Photo Credit: Douglas Newton

Exclusive: Interview with JNNA

Looking for a new, refreshing artist to listen to? Look no further – JNNA is just that artist. Combining her rich, soulful voice with electronic music, she creates inexplicably cool vibes in every song she features on. Recently, she’s been working on new music to release in the new year that we can’t wait to hear.

Until then, read on to get to know her and learn about her journey as an artist!

What was the deciding factor in pursuing music as a career?

It was really when I was taking classes at Santa Monica College and applying to transfer to Universities. I told myself that if I didn’t get into the schools of my choice that I would pursue music full time. Between you and I though… even if I got into those schools, I wouldn’t have gone. I always knew that music would work out for me. 

Who or what motivates you to succeed?

My Dad is definitely my motivation with music. I just want to make him proud.  

Describe the first time you performed in front of an audience.  

The very first performance I ever had was when I was about 8 or 9 years old. It was in a church for a recital that my singing coach planned twice a year. I remember singing one of my favorite songs, Alicia Keys “If I Ain’t Got You” and being insanely nervous. 

How would you describe your musical sound?

I like to say that I’m soulful lyrically and vocally and eclectic musically.

Who are some artists who have influenced your music the most?

My list of influencers keeps on growing by the second, so far I take inspiration from Little Dragon, Disclosure, Flume, Odesza, Lauryn Hill, James Blake etc.

If you could collaborate with any artist in the world, who would you choose and why?

I would be absolutely thrilled to collab with Rihanna! Not only am I obsessed with her music but she just seems like a genuinely awesome person to be around. I know I would have so much fun on tour with her.

Where do you draw most of your inspiration for new music?

I’m always taking inspiration from music that I hear every day. I also have help working with Casey (Tyzo Bloom) because he’s the one producing my music so he gets inspired from the music he listens to and then that reflects when he works on my own stuff. 

We hear you’re releasing an EP soon – what can we expect from it?

That has been the plan but…at this point I’m actually trying to decide if I even need to release an EP. The plan for over 7 months was to release one, but right now I’m kind of into the idea of doing a single by single release. Once I release my cover and music video, followed by the first single, we will see if the EP will be put out in its entirety or as individual tracks.

What do you think is the most challenging part of making music?

I’ve only been making my own music now for a little over a year and so far the biggest challenge I’ve had is remembering that I don’t have to follow what’s popular and what I think everyone else wants to hear. I try to remember and say to myself that I need to make music that I want to hear, because in the end, I’m the one that will be performing my songs over and over again, so what fun would it be if I didn’t enjoy my own music? 

If you could pick any city in the world to stop in on tour, where would it be and why?

I would stop in Manchester, England. I took a trip there with my parents and siblings when I was really young but I don’t remember it very well at all.  That’s also where my dad was born and I would really love to go back and visit as an adult. 

Outside of making music, what are some of your favorite hobbies?

My boyfriend and I have been really into camping and backpacking lately. Whenever we have a break from work and he has a break from school we like to take trips where we can take our dog and explore.

In addition to being an amazingly talented artist, you’re also an active supporter of various charities and organizations such as Childhelp, ASPCA, and Chrysalis. How did you discover your passion for philanthropic work?

Aw, thank you. I try to do what I can, when I can. I was raised being taught that if you can help those in need you should. It’s important to let those in need know people care about them and are there to support them. 

Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to get involved in charities or organizations in their community?

It’s really pretty simple: just find something you’re passionate about and get active. You can volunteer your time at a homeless shelter, sign up to be a big brother or sister at the boys and girls club, donate some money to a traceable charity, whatever you feel you can do. The first step is feeling compelled to help. Once you have that, you’re halfway there.

What impact do you hope your music has on your audience?

Whenever I listen to music, and if I’m really into a song, I get overcome by goosebumps and I get this feeling that is kind of difficult to describe. I guess it could be that I relate to the song somehow, or simply that it just makes me feel something. I’d love my music to have that same effect — be relatable to someone on a personal level or give someone the feels. Having someone tell me that they experienced one of those moments with my music would make me feel so jazzed and accomplished. 

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since pursuing music? 

I’ve learned to make music for myself and make music that I love. If I was making music only to satisfy everyone else than I don’t feel that I would be pursuing this career authentically.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your supporters?

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! Thank you guys so much for all of your kind words and for all of the support you have given me, I appreciate every single one of you and I can’t wait for you to hear my new tracks!!! 

Are you excited to hear some of JNNA’s new music? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix.

Written by Kath Jiang

Western University grad, music lover, and pizza enthusiast from Toronto.

(Please CC on all inquiries!)