30 Aug


Your life changes every second of every day. You make friends, you lose friends. You realize that those you thought were your friends really aren’t friends at all. You realize that person you never thought twice about makes a great friend after all. You look for love, you find love maybe with a stranger or maybe with your best friend, you lose love, you make love. Someone makes an effort for you, make an effort for them. You realize that all along, with all of your flaws, you’re loved by somebody. You laugh, you cry, you scream, you wonder, you agonize, you sigh, you laugh some more and shake your head wondering why you were so upset in the first place. You wish you hadn’t done something then you are glad you did. You wonder what if, you take a chance on something or someone, it works out, it doesn’t work out, at least now you’re not wondering what if anymore and you took the chance to find out because it mattered. You have ups and downs, see good movies and count the minutes til bad ones are over. You question yourself, you doubt yourself, you gain confidence, you lose confidence then you realize you’re a pretty awesome person. You wish you were someone else then you see that person for who they really are and thank God you’re you. You love life, you hate life, you struggle, you regain control and love life again. You give and you take. No matter what’s thrown your way, handle it and move on. Your life is waiting and it’s always gonna change, so adapt and change with it instead of letting it change you. Let people in and let people out. If it changes you, let it be for the better.

– Jenn


Leave It Behind

8 Aug

As an artist, musician, or songwriter, what you create today, you eventually will leave behind for years to come, for new listeners. Everything you make public remains for someone to enjoy long after you're gone. Why not leave something that will live on in a positive way? Don't waste your talent on a ten cent song when your talent is worth more and you're capable of creating something worth so much more to someone?

Sure, a hit song would be a sign of success but there are a ton of one hit wonders that faded away as soon as the next big thing came along because they didn't produce a product with substantial staying power. Success isn't based on a royalty check, a #1 song or a record deal. Your success is how your music affects the listener, how it makes an impact, even how it affects you personally. Your success is the smile on a face, the drunk guy who raises his beer at last call and leads the bar in a loud sing along to your song, the kid who sings along with their mom in the car when she plays your EP. Your success is knowing you've written something meaningful to yourself or someone else. Success isn't measured in chart numbers or record sales, it's measured in moments.

As a writer, your music and hard work becomes a memory for someone of a time in their lives, a chronological scrapbook. Write music that will leave an imprint, that can be easily remembered and is easy to sing along with. Anyone can put words together and call it a song, but few have the talent to actually write something people care about hearing again and again.

As an artist, perform each show as though it's your first, for some in the audience it may be their first concert or first time seeing you. Make each fan feel as though you are singing directly to them. It doesn't matter how many people attend, what matters is how many people leave impressed and want to see you again. You are the person who delivers the music from the stage to their ears. They are there for you, be there for them. Leave them knowing you gave them the very best show you could. Make it worth the time they gave up to spend on you.

As a musician, you're every bit as important as the person singing into the mic. You're not simply a fade into the background or a hood ornament. A song doesn't sound nearly as good without your contribution. You're not just the drummer, just a bass player or just a fiddle player. You are the backbone of any good show, without you, it's just not gonna stand as strong. Your notes and chords remain in a room long after the lights go down and the doors are closed. There will always be memories of your performance to someone who comes back to that venue and has seen you play that room before. You have something just as important to leave behind.

People make a conscious choice to listen to your music, to spend their last dollar on your merchandise, to drive hours just to see you. You can never repay these thousands of unknown fans but you can leave them something more important, quality music that will they will carry in their hearts and memories for years.

That's the success you leave behind. That's your legacy. That's your thank you.

So Here’s Why I Support Independent Artists … And Why You Should Too

2 Aug


There is an endless sea of music out there to choose from and my primary choice of music is the independent artist. Don’t misunderstand, I love signed artists and listen to Top 40 too, but there is something special about an independent artist who hasn’t allowed themselves to get lost in the soul sucking vortex of today’s music industry.

I’m not talking the weekend garage band warrior or the guy who occasionally gets up on open mic night to impress the new girl of the week. I’m talking about the serious and determined artist who is out to make their music more than a hobby and don’t mind doing what it takes within reason to get it out there. They don’t have the backing of big bucks, they’re not the ones who pucker up to kiss the ass of an arrogant corporate suit who’s telling them what to sing, what to wear, how to look, to drop some weight, or that it would be best if you didn’t talk too much about the family because it’s not good for the image. They don’t have high paying radio promoters, they do it themselves and realize that their fans are their biggest and most honest promoters and they don’t have to feel the need to compete with the bigger name on their label.

I love the artists who stand by their creativity and aren’t willing to sell it to the highest bidder who’s going to take control of it and turn them into something that doesn’t even start to resemble who they are. They refuse to stand in line on the musical conveyor belt as another corporately packaged, look alike, sound alike, cookie cutter molded artist who won’t be around in 5-10 years. I love the guys who will play the hole in the wall venues barely taking home tips just to be heard. They realize the size of the venue doesn’t matter and neither does the size of the crowd because all it takes is one person to hear what they have to offer and change their lives. They don’t do it for the fame, the money or the attention, they do it because they love it and because it’s who they are. It isn’t always the voices that turn my head, it’s the drive and the willpower to get in the van and hit the road, not knowing what’s ahead, only knowing they have to move forward. They stand on that stage night after night and sing to a crowd of drunks who aren’t even listening to the music. It’s frustrating, but they do it with a smile on their face. They load up their merch tables with stacks of signed self-released CD’s they paid for themselves, cleverly designed t-shirts that they paid for themselves and signed headshots that they paid to have taken, and then stand at that table exhausted after their show shaking every hand, thanking every person for coming and posing for a million pictures. They don’t just bolt off the stage and become a bus hermit. Why? It’s part of the deal and most of them really don’t mind doing it. They seem to connect on a more personal level with their fans than high profile names. They tend to remember your face and your name and talk to you for more than the standard 5 minute shake and go.

The struggle to be heard is one of the most difficult roads to travel but these artists just pile their stuff in the van and head to the next gig, the next city, the next month, the next year and hope that someone will listen and tell someone about them and that the right ears will eventually hear. They don’t give up easily and if they do, then this wasn’t the right road for them anyway. To them it’s not a hobby, it’s their livelihood and puts food on their tables and pays the bills. They aren’t any less talented than someone in the Top 40 and being played on country radio, some are more talented, sound better and their music is better quality. They just haven’t had that break yet to give them the platform to make that life changing impression but they don’t give up. This is why I don’t give up on them.

Give an unheard name a chance, listen to new music, don’t compare it to what the industry tells you is good music. Every big name started in a small venue, every big name was once a local unknown. There’s room on your playlist for both.


The “Right” Time .. What Is That Anyway?

20 Jul



You hear it on a regular basis, “Well, the timing wasn’t right” or “it’s not the right time”. So when IS the right time and what if you run out of time before the time is right? The right time is now, when it’s weighing on your mind, when you feel so strongly about it that you can’t stop thinking about it. There’s your sign. What do you want God to do? Tap you on the shoulder and yell “yoo hoo” in your ear first?

We miss so many opportunities because we were so busy paying attention to other things that we miss the “right time” and the right people. God’s done His part, now it’s up to you to act on it. You’ll know when that time is right, He’ll make sure of it so don’t be so quick to write timing off when it comes to circumstances or people. They’re both placed in your path when they need to be.

Start embracing right now and stop using the excuse to do something later. You might not have later. Opportunities present themselves ALL the time, not just at the time that’s right in your mind, but at times that are right in God’s mind for you. Right now is all you DO have.

Why Support Independent Artists, Songwriters and Musicians?

19 Apr

Actually it’s pretty simple, they’re the ones that write and perform the songs that get stuck in your head, that cause you to tap your foot, make you sing in the shower and provide the words for karaoke on a Saturday night. They’re the reason we have good music to listen to and to save us from the monotonous sounds of the same old manufactured “music” over and over again. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have that first song that meant something to us, music to dance that first dance to, or that song that brings up memories you’d long forgotten. They breathe life into every day, give us reasons to smile, reasons to cry and reasons to feel. They are the creators of something that every one of us can relate to and something that makes us all the same for at least 3.5 minutes. It’s because of them we can forget the world around us and immerse ourselves in a world of harmony and melody.

Independent artists are more likely to be in it for the love of the music, not just the money.  They take pride in their talent and they stand up for their creativity and don’t want the major labels to mold them into something they’re not and take away their ability to do THEIR thing.  Music is a way of life and a means of support for these artists, not just a hobby or something to pass the time. It puts food on the table and keeps the lights on. I believe if they believe in the music that much and I am able to take part in the result of that love the next time I turn on my iPod, then I can support them in any way I can. I thank them for what they do and what they give to those that love good, honest, heartfelt music.

I started promoting independent artists almost 10 years ago because of one song, “The Key”, by one country writer, John Griffin, who wasn’t getting any attention for his wonderful writing. I learned to take a minute and not simply hear, but actually listen to the words and music these independent songwriters have written and chances are it applies to some situation that has occured in the pages of your mind and in your life. I know they have in mine. I also promote signed artists, but mostly those you aren’t hearing regularly (if at all) on radio and those veteran artists who have “aged out” of today’s younger demographic but continue to sell out night after night and release amazing music.

If you listen to a song and you like what you hear, please let them know, talk about it on your websites and social media pages, and talk to your friends and family about their talent. People don’t know unless you say something. Go to their official websites or social media pages and let them know how you heard about them and what you think of their music. Every artist appreciates support and loves to get feedback on their music. Thanks so much for your support. Buy their merchandise, attend their shows, and most importantly, BUY the music.

Check out my country music promotions page, and connect with me on Twitter at @lovinlyrics, Facebook and Instagram.

Go For the Win … #WinAtLife

13 Apr


Positive mindsets create positive outcomes. Stop holding yourself back from doing amazing things. You’re just as capable as the next guy, maybe even more so. Forget what society thinks, forget what your friends think, stick by what YOU think. So many people settle for mediocre when they were created for so much more and they settle because of fear and no confidence in themselves. You have to want it more than you’re scared of it and if you can’t believe in you why should anyone else. You get ONE shot at making your life the best it can be, ONE. Go out knowing you gave it all you had, that you tried your best and being able to tell yourself that honestly is success in itself. #WINATLIFE

Two Small Words … One Big Meaning

30 Nov



I guess when you hit your 40’s, you start to reflect and see life a little differently. I’ve always been a deep thinker, an observer and a “payer of attention”. I think it’s taught me to see what I need out of life. It seems to have become a lot more evident that not only do I need to live life, I should focus on learning to LOVE LIFE.
Life’s full of ups, downs, disappointments, achievements, surprises and obstacles. Those are things that are always going to be here, they’re not gonna change but I can change the way I handle them. Complaining is just that, complaining. Wasting breath trying to change things that are most of the time out of our control and truth be told, it just makes us look like whiny, ungrateful, entitled jerks. If it’s something you can change, then stop bitching and start working on a change. If it’s something you can’t change, then start figuring out a way to work around it and adapt. Life was here long before we were, situations were here long before we got in the middle of them. Life wasn’t meant to adapt to our needs and our wants, so we have to learn to adapt to what it throws at us even if it’s not the easiest thing to do.
Since hitting my 40’s, I’ve learned to pay closer attention to life’s details, to work on self improvement, to love more and listen a little closer to what my heart tells me instead of always listening to my head. For me, I think the cliche is true, “Life really does begin at 40.” I’m 45 and it’s really starting to make more sense to me and to mean more now that I see things happening around me. I see my parents aging, I’ve lost both sets of grandparents, I see high school classmates who have passed away, I’ve had friends take their own lives, I’ve seen marriages crumble that I thought were made in Heaven, I’ve seen spouses cheat on their partners, I’ve seen relationships end and then start right back up with someone new before the person broken up with has even had time to process the break up, I see friends that were once sitting on top of the world wondering why life now has them scraping rock bottom and wondering how they’re gonna make it to the next day, I’ve taken a gun out of a crying suicidal friend’s hand in the middle of the night and let them fall asleep mentally exhausted on my lap, I’ve left my house in the middle of the night and driven 3 hours just to be with a friend who’s self esteem was shattered because her husband called her and told her he was leaving her because she was too fat, he couldn’t stand to look at her anymore and wasn’t someone he could love. I’ve seen those struggling to make ends meet lose their jobs, having gone through unemployment myself for 4 years. Every day I see the world around me changing in a not so good way and putting us in situation that create self-doubt and turn us from fun loving people into negative shells of who we once were. Life creeps up on you while you’re busy partying, complaining, working, and while we’re not realizing just how fast it’s happening.
Don’t let life turn you into someone that would make you uncomfortable to be around, someone that people shy away from, or someone that isn’t who you know you are. Don’t become the same kind of person that you personally can’t stand to be around, you know, the kind that you complain to other people about. That’s the great thing about the human spirit, it’s adaptable and changeable if you teach yourself what’s more important to you and what matters. Get out of the house, get off the computer, go enjoy your life. Go spend time with friends. If you’re single, get out and meet people. If you are already interested in someone and want to see where it goes, ask them out and see what happens. Travel, do something different, step out of your comfort zone, stop being such a tightwad and spend some money on experiences that create great memories.

You were put here to do more than simply take up space and exist, you were meant to LOVE LIFE.

The Real Strength of a Man 

30 Sep

Ladies, the guys in your life do more for you everyday than you realize. Remember to thank them for the small things they do, the gestures, the smiles they put on your faces, the hours they work, the weight that’s on their shoulders to make sure you have a roof over your head and that you’re taken care of without you having to be the one to do the worrying. It’s in the way they love your kids. It’s so much more than just material things that the men in your lives provide. It’s security, love, friendship, confidence and stablity. Let them know that you appreciate them. They need to hear it just as much as we do and have just as many insecurities about themselves as we do. To the guys in my life, I love y’all and am so appreciative of each of you for who you are and what you bring to my life every day whether you realize those things or not. Thank you. 

The Strength of a Man 

  The strength of a man isn’t seen in the width of his shoulders. It’s seen in the width of his arms that circle you.

 The strength of a man isn’t in the deep tone of his voice. It’s in the gentle words he whispers.

 The strength of a man isn’t how many buddies he has. It’s how good a buddy he is with his kids.

 The strength of a man isn’t in how respected he is at work. It’s in how respected he is at home.

 The strength of a man isn’t in how hard he hits. It’s in how tender he touches.

 The strength of a man isn’t in the hair on his chest. It’s in his Heart … that lies within his chest.

 The strength of a man isn’t how many women he’s loved. It’s in how he can be true to one woman.

 The strength of a man isn’t in the weight he can lift. It’s in the burdens he can carry.

The Perfect Shell – The Second Best Conversation I’ve Ever Had

28 Sep

“The Perfect Shell” – The Second Best Conversation I’ve Ever Had …
Originally Posted on Facebook on October 23, 2011 at 2:09am

Author: Me


I posted back in 2009 about the best conversation I’d ever had with an elderly man on the bus from Downtown Disney to the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World. What is it about some people that make a conversation so fascinating and insightful, thoughtful, emotional? It’s their experience and the fact that they’re speaking realistically, from the heart.

A couple of days ago, I decided to do something I NEVER do, wake up early and walk on the beach just after sun up. Those of you that know me know that morning and I are not friends, we are mortal enemies. Morning to me, should come around 3pm. Whoever came up with this whole morning concept just sucks or at least they did until last Wednesday morning. I dragged myself out of my nice warm covers, threw on some jeans and a sweatshirt, walked out into the crisp cold fall air and drove to Ft. Macon, my favorite spot for shelling and solitude. There are high sand dunes, a historic military fort, crashing waves, sand and the sound of seagulls and rarely any people on the beach this early in the off season. I got out of the car and started my long morning walk and time alone with my thoughts. I was absorbed in my thoughts about finding a job, missing my friends, wishing I had someone to share this kind of time with and hating the loneliness of being a 41 year old single woman when someone walked up behind me and scared the hooey out of me. I turned around and there was this smiling woman, with skin that was starting to show it’s age and her expressions of years past, and there a friendly light in her eyes. She was maybe around 70. She apologized for making me jump out of my skin, grabbed my hand, introduced herself as “Barbara” and asked me if I’d found any good shells yet. I showed her the two, one that was an angel wing that had a few barnacles attached to it. She took the shell and told me how to get them off of the shell without harming the surface. She said she had been coming to Ft. Macon shelling every day for years. You know how some people just tell you their stories whether you want to hear them or not? This was one I wanted to hear and she obviously wanted to tell it so I asked her to walk with me. As we searched the sand for treasures washed up from the ocean, she would tell me that “Ron”, her husband, used to walk this same path with her, doing the same thing. It was their “morning togetherness routine”, not to find shells, but to find each other. I asked her to tell me more about Ron, he seemed like a wonderful man from the glimmer in her eyes at the mere mention of his name and the excitement that was obviously in her heart that someone would express interest in her memories of her longtime love.

Barbara told me that they met on the beach years ago. She had been out doing just this very thing, collecting shells, when he came walking from the other direction. He smiled at her and introduced himself and asked to see what she’d found. He’d just moved here and wanted to know where the best place to look for shells was, his sister was an avid shell collector and would be visiting soon. She told me they parted ways on the beach and when she looked back over her shoulder to see where he was, he was turned around looking back at her. He walked back, got her contact information and said he would be in touch, maybe they could spend some time getting to know each other a little more. Little did she know that a year later, they’d be married in a small Beaufort, NC church and having a family a year later with the birth of a daughter, Mary. It was a wonderful romantic story, one that I was surprised she was telling a perfect stranger, but it made her happy to recall the good times so I let her continue with the story. She told me she never expected to meet someone here, she had moved here to start over and put some bad things behind her. She didn’t specify what those things were and I didn’t ask. She asked if I was married or dating anyone and you know me, I rolled my eyes and said no, haven’t been that lucky and went on to explain how when it comes to love and that kinda thing, I’m not really good at it and can’t seem to have good luck and have pretty much resigned myself to being the single crazy old lady with her dog. She told me she felt the same way when she met Ron in a totally random unexpected way. She said she certainly wasn’t ready to get married, or so she thought. She had written romance out of the picture, felt she was “past her time”. Apparently time found her and she said it would find me too. She used the analogy of shell collecting, said when I am least expecting it, I will look down and find my perfect shell, the one I’ve been looking for, one that’s perfect in my eyes and is exactly what I was hoping to find, that one of a kind shell that washes up once in a rare while. It really made me see things alot differently. I guess most single women my age probably think the same things – what’s wrong with me? Why am I always good enough to be someone’s best friend but no more than that? Why can’t someone see what’s so great about me? Am I not pretty enough? You know, the same questions we all ask ourselves at one time or another. Blah blah blah. She’s right, it’s not me, it’s just not the right time. The ocean decides when it’s the right time to push that perfect shell onto the shore and it’s God’s decision as to when it’s the right time to push the perfect person into my path just as Ron had walked across her path at the right time. He passed away from pancreatic cancer. She told him before he passed that she would still walk the beach everyday and thank God for letting her find her “perfect shell”. We reached the pavillion and parking area and Barbara said this is where she was parked and it was time for her to meet Mary for breakfast, that she enjoyed our talk and hoped to meet again on the beach. I thanked her for giving me something to think about and we waved goodbye. Will I ever see her again, probably not. The more I think about it, was she even a real person or was she possibly an angel? The Lord works in some mighty mysterious ways and you can’t help but wonder … we’ll see. Until then, I’ll keep going out and looking for that elusive, perfect shell.


10 Jun


These days everyone is all about social media, branding yourself, trying to be a bigger name than the next person, and trying to show that they can have more followers than anyone else. It’s all about 140 characters, tweets, status updates, posts, emails and texts. We tend to see each other more these days by a tiny square default photo on a web page rather than up close and personal and that’s so ass backwards from how it should be. Yes, social media is awesome, I personally love it but at times I personally hate it. It takes the real connection out of life. Are you connected? Yes, but are you REALLY connected to your friends and family? When’s the last time you spent time with one of your social media friends offline? When’s the last time you picked up a phone for a real conversation instead of picking up your phone and sending a message? We should be spending the hours we spend on social media thinking of ways to connect with people personally, not just via text characters and then making those connections happen. Social media is such a warped place, some people are awesome while some people simply use it to be rude and express opinions in a way they’d never do to someone in person because they’re “anonymous” online, they’re “untouchable” online. Be touchable, don’t be anonymous, don’t be just an avatar to someone and don’t let them just be 140 characters or less to you. People are so much more important than a digital communication. Even dating has become a series of random texts – where do you want to “hang out?”, what time do you want to “meet  up?” We thrive through real contact, hearing each other’s voices, holding hands, spending time together and really connecting, not just physically but mentally. We already have a following that we tend to pay less and less attention to, those who are offline and there for you anytime you need that connection. Don’t put those who are really there on the backburner. The longer someone sits in your background, the sooner you’ll look up and notice that your background isn’t how you remember it and they will either take themselves out of the picture or they will slowly fade away with time. Your picture will eventually change and when you spend less and less time focusing on it, the quicker it changes. You don’t need a million people to tell you how awesome you are and think you’re the best thing ever, you only need the small handful that actually mean it and are the ones that would come to your side when you’re not so wonderful. It’s easy to build an online persona that isn’t a factual representation of who you are and people get to know who you want them to think it’s who you are. How about using that time and energy to reconnect with your life offline, with those who love you for who you really are and don’t have a picture built up in their heads of who they think you are, to re-energize yourself by taking a deep breath away from the keyboard, to enjoy who and what’s around you?

Social media is a great way to “meet” people and in many cases, a great way to make friends for life that you do eventually connect with offline, just don’t forget those who were here long before Twitter, Facebook and even Myspace. Don’t let your background fade. There are people in your life that you choose to connect with and keep in your circle for a reason, you find them interesting, there’s something in them that you see as special and that you want to get to know better. Take that time, get to know them better, find out what makes them special. They keep you for the same reasons. Build your relationships offline and don’t spend so much time away from them that they start to dissolve and disappear. It’s fine to be on social media, to build your “brand”, and to spend your time working, just don’t let it become your life and don’t find that your main circle no longer exists outside of a digital connection. Live your life in more than text, more than numbers and more than avatars. Get back to the basics of building relationships and doing what it takes to maintain them. People choose you, consciously choose you because they see something in you. Don’t distort their vision of who you are.