As you all know, we love introducing talented new artists here at Lemonade and this week is no exception. I had the pleasure of talking to new Californian by way of Massachusetts, Jenna Lotti recently about her move across the country as well as what it means to be an indie artist in 2018. It was her latest single, “Honey”, that motivated Lemonade to jump on the Jenna Lotti bandwagon, so if you have not listened, make sure you do, but before that, check out our interview!
Brandon Enyeart: Hey Jenna, how’s life?
Jenna Lotti: Life is going well right now.
BE: Had a good Valentine’s Day?
JL: Yes! My husband and I stayed in and watched a movie and drank some wine. It wasn’t crazy at all, just really nice.
BE: Tell us a bit about yourself. I know you recently made a big move from the East Coast right?
JL: Yeah, I’m originally from Boston. I moved here to Los Angeles a couple of months ago with my husband. I have been writing and performing for about seven years now and my husband is also my co-writer and a musician. We moved out here for more opportunities. It’s been really exciting, a little bit of an adjustment so far, but we’re enjoying it.
BE: I was going to say, everybody thinks it’s all the same because it’s the same country, but coming from the East Coast to the West Coast can be a huge shock. Especially for you, it’s quite the change in weather too.
JL: Yeah, it’s a huge adjustment. It’s been an awesome winter so far with the weather. The traffic here is a little crazy and the drivers are crazy, but drivers back in Boston are also kind of crazy.
BE: It’s a different feel musically too, right?
JL: Yeah, I feel like there are a lot more pop artists here, which is cool because I feel like in Boston there aren’t many local pop acts. There are a lot of blues, country, folk and Americana acts, but there aren’t many pop artists.
To come to LA and be surrounded by more pop artists is really cool. Our focus on our sound is to be more pop, so it’s good for us. Boston has a really great scene though that we were fortunate to be a part of for the last several years. It’s a really small community of really supportive artists, producers and writers. We just needed something new though and I have always wanted to move out here.
BE: You mentioned that your husband is your co-writer. How did you guys meet?
JL: We met about five years ago playing pickup softball. I was coaching this team while I was working at an interior design architectural firm. I was coaching their co-ed team, since I played college softball. My co-worker brought him along one day and we hit it off and I found out he played music as well. We talked for years, became very good friends and now we’re married! He plays guitar and like I said, he also writes.
BE: You just released your new single, “Honey” and that’s off your upcoming EP. What’s the reaction been like so far to the song?
JL: We are actually still trying to decide between releasing an EP or a few singles. I keep mentioning an EP, but we’re not 100% on that yet. The reaction has been great so far, I guess, you know it’s always hard to really tell when you’re an independent artist releasing music.
You have your family and friends who are always super supportive, but it’s hard to get your music out there. It’s always a challenge, but it’s always exciting to release new music. I wrote “Honey” with my husband, Chris Facey. We wrote it about a year ago in our house in Boston. We wrote it in about 30 minutes, it was super bluesy at first and a lot slower.
I tried to record it that way at first with my producer, Josh Friedman, but it wasn’t sounding the way I wanted it to. We decided to scrap the whole thing after we had already recorded it and started over with the drum beat and made it more electronic pop. I love the song, I feel like it’s very different from anything we’ve done.
BE: I actually wrote the review for it, so we’re definitely fans here.
JL: Thank you. That was such a nice review! That made my whole day. I was having a horrible day and was like, “No one cares about my music!”, then you guys posted that and it was so thoughtful. It’s so nice when someone who you don’t know listens to your song and understands it.
BE: It’s kind of interesting to be an indie artist in 2018, right? There are so many pros, but also so many different struggles with social media and having a “presence”. I mean, some people are becoming famous off of 20 second ditties on Instagram and such, while other extremely talented artists are fighting to even get heard.
JL: The benefits of being an independent musician are that you get to control everything you are putting out there and you get to be your own manager, booking agent and social media person. For me, I enjoy doing all those things, but you have to enjoy wearing all those hats which can get a little bit overwhelming at times.
It’s also great because you own all the rights to your music, you don’t have all the messiness that goes along with labels. At the same time it’s so hard to be an independent artist, because there are so many independent artists. There are so many different platforms that you have to be relevant on. You have to have YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, so many different platforms you have to keep up with.
It’s hard keeping up with whatever is the newest “thing”, like Spotify right now is where everybody seems to go to first when they want to listen to a new artist. People are now looking at how many plays you have on Spotify and how many followers you have. It’s like this never ending game. What’s going to be the next platform after that? It’s a little exhausting. Hard work, talent and perseverance will hopefully get you where you want to be though.
BE: It’s so true. Back when I started this magazine, you really just needed to cover ReverbNation and YouTube. Now there are so many different mediums. Labels are signing artists for – what seems like – their social media following sometimes before their talent these days. Like you said, there are so many pros, but also so many hurdles.
JL: It’s always been cutthroat, but where you stand with likes, visitors and listens, stuff like that especially on Spotify is making a huge difference on who’s looking at you and who wants to work with you. In some ways that sucks because there are so many talented, independent artists on Spotify or SoundCloud who don’t have 100,000 followers, 100,000 likes or whatever it may be.
If you don’t get to that level, it’s hard to get anywhere. Every week I go through that where I am like “are my songs not good enough? What am I doing wrong?” It’s a constant battle. On your bad days you just have to remember, it’s a bad day and my songs are good enough, things just take time, I guess.
BE: So very true. I know you mentioned you weren’t 100% sure on whether you were going to release your new music as an EP or now, so what do you have planned right now for 2018?
JL: We actually are playing a Sofar Sounds gig in LA next week which is exciting, we love Sofar Sounds. I am going to be releasing either an EP or a few more singles. I am not sure which direction I am going to go yet, but I have three songs finished all ready to go, I just have to figure out when I am releasing those. Mainly, I just want to keep releasing music, playing shows and collaborate with other artists as well.
Check out the latest single, “Honey”, by Jenna Lotti and follow her on Spotify below and do not forget to purchase the single on iTunes now!
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine