In this post, singer-songwriter, author, and alumna Shantell Ogden sat down with fellow alumna Jenn Bostic to talk about Bostic’s musical journey. In this profile penned by Ogden, Bostic discusses her road to the Grand Ole Opry and beyond.
By Shantell Ogden B.M. ’05
“I threw myself into music to grieve,” says artist and songwriter Jenn Bostic ’08.
The Nashville-based Berklee alumni lost her father at age 10 and music became a place to process the loss she felt. It wasn’t until entering Berklee in the fall of 2004 that she really became a fan of country music.
“I studied music education at Berklee and while there started doing weekend gigs with a local country band called Digger Dawg with fellow alum Charlie Hutto, singing all the country hits,” she explained. “I would attend classes all week and play shows on Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday I would do all my homework, and the process would start again.”
It was during this time that the honesty of country lyrics really started to grab Jenn’s heart, and when she started writing more of her own songs. After coming on the Nashville spring break trip three times, she knew Nashville was where she was headed after graduation.
After arriving in Nashville, Jenn reconnected with Charlie, who was then interning at Starstruck Studios. She took Charlie some songs, and he was honest telling her the songs weren’t ready to record.
“He told me we were going to write a few times every week until we finally had a selection of songs we were really happy with,” Jenn recalls. “It was a great experience, and I learned so much about songwriting over those six months. From those songs came my debut album.”
Several Nashville alumni including Charlie Worsham, were musicians on the record, which was recorded at Starstruck Studios.
While substitute teaching, working as a line dance instructor, and gigging along the way, Jenn entered a songwriting contest called We Are Listening. She won first place with her song “Kiss My Rainy Day Away”, and through this caught the attention of Jay Frank, a music industry executive who then worked at CMT. Jay became Jenn’s mentor, friend and eventually publisher. He helped her hone her craft of songwriting and connected her with songwriters around the world. “Jay was the first person in the music industry to really believe in me,” says Jenn.
It was with the release of Jenn’s sophomore album in 2012 that things really started to take off. One song in particular, “Jealous of the Angels” written by Jenn, Jimmy Fortune and Zach Runquist, produced by Los Angeles producer Barrett Yeretsian, became a signature song that changed her life.
A fan found the music video for the song and sent it to veteran U.K. DJ Simon Bates, who debuted the song on Smooth Radio. The response was enormous, and shortly after the song was play listed at BBC Radio 2. Jenn performed the song on BBC Breakfast Television, the same day the song reached #1 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart in the U.K. This success spilled over into the states and Jenn was invited to perform the song at The Grand Ole Opry in December of 2012. It was her Opry debut.
The U.K. airplay led to Jenn touring overseas, something she has done a dozen times since then. In 2017, she was named International Touring Artist of the Year, by the British Country Music Association. Jenn had the opportunity to perform at the awards show in October.
“It was one of my favorite nights of music ever,” said Jenn. “I played acoustically after the intermission and after finishing was honored with a standing ovation.”
It’s clear Jenn is on the right path, and she puts in the work every day as an independent artist to continue to share her gift of music.
Jenn’s new album Revival is scheduled to release on May 4, 2018. She has an extensive touring schedule planned in 2018, including dates in the U.K. For more details, visit JennBostic.com.
Author Shantell Ogden is an award-winning singer-songwriter whose songs have reached no. 2 hit chart positions in both the U.S. and Europe. Ogden’s songs, known for being lyrically rich with authentic vocals, have also appeared on TV and in feature films. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music in professional music and a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University in business.