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Jen Porter

Bluesy, earthy and strong female singer/songwriter

Jen Porter is an acclaimed Chicago singer, songwriter, musician & performer.

Growing up with parents who inspired people in the pews and around the campfire, Jen has stoked a fire in the bellies of thousands of fans with her irreverence, passion, and strong smoky voice.

While she spends most of her time performing as an international piano bar entertainer throughout the Caribbean and Europe, as well as entertaining around her hometown of Chicago, Jen has been steadily cutting original albums and building a following for her own music for more than 2 decades. Jen used to enjoy residencies with her talented group of backing musicians, fondly known as The Most Fabulous Band , at such prestigious places as Navy Pier, the John Hancock Building and US Cellular Field in Chicago. She was voted Chicago's favorite local musician by readers of the Chicago Free Press and enjoyed performing multiple times in Chicago's LGBT Pride Parade. She has also been honored to be performing the US (and sometimes Canadian) National Anthems as well as occasionally performing God Bless America, for the Chicago White Sox since 2007.

For about a decade she has been sharing her talents around the globe in international cities such as Amsterdam and Oslo, as well as in enviable vacation destinations such as Gran Canaria, the British Virgin Islands and the Dutch West Indies, to name a few. Jen spends two thirds of her time entertaining abroad annually.

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Closer to the Surface

Jen Porter

"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" -WomensRising.com

STONECUTTER RECORDS PRESS RELEASE -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 an artist.”

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 piano work.

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

JEN PORTER'S SUNNY MUSE -Andy Downing, Chicago Tribune September 04, 2009

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. “Long Winter,” for one, was written overlooking a sea so outrageously blue that it almost appeared computer-generated. “Being able to sit on the beach with a guitar in my hand and stare at the ocean really changed my outlook,” says Porter. “It’s hard to find anything else that can be so calming. It allowed me to let go and let the writing come through.”

And when she did let go, her thoughts often turned to her hometown, locked in winter’s grasp nearly 3,000 miles away. Not that Porter particularly missed the cold. “I see it’s 12 degrees in Chicago,” she wrote in one blog posting at jenporter.com. “I’m glad to be soaking up the sun.”

The seasonal gigs, filled with thousands of bawdy songs, countless toasts, busloads of sun-torched tourists and far too many shots, allowed Porter a certain financial flexibility when she finally set out to record “Closer to the Surface.” After splurging on a single purchase (a flat-screen television), the singer sunk the bulk of her island income into her music, booking extensive time at Chicago Recording Co.. With producer Chris Steinmetz, Porter worked to capture that “live energy quality” she found lacking in previous recordings. The pair quickly developed a sensei-student relationship, with Steinmetz challenging the singer in ways she hadn’t previously encountered.

“I’ve always been somewhat of a one-take wonder vocally and previous producers have let me get away with that,” says Porter. “Chris would say, ‘That’s good. Now let’s try another one.’ He pushed me to go outside the boundaries I’d conceived, which could be difficult at times.”

The effort was worth it. Porter sings in a tortured growl throughout, her voice swinging between striking moments of intimacy and tornadic outbursts, while her piano – the classically-trained Porter started on the instrument when she was 5 years old – matches each emotional surge lockstep.

“It can be a vulnerable process in the studio, but you have to dig in to find something amazing,” says Porter. “It’s all right to feel uncomfortable as long as you get in there and still do it.”

REVIEW OF CLOSER TO THE SURFACE -WomensRising.com September, 2009

This Chicago_based lady is still singin' and rockin' the blues on her fourth album, Closer to the Surface. Porter is a powerhouse. She's been compared to Joplin and this doesn't see too far-fetched. What she brings to the mic is earthy strength moving at a torrential speed. Discarded is an outstanding example of the range of power Porter has within. The title track, Closer to the Surface, is softer and tells us Porter has a hidden depth with an edge; going deeper is the paradox of coming closer to the surface. Porter sings with passion for equality on Now is Then. I Don’t Really Know You, beautifully whispered potency. Another Sign of Life with it’s bluesy-sixties organ feel and funky sounds, is a nice surprise. Christain Chruch (not mis-spelled) is easy and acoustic.

Geez, just listen to Jen Porter . . .

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Moving On...

Jen Porter

Powerhouse vocals, piano-driven rock, universal themes, sophisticated songwriting

From heartfelt original tunes to an expansive list of covers from artists such as Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow to Pink Floyd and Lez Zeppelin, established singer/songwriter Jen Porter deftly delivers her own brand of powerhouse rock and roll. Jen has been entertaining a national audience since 1996 and continues to receive high accolades for her accomplishments.

• New album, Moving On… produced by former Vertical Horizon drummer, Ed Toth • Opened for Lifehouse at the 2005 St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Greensboro, NC • Named Best Local Musician in 2003 by the Chicago Free Press • Performed for an audience of 120,000 people in Washington DC • Performed the National Anthem at Major League sporting events at Wrigley Field, Soldier Field (Chicago) and The Palace of Auburn Hills (Detroit) • Radio airplay across the US and Europe

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It's About Time

Jen Porter

Powerhouse vocals over piano-driven rock with life & love-centered themes

When I first decided I was ready to tackle recording my second album, I knew which songs would be on it, but that was all I knew. I didn't know where I would record, who would help me produce the album, or when it would be ready to sell. Some of the songs on the album have been in process since 2000, the year after my first album "Faces" was released. Since then, I've known that I wanted my sophomore effort to have more exposure and to reflect the forward direction my skills as a performer and as a songwriter have taken. "It's About Time" makes me so proud as a singer, a musician, a songwriter and a person in general.

In January of 2002, I performed in a showcase called the Chicago Singer Spotlight. After the show, I was approached by a musician/producer named Matt Feddermann, who not only liked my tunes but also thought he could bring good production to them for my album. Now, nearly 11 months later, Matt is finalizing the mixes, finishing the songs many others and I have been working on for so long now.

The title reflects not only a thematic thread that runs through the lyrics of many of the songs, but also the necessity of the album itself, of having new material, of having something new for my friends and fans; without them I'd be nowhere now! It also exposes my own feelings about finally getting the second effort out on the streets for you to enjoy. Gentry Newsletter, Dec. 2002 For more information on Jen and her career, go to www.jenporter.com/bio.htm

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Faces

Jen Porter

Powerhouse vocals backed by smooth melodic lines-straightforward lyrics that relate universally

There's no doubt about it, Jen has been playing music all of her life.

With straightforward lyrics that relate universally and music that flows from one song to the next, despite several different styles exhibited, Jen has the ability to captivate any audience.

The lyrics speak of life, love, and deep relationships that affect all of us.

The music is melodic and heartfelt.

Friends say she's "Ahead of her time" and "Stronger vocally than anyone else I've heard".

With a voice that reaches out and grabs you and a piano style that's simple and melodic, you won't soon forget this performer.

Jen was born and raised in Chicago.

After leaving for Ann Arbor in 1993 to obtain a BA, Jen soon realized that she wanted more than an education: She wanted to perform.

She fronted several bands, singing lead and harmonies, playing piano and guitar.

She entertained people in several different venues around southeastern Michigan for close to five years.

She enjoyed a solo residency at a piano bar where people came to hear incredible music in a comfortable setting every Thursday.

Her quest to share her music has brought her home, to Chicago.

Jen currently plays at least twice a week in the city and is continually booking more solo performances.

Her powerful voice is attracting more and more attention in her hometown than ever before.

Jen also sings a song that's rather challenging and can be quite moving: The National Anthem.

She sings it a cappella and commanded the attention of over forty thousand when she performed for the Detroit Pistons while in Michigan.

Now, she is bringing this stunning performance home as well.

She has performed at Soldier Field and plans to perform for "as many events as they'll let me", she says.

Imparting a strong sense of patriotism and "bringing tears" to the eyes of many sharing the experience, Jen soulfully performs the Anthem to perfection, bringing huge crowds to their feet every time she performs it.

Her style is expansive and universal.

You can't help but love her powerhouse voice and smooth piano.

Jen plays everything from Stevie Nicks and Aretha Franklin to Alanis Morrisette and Fiona Apple, as well as her own original creations.

Don't miss this fresh, new female on the scene!

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