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Jenn Cristy

How would you describe your music?

"We've had a problem doing this because we cover so many different genres... The best description that has been said about us is soul-infused rock"

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

I'm the lead singer, pianist, songwriter, main arranger, manager, booking agent, band mom, travel agent, etc. Too many roles for one person, but it's taught me a lot.

Describe your gear.

I perform on a Yamaha p90 Keyboard.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

"I definitely think there is a huge difference! Unfortunately, it seems as if it is almost always necessary for women to look a certain way and act a certain way to be accepted in this industry. It's not very often that you find a heavier woman making it big. And I can't think of a single woman in the spotlight right now that you could say is 'unattractive'. Men on the other hand: I am constantly amazed how ragged a male lead singer can look. A lot of them today look as if they just rolled out of bed and the industry doesn't blink an eye. It's frustrating to me that when trying to book a show or be accepted, I have to attach my best pictures in order to usually get that first glance. I play the role I don't like playing, but it is ALWAYS about the music to me.

I've kind of known that's how the industry is, but it's always been interesting to see how live engineers and venue owners approach me when they first meet me. ""Great, another girl with a piano"" type of attitude. But when we soundcheck and perform, they become our best friends and I become 'just one of the guys'. Quite silly to me, but for now it's worth it if I get to do what I love at the end of the day. "

Related Themes: Onstage Behind The Music

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

Women in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s seemed much more empowered, especially the 70s! They were also much more respected for their talents rather than their bodies. Women have always pushed a sexual edge, so I guess the argument can swing either way. But, I think women today take it to a whole new level by showing everything they've got physically and fake their way through the actual vocal/musicianship side of things. With pitch correctors and such, it feels as if a majority of the female artists out there are focused on image more than the art of music. Back in the day it was about the art, sweat, tears, and heart of the show/song.

Related Themes: Onstage Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

I've basically learned everything by experience. I wish someone had told me early how things would effect my career. My advice, and it's the advice I give my students, has always been 'Be you'. If you start to give up pieces of yourself to please others, you are just a step closer to losing yourself. I always do my best to play the role without losing my integrity. I love my job, I love performing, I love writing. If I can do those things and keep the love, while making the music world a better place, then I don't think I'm really losing anything by not conforming to what I see on Mtv, Vh1, or the internet! My fans are my fans for the pure fact that I have never been false, I have never lost the drive or passion, and it's obvious that I love what I do. I believe I will live longer in the industry by staying true to myself and to my fans!

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

I'm classically trained in piano. Have played since I was 4 years old. Was accepted in the Indiana University Music school for classical piano performance. It's what I know best!

Related Themes: The First Time