Dallas' Own Gem: Jenna Clark

By Aymi Lightfoot / April 3, 2019

 
 

Last month Butler Brothers Building hosted Tacos + Tunes in Dallas for another sold out event. The Topo Chico was flying, the tacos were being passed around and the excitement at a deafening buzz - our March event was in full swing.

Each artist took the stage and awakened a sense of awe with each chord. Jenna Clark, the headliner, drew us in with her wit and old-soul lyrics.

We got a chance to sit with Jenna Clark a week before the show and dive a little deeper into the heart and soul of her music. With a deep understanding of music, this Dallas gem brought us into her world with her disarming honesty and raw passion for the arts.

T+T: We can’t wait to hear you live again! How did you hear about Tacos And Tunes?

JC: Thanks I’m looking forward to it. I’ve seen a number of my friends and peers have played Tacos and Tunes before.

T+T: Oh cool, Are you a Dallas native?

JC: At this point, I’m not sure how to answer that. I moved to Dallas from my hometown Ocala, Florida in 2012 so I am working on 7 years in Dallas this summer.

T+T: What brought you to Dallas?

JC: Originally, I just wanted a change of scenery and to grow up and out of my roots. I had opportunities and family in Dallas to support my move. I came out here in search of deeper connectivity with an arts, yoga, and music scene and to genuinely figure out who I was as I became an adult. I was not disappointed. I have become very involved with teaching yoga and playing music. Through all this time here, I’ve managed to get to a place where those things could support me.

T+T: So you’ve been doing the music thing for a while?

JC: I’d say I’ve been a paid musician for the last 4 years. I took guitar, piano, and vocal lessons from the time I was 11 up until I moved at 21.

T+T: Wow! You’re very well learned in music then (and it shows)! How would you describe you genre? do you think you've stayed true to your genre on your journey or has it evolved from where you started?

JC: I’ve always had a pretty eclectic taste in music with a huge affinity for voicings and chords really accentuating a given song. I draw from many different kinds of influences and I’ve always been intrigued by songwriting. I personally don’t think of myself as a specific genre, so much as I’ve aimed for just pure expression in whatever form it presents itself as I write. Most recently, I was named “Best Jazz Act” by popular vote at the Central Track Music Honors so I have a feeling maybe people don’t really have a full grip on what to think of my music yet either. If I had to self proclaim- I think I’m closer to blues than most things.

T+T: Where do you draw your biggest inspiration? (musicians, books, people…?)

JC: I think simplistically, heartbreak is the easiest answer for any artist but it goes a little deeper than just that initial heartbreak. Presence is everything for me. Feeling feelings fully as they hit, recognizing the situations causing those feelings outside of myself and deciding my reaction to them, then creating an experience through song that’s accessible for someone else to feel what I feel and in turn creating connection is what drives me forward. And while heartbreak entails a range of feelings that are much easier to explore and pick apart, I am on my way to figuring out how to write deeper and feel more articulately those feelings that are harder to write about including joy.

T+T: Heartbreak songs always resonate! That was beautifully put.

JC: Thank you

T+T: You mentioned earlier that you've been a paid musician for the last 4 years. Is this your main source of income if you don’t mind me asking? Or is there something you do aside from music and How do you balance pursuing music and having to think about supporting yourself?

JC: It’s an ongoing road figuring out how to make a life in music make sense and I certainly haven’t mastered it yet, but overall, I’ve been scraping by with music and teaching yoga locally throughout the week. It’s provided balance in multiple ways and both endeavors seem to improve the other.

T+T: Where do you teach yoga?

JC: Summit Climbing Gym and Super Yoga Palace. This year I will also be joining the team at FitLab and YAM (yoga, art, music).

T+T: Cool! Along those lines, what would you say to other artists who are faced with the everyday balance of having a Job and also working for their music.

JC: Focus on yourself. Get out of your head and get off social media when it puts you in the mindset that you haven’t achieved enough. Set realistic, specific goals, and meet them. Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Maybe even yearly if you are that type.

Remember that the industry and the world is changing. No one really knows what works, we’re all just guessing. I think that was the biggest realization I came to recently: legitimately and truthfully, if you are meant to really hit it in music, you will do it on your own terms, in your own way, on your own time.

T+T: I like that you said no one really knows what works. As an artist it’s encouraging to hear that sentence alone. Whats next for Jenna Clark?

JC: This year I am pushing to branch out of DFW and hit the road with my recently released record, (hopefully vinyl in tow soon) and also teach yoga on the road. Teach a class and play a show in the same town as I move around. I also have an EP in the can for release sometime late summer.

I am sure I will also be busy singing backups for my boyfriend and up and coming country artist Mike Randall.

T+T: I love that you’ve found a way to pair yoga and music so perfectly. Many people have a hard time balancing two passions. Thanks for taking time to chat with you! You have a way with words and we’re excited for the future of your music!

JC: Thank you!!