Halifax singer-songwriter Jenn Grant has been taking classic Canadian tracks and putting her own authentic spin on them with her latest collection of music. Showing off her talents as a musician, producer, and storyteller, Jenn’s renditions of classic Canadian covers are accompanied by compelling videos to further tell the stories of these songs.
Following the collection of covers is the release of the singer’s very own video series on YouTube, Jenny Town. The series is a refreshingly witty and down-to-earth DIY project showcasing Jenn’s humorous side and featuring an array of special guests.
We caught up with Jenn to talk about each of her projects, dipping her toes into production, and DIY beauty hacks.
What inspired you to begin creating this collective of Canadian classic covers?
It started with wanting to do a cover of Gord Downie’s ‘Chancellor’. And that sort of spun into revisiting some songs of my past, that I still love as much to this day. It was also an opportunity for me to learn to produce and engineer on my own.
The cover of “Flying On Your Own” by Rita MacNeil is a bit of a tribute to your mother, who moved to Nova Scotia in 1990 to pursue her nursing degree when you were a child. The video depicts imagery of “home.” Are any of the locations in the video significant to you or where you grew up?
It’s pretty close to where I live now in Nova Scotia. This area is a place I’ve been ‘walking’ for the past 9 years since we moved to Lake Echo. I just love that rustic feeling close to the ocean.
What does the notion of home mean to you?
These days it means where my kids are. But we have been lucky to really find home the last year and a half. A lack of living out of suitcases has gifted me with grounded-ness I could never count on before as a touring musician.
The cover of “Chancellor” by Gord Downie was your debut as a producer. What were some of your favourite parts of stepping into this producer role? What were some challenges?
I’d like to say that I am still learning and that I always will be, but that the ability to produce and record on my own has been incredibly empowering. It’s not something that I ever thought I’d get into before, but I’ve used my time at home to its greatest potential which has been incredibly rewarding. It’s been a lot of work to have all of these projects going, while parenting two young babes. But it is an execution of passion, and I am learning so much.
You created a cover for “Eye of the Tiger” and it’s this lovely piano ballad, not what you expect when you think of that song. How did you go about the reimagining of this track?
To be honest, someone asked me to record it for their film. I gave it a shot, and I remember being a bit upset about something when I was singing it. So maybe that emotion went into the recording. You never know what song is going to be able to make that transition that speaks to you and the listeners in that special way, and so I guess the covers project is also a bit of an experiment to see what else is out there beyond writing for myself.
The song was also featured in an inspiring Renault commercial. How did that opportunity come to be? The commercial is a beautiful video. How did you feel when you first saw the commercial with your song?
I’m pretty sure they just heard it somewhere and sought the song and me out. That commercial is a beautiful piece of art. It’s a dream to have music I helped to create be a part of that. I couldn’t have asked for a better fit.
I love the video work being done alongside these projects, especially for “5 Days in May,” with the drawings on top of scenes of nature. How did you come up with the concept for this video’s storyboard?
Thank you! My partner Daniel Ledwell created this video. I love it and think that it adds even more emotion to the song.
You’ve started your own series, Jenny Town, on YouTube. What is your process for creating the skits for Jenny Town?
I film on Sundays, I edit for 2 days after that while one of my kids is in daycare and the other baby crawls at my feet and during nap times. I seek out interesting artists to send along videos, often a ‘kitchen tip’ or a ‘thing they like to do’. While collecting ideas for content, not unlike my stage banter when preparing for a show, I find myself collecting bits of potentially funny ideas throughout the days leading up to the filming of Jenny Town. ‘Maybe I could use an air fryer, maybe I could try to figure out how to use this juicer’. I shoot most of my scenes in front of these back drops I had created from photographs blown up onto fabric. It’s meant to be a DIY show so that at the minimum I can do it on my own if needed.
After I watched Episode 2 of Jenny Town, I went down a rabbit hole of using mayonnaise as a hair mask because I couldn’t believe that was a thing. What other DIY beauty hacks do you have?
I’m so sorry you did that. I thought that was a thing, but I found it made my hair a bit oily!
As far as more DIY beauty hacks, that’s a great question and a great idea and I will have to now go and make a list for a future episodes. Please send suggestions.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Don’t forget to tune into Jenny Town. 8 pm ATL, most Thursdays, on my YouTube channel.
I’m making special art pieces for my Patreon subscribers these days, if that’s your thing.
Connect with Jenn Grant