: Please add anything else you'd
wish to say.
JP: I never thought I could make a living at music
without being famous but I'm proving myself wrong as we speak.
I'm closer to a career as a musician than I've ever been. It's
been hard work up to this point and I know it'll just get tougher
to balance the day job and the music for a while. However, the
pay off of NOT having a day job is worth every lost minute of sleep,
every stressed moment where I say "Calgon, take me away!".
KMH: If you have a quote you'd like
listed, please list it here.
JP: "This petite flame haired performer has
a soulfully raucous voice and offers a truly unique experience.
In between playing her own upbeat compositions, Porter covers rock's
current creme of the estrogen crop. If you are longing to hear
Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Sade, Stevie Nicks or Tracy Chapman done
as well as the original artists, then Porter is your woman! Gentry
has truly done audiences everywhere a service by adding Jen Porter
to their roster of incredible performers." - Brian Kirst,
Music of the Night Column, HotSpots Magazine, Chicago, IL - May,
- May 2001
Show Review from HotSpots Chicago Magazine
"...if you are truly in an adventurous mood, and want to get
completely drenched in talent, I suggest that you check out the
incredible Jen Porter. Porter performs every Thursday at Gentry
on State. This petite flame haired performer has a soulfully raucous
voice and offers a truly unique cabaret experience. In between
playing her own upbeat compositions, Porter covers rock's current
creme of the estrogen crop. If you are longing to hear Tori Amos,
Fiona Apple, Sade, Stevie Nicks or Tracy Chapman done as well as
the original artists, then Porter is your woman! Gentry has truly
done audiences everywhere a service by adding Jen Porter to their
roster of incredible performers."
Thanks to Brian for those very kind words! -Jen
© JJP Productions PO Box 220841, Chicago, IL 60622-0030