Under the Spotlight this month: Jenna Hood In last month's newsletter we got to know Novasound who are producing my album. We continue getting to know all the wonderful collaborators who are involved with the album and this month I want to introduce you to Jenna Hood; classically trained violinist and member of Glasgow's premier country band Glasville, CEO of Rhythm Academy and all round excellent human. Jenna plays on my track 'They're Coming For The Kids' adding a beautiful violin part that converses with the vocals on the track. I really feel it's adds a haunting layer and lifts it to another level and I can't wait for you to hear it!
What first got you into music?
J: My Grandad. He went to a car boot sale when I was very young and picked up a cheap ¾ size violin and hoped I’d use it one day. Sadly, he never got to witness much of my music because he died when I was 6, but the seed was well and truly planted!
You've played for some pretty big names - who have you toured with and what was it like?
J: The artists have all been quite different from each other, as have their music and their crowds. The biggest name is easily Rod Stewart, and I toured all over the UK with him a good few times, playing arena and stadium tours. Rod’s tours were amazing, you were very well looked after and treated very much like one of the team. It was a warm, lovely, family experience.
Emeli Sandé was a great one to play for. She herself is lovely, and her team were too. It ticked my glamour boxes, sitting on a glittery podium or chatting up Peter André (who was as tall as my elbow with the heels I had on) backstage. There was a glam squad doing our hair and faces too, which is always a bonus.
You play in a few bands from country to rock, what's your favourite genre to play?
J: The most fun I’ve ever had performing is taking my fiddle on stage in my fringes, sequins and my cowboy boots and singing Dolly Parton to a mob of Country Fans who have been let loose for the night with the tunes they love! Country is unpretentious, it’s honest and it reflects every human experience. Everyone gets on board. I’ve always loved Country music and used to wear cowboy boots to school so it’s home for me! It won't be long before I crack out the sequins and cowboy boots again to play in the country band Glasville at our upcoming (almost) sold out show at the Garage!
How do you feel social media has impacted the music business?
J: I feel like if I was 11 again it’d be a dream come true. To be able to film, record and share music with people with such ease. Yet here I am at 34 not using it to its full potential because a) time and b) cringe! I guess it has an almost infinite reach, so there’s big potential there.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
J: I’m not sure I have a specific thing that irks me to the point I’d change it, because the industry’s so massive, so diverse and I’ve been fortunate enough to see many different avenues of it, that in my experience it all has its place in the bigger picture. Nothing’s perfect.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
J: My Dad: “Let everybody else bother with that carry-on. You just play yer tunes”. Applies in most cases to most things, good advice to live by!
You run your own business- Rhythm Academy. What is it you offer?
J: Ah I do and I love it. I offer music and dance lessons to kids, from Toddlers and upwards! I wanted to grow a community of skilled people who share a love for music, and because I’m a music teacher and a dance teacher, what better way to do it than start teaching music and dance!
There’s a long-term game plan for Rhythm Academy, and I see it as being the place where skill, community and creativity come together and thrive. Everyone who’s there is working at their absolute creative limit to produce the best that they’re capable of, and I see it as my job to create the conditions that make this not only achievable, but encouraged and prioritised.
How do you find the time to balance running a business, playing in numerous bands and being a mum and wife! What's the secret?
J: There are 4 “secrets”:
1. A diary. I use a diary. All the time. It’s a wee lifeline!
2. If you fail to prepare, you're preparing to fail. Conservatoire training actually helped me with that, so it was worth the 4 years! I am well used to packing my week full of things I have to show up for!
3. I like to be in control of what I do and how I use my time, so running my own business was a no-brainer. I gave employment a go for a whole 8 years but this is much better.
4. Mums can do anything – I remember after my first was born thinking, “what the hell did I do with my time before this?!”
What is the most useless talent you have?
J: Useless Talent feels like an oxymoron! Everything has its use in its own space and time. I suppose I’m quite good at doing the shower and bath seals, but I just don’t ever want to do it. So it’s a talent that is going to waste...
Finally, I ask everyone this. Bagpipes - yay or nay?
J: Not recreationally, no.
To find out more visit www.rhythmacademy.co.uk