Jenn Grinels Live In Studio

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“The road is life,” Jack Kerouac assures wanderlust-ridden souls everywhere in his 1957 novel On the Road. This statement could not be more true for singer/songwriter Jenn Grinels. “Five years ago I packed my bags, gave up my apartment, and I’ve been touring ever since,” she says.

Since then, Grinels has released two albums: 2007′s Little Waves and 2012′s brokenHEARTbreaker. As she settled into the WERS studio, Grinels laughed, shaking her fiery red hair and testing the endurance of her headphones. “I don’t want them to fall off when I’m in the zone!” she explains with a bubbly charm.

Once settled, Grinels played a song from her first album, “Know Better,” which she described as her “most upbeat track, if slightly angry.” Her thick voice filled the room with a Fiona Apple-esque twang as she repeatedly asked herself when she will learn from her mistakes. The bitter tune was followed by “I Know Your Heart,” a slower and more thoughtful tune. “It’s about unconditional love,” she says. “Even though it was written after a break-up, I just wanted him to know that he was a cool guy.” Grinels rounded out the set with the single off her newer album, Right From the Start. A cross between the first two songs, this track has a coffeehouse quality with bluesy undertones.

Grinels got her start in music with musical theatre and choir as a young girl. She went on to study musical theatre at UC Irvine, and then worked professionally in musical theatre in San Diego. During this time, she played with her band on the side. “After five years, I realized music is what I really wanted to do,” says Grinels. Though she admits that life on the road gets tiring, performance is still her favorite part of being a musician. “I love it. It’s my addiction. The creative process is the challenge. I’m not very prolific, so when I finish a song it’s like, ‘Yes! I do know how to do this!’”

After five years, Grinels is finally looking forward to taking a break from life on the road. “I’m definitely looking forward to taking some time to focus on an album and be in one spot,” she says. “It’s been go-go-go for the past five years, and I’m ready to take a step back and reorganize.” Grinels is expecting her third album to be a departure from her first two efforts. “I wrote the first album before I went on tour, and the second one was written while on the road. Now I’d like to take the time to do an album the right way.”

So what’s the place that Grinels will finally settle down to? “Seattle,” she says with a laugh. “It’s mostly because that’s where my boyfriend lives. A year ago that wasn’t even a thought. It’s crazy!”

By Sara Selevitch
Photo by Jeeyoon Kim

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