IT START WITH -
An endless passion for music, for voices,
for discovery, for people, for life.
A Little Bit About Me…
One of my longest held dreams came true when I recently completed recording of my newest 12 cut CD at Watershed Recording Studios in Nashville.
I was blessed to have worked on this CD in collaboration with SSM Nashville Records*, under the watchful eyes of SSM Nashville Management and talented Nashville “all stars” Dean Scallan (Branch and Dean), and the legendary Michael “Huffdaddy” Huffman, (SSM Nashville’s CEO).
I hope you like it!
Through the good times and the bad times growing up, the most touching and successful moments in my life always involved music. My dream was to one day be a Nashville recording artist, so no matter what I was doing, I always held an ever present passion for music and performing inside me.
I honestly believe that my love for music was weaved into my soul and bred into my DNA.
As a little girl, my Grandmother, (Grandmother Olcott) would put a hairbrush in my hand and ask me to pretend it was a microphone.
She taught me to sing her favorite Billboard hit song, “Devil or Angel” that had been written by her sister and my great aunt, Blanche Carter, and performed by such greats as The Clovers, Bobby Vee, and Johnny Crawford.
I was raised in Jacksonville, Florida, in a neighborhood of relatively small houses built very close together. As a 5 year old, in the middle of a neighborhood of bunched together homes, my parents’ house provided me with a captive audience of neighbors on which I could project my young singing performances.
On the weekends, starting very early in the morning to get the best effect, our neighbors had no choice but to hear me belt out The National Anthem and America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee…) as loudly as my little voice could carry it through the louvered jalousie windows of our front porch.
Sometimes, I would feel that our neighborhood was not experiencing a full appreciation of my young musical expressions, so I would simply step outside the porch, to the large flight of brick stairs leading to our front door, and project my songs to all within ear shot, with the biggest 5 year old voice I could muster.
If I needed a live audience for these performances, I would simply rustle up all of the dogs in the neighborhood as my audience, strays and all, and announce – “I was in concert!”As I grew older, my love of music and performing continued to grow. I began singing at various venues including my Grandmother’s church and various talent shows around Jacksonville.
It was in 8th grade, when Olivia Newton John was topping the charts, that I began my classical voice training as a both a soprano and alto. My love of Olivia Newton John’s music motivated me to learn how to sing exactly like she did, hitting every note in every song.
At that tender age, I really felt that I had “arrived” as a young songstress, when I entered a singing competition at Southside Methodist Church in Jacksonville, competing against 50 other young vocalists. The song selection for my solo – “What a Difference You Made In My Life” by Ronnie Milsap carried me to success at this competition.
I got my first standing ovation at a recital at the old Independent Life building, in downtown Jacksonville, for singing a classic Anne Murray song, “I Just Fall In Love Again”.
At the age of 16 it just seemed that in everything I touched in music, God allowed me to prevail and succeed with rare exception.
At 18, in a very large group of competitors, I succeeded in winning my very first talent competition, through Cox Radio, in Jacksonville. The first prize was one hour of honest to goodness recording studio time. Oh my goodness – I surely had arrived!
With my Aunt Blanche’s encouragement, I continued to perform at weddings and similar festivities. It was hit and miss, but I enjoyed every minute I was performing.
At “30 something”, one morning while driving to work, I heard an advertisement for a Dick Clark talent search sponsored locally by radio station WAPE. I thought, Should I? Do I Dare? Why not!
Grassroots for Victory-jennifer on stage at August 8 event
Well, the Dick Clark talent search came to Jacksonville. I pulled myself together, and by the evening of the talent competition I found myself, along with 2,000 other older and younger ambitious artists, before 3 talent scouts from Dick Clark Productions.
When it was my turn, I knew I had to stand out, so I asked if I could sing without any backup music. These talent scouts were not impressed. No one had ever asked them to do this before, so they asked, “Do you really think you are that good?” I hesitated briefly, and said, ”Yes, I believe I am.” I mean really, what did I have to lose against so many other competitors?
I got up, performed the Olivia Newton John song, “Hopelessly Devoted To You”. Not a pen dropped and even though they told me, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” I had a good feeling about my performance. I left that night, feeling peace from the good Lord, with a little voice inside telling me I had done well.
I was right. Two days later, I received a call from Dick Clark Productions, telling me I actually had won!
I received an invitation to travel to Los Angeles to actually sing on The Dick Clark Show.
Apparently, Larry Kline of the American Music Awards, had singled me out and chose me – just an everyday wife and mom from Jacksonville, Florida.
Grassroots for Victory-jennifer on stage at August 8 event 2
With this amazing career opportunity came some difficult choices. And, sometimes choices involve sacrifices. Should I choose to pursue a singing career? Or, should I remain committed to fulfilling my obligations in Jacksonville. Hard as making the right decision was for me at that time, my dream of a singing career would remain on “temporary” hold, again.
Life’s ups and downs continued, though the “downs” seemed to run together more frequently as the years went by. I found solace and hope in my faith in God and in my music. I continued to perform locally and found ease in creating music. Influenced by the events of the day (September 11, 2001), and my life experiences, again things started happening for me.
I began receiving invitations to perform at professional football, hockey, and other sporting events, 9/11 memorial ceremonies, and large political events with Florida Governor Rick Scott, radio talk show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio other national figures.
Then, by coincidence or fate, someone special came into my life who asked me what my hopes, dreams and aspirations were with my music. Hearing of my passion for singing and creating music, they told me that you only have so many chances to follow and succeed in fulfilling your dreams and that I should by all means take the leap. So here I am…
I will always love and cherish those who encouraged me to follow my dream. And, I thank the good Lord for all the ups and downs, and the successes and the sacrifices in my life that have influenced how I perform and create my music.
I am a truly blessed female artist. I hope you enjoy my new CD as much as I have enjoyed working to bring it to you.