Meet Jenn Cleary | Singer-Songwriter
We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenn Cleary and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenn, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
When I was six, I asked Santa Claus for a piano and he really delivered! Well actually, the want-ads delivered four burly brothers and their accordion-toting mother with a big ol’ antique piano that they seemed happy to find a new home for. Somehow, they got that beast of wood and wire through the door and into our family room. They then proceeded to make themselves comfortable and jammed nonstop, with mom belting it out on the accordion. A couple of hours later, off they went, and I was left to find that the immense joy this instrument had given them was soon to be given to me. I have always loved music. Either the radio was on or I would spin the turntable with my favorite vinyl. I remember my father listening to his record collection (Perry Como, Karen Carpenter, Frank Sinatra) and singing along. He did his best imitations of each performer and made us all laugh. My mother took us to plays and musicals and once we got into high school, one parent or the other would deliver us to rock concerts. I was never a natural musician, like some of the greats that I admire, but with my passion for music, I persevered. Practiced, practiced, practiced until I was good enough to busk, then good enough for an open mic….eventually creating my own rock band and recording five albums.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have been an acoustic rock’ blues artist for some time now, but often found myself enjoying entertaining families the best. It has always been so much fun to be performing at a festival and have the kids engaged with the music or seeing a mom or dad dancing with a toddler in their arms. I raised a few kiddos of my own, worked as an educator and volunteered with street kids in Nepal, so writing songs for children has been a natural expression for me. I came out with my first family album last year. It took off and won numerous awards. So naturally, I was encouraged to keep on writing in this direction and I just finished my second family album which will be released June 17th.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Actually, I am really excited to be taking my mother and daughter to Yellowstone National Park next week. I went there back in my 20’s and I thought it was one of the most spectacular places on the planet. I can’t wait to share it with them.
We live in Boulder, CO and Yellowstone is about a 12 hour drive each direction. So, we are going to create a fun road trip out of the adventure. We will visit family as we go through Fort Collins, CO, stop in Laramie, WY for lunch and a museum then find a hotel about half way. Heading west will take us to the Grand Tetons and through Jackson Hole, WY before heading up to Yellowstone on the the second day. We have a room at the Old Faithful Lodge, built in 1903-1904 with local logs and stone, the Inn is considered the largest log structure in the world. We have a room with a view of “Old Faithful” geyser herself, which we will get to see shoot water high in to the air, approximately once every hour. Day trips will be around the park to see some of the many stunning waterfalls, geothermal wonders and diverse wildlife. Pretty excited!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mother Margaret Cleary is my biggest fan. She goes to every show possible even as it get’s more and more difficult with age and health issues. My mother lives next door to me now and every morning we walk a mile together. One morning last year, she turned to me and said, “With this new album you’re working on, I think you should write a song about caring and sharing with one another because that’s what we’re all about.” I immediately liked the idea and by the time we got home I had the melody in my head. Within a few hours, I had the song written and ready to finalize with my mother. Having lost my father and my brother many years ago, I cherish each moment that I have left with my mother. For her to be able to co-write this song was an amazing gift from the universe. “Love Right Now” is one of my favorites on my 2021 album, All Together Now! and I hope that many others experience its beauty.