Interview: Jennifer Alvarado
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Music has been part of my life since I was born. I was singing before I could actually talk. My Pappaw played guitar and mandolin for a local radio station, so honestly I don’t remember a time without music and wanting to sing and write. My backup plan has always been law. I actually am a certified Paralegal and my plan was to go to law school had I not pursued Worship Ministry and full-time music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I help with several local recovery ministries. I used to work at a women’s shelter as a Services Navigator. I would help those experiencing homelessness navigate the community’s assistance programs and also help those experiencing domestic violence find a safe place. I still volunteer at that shelter and other community programs. Those experiences help me give me a different perspective and realize how fortunate I am to be doing what I love. I believe having a grateful heart and mindset gives me even more motivation to create.
How long has music been your career?
I have always participated in music to some degree. In 2016, I left my Paralegal job to pursue full-time Worship Ministry where I was a Worship Leader and then a Worship Minister. It’s only been since July 2021 though, that I have really been focused on pursuing my secular music full-time.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I am based in Vale, North Carolina. I grew up in Hickory about thirty minutes from where I currently live. Because I grew up around my grandparents, I gained an appreciation for Classic Country and Southern Gospel music. My mom was heavily into Classic Rock and Top 40. I think all of those genres have influenced my music. I also majored in Vocal Performance, so I have an appreciation for Classical, Jazz and Opera.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
My best and worst was actually the same service. It was a Sunday morning service and the power went completely out where we were playing. At that point, the drummer had electronic drums, so I found him a box to keep beat on. We luckily had two acoustic guitars. The audience used flashlights from their phones to light the stage and everyone came up to the stage. Technically speaking, everything went wrong that morning, but the community aspect and the fact we still managed a very moving and solid show, will forever make it one of my favorite performances.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
There is a church in my hometown that is completely stone. The acoustics are incredible. Every time I sing there, I get chills.
There are so many places I hope to experience — Bluebird Cafe, The Ryman, Carnegie Hall…at one point I wanted to design concert halls and study acoustical design, so I nerd out when it comes to cathedrals.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I have such respect for Kelsea Ballerini, Taylor Swift and Reba McEntire and would love a chance to play alongside them. But my dream line up would probably be something like Patty Griffin, John Mayer, The Eagles, and Reba.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
Be true to yourself. You have a unique perspective and voice. Too many people lose themselves by trying to copy what’s deemed “successful” for the moment. You will never be truly successful by trying to copy someone else.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Worry about those that are for you. I tried to make myself smaller to fit with certain groups of people that were never supposed to be my people.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
“Filthy Water” was the most cathartic to write. I had just left a really bad experience at the church I was working at and had endured narcissistic abuse that left me questioning myself and my purpose. That song helped me put everything back into perspective. It also opened a door for conversation with others that may have been hurt in a narcissistic relationship and/or experienced church hurt.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Filthy Water” and “IDWYB” get requested the most. “IDWYB” is really fun to play, but I think new songs are always the ones I am most excited to share.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
Everyday life inspires me to write. Sometimes people will challenge me to write a song around a certain word or theme. I like the puzzle that is songwriting. I like that you may start with a certain idea and the song completely shifts into a new direction as you are writing it. Each song is honestly different. I tend to write quicker and more emotionally raw songs when I am angry. I usually get a hook first and then build around it.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
The biggest message I want to get across is to be authentic. I’ve been told many times that my songs are honest. That’s the biggest compliment. I want to inspire others to tell their truth…no matter how messed up it may seem. We are supposed to share our testimonies with each other. You don’t know how that hurtful experience you survived may help someone else to keep pushing forward.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Oh yeah…ha ha. I had experiences early on where some of my songs were changed without my permission. That experience actually made me really fearful of collaborations for a couple years. After that experience, I became more selective with who I was working with. Now I usually meet with someone and get to know them and their motivators before actually creating. My most recent collaboration was with a band from Canada, The WHYTHOUSE. I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Disagreements are going to happen, but respect the other person(s) enough to listen and compromise.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My immediate plan is to finish my new album. I am releasing it in parts over the Summer of 2022. I have divided it into two parts: Songbird: Questions and Songbird: Answers. Basically it illustrates that narcissistic relationship that I spoke about with “Filthy Water.” Things start at good…then quickly turn. This album was a healing project for me. It helped me overcome the past while finding my voice again and moving toward the future. That’s my biggest goal with my music…to continue to find my unique voice and help others do the same.
Social Media Links are as follows:
Direct Me Page - https://direct.me/jenniferalvarado
Official Website - www.jenniferalvarado.com
Spotify Artist Profile -
Instagram - @jenniferalvaradomusic
Tiktok - @jenniferalvaradomusic
Facebook Music Page - www.facebook.com/jemmusic12
Youtube - youtube.com/jemmusic12
Reverbnation - https://www.reverbnation.com/jenniferalvarado
Twitter - @guitardiva12
Soundcloud - https://soundcloud.com/jem1984