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Crosby, Stills & Nash. Since she was a little girl, she’s sung in community choirs, played the piano (obsessively, she admits) and performed the flute in an orchestral band. Her song-writing career started when she was a teenager. “It was an incredibly powerful way to express myself, a bit like therapy,” she adds. As her love affair with music flourished behind an antique upright piano, she became increasingly passionate about composers, in particular David Lanz. “His heart-wrenching piece ‘Leaves on the Seine’ takes me back to sunny Sunday afternoons after church when I was a kid, lying on the couch and feeling so moved by his piano music that I would cry,” Jennifer explains, “his music inspired me to compose and write music to express my emotions.”

Having moved to Walthamstow just over a year ago, Jennifer Ann is starting to discover its many hidden gems and attractions. “One of my favourite hidden live music venues is St Mary’s Church –

the acoustics are beautiful. I’ve also joined the She17 community, which is about celebrating women musicians in live acoustic expression,” she explains. “Since moving to Walthamstow, I’ve been struck by the strong sense of community in the area. I love the fact that there are so many independent shops and businesses in Walthamstow and that local people actively support them.” For the time being, Jennifer Ann is on a commercial path as she continues to compose songs for a range of clients, but she’s still intensely interested in the power of music therapy. “I think I’ll always be involved in it – music has a very important role to play in mental illness.” During Jennifer Ann’s nine-month practical in musical therapy, she worked closely with a schizophrenic patient. I’d place a variety of instruments on the floor and my patient would take his pick. He always chose the bass guitar. Even

though he’d never played it before, it acted as a catalyst and enabled him to open up to me about his emotions,” Jennifer Ann explains. “Our connection to music starts when we are infants - mothers communicate with their babies through sound, which is a form of music,” Jennifer Ann adds. “My hope is for the stories shared on my new album to resonate with listeners and to make them realise that they are not alone.”

Photo © Mark Levin

London may have taken Jennifer Ann far away from her homeland, but it has also launched her musical career to new heights. In 2015 she

successfully released her first instrumental album, ‘Reflections’, and soon after landed her song, ‘Mad World’, on a Lloyds Bank commercial. It received over one million streams, sold over 21, 500 copies and reached 67, 000 Shazams. After the initial success of ‘Mad World’, she was asked to arrange and produce a cover of Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ to be performed by singersongwriter Hannah Grace and the London Contemporary Voices. “I’m overwhelmed by how welcoming the music community in London has been, but I also find that the more recognition I get, the more walls I’m up against. As a musician, rejection is a very real part of life – you have to learn to move beyond that.”

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The E List - December 2017  

A guide to this month's cultural life in and around Walthamstow, Leytonstone, Leyton and Wanstead, East London, including a listing section....