Jenny Beck

A Rising Star Feature

by Melissa Minners

 

            Swedish singer / songwriter / composer Jenny Beck discovered a love for music at a very young age.  Spending weekends listening to the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s with her father, she danced to the Beatles at the tender age of just one year old.  Growing up, Jenny discovered that she had inherited a talent for music from her dad.  She learned to play the flute at a young age and then went on to learn the guitar while in Media School.  After earning a sound engineer diploma, Jenny Beck moved to England and began work as a temporary secretary for two years.  During this time, she was so unhappy that she barely touched her guitar and didn’t write a single song.  Realizing that her unhappiness stemmed from trying to assimilate to a 9-5 work life in a field that she had no desire for, Jenny opened up a web design business, freeing up as much time as possible for her to work on her music. 

            Hard work and perseverance paid off and soon Jenny Beck began receiving word from major record labels, all interested in her work.  Anyone who listens to Jenny Beck’s work will discover that she is blessed with a clear, melodic voice and a talent for the written word.  While most of her work has been in the Folk/Pop genre, Beck has begun to expand her horizons in recent years, trying her hand at blues and soul.  Her voice is reminiscent of Lilith Fair vocalists Sarah McLaughlin, Sheryl Crow, and the Indigo Girls

            Choosing to release her music independently, Jenny has found great success via the worldwide web, distributing her music on sites like JennyBeck.co.uk, iTunes, tapintomusic.com, uksounds.com, and more.  In a recent 3-minute documentary that she was asked to produce for the 2006 Women In Music Festival in Birmingham, Jenny stated that the internet has “been a God-send when it comes to promoting independent music.”  Fortunate enough to have a home studio, Jenny will never be lacking for material for albums - she currently has four albums available for purchase on the internet. 

            Determination and ambition keep Jenny Beck going when many others would have given up.  A belief in her talent and a passion for her music pushes her onward when others have failed.  Where the obstacles and hardships of a career in the music industry have made others bitter, Jenny Beck continues to be a kind and generous soul with a happy spirit that is infectious to all that speak with her.  Her fandom continues to grow and her music continues to be played via internet and FM radio stations around the world.  The word is spreading about a talented artist whose vocals are captivating, whose music is alive, and whose lyrics have the power to touch the hardest of hearts.  That talent is Jenny Beck, a rising star.
 

Let the links guide you to Jenny Beck's Music: 

Morning Rain    Jenny Beck's Self Titled CD    Forgotten Years   On the Outside

 

Morning Rain

            From the first track of Jenny Beck’s first album, Morning Rain, you can tell that you’re listening to something fresh; something new.  The first track is the title song and begins with the sounds of a light morning rain falling from the heavens.  Amidst the pattering of rain upon pavement and window panes, comes the percussion section, softly emulating the pattering of the rain.  Following that, the soft, rich tones of Jenny Beck singing a tale about the morning rain and how people are in too much of a rush within their daily activities to notice the beauty of the world around them.  “If only they’d stop / And end their rat race / then maybe they’d see this beautiful place.”  There’s a point in the song when the music stops and all we hear is the rain falling and Jenny Beck’s clear, melodic voice wondering whether she is the only one who can see the beauty in the nature all around her.  It’s a powerful moment that gets the point across perfectly.  All that from the lead track of a 10-song album! 

            Throughout the album, we are reminded of the music that influenced Jenny Beck throughout her life.  The guitar riffs on Dusty Roads is a definite throw-back to that of many a ‘70s song.  And the track Selfish displays the Beatles influence on Beck as well.  The lyrics for every song in the album weave stories that capture the interest of the listener.  Caroline, the story of a woman raising a child that is not her own, struggling to fulfill the promise she made to the child’s mother before she passed away, is a moving tale.  The struggle becomes real to the listener, making them want to reach out to this woman and give her the support she yearns for.  The messages in Beck’s songs are clear and obviously heartfelt.  Morning Rain reminds us to stop and smell the roses.  Amy (American Girl) tells us to live life as every day is a treasure not to be wasted. 

            It is the nature of folk music to tell a story or take a stand on a particular subject and Jenny Beck’s music fits into this genre perfectly.  Her voice is well-suited for folk music and her writing talent is equal to folk song greats such as Emmylou Harris, Don McLean, and Bob Dylan.  The clarity of the vocals and the sincerity with which Jenny Beck sings each song captures the listener’s attention from the very beginning and keeps them coming back for more.  Morning Rain is more than a first album for this singer / songwriter.  It is the beginning of an era of good things to come.

 

Jenny Beck’s Self Titled CD

            Jenny Beck’s follow-up album to Morning Rain, this self-titled CD is all acoustics.  As we have often witnessed via MTV’s Unplugged series, not every artist is able to stand up to performing with the sole accompaniment of an acoustic guitar.  However, Jenny Beck’s voice is strong enough and more than equal to the task.  Once again, the lyrics in this album tell stories that touch the heart, speaking to the listener of loves lost, new beginnings, sorrow and pain in such a way as to invoke an emotional response.  The songs are about things we can understand; things we can relate to – a love that goes unreturned, a safe harbor, a yearning for a happier existence.

            The combination of passionate vocals and equally passionate lyrics make the love song Like Nobody Else so believable as to bring tears to the listener’s eyes.   Every listener yearns for the secret getaway Jenny Beck sings about in My Paradise, a place that restores the spirit and gives us the energy to face the pitfalls of everyday life.  Lost & Found is a tale of self-discovery that leaves the listener smiling as Beck resolves to move forward and leave the pain and hardship behind.  Listening to the words of the lost and defeated soul contemplating the heartbreak that is her sorrowful existence as she walks along the shore of the river touches us deeply.  Everyone has felt the helplessness and sorrow Selena experiences in The River.  The added affect of the acoustic guitar makes the lyrics of the track that much more haunting. 

            This self-titled follow-up to Morning Rain proves that Jenny Beck is not just a flash in the pan, but a multi-talented artist.  Many singers have difficulty writing songs that actually speak to their listeners.  Many songwriters find it difficult to vocalize the passion behind the words they have written.  Jenny Beck finds a way to do both and still manages to bring an instrumental talent into the mix.  This self-titled CD is definitely an album worthy of the attention of mainstream radio stations everywhere. 

 

Forgotten Years

            Forgotten Years is a two-song demo CD combining the talents of Jenny Beck’s vocals and guitar with Ian Latimer on guitar and Mitch Deighton on bass, drums, and percussion.  The title track is a song of personal reflection and self-discovery.  The second track, Illusions, is a song about a lover who is struggling to discover what it was that caused her recent relationship to fail.  Forgotten Years brings a bit of a country feel to Beck’s folk music, proving that Beck has a talent that can easily be worked into other genres within the music industry.  Once again, the songs are stories that listeners can relate to.  They tell tales that we’ve all experienced in a way that we all could understand.  There is no cryptic message.  Just easily understood songs of survival and self-reflection – refreshing in a world of entertainment that too often uses complicated symbolism to get a simple point across.

 

On the Outside

            On the Outside is the latest album by Jenny Beck and an experiment of sorts for the talented Swedish singer and songwriter.  Having always been associated with the folk / pop genres, Beck does something new in this album by making a foray into other musical genres.  I am delighted to say that the venture was highly successful.  Having already made a successful attempt at singing country in the Forgotten Years, Jenny Beck proves that her vocal talents are just as equally suited for rock, pop, blues, and soul.

            The moment you pop this CD into the player, you realize that something is different.  The beat is harder, the music has more soul.  That is something I never thought I would say about Jenny Beck’s work.  I have always felt the passion and the soul behind the lyrics and the vocals, but the music in this album bolsters that bringing with it a quality sound that has makes Beck’s past albums look like practice demos. 

            The first track of the album, Shoot Him Down, shows a different side of Beck, a no-nonsense side that Beck admits she had a great deal of fun with.  From there, we find Miss Negative, On the Outside and Be Yourself.  These songs caused me to fall in love with this album, not just because of the different styles used in creating them, but the stories that they tell.  Each situation is something that I’ve dealt with recently and I’ve been looking around the house for any microphones that Beck may have placed around to record such telling tracks.  Just kidding, but really, Jenny, how did you know? 

            I’d Be Damned is yet another successful attempt at country, telling about a love lost and the resolve to move on.  In fact most of the songs share this feeling – a resolve to move forward and discover a newer, happier, more fulfilled existence.  The pop track Everything is so catchy you’ll find yourself singing the chorus the first time you hear it.  Equally catchy is the final track of the album Somebody.  The message of this song is readily apparent: “Somebody to rely on / A shoulder You can cry on / Somebody you ca turn to / When you’re feeling down / Somebody to hold on to / Someone you can come home to / Somebody who won’t let you down / Who’ll always be around.”  So catchy is this tune that I found I could type the words to the chorus from memory.  Once again, Jenny Beck proves her vocal range by singing a part of this song acapella.

            On the Outside is an amazing addition to Jenny Beck’s collection.  This album tops all of the others by showing what amazing range Beck has as a singer.  Produced by Jenny Beck and percussionist Mitch Deighton, On the Outside shows great promise and one can only hope that mainstream American stations finally see what myself and thousands of Jenny Beck fans all over the world know – Jenny Beck is a talented star worthy of their attention.


For more about Jenny Beck visit her website at
http://www.jennybeck.co.uk/ or her MySpace page at www.myspace.com/jennybeck.

To read more rising star features, visit the Rising Star Feature Archive.

For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at talonkarrde@g-pop.net.