Playing on the roof of the flagship Whole Foods store in Austin: surely on the organic bucketlist of many a music artist?
“I was the artist ambassador for a South by Southwest event called Southwest Invasion,” singer-songwriter Jenn Bostic tells me, during some well-earned down time. “It takes place on top of the original Whole Foods in Austin. We had about 15,000 people come to our event, which was great for promoting the Whole Planet Foundation.”
A charity Jenn is closely involved with, the Foundation raises money for thousands of entrepreneurs living in poverty, around the world.
“There’s a beautiful plaza there,” Jenn continues. “They set up a giant mainstage, and also a side stage around the corner. It was a pretty cool event.”
I ask the burning question — did she get any free snacks from Whole Foods?
“Oh yes, the sponsors of the event kept us fed!”
Jenn is no stranger to South by Southwest, having made numerous appearances in recent years. After losing her father to a motoring accident at a young age, she always felt her father’s presence when making music, which left her certain that it had to be her career. Initially, record labels and critics wrote her off as 'too country for pop, too pop for country',(despite a certain Taylor Swift doing exactly that), but she would quickly prove her doubters wrong after winning several awards in the world of country music. She became popular in the UK when her song about her father, Jealous Of The Angels, was picked up by BBC Radio 2 and played by legendary broadcaster, Terry Wogan.
“I think growing up in a really small town in Minnesota, I hadn’t really built up the confidence to believe I could be a performer,” Jenn says. “I had to learn that in college. Growing up in the midwest, you have that family house with the white picket fence and two kids running around always in the back of your mind! The kind of life I have right now, touring all the time, recording new records, I love it so much. But it does leave you wondering how things will fit together, and if I’m doing the right thing.
“It is extremely challenging — one minute you’re on top of the world, the next, it’s not the case! [laughs]. It’s just creating these songs out of nothing, that resonate with people, being honest and authentic with the message you want to put out to the world.”
I’m keen to know how Jenn gets through these moments of artistic crisis. She also identifies as a Christian songwriter, so presumably her faith plays an important role, when her musical faith is ebbing.
“Honestly, sometimes I’m just writing through them,” Jenn says, with a laugh. “I vent through the songwriting. It’s just trying to stay positive, and really taking care of yourself. That means something different for everybody, but for me that means staying active and healthy.