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Life & Work with Jenna DeVries

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenna DeVries.

Hi Jenna, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
I have been singing or attempting to sing since I could walk. When I was little, I waddled around the house, dragging one of those little cassette players with a microphone and singing my heart out. I grew up in a very religious household without access to popular music. I was raised on Gospel music and learned how to sing in church. Piano lessons started when I was just 5 years old, and at 14, I wrote my first song. I still remember vividly the first time I played it for an audience – it was a formative and foundational moment. I started playing at every open mic or event I could find my way into. I released my first set of recorded songs a few years later, opening many doors. I was invited and featured as an AGT and American Idol contestant, making it to the Top 24 on the 15th season! As soon as Idol wrapped up, I packed up all my things and moved directly to Nashville, TN.

Since moving to Nashville, I have released over 17 singles and have over 1M spins independently across streaming platforms. I am so proud of my journey to this point. Perhaps most importantly, I am working on my FIRST full album, slated to drop in 2023, with the first single released in October 2022. It will be a bit of a different sound than what my listeners are used to. I couldn’t be more excited to share these songs. I know without a doubt they are some of the best (and favorite) songs I have written.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a smooth road?
I definitely would not define my journey as smooth. Along the way, I left a fundamentalist cult, stepped on stage in two national singing competitions, moved to Nashville from NY, publicly came out of the closet, lost my voice and my family, and got married to the love of my life (my wife Audrey) – all while writing songs capturing all of these intense moments in my life. I can truly say that I experienced the feeling of losing everything. When I lost my voice, I was at the lowest point. I had been misdiagnosed for years with “vocal nodes” when they turned out actually to be pre-cancerous polyps. With no voice, I had to rush in for immediate surgery to save my voice. I couldn’t even speak for over a month. It was one of the terrifying feelings I have ever experienced – I seriously wondered if I would ever be able to sing again. I am so grateful that I fully recovered and now have my full voice (and even plus some) back. It makes me cherish every second I get to share my music and voice with others.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Songwriting is my passion. I love to connect with an audience by sharing genuine and authentic moments through my writing. I am proud of how much my writing has improved over the years and the sheer amount of music I have been able to release into the world! I would say I am known for being able to convey a lot of emotion in my performances. I write songs hoping that at least one person will listen and feel less alone; my ultimate goal is for audiences to be completely disconnected from the world for a moment and step into the story.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role you feel it’s played for you.
I don’t believe in luck. I believe that good preparation meets the right opportunities. Every day I wake up believing that today could be the day I write THE song or meet THE person that will open new doors. Being prepared for those moments is the only ‘luck’ I need.

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Image Credits
Photo Cred: Sammy Hearn | Audrey Mattoon | Andrew Meador | Elise Pickersgill

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