Interview with Jennifer Hall, Singer and Songwriter
Jennifer Hall is a Chicago based singer and songwriter, producing beautifully realized music. Her strong vocal capabilities paired with experimental stylings create exhilarating music available for anyone to listen to YouTube or Spotify. Her business is to swell the receptive parts of listeners with joy and thought. Her experimental music provides a beautiful landscape for art to sway the tide of the mundane everyday to more robust feelings of fullness through soulful sound.
Passionate and ambitious, Jennifer Hall has multiple US tours under her belt and corresponds on all aspects of her creative projects. Her EP ‘In This’ is a collection of feel good songs that show her powerful vocal range. Quirky reimaginings of globally felt collective feelings of loneliness or uncertainty take a positive spin, where audiences can find a meaningful silver lining in most of her songs.
Gorgeous music videos interpret beautiful lyrics as well. Her new single, ‘In The Water’ released in October, speaks on a furtive desire to re-emerge into the world anew, changed and ready to reconnect, awaking to new possibilities. The music video’s expressive lyrical dance filled with raw emotion is among the first of a new wave of music from the artist which audiences will be more privy to this year.
Among our favorites, beloved fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” by Charles Perrault is reinterpreted where viewers find that a paint splattered Jennifer Hall has killed her wolves, relishing in the splatter of their rainbow colored blood in song ‘Make It Out Alive.’ The hunted becomes the hunter and the themes in her music deal with overcoming fear, living authentically, and learning to let go of self-imposed limitations.
Jennifer Hall divulges important lessons she’s gleaned from finding reprieve on the stage and being an artist.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the northwest suburbs outside of Chicago.
What do you do for a living?
I work full time as a singer doing live shows, touring, and session work.
What lessons has your work life taught you?
I’ve learned that the “build something from nothing” hustle is very real and really daunting at times, but it’s totally worth it. I’ve also learned that working hard is just one part of what makes my job possible. The other important parts have been tenacity, passion, and perseverance.
I’ve also learned that it’s important to learn as many skills as possible that are related to the job because you may not have help at all or until further down the road In your career. It’s beneficial to learn all you can about social media, marketing and mailing lists, management, touring and booking, and accounting. Being able to wear all the job hats until someone can give you a hand down the line is very helpful.
Can you tell me about someone who has had a big influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
One of my biggest personal influences was my choir teacher during my freshman year in high school, Mr. Swanson. He set an incredibly high bar for his students, and he really pushed us to be as great as we could be, to never settle, and not just to please him but to prove something to ourselves. He inspired me to such a great extent, and showed me that I was capable of more than I thought I was. I’m forever grateful for that experience.
What kind of student were you?
In general, I loved to learn but I definitely struggled being attentive to the subjects that didn’t interest me as much, subjects like math and science. I loved choir, Spanish, gym (I loved to run the track) and English, and seemed to always have great teachers in those fields. All and all, I wasn’t a huge trouble maker, but I definitely had my head in the clouds and wanted to just be in choir all the time.
Can you tell me about a person who has been kindest to you in your life?
I have someone in mind, someone who I’ve known for about 15 years who was always there during some really tough times. She has been a mother figure to me for many years and has always given great advice. She’s wise, has a wonderfully devilish sense of humor, and an incredible
warmth about her that makes you feel at home and like you belong when you’re around her. She’s very special.
What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
I feel extremely grateful for having a feeling of purpose, in making music, knowing so strongly what I want to do with my time and how I’d like to connect with others. I feel grateful for my health and my friends, and for my very sweet and cute pets.
Can you tell me about one of your happiest memories?
My happiest memories certainly revolve around musical accomplishments and significant personal moments with my partner and my friends. One of the most rewarding memories was when someone special put together a surprise holiday party for me, in February, after having missed out on celebrating the holidays due to a major concussion and the recovery getting in the way. It was very thoughtful. There was Christmas music playing when I walked into the room, and holiday treats and New Years decorations, all in the middle of February. That’s a very happy memory for me to visit.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
Life is really short and the time will pass either way (as so many wise people have pointed out many times), so you may as well use your time doing something you love.
Also, The goals and expectations you make for yourself and your life should be allowed to change; you can let them evolve, and former ideals are ok to leave behind once you grow and realize that the once perfect plans you had for yourself at some point really don't serve you anymore or as you thought they would. It’s ok to let them go.
Being compassionate to yourself is a pretty make or break type of move. Sounds really simple but I’ve found it to be tough to do, but showing yourself care and great love rather makes life so much better, and it makes you a better friend/ co-worker and partner too.
Who is your favorite designer/ what is your favorite piece of clothing?
Some of my favorite designers are solely because of Clever Alice. I came to a CA pop up about 6 years ago in Chicago for the first time where I was introduced to so many new and fun brands, many of which are my favorite designers. Heartloom, Allison, and Suki + Solaine (Chicago based brand) are some of my Clever Alice favorites. I also really love Reformation and their many eco-friendly production efforts. One of my favorites items these days is a spaghetti strapped top from Heartloom purchased at a CA pop-up, which I fondly call my disco shirt. It is covered in sequins and it’s gold, red, blue and black. It’s fun and easy to wear and it always makes me feel so free and like I want to get on a dance floor!