Funkyjenn at SXSW 2016

 

 

It’s been awhile but I’m heading back to SXSW! And this time, I’m sangin’!

SXSW 2016I’m headed back to Texas for a good ole time in Austin! I’ve got my own show from 12:00-12:20 on Friday, March 18 at Maria’s Taco Express and then I join Ted Russell Kamp + AJ Hobbs on a slew of gigs doing background vocals.

I’m stoked! It’s been awhile. I started going to SXSW in 2006 and we had a good six-year run together. Back then, I was just up for the adventure so I hopped into a van with a band and we drove that miserable LA-to-Austin trek in 22 hours straight. We ate beef jerky, the guys smelled, we ran out out of gas, we paid a random dude $10 in Fredericksburg to syphon gas out of his tractor but by the time we landed at the Levi’s Fader party it was all worth it. Ha! I met amazing musicians from all over the world. I had a badge so I went to all the conferences (saw Tom from MySpace!) saw a billion bands at a thousand parties- Aussie party, Psychedelic party, New West Party, Sin City party, and of course, couldn’t miss Chris Morris give his annual “rock&roll/devil horn/hook em horns” gesture at some panel in some conference room. I was there for the adventure.

Then I picked up a camera along the way, got pretty good at it, started shooting all my musician friends and then was invited to be an official SXSW photographer. I shot all the good ones: Willie, Van, Iggy, Pharrell, Amy, Lou and 1000 other bands. I had to be everywhere at once, on someone else’s dime and someone else’s terms. Even though I had the official badge clubs don’t care when they’re at capacity. You miss your subject, move on to the next one. I hated it. Lost all of the joy of music for me. I was there solely as the observer.

25211_349471411873_81494_n 1927608_53434506873_4117_n 1931317_53432271873_6788_n 1931317_53432276873_6986_n

 

I decided to go back the next year but this time it was just to party. I knew friends in bands and parties all over town. And that was the sole reason- it was a helluva lotta fun. Hang out with my girls in the day, make out with some dude at some party at night and have stories to talk about the next morning over breakfast. But after awhile you see the same people in the same circles from your same hometown and you ask yourself “Why did I fly out here just to hang with all the people I see back home?” I was getting over SXSW five or six years in. I was there for the hang.

When I first started going to SXSW in 2006 it’s because I knew musicians, not because I was one myself. I would sing at back yard parties or on living room floors but getting up on stage wasn’t the goal at that time. I have always sung, have been in and out of bands as a background vocalist, but it took me years to grab the mic for myself, literally and figuratively. But I wrote some songs, got a band, made a record or two and now it would be ridiculous to go and NOT sing. I have a sound, I have great players and I’ve got something to say.

It’s a little silly because I only have one show that’s all my own- and I have Aaron Beavers to thank for that- but it’s a start. Performing once is better than not performing at all- sitting in the sidelines watching everyone else just won’t do anymore. And I love, love, love singing with Ted. He is such a gracious musician and I learn so much by traveling with him so I would stupid to turn down the opportunity to be with him on stage. He is just amazing. Just one of the best men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. So I have a few unofficial dates at SXSW 2016. And this year I am going to sing. I hope to see you there!