INTERVIEW: Chicago’s Jennifer Hall

Hi Jennifer, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi, things have been good! It always feels great to be busy sharing new music.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Why Cut Time”?

Sure, its a song that is a home for a few different themes, one being mortality. WCT reflects on how fleeting life can be and how those feelings informed how the 2020 protests felt to me. It’s about how no one makes it out of this world alive, and the question of why we are we not working to preserve time, especially of those who are vulnerable. It’s about the tragedy of lives ending too soon, and unnecessarily, particularly in this context, Black lives. My mom was extremely ill for the duration of my life, and she was disabled. I think that those early life experiences contributed to this strong desire to be an ally for those that may be vulnerable.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Yes, it is about the 2020 BLM protests. At that time, with Covid raging on too, I really felt time passing so quickly, and found myself thinking about the merging of events, time fleeting at such a quick pace, and yet the shortening of life due to hate and racism. There is a special tragedy in that, life ending early and unneccessarily.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

It was a really cool experience. I wanted to film at sunrise and sunset, to have a visual representation of the quick passing of time. I also wanted to be in nature and by the water as I’ve always felt the most “one with the Earth” and able to access mental quiet in those settings. That’s really what felt like the best type of vibe for this song. My friends Andrew Lothian and Almendra Lopez were down to film and experiment, even if it meant a 4:30 AM wake up call. They’re the early bird heroes of that video shoot! This was also the first JH video done in house, without a production company or professional videographer, so there was more of a DIY direction that we were aiming for. There was a lot to learn and try and I’m excited to keep learning new things for future shoots.

How was the recording and writing process?

It was great. It felt good to speak from the heart on this song. Noam Wallenberg produced and mixed the song and really killed it. We have worked together for many years and I’m absurdly grateful for how well he knows me creatively and how well we can communicate what we are thinking musically. It was recorded and written throughout this pandemic and throughout the 2020 protests. It felt fitting to write about the times and what was happening in the world. I can sometimes need a bit of processing time as far as heavy feelings or events go, so it felt like a small triumph to be able to write about an intense series of events, closer to when they were happening, perhaps some creative/ emotional progress took place there.

What role does Chicago play in your music?

Chicago is where I’m from and it’s my home base now. I’m pretty sensitive to my surroundings so I imagine that it’s had more influence on me and my music that I know. The Chicago music scene is alive with talented people with good hearts and awesome artist-centric venues. It’s been a great place to make music and play for those reasons. I have felt incredibly supported in this city and I’m so grateful for that. I’m not sure what other cities’ scenes are like, but Chicago’s is inviting and kind, with so much to say and share.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes! I’m so excited to share that we are in the process of recording a new record (I’m at a mixing session as I type this!) I was really hard on myself for a long time about taking so much time between records and for taking such a long pause after touring for years and years. I’m trying to exercise more self compassion though as of late, and realize that I needed to slow down at that moment and re-set and that’s ok. I feel rested now 🙂

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Maybe Spring, maybe sooner. Who knows! Covid definitely made me feel like the “rules” and guidelines surrounding release schedules/ timelines etc have loosened so we are indeed playing things by ear in that regard at the moment. I’m not stressing too much about timing just yet, and am trying to focus on the music as much as possible for now.

What else is happening next in Jennifer Hall’s world?

We are going to keep making new music, new videos, and set more tour dates to play wherever it’s safe. I have some other ideas in mind too for some live videos, maybe some streamed shows,

maybe a Patreon performance (my Patreon link is in my social media bios). I’d love for people to come along for the ride and join us as we make moves and see where the music leads us.

WATCH/STREAM: “Why Cut Time” –
YouTube / Week In Pop / Spotify / Apple


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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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