true--girls just wanna have fun. So when Jennifer Smith left college
after two years, she worked on a fishing boat and then spent some time
as a horseback riding instructor. Not exactly the path that led her
to a successful career as a full-time musician, but fun nonetheless.
father was a classical guitarist and music was always a part of her
family, Jennifer did most of her live shows in the bedroom, as we all
did while growing up. Performing in front of a real audience wouldn't
cross her mind for years to come.
been writing songs since I was about 16," Jennifer recalls, "it wasn't
until 1988 that a friend of mine gave me a couple of songs and suggested
I go to some open mike nights and perform live. The feedback was very
positive. I was surprised. I'd go out there with a guitar and just sing
a few songs. The support from the audience was great."
this was just the beginning. When she met her husband-to-be, her career
in the music business took yet another step forward. "I didn't start
writing seriously until I met my fiancee in 1989," she continued, "he
was a writer and happened to need a vocalist on some of his songs so
he could demo them. I also had a few songs I wanted to record so we
started writing and recording together and went full-time as a duo in
1990. By 1991, we were making a living at playing music."
decision to team up with her fiancee seemed to pay off immediately. In
the beginning, the duo had a hot streak, averaging almost 35 shows a month,
eventually cutting back that rigorous schedule to a mere 25!
Three songs in "Brooklyn
South" TV series
One song in a CBS-TV
Movie of the Week
But, to use a
phrase reminiscent of her fishing boat days, it wasn't always smooth sailing.
Jennifer had her share of rejection and frustrations, too: "Between 1990-1996,
our entire focus was on the recording artist endótrying to get a record
deal. It was very frustrating. This entire business is generally frustrating.
We sent out our packages but not a lot ever happened. Then, in 1994, we
got signed to a small label out of New York called Viceroy and we put
out a record with them. We toured the East Coast a little and did a couple
tours of Germany and the UK. Came time to do the next record and we went
looking for producers, but the label never seemed to be ready for us to
record. Instead of just waiting around, we decided to do our own recordóso
we left the label. It was right about that same time that we heard about
songs in many different musical stylesósome ranging from pop all the way
to gospel, rock and country. As an artist, she falls into the Modern Rock/AAA
categories, and is most comfortable there. But when she pitches songs
for country listings, she relies on the critiques of the knowledgeable
TAXI Screeners to guide her: "The country critiques are especially helpful
to us because country music is not the realm that we're accustomed to.
They seem more objective while the critiques for artist listings seem
to pitch songs to TAXI listings, Jennifer is finding out that her personal
contacts in the business are also hearing about her through the grapevine.
"We've been calling up all of our contacts to promote our new record,"
Jennifer revealed, "and I'm beginning to see that the wires have started
to cross. Many of our contacts now hear about us through someone at TAXI
also. And that gives them the impression that there's a buzz going on."
to use TAXI's pool of industry resources, Jennifer was able to get 34
forwardsóone of which was to a listing placed by Westwind Media. Let's
let her tell it, ok? "This company called us and said they were interested
in putting one of our songs as background music in the Steven Bochco TV
series, ëBrooklyn South.' Even though it was used as background music
it still was better than just having the song sit around. Now, at least,
it's earning us some money and it also helps us when we're making calls
and sending out packages. It looks great on our credits and resumes. When
we sent out our new CD to the company, they picked another song for the
mere year-and-a-half ago, Jennifer Smith was ready to call it quits and
drop out of the music business entirely, but TAXI really encouraged her
to stick with it. "We have more enthusiasm now than we've had in a couple
A total professional
who continues to further her career daily, Jennifer Smith has found that
perfect balance in life between reality and wishful thinking: "I feel
it's important to find a healthy balance between believing in what you
do and paying attention to the criticism that comes in; to the reactions
of other people to what you do. It's a difficult balance, but you need
to find one that allows you to keep going. I would recommend that everyone
join TAXI and also keep doing whatever you can on your ownóget your material
out and develop relationships." Sound advice for everyone!