Jenni strums her Luna Guitars for us!
Since graduating UCLA's Ethnomusicology program as one of the first vocalists to complete legendary Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell's four year music program, Jenni Alpert has performed in over 14 countries. A Los Angeles native, this singer songwriter has also found time to release five albums and support artists like Loudon Wainwright III, Jon Allen, and Kaki King. She has also shared stages with Regina Spektor, Giovanca, and Sara Bareilles.
Listen to unreleased songs from her upcoming album:
And while you do, check out Jenni's answers to a few questions from Luna:
When did you write your first song?I wrote my first composition when I was 3.5, (which also happens to be my favorite number) and conditioned to improvise musical motifs until I developed an understanding of song structure and started to make attempts at putting poetry to song.
Is your family musical?I was adopted when I was 3 and a half years old and only know a little about my biological blood line. I do know that they are creative, but I am not sure how involved with music they were. My adopted family were not musical at all, but they were very supportive and nurturing of my musical endeavors.
photos by Vanessa Plakias
What attracted you to Luna Guitars?The aesthetics of the Luna design caught my eye initially, then when I played one for the first time I was just as impressed with the rich tone and ease of playability. I am petite, therefore my hands are small, and size and action of the guitar are a perfect fit.
Which Luna instruments do you have/play?I have the Henna Oasis Spruce top Acoustic and a Henna Paisly White T Electric TLE model.
What were fans' reactions?Every time I pull the guitar out of the case, without fail at least one person will ask what kind of guitar it is, where I got it, and where they can buy one. The excitement that I had to choose to play the Luna is shared by other people, and I also appreciate that people will remember and recognize me as a Luna guitar player.
What do you love most about your Luna?Lightweight, the shape and design... the easy playability.
Do you play other instruments?The instruments that I play are piano, guitar, and I sing.... I've dabbled on the bass and like to sit behind a drum kit, but don't consider myself a proficient drummer.
Who were your musical influences?In no particular order, my musical influences range across artists like Carol King, Ricki Lee Jones, Amy Mann, Joni Mitchel, Eddie Brickell, Fiona Apple, Ella Fitzgerald, Jeff Buckley, Neil Young, Led Zepplin, Donny Hathaway, Sting, Duke Ellington. . . .
What are some of your other passions?Painting, Traveling, Cooking, community involvement
Did you have to sacrifice anything in particular to pursue your musical career?Most everything is a choice, and I choose to invest my creativity, energy, time, and passion into the life of music regardless of the stability that it may or may not return because I know that music serves a purpose.
What are you most proud of musically?I am most proud of never giving up on working through the balance that comes with the career of music, whether it be constantly honing in on the craft of musicianship, writing, and delivering in a performance, or whether it be generating and maintaining a steady stream of sustainability.
What's you next CD and its scheduled release date?I've been currently in the studio with producer Mikal Blue (Colby Cailait - Bubbly, Jason Mraz, Five for Fighting) recording a series of songs that I just spent the last year writing. The scheduled released date is yet to be determined, but from the looks of the progress it's slated to be released early this year.
Are you touring or appearing somewhere that you'd like Luna fans to know about?I tour regularly nationally and internationally and post dates on my website, which is jennialpert.com & twitter @jennialpert. I know that the next set of shows will be focused in Austin at SXSW, followed by a group of dates in Europe coming this June.
Do you play any benefit shows? What causes are close to your heart?I recently was brought on as a key speaker and performer for America's Blood Centers and I will be performing at their 50th Anniversary fundraiser on March 24th. I feel that donating blood to people in need is a noble choice to make, and for those who are not in a position to do so, encouraging others to do so is just as valuable. I also feel strongly about empowering those who are in less fortunate situations. I work closely with America's Blood Centers, Musicians On Call, Southern California Foster Family and Adoption Agency, The Downtown Women's Center (a center for homeless women), Arc (Autistic Research Center), Children of the Night, and developing education in prisons.
What's a sound or noise you love?The sound of dress shoes walking on gravel.
If you could play with any player alive or dead, who would it be and why?I would love to sing with Robert Plant and perform with Donny Hathaway. Both of their musicianship and tone excite and inspire me.
If you could play on any stage in the world, where would it it be and why?There are many stages I would love to perform on, yet the first one that comes to mind is Red Rocks because of the beauty that surrounds the stage, the intimacy despite the size, and because of all who have set foot there before.
Is perfectionism an issue for you?No, I don't believe in perfection. I like things to breath and have a life of their own and music is simply a documentation of a moment outside of ourselves in that moment. Although organization and structure are important especially in the recording aspects of producing a song, elements of real life moments are part of what make recordings interesting. I love the process of things just as much as I love the moments of doing what I work so hard to achieve and perfectionism would only get in the way. Besides, music is universal and objective. It's more about the listener.
I love Luna Guitars because they are reliable and sound
as deep in quality as the company that makes them
What's something that gets in the way of your creativity and how do you move through it?Fear and over-thinking used to really get in the way of my own progress until I was able to isolate those very things and developed a system of writing myself little reminder notes to keep me focused on the positive perspective. Finding a balance between the business side while being immersed in the creative side is key.
Do you have a mantra or manifesto for living and loving with your whole heart?Live in the moment, accept the past, be open to the future, and love openly.
A talent you wish you had?Fixing cars
What's something about you that would surprise us?I have a vast art collection consisting of unique pieces.... painted by yours truly. And, Despite playing a right handed Luna guitar, I'm left handed.
For more Jenni Alpert: www.jennialpert.com
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