Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter shares inspiration behind new album
After Jenny O. released her debut LP Automechanic, she hit the road for two years in support of acts like Father John Misty, Leon Russell, and Rodriguez. Born Jennifer Anne Ognibene, the singer-songwriter has a knack for mixing words and sounds and can move seamlessly between genres; nonetheless, each song seems to come from the heart.
Speaking of her new album Peace & Information, the Los Angeles-based songwriter said, “These aren’t necessarily the songs I wanted to write, but they were the ones I had to write.” It’s that kind of spirit that runs through Jenny O. – a sense of honesty and straightforwardness that is often missed in the Hollywood hills.
ARTISTdirect caught up with Jenny O. to discuss the new album, her feelings on Los Angeles, and find out her next step on the way to making her dreams come true.
Hello – Please introduce yourself.
Hello, I’m Jenny.
Where are you right now?
I’m in my kitchen, in Los Angeles, California.
Tell us about your new project: Who did you work with? Where was it recorded? What’s it about? Is there candy?
Peace & Information is a new album about everything I was thinking about the past couple years. I recorded the songs with Jonathan Wilson at his studio in Echo Park.
How do you describe your music to new friends?
“Rock and roll.”
Other than Celebrity culture/health food/movies, what should your hometown be known for?
Nature. L.A. is full of incredible plants and wild animals. There are mountains right in the middle of the city. I like all that other stuff too though, movies, Sunset Boulevard, fancy cars, healthy food.
Please look around you right now and please describe the first item or person you see that’s significant to you (and that your relationship with it/them). Can we see a photo?
Ok, I see a basketball and a picture of George Harrison. He explored darkness and light in the most balanced way. Basketball makes me feel present and calm. Here you go:
What first inspired you to pursue music? If it was a musician or a specific piece of music, please tell us all about why you find it so inspirational…
My dad had a ’60s cover band when I was growing up. I just kind of got absorbed into it as soon as I could sing and play along.
What’s the best advice anyone has given you about pursuing a life in music?
You’re in charge. If you want anything, do it yourself. Not sure if I was given that advice or I finally came to it after a lot of frustration and time going by.
Not including your current crew, who (alive or dead) would you love to have in your van for an all day drive from gig to gig?
This is hilarious to me because the first people that came to mind are Kurt Vonnegut and Bertrand Russell, both of whom I imagine in their old age. The idea of touring around with an elderly British mathematician in the van delights me endlessly.
What song best sums up your life right now?
“Quiet Man” by John Prine.
What is the best reaction to your music you have experienced so far?
Record sales. The purchase of a vinyl record of songs I wrote and recorded is a holy exchange.
Take a moment to dream – Where do you hope to be a year from now?
In a year from now I’d like to be recording the next album.
What’s your next step towards that dream?
The next step is to sit down and finish writing those songs. And find the money all over again.
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