Howard Jennings will be opening up the night on 7/17/09 at the Skope Live! Summer Bash in Boston. So it is only right that Howard open up the series of features we will be doing with all the artists & bands performing. Howard Jennings is a rising singer-songwriter that has been called a “young, new generation Dave Matthews”. Read on to learn more abour Howard and come see him live on 7/17/09 at Copperfield’s in Boston!
Skope: How did you decide that you wanted to play the 2009 Skope Live! Summer Bash?
Howard Jennings: When I heard that Matt S. was going to be involved with the Bash, and that we had a chance to help the Jimmy Fund, I immediately wanted to be a part of it. Matt always knows how to get a group of great music lovers, listeners and performers together. Cheers to Matt S and his band.
Skope: Playing in a legendary club like Copperfield’s must be cool. How do you prepare for that to give the best show possible?
Howard Jennings: Having the opportunity to perform at Copperfield’s before makes it easier to prepare for. I have a good understanding of the feel in that room and the types of tunes its audience seems to dig, although they seem to be open to anything. But knowing the quality of artists that have lit up that room before, gives you the chills and you can feel their presence in the room.
Skope: The lineup for the show is sure to rock the crowd. Are you familiar with the other bands and anyone in particular you are excited to watch?
Howard Jennings: It doesn’t get any better than Keith Kane. He has done it all. He’s written amazing, universal and timeless songs, rocked crowds all over the world and proves that he can do it solo and/or with the band. Excited to see him perform? Yes. Sharing a stage with MSB is quite the treat as well. They bring energy and fun to the table every night with songs that leave you singing in your head and out loud. I’m not as familiar with Meets The Day, but I have no doubts that they will rock copperfield’s, because the place only brings out the best of artists.
“Appreciate” (Live) Original by Howard Jennings
[youtube 9n5YG8GvCqY nolink]
Skope: In this day and age of Myspace & Youtube what methods have you found to be most effective to make sure your fans & friends all make it out?
Howard Jennings: Myspace, Facebook & the tool that takes away the need to speak to anyone anymore, Twitter. So to all my tweeps, get off your computer and come join the party.
Skope: What do you have going on that you will be promoting the night of the show?
Howard Jennings: Placing some ads on myspace and facebook, inviting thousands of friends through every social network possible and having my friends bring their friends, and their friends bring their friends etc.
Skope: What is your favorite part of the night when you get to play live?
Howard Jennings: Definitely audience interaction, whether it’s singing along, dancing their feet off, getting rowdy, playing as my rhythm section with their feet and hands, anything that shows that they appreciate the tunes, that’s what gives me life during my live performance.
Skope: Part of the proceeds from the night go to Jimmy Fund. What does that mean to you & does that make the show a bit more meaningful to you?
Howard Jennings: One of the greatest things about being an artist is that it allows you to take the talents that you’ve been blessed with and use them towards a greater cause. It gives us a chance to give the spotlight to something much more important than our songs. Unfortunately, my family has struggled with cancer from further back in the family tree until now. So anything I can do to help this fight, you can bet that I will do. When I play on the 17th, it’s going to be for those people dearest to me that have lost the battle and the ones that are fighting it as we speak. The fact that we can change a cat’s DNA so that it’s hypoallergenic, but we don’t have a cure for cancer, is not right. With that being said, we she be donating our time towards this cause whenever we possibly can. So if you aren’t on the train, get on it. We will win this fight.
Skope: What ritual do you have to get yourself ready to go on and perform live?
Howard Jennings: I usually mentally formulate a setlist or at least a group of songs that I try to get to and then I play it by the crowd. I usually say a quick prayer by myself to show my thanks for the opportunity and ask for courage. The last thing I do is remind myself why I love to perform…it’s the feeling I get when I can feel others connect with what I’m trying to say through song.
Skope: What can people expect from seeing you live and do you have any tricks up your sleeve for that night?
Howard Jennings: I have a theory that listeners can’t completely connect with an artist until they see them live. I think that theory holds true with my style. I bring everything that I have to the mic…things might get out of hand and my dancing might not be too smooth with a touch of craziness, but I’m going to let everything out that night. If I don’t leave the stage sweating, I’ve failed. Tricks up my sleeve? Yes. What are they? All I can say is, dig out the old rap records, because things could get funky.
Skope: Nommatter what happens to sales of recorded music, the live show will always be in demand. How much does your live show play into your bands overall musical portfolio?
Howard Jennings: I live to play my music in front of listeners. The more energy that they show, the better I think that I perform. I want to play for people until my fingers don’t work, so I’m glad that there is optimism for the life of the live show. I agree with that statement too. Up until this point, I don’t feel that my CDs capture how I sound live, so I would much rather have a new listener hear me in person first.
Skope: Music lost a legend when Michael Jackson passed away in June 2009. What can you take away from his amazing live show that you can use in your own way?
Howard Jennings: MJ knew how to turn on the performance switch better than anyone in entertainment history. What I have learned from him is that you need to leave everything on that stage and throw out any insecurities. He showed us that it was ok to be unique on the stage with his music, lyrics, looks, stage props, and most of all, his moves. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to be moon walking during the show. So rule that out as an option for a “tricks up my sleeve” on the 17th.
Skope: With such a stellar lineup for the show does that add pressure to bring your top performance and how much pressure do you place on yourself?
Howard Jennings: I grew up playing sports since I could barely walk, so naturally I compare performing music to my history with sports. I always felt that I performed better when I was around better players and I think that holds true with music. When you are sharing a room with artists of this caliber, you have no choice but to bring your best out that night.
Skope: Please let readers know all about what they can look forward to from you beyond the show on 7/17/09?
Howard Jennings: I plan to stick with this singer-songwriter thing until I physically can’t, and to play for the folks of the northeast and beyond until they don’t allow me too. To me, there is nothing more stimulating in life than creating a song and playing it for the world to hear. So I hope that the people that join us on that epic evening in July will like what they hear from me, because I’m going to try and buzz in their ear