Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Your New Favorite Song Artist Spotlight - Jen Lawson

Welcome to another Your New Favorite Song Artist Spotlight. This week, let's get to know Southern Michigan country singer and guitar slinger Jen Lawson.  

Lawson started her musical journey at an early age. Inspired by her guitar playing father (who was an Elvis impersonator with his band, The New Generation) she picked up the instrument at an early age and learned some basic guitar chords. After a year or so of practicing on her father's guitars she finally received one of her own at the age of 15. Now, years later, you can find her playing at local coffee houses, wineries, festivals, fairs, and pretty much any open mic around her hometown. She’s become an avid songwriter and jokes that “everything can be made into a song!”

Your New Favorite Song: It’s time to get the party started, what are you asking the bartender to make for you?

Jen Lawson: I'm not a big drinker.  I'll usually just have a glass of wine or maybe a Pucker and Sprite. 

YNFS: Describe your music in a single Haiku.

JL: Acoustic Guitar
And words that tell a story
That most relate to

YNFS: What are five bands/performers that you simply cannot stop listening to?

JL: 1.) Keith Urban has been a favorite of mine since he was with The Ranch in the 90s. I love his musical expression on the guitar and he seems so genuine. I love that guy.
2.) Brad Paisley is another guitar hero of mine. He's got great song hooks and he's an amazing acoustic guitar player and, in my opinion, doesn't show that off nearly enough.
3.) The Judds, in particular, Wynonna because she pretty much molded my musical style. I grew up listening to what is now referred to as Classic Country. But one day I heard a Judds' song on the radio and it just "clicked" with me. I had the musical bug, so to speak. I studied every little facet of Wy's singing style and her range was similar to mine so I identified with her more compared to other female singers of that time. A couple years later I had my first guitar and was learning all of The Judds' songs in addition to anything else I could get my ears to hear.
4.) Terri Clark is someone that I first saw on CMT when her video for "Better Things To Do" came out. She was driving a jeep and had this cowboy hat on and playing a Telecaster. I thought, "Who the heck is this chick? She's pretty cool!" I've been a fan ever since. I've had the pleasure of meeting her several times and she's just "cool." I love her sense of humor. The cool thing about Terri is that she, along with Wynonna, helped mold my vocal style and I get comparisons to Terri all the time! It's a great compliment that I'll gladly take anytime.
 5.) The last artist that I cannot stop listening to is Sonia Leigh. She is a newer artist that emerged last year and comes from Zac Brown's label, Southern Ground Artists. Her music doesn't fall under any one category and I love that about her. She can go from country, to folk, to chick/acoustic music and I love it all. She writes great songs and plays that guitar pretty well. How can you hate on that?

YNFS: OK. We’re all friends here. There’s no judging. We all have them. Why don’t you tell me your five “guilty pleasure” bands/artists that you cannot stop listening to?

JL: 1.) I love Stone Temple Pilots. I think they have great guitar riffs and great, what I like to call, "weird" chords in their songs that you don't always hear in Country Music.
2.) Guns N Roses is another favorite. I grew up listening to them and I stole my brother's copy of  "Appetite For Destruction" when I was in 6th grade and would play it in my Walkman.  
3.) I love me some "J.T." -- Justin Timberlake. He has some great beats that I love to "bump" in my Camaro in the summertime!
4.) I also love Britney Spears. I don't care if she's auto-tuned in the studio! When I hear a Britney song come on I secretly say, "Yes!" in my head!
5.) I love Lady Gaga. Weird as she may be, I think it's great that she's not afraid to be who she truly is.  She's also a great musician and an incredible singer and songwriter.

YNFS: Cats or Dogs?

JL: This is an easy one, dogs! Cats are jerks who think they can do whatever they want. Dogs are loyal and are always happy to see you, even if you leave to go outside for one minute and come back in. They act like they haven't seen you in five years.

YNFS: Who’s the most famous musician/artist/actor you’ve ever had the pleasure to meet? Paint the picture. What happened?

JL: I have met a few but the coolest story to tell is that I was at Lilith Fair in 2010 here in Detroit and I was there to see Miranda Lambert. I was rushing to get back to my seat from getting a couple drinks to make it in time for Miranda to take the stage. As I was walking past the mixing boards in the center of the pavilion seats, out walks this guy and literally runs into me and makes me spill one of my drinks. I look up, ready to cuss this person out, and I realize it's Blake Shelton. My demeanor quickly turned from sarcastic and cranky to star struck and surprised. I immediately said with enthusiasm, "Blake!" He looked at me just as surprised as I looked at him. I don't think he realized he'd be recognized at Lilith Fair. So, I asked him if I could go grab my camera and come back to the sound boards and get a picture with him. He was really cool and agreed and I got a nice picture with him and got to talk to him for a few minutes before Miranda hit the stage. 

YNFS: Every performer has had “those moments” on stage. So, you choose (but feel free to answer both): What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you on stage? AND/OR What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you on stage?

JL: The most embarrassing thing that happens to me, not happened, is forgetting words to songs. I even forget the words to my own songs. I think that's because I don't practice as much as I should. I work about 50 hrs per week and there are days that I don't even pick up my guitar. I need to get out of that habit. But music just sort of turned into a side occupation and something that I've been able to make money at so I really need to start practicing and taking music more seriously.

YNFS: Seeing that we’re just starting 2013 what are your musical goals for the year?

JL: My musical goals for 2013 are to write more songs, become a better guitar player, and broaden my musical tastes. I tend to stick to listening to just country because that's what I relate to and can generally learn to play pretty quickly. But there are so many other good songs out there in different genres (I hate that word, haha) of music. I need to get myself to start branching out.

YNFS: Finally, If you could say one more thing to potential and current fans about your music what would it be? Sell us on your awesomeness!

JL: I hope that my music continues to be relatable to my fans. I always try to write songs that will inspire someone the way that other songs have inspired me. I want to have cool guitar riffs and beats in my songs that will make someone hear it and say, "That song is cool! I wanna learn that!" I just want to be to my fans what Keith, Brad, Wynonna, Terri, Sonia Leigh, and countless other artists have been to me.


Here's Jen playing one of her newer songs Make A Preacher Cuss.

Jen has a bunch of videos of originals and covers on her YouTube channel. She's also on Facebook so make sure to give her a like. 

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