Songwriter Jenny Gillespie has been many places and tried many things. She’s lived in Illinois, Virginia, Paris, and Texas, in addition to spending substantial amounts of time in Kenya, New York, and North Carolina (She currently resides in Northern California.) And the sounds she’s been kicking out for the better part of the past decade have embodied elements of folk, country, world music, jazz, and electronica. Last month saw the release of her latest album, Cure For Dreaming, which could possibly be best described as a twangy, lounge-y exercise in alt rock singing/songwriting. Earlier this month Jenny Gillespie released a music video for “No Stone” and just the other day she took some time to tell me about her latest record and what’s currently going on in her life.
Izzy Cihak: So this is a really big and general question but your life and musical career have seemingly taken you to a lot of really cool and interesting places and given you the opportunity to work with a lot of really amazing people. What have been some of the highlights of your musical career so far?
Jenny Gillespie: I think each experience has afforded me some moments where I felt really close to myself, and felt very good about what I was doing in the present moment. Whether it was arranging with a co-producer, recording a vocal, or going over mixes. Those moments of unadulterated positivity towards myself have been the highlights because I rarely find them in everyday life. I don’t really think about whether things are “cool” or “interesting” while I am doing them, I’m just being led by intuition and a true desire to work with someone who I admire.
Izzy: Is there anything you think is especially important for fans and potential fans to know about your process of writing and recording music?
Jenny: The process is becoming more difficult, and as I get older the seasons between making things become longer. So with this album, they should know that much went into it, that was built up over a period of time, even though it’s only 9 songs.
Izzy: Have you noticed any patterns in the kinds of people who seem to most like your work?
Jenny: I am always surprised at the diversity of people who like it. Men in their 30s, women in their 60s, people in France, people in Thailand, toddlers who listen to it to help them go to sleep!
Izzy: How do you think Cure for Dreaming compares to your previous work?
Jenny: I think it’s my most polished work. It has the most beautiful production. I wanted to try handing over the production to someone I really trusted. I have co-produced or self-produced all my other albums, and I’m glad I did. But I needed to let go on this one and focus on the songwriting and vocals.
Izzy: What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences, both musical and otherwise?
Jenny: Having a child made me want to write very direct, emotionally honest material. My biggest influence was probably how I wrote when I was fifteen or sixteen, when I would just play with a guitar by myself and didn’t have any idea of what was cool or trendy.
Izzy: “Involuntary Sway” is one of my first favorite tracks of 2016, so I’m curious how that particular track came about. It reminds me very much of some of the best singer/songwriters of the ’90s.
Jenny: Thanks! It came from a bass line I wrote, then unfolded very quickly on the piano. I wanted to write something happy and poppy, again, kind of like how I wrote when I was in my teens.
Izzy: Finally, what are you most excited about in 2016, in addition to your new album hitting shelves?
Jenny: I am excited for my best friend’s wedding, and to hopefully start writing a kind of spacey bedroom electronica record.