Authority Magazine (2022)

Rising Music Star Jenn Cleary On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Music Industry

Asa part of our series about rising music stars, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jenn Cleary.

Jenn Cleary is a folk-rock, singer-songwriter from Boulder, Colorado, with many years of experience performing on international stages. Highlight shows include Colorado Rockies games, E-Town, Sundance Film Festivals, blues and folks’ festivals and multiple European tours. She has a range of song styles and performs bluesy, acoustic solo shows and rocks out with her full electric band. Jenn has released two albums of original songs (Breakin’ Loose, 2006; Back to the Wheel, 2010) and one of bluesy covers (Blues Full of Heart, 2018). Her first children’s album, All Together Now, won prestigious recognition from the 2021 NAPPA awards for being best in the music industry. She was the Back to School winner of the 2021 Fall Parent and Teacher Choice Awards and a 2021 International Songwriting Contest semi-finalist for her song “Our Wild Family.” Jenn will release her next album of children’s songs, called Happy Day, on June 17, 2022.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Igrew up in a small town outside of Boston, called Sudbury, MA. My early years were full of wonder and exploration, spending hours outside every day, playing in the woods, climbing trees and splashing around in the ponds and streams. We had a great neighborhood of kids who were always out looking for fun things to do. Pick-up games of kickball, whiffle ball and soccer were always happening somewhere nearby. I think back fondly to those times and used that inspiration to fuel both my 2021 album, All Together Now! Rockin’ Songs for Kids of All Ages and my 2022 album, Happy Day, which is also full of engaging family pop songs. When I sing my new song, “Take a Walk in the Woods,” I have the image of those beautiful New England woods emblazoned in my mind.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have been passionate about music right from the start. Starting with piano in first grade, then moving to acoustic guitar in middle school. I always loved to sing, but have to admit that my voice and instrumental talents were limited. I was not one of those naturally gifted, larger-than-life performers that you admire on TV. Not to be deterred, I engaged in lessons and practiced relentlessly. Before long, my tenaciousness-above-talent attitude had me busking on the streets and developing my performance skills with a non-critical crowd.

I started songwriting in my early twenties, only to be detoured by the fact that I had to work to make money, and then along came the kiddos. The musical expression could only continue in the background of my “normal” life. Then along came a serious medical crisis that sent me to the couch for months at a time. During this period, I developed my bluesy style of musical expression from a place of authentic pain and despair.

I emerged from that period wanting to express and connect with more people through music. I then recorded my first blues rock album and created the Jenn Cleary Rock Band. The rest is history, as they say!

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I was actively involved with my boys’ little league teams, helping out with coaching and taking them to professional games. One day, our big rock station here in Colorado (KBCO) had an interview with coach Clint Hurdle of the Colorado Rockies. He was asked who were the up-and-coming music stars in Colorado and he named me! He had bought my debut album online and was actually playing it in the clubhouse before Rockies games. I gathered up my courage to give him a call. He graciously called me back and invited me and my baseball-fanatic boys to a couple of games where we got to meet our favorite Rockies players. It was not only a highlight experience for me and my music, but I was temporarily the coolest mom of the year.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I actually think way back to my first stage appearance in elementary school. I had been studying up on magic tricks and for some unknown reason, I thought I would be good enough to perform in front of the whole school. All seemed to be going very well at first, when suddenly I couldn’t get a trick to work. I found myself pretending that someone was asking me a question from the side of the stage. I walked behind the curtain and then came back and voila! the trick had resolved itself. Out in the audience, my parents were a bit horrified, but I remember calmly moving through the issue and carrying on to kind applause. Excuse me while I cringe before continuing…

Adolescence then launched me into years of debilitating stage fright, but the above experience actually helped take me back to a place where I didn’t need to be afraid to make a mistake. Mistakes are how we learn and get better at what we love to do. When I think back to it, I still can’t believe I had the fearless courage to pull that off, but I did learn that the show must go on.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

My upcoming album, Happy Day, has been super creative and exciting. It is family-friendly with enjoyable rocking kids’ tunes for all ages. It falls into the genre of “Kindie-Music” or “Family-Pop.”

The title track sets the album’s good-times mood, celebrating the joy of a beautiful day with its tight rhythm and vivid intensity. The sounds and rhythmic feel of train travel, enhanced by a shuffle beat rolling along under my musical partner Mad Dog Friedman’s blues harmonica, all add up to the mystical image of a train in “Magical Music Train,” traveling to wherever your imagination takes you. “Plant a Garden,” a super-fun, energetic tune with a Louisiana zydeco sound, encourages curiosity, experimentation, and a connection to the earth. Candy is a universal delight, and the humorous “I Like Candy” spreads the happiness while encouraging self-care and balance.

“Take a Walk in the Woods,” as mentioned above, reminds listeners to not abandon the nature-based ambience of their environment for the enticements of a video screen. “Turtle Time” and “Only One You” emphasize the importance of contemplation, while “Fly Seagull Fly” is a song of avian admiration and the life of the sea. “It’s Time to Go to Sleep” speaks of the power of the breath to ground oneself and relax into sleep.

The most remarkable song on the album is “I’m a Yak,” written with my adopted daughter, Dorje Dolma, who grew up as a yak herder in Nepal until age ten. She came to the U.S. because she was dying from a severe medical condition that could not be addressed in Nepal. This song takes us back to a time almost forgotten and a place dramatically impacted by climate disruption, where nomads still live directly from the land, herding yaks and goats. The people of this Dolpo region play traditional music handed down over hundreds of years and vocalize to call their yaks back from the pastures. Dorje based her songwriting on facts about yaks and her experience living and working with them. She wanted to make the song both musically current and factually accurate for the listeners. We not only wrote this song together, but we also engaged her family in Nepal in the process. Her father sent us a track of his, playing a Dolpo damyen lute. I then built the musical component of the song around it, both in key and in rhythm. A couple of Dorje’s extended family members were staying with her parents in Kathmandu for the winter, before hiking a month back up to their village. They, along with Dorje’s father, sang a Dolpo folk song about honoring nature, and we recorded that as well. We wove the folk tune in between the yak facts. We also used a recording of Dorje’s sister’s yaks walking in her village with their bells clanging to add to the beginning and end of the song. Dorje brought more ideas to the studio while working with producer John McVey, drummer Christian Teele and bassist Chris Engleman, who included modern grooves with drums, bass and electric guitar. Eric Moon, who had been to Nepal, used his immersive travel experience to add the ambient sound of the flute from his keyboard. You can even hear Dorje herself at the beginning of the recording doing her yak whistle and the herding calls that she used as a child to bring her yaks home: “coo, coo.”

Dorje is the author of Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal, published in 2018 by Sentient Publications.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in music, film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I was at a talk at the Rocky Mountain Song School in Lyons, CO, in 2015, when Paul Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary said something like, “Singer-songwriters are the voices of our current culture. You are the next generation of artists, who can use your talents to powerfully make a difference for positive change.” I will never forget that moment. It was both intimidating and empowering. It felt like he was passing the torch to us as his tremendous work as an artist was nearing its end. My next album, All Together Now, would go on to attempt to use Peter Yarrow’s words of wisdom.

“All Kinds of Families,” the emotional center of the All Together Now album, is about the different kinds of families in which kids can live. I also wrote this song with Dorje, who was initially raised by aunties, parents, and grandparents, since they were nomadic yak herders. Dorje lived at a Nepali children’s home for orphans before I brought her to America for life-saving surgeries and subsequently adopted her. After college, Dorje went on to work in a preschool where she witnessed many different kinds of family situations — single parents, biracial parents, two moms or two dads, grandparents, foster care kids, adoption, on and on. There were so many variations of families that Dorje wanted to honor and express acceptance for. So, we co-wrote the song “Families of All Kinds.”

Raising a child of color and of a different ethnic background has brought directly to my attention the struggles that these kids (and adults) can endure in the American “white culture.” I honestly didn’t think much about it for a long time. The color of her skin never changed anything for me personally, and after all, I had the privilege of being white. She is just who she is, I thought. Aren’t we all just humans wanting the same things in life? Love, health, economic security, emotional stability and community? This child, now an adult, is a kind, generous and all-round beautiful human being. Yet, having just done a road trip with her to Yellowstone National Park, I noticed as we walked into some of the unfamiliar restaurants, venues or gas stations, people stared at her in a not-so-kind of a way. Instead of warmly greeting people ourselves, as we often do in many situations, we found ourselves on the defensive and anxious to leave.

With my new album, Happy Day, I tried to stay with an overall theme of inclusion and focused on the positive parts of life. For example, “Happy Day” asks, “Don’t we all have good days and bad days and when those happy days come along, don’t we want to jump with joy?” “Plant a Garden” asks “Can’t just about anybody find happiness in planting a seed and watching it grow?” And “Only One You” tells us that we are ALL unique in our own way.

I think it is important to not emphasize the divisions that we are experiencing these days, but to focus on what is positive, with the hope that we can find common ground and come together more as loving and kind human beings.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. “Don’t expect everyone to like your musical expression. It’s ok, we all have different tastes.” There have been shows where I felt nobody cared or was even listening. But at almost every show, somebody comes up to me and says how moved they were by a particular song. I never assume that people aren’t listening. And even if it’s just one person in the room who was moved, that’s enough.
  2. “If you keep with it, you might earn a living.” So many people told me I would never make any money with music and that it would always be a hobby. Well true, I haven’t gotten rich off of music, but I do have income that has grown through the years. But what’s most important to me isn’t the money anyway. It’s the connections made, the new friends, the people moved by a moment in a song and, oh, the places that I’ve traveled! It’s the gift that just keeps on giving.
  3. “It’s ok that you aren’t a musical prodigy.” I have always admired great musicians and knew that I was not one of them. Playing instruments never came easily to me, but somewhere along the way, I noticed I was getting better and better with lessons and practice. Once that light went on, I felt confident in just forging ahead and doing the best I could with the time I have. And now I’m a true musician, being paid to perform and sell my music. How cool is that?
  4. “Find ways to make practice fun.” I didn’t last long with piano lessons, because my teacher didn’t inspire me to enjoy music. I encourage my students to find ways to make practice fun and to understand their goals. It really doesn’t matter if you aren’t good at keeping a beat if you don’t intend to be in a band. If it’s for your own enjoyment, who cares? But if your goal is to perform, especially with a group, then keeping a beat will be very important at some point. Try to play along to your favorite songs, play with friends, sing to your dog and be a goofball. Whatever it takes. If you can imagine what you want to be doing in the end, you will get there with practice.
  5. “Don’t assume that you can’t sing.” Take lessons! Unless you have a physical disability that affects your vocal chords or your hearing, you can learn. You may not have the same abilities as some of the greats, but most people can learn to sing and sing well. Go for it!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take time out to “Take a Walk in the Woods” or “Plant a Garden” or take some “Turtle Time.” Why not? Listen to some of Jenn Cleary’s family pop and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to see people come together, young and old, black, brown and white, straight, gay and all in between, for the greater good of our planet. We could put all the prejudices aside and see that we are all one and just want to be happy, healthy and balanced in our lives. Let’s “Break it Loose,” change our “Attitude,” get “Back to the Wheel,” have a little “Less Gravity, “Love Right Now” and embrace “Our Wild Family,” which will hopefully lead to “Peace in our World.” Then we can do some “Lovin’ Like a Fool,” All Together Now! (Jenn Cleary song titles ☺)

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

This is a great opportunity to share my gratitude for the producer on my last four albums, John McVey of Cinder Sound Studios in Longmont, Colorado. John is a super creative, talented musician/vocalist/singer-songwriter turned sound engineer and producer. Not only that, he’s a great guy! He helped me take each of my songs from simple folk, rock or blues tunes to their dynamic potential. Working with John in the studio is wonderfully collaborative and an admittedly euphoric experience. I highly recommend Cinder Sound Studios!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Slow down, you’re moving too fast.” I have always been exuberant about life and love to achieve a lot. I often have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. I read a great book recently by James Nestor, called Breath. There is a lot to the book, but basically what I got out of it was to really pay attention to my breath and even appreciate that I am breathing at all! When I went to write my most recent album, I used that inspiration to create a kind of short guided-meditation for kids, that I put at the end of the album. Instead of doing a traditional lullaby, I took the opportunity to come from a genuine place of how I myself can find calm at the end of the day. Be sure to listen to “It’s Time to Go to Sleep” on the new Happy Day album. Having tried it out, I can verify that it can actually put you to sleep. It’s not just for kids- ha!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I have always really admired Jane Goodall. She not only did a tremendous amount of work to help protect chimpanzees, but by doing so, also inspired people to help conserve the natural world that we all share together. She has genuinely improved the lives of people, animals and the environment on an epic scale.

Asa part of our series about rising music stars, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jenn Cleary.

Jenn Cleary is a folk-rock, singer-songwriter from Boulder, Colorado, with many years of experience performing on international stages. Highlight shows include Colorado Rockies games, E-Town, Sundance Film Festivals, blues and folks’ festivals and multiple European tours. She has a range of song styles and performs bluesy, acoustic solo shows and rocks out with her full electric band. Jenn has released two albums of original songs (Breakin’ Loose, 2006; Back to the Wheel, 2010) and one of bluesy covers (Blues Full of Heart, 2018). Her first children’s album, All Together Now, won prestigious recognition from the 2021 NAPPA awards for being best in the music industry. She was the Back to School winner of the 2021 Fall Parent and Teacher Choice Awards and a 2021 International Songwriting Contest semi-finalist for her song “Our Wild Family.” Jenn will release her next album of children’s songs, called Happy Day, on June 17, 2022.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Igrew up in a small town outside of Boston, called Sudbury, MA. My early years were full of wonder and exploration, spending hours outside every day, playing in the woods, climbing trees and splashing around in the ponds and streams. We had a great neighborhood of kids who were always out looking for fun things to do. Pick-up games of kickball, whiffle ball and soccer were always happening somewhere nearby. I think back fondly to those times and used that inspiration to fuel both my 2021 album, All Together Now! Rockin’ Songs for Kids of All Ages and my 2022 album, Happy Day, which is also full of engaging family pop songs. When I sing my new song, “Take a Walk in the Woods,” I have the image of those beautiful New England woods emblazoned in my mind.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have been passionate about music right from the start. Starting with piano in first grade, then moving to acoustic guitar in middle school. I always loved to sing, but have to admit that my voice and instrumental talents were limited. I was not one of those naturally gifted, larger-than-life performers that you admire on TV. Not to be deterred, I engaged in lessons and practiced relentlessly. Before long, my tenaciousness-above-talent attitude had me busking on the streets and developing my performance skills with a non-critical crowd.

I started songwriting in my early twenties, only to be detoured by the fact that I had to work to make money, and then along came the kiddos. The musical expression could only continue in the background of my “normal” life. Then along came a serious medical crisis that sent me to the couch for months at a time. During this period, I developed my bluesy style of musical expression from a place of authentic pain and despair.

I emerged from that period wanting to express and connect with more people through music. I then recorded my first blues rock album and created the Jenn Cleary Rock Band. The rest is history, as they say!

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I was actively involved with my boys’ little league teams, helping out with coaching and taking them to professional games. One day, our big rock station here in Colorado (KBCO) had an interview with coach Clint Hurdle of the Colorado Rockies. He was asked who were the up-and-coming music stars in Colorado and he named me! He had bought my debut album online and was actually playing it in the clubhouse before Rockies games. I gathered up my courage to give him a call. He graciously called me back and invited me and my baseball-fanatic boys to a couple of games where we got to meet our favorite Rockies players. It was not only a highlight experience for me and my music, but I was temporarily the coolest mom of the year.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I actually think way back to my first stage appearance in elementary school. I had been studying up on magic tricks and for some unknown reason, I thought I would be good enough to perform in front of the whole school. All seemed to be going very well at first, when suddenly I couldn’t get a trick to work. I found myself pretending that someone was asking me a question from the side of the stage. I walked behind the curtain and then came back and voila! the trick had resolved itself. Out in the audience, my parents were a bit horrified, but I remember calmly moving through the issue and carrying on to kind applause. Excuse me while I cringe before continuing…

Adolescence then launched me into years of debilitating stage fright, but the above experience actually helped take me back to a place where I didn’t need to be afraid to make a mistake. Mistakes are how we learn and get better at what we love to do. When I think back to it, I still can’t believe I had the fearless courage to pull that off, but I did learn that the show must go on.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

My upcoming album, Happy Day, has been super creative and exciting. It is family-friendly with enjoyable rocking kids’ tunes for all ages. It falls into the genre of “Kindie-Music” or “Family-Pop.”

The title track sets the album’s good-times mood, celebrating the joy of a beautiful day with its tight rhythm and vivid intensity. The sounds and rhythmic feel of train travel, enhanced by a shuffle beat rolling along under my musical partner Mad Dog Friedman’s blues harmonica, all add up to the mystical image of a train in “Magical Music Train,” traveling to wherever your imagination takes you. “Plant a Garden,” a super-fun, energetic tune with a Louisiana zydeco sound, encourages curiosity, experimentation, and a connection to the earth. Candy is a universal delight, and the humorous “I Like Candy” spreads the happiness while encouraging self-care and balance.

“Take a Walk in the Woods,” as mentioned above, reminds listeners to not abandon the nature-based ambience of their environment for the enticements of a video screen. “Turtle Time” and “Only One You” emphasize the importance of contemplation, while “Fly Seagull Fly” is a song of avian admiration and the life of the sea. “It’s Time to Go to Sleep” speaks of the power of the breath to ground oneself and relax into sleep.

The most remarkable song on the album is “I’m a Yak,” written with my adopted daughter, Dorje Dolma, who grew up as a yak herder in Nepal until age ten. She came to the U.S. because she was dying from a severe medical condition that could not be addressed in Nepal. This song takes us back to a time almost forgotten and a place dramatically impacted by climate disruption, where nomads still live directly from the land, herding yaks and goats. The people of this Dolpo region play traditional music handed down over hundreds of years and vocalize to call their yaks back from the pastures. Dorje based her songwriting on facts about yaks and her experience living and working with them. She wanted to make the song both musically current and factually accurate for the listeners. We not only wrote this song together, but we also engaged her family in Nepal in the process. Her father sent us a track of his, playing a Dolpo damyen lute. I then built the musical component of the song around it, both in key and in rhythm. A couple of Dorje’s extended family members were staying with her parents in Kathmandu for the winter, before hiking a month back up to their village. They, along with Dorje’s father, sang a Dolpo folk song about honoring nature, and we recorded that as well. We wove the folk tune in between the yak facts. We also used a recording of Dorje’s sister’s yaks walking in her village with their bells clanging to add to the beginning and end of the song. Dorje brought more ideas to the studio while working with producer John McVey, drummer Christian Teele and bassist Chris Engleman, who included modern grooves with drums, bass and electric guitar. Eric Moon, who had been to Nepal, used his immersive travel experience to add the ambient sound of the flute from his keyboard. You can even hear Dorje herself at the beginning of the recording doing her yak whistle and the herding calls that she used as a child to bring her yaks home: “coo, coo.”

Dorje is the author of Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal, published in 2018 by Sentient Publications.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in music, film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I was at a talk at the Rocky Mountain Song School in Lyons, CO, in 2015, when Paul Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary said something like, “Singer-songwriters are the voices of our current culture. You are the next generation of artists, who can use your talents to powerfully make a difference for positive change.” I will never forget that moment. It was both intimidating and empowering. It felt like he was passing the torch to us as his tremendous work as an artist was nearing its end. My next album, All Together Now, would go on to attempt to use Peter Yarrow’s words of wisdom.

“All Kinds of Families,” the emotional center of the All Together Now album, is about the different kinds of families in which kids can live. I also wrote this song with Dorje, who was initially raised by aunties, parents, and grandparents, since they were nomadic yak herders. Dorje lived at a Nepali children’s home for orphans before I brought her to America for life-saving surgeries and subsequently adopted her. After college, Dorje went on to work in a preschool where she witnessed many different kinds of family situations — single parents, biracial parents, two moms or two dads, grandparents, foster care kids, adoption, on and on. There were so many variations of families that Dorje wanted to honor and express acceptance for. So, we co-wrote the song “Families of All Kinds.”

Raising a child of color and of a different ethnic background has brought directly to my attention the struggles that these kids (and adults) can endure in the American “white culture.” I honestly didn’t think much about it for a long time. The color of her skin never changed anything for me personally, and after all, I had the privilege of being white. She is just who she is, I thought. Aren’t we all just humans wanting the same things in life? Love, health, economic security, emotional stability and community? This child, now an adult, is a kind, generous and all-round beautiful human being. Yet, having just done a road trip with her to Yellowstone National Park, I noticed as we walked into some of the unfamiliar restaurants, venues or gas stations, people stared at her in a not-so-kind of a way. Instead of warmly greeting people ourselves, as we often do in many situations, we found ourselves on the defensive and anxious to leave.

With my new album, Happy Day, I tried to stay with an overall theme of inclusion and focused on the positive parts of life. For example, “Happy Day” asks, “Don’t we all have good days and bad days and when those happy days come along, don’t we want to jump with joy?” “Plant a Garden” asks “Can’t just about anybody find happiness in planting a seed and watching it grow?” And “Only One You” tells us that we are ALL unique in our own way.

I think it is important to not emphasize the divisions that we are experiencing these days, but to focus on what is positive, with the hope that we can find common ground and come together more as loving and kind human beings.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. “Don’t expect everyone to like your musical expression. It’s ok, we all have different tastes.” There have been shows where I felt nobody cared or was even listening. But at almost every show, somebody comes up to me and says how moved they were by a particular song. I never assume that people aren’t listening. And even if it’s just one person in the room who was moved, that’s enough.
  2. “If you keep with it, you might earn a living.” So many people told me I would never make any money with music and that it would always be a hobby. Well true, I haven’t gotten rich off of music, but I do have income that has grown through the years. But what’s most important to me isn’t the money anyway. It’s the connections made, the new friends, the people moved by a moment in a song and, oh, the places that I’ve traveled! It’s the gift that just keeps on giving.
  3. “It’s ok that you aren’t a musical prodigy.” I have always admired great musicians and knew that I was not one of them. Playing instruments never came easily to me, but somewhere along the way, I noticed I was getting better and better with lessons and practice. Once that light went on, I felt confident in just forging ahead and doing the best I could with the time I have. And now I’m a true musician, being paid to perform and sell my music. How cool is that?
  4. “Find ways to make practice fun.” I didn’t last long with piano lessons, because my teacher didn’t inspire me to enjoy music. I encourage my students to find ways to make practice fun and to understand their goals. It really doesn’t matter if you aren’t good at keeping a beat if you don’t intend to be in a band. If it’s for your own enjoyment, who cares? But if your goal is to perform, especially with a group, then keeping a beat will be very important at some point. Try to play along to your favorite songs, play with friends, sing to your dog and be a goofball. Whatever it takes. If you can imagine what you want to be doing in the end, you will get there with practice.
  5. “Don’t assume that you can’t sing.” Take lessons! Unless you have a physical disability that affects your vocal chords or your hearing, you can learn. You may not have the same abilities as some of the greats, but most people can learn to sing and sing well. Go for it!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take time out to “Take a Walk in the Woods” or “Plant a Garden” or take some “Turtle Time.” Why not? Listen to some of Jenn Cleary’s family pop and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to see people come together, young and old, black, brown and white, straight, gay and all in between, for the greater good of our planet. We could put all the prejudices aside and see that we are all one and just want to be happy, healthy and balanced in our lives. Let’s “Break it Loose,” change our “Attitude,” get “Back to the Wheel,” have a little “Less Gravity, “Love Right Now” and embrace “Our Wild Family,” which will hopefully lead to “Peace in our World.” Then we can do some “Lovin’ Like a Fool,” All Together Now! (Jenn Cleary song titles ☺)

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

This is a great opportunity to share my gratitude for the producer on my last four albums, John McVey of Cinder Sound Studios in Longmont, Colorado. John is a super creative, talented musician/vocalist/singer-songwriter turned sound engineer and producer. Not only that, he’s a great guy! He helped me take each of my songs from simple folk, rock or blues tunes to their dynamic potential. Working with John in the studio is wonderfully collaborative and an admittedly euphoric experience. I highly recommend Cinder Sound Studios!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Slow down, you’re moving too fast.” I have always been exuberant about life and love to achieve a lot. I often have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. I read a great book recently by James Nestor, called Breath. There is a lot to the book, but basically what I got out of it was to really pay attention to my breath and even appreciate that I am breathing at all! When I went to write my most recent album, I used that inspiration to create a kind of short guided-meditation for kids, that I put at the end of the album. Instead of doing a traditional lullaby, I took the opportunity to come from a genuine place of how I myself can find calm at the end of the day. Be sure to listen to “It’s Time to Go to Sleep” on the new Happy Day album. Having tried it out, I can verify that it can actually put you to sleep. It’s not just for kids- ha!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I have always really admired Jane Goodall. She not only did a tremendous amount of work to help protect chimpanzees, but by doing so, also inspired people to help conserve the natural world that we all share together. She has genuinely improved the lives of people, animals and the environment on an epic scale.