If I could start another movement I would start a movement that has to do with helping people who are stuck within relationships with narcissistic control and abuse. I have been through those things myself and they have created PTSD that has been not a very easy part of my existence. I never had social anxiety until the symptoms from the reverberations of that relationship came to a head. It is very hard when you are in an abusive relationship like that to get help because the other person has done so much work making others believe that you are unstable etc. After going through years of therapy and learning ways to cope, I would like to help others in the same situation and try to help them get out quicker. I stayed in my abusive relationship for seven years and I should’ve left around 4. He asked me to marry him at 4 years and I said yes… then I got cold feet and called it off. He came to my home with a gun and luckily I am still here to tell the story. I stayed for 3 more years due to his charm and brainwashing hold on me. I’m lucky I eventually got out alive. I want to help others before it gets that far.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Hill (Murderous Chanteuse). Pop rock spitting unicorns and fairies with machetes…. It’s all in the mind of the talented Murderous Chanteuse. A purveyor of all things pop, Murderous Chanteuse is currently working on a new album dedicated to all the things that brought her to the world of pop in the first place. The music is an eclectic mix of sophisticated pop with a lush electro vibe alongside piano, strings and a pulsing percussive beat. Stepping out from her indie rock roots as Jennifer hill and Co., Murderous Chanteuse is the newest incarnation of Jennifer’s eclectic love of all things that go pop in the night. Think bjork+madonna+sneaker pimps make a baby with the DNA of Robyn and you get Murderous Chanteuse.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started singing when I was about 3-years-old. Music has been in my soul my entire life. My mom taught me how to sing Janis Joplin’s Bobby McGee in its entirety at three and that is where the fever began.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
When I was first starting out in the original music realm I researched some producers and found Daniel Mintseris (now keyboardist for St. Vincent and Ableton Wiz). He had been touring with Marianne Faithfull at the time and was known for putting an electro sparkle into the music that he worked on. I ended up meeting up with him in New York City at Rockwood Music Hall where he told me the tour had been put on hold for a bit and he said it was serendipity that we could work together. I ended up having the best time of my musical life recording three beautiful songs with him. The players he got for my songs were phenomenal and included Doug Yowell, drummer for Sting, Whynot Jansveld who played with Gavin Degraw and Dave Egger, of Coldplay fame (he is the cellist in the opening of the song Viva la Vida). It was the most magical experience of my life and those three songs are some of my best, in my opinion.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now I am working on a full length album of songs that I have written between now and the past 15 years. It will definitely be genre bending, as I am not a person to stick to one specific type of music. So far I have 15 tracks in the works but I wouldn’t be surprised if it went to 20. I have a large catalog that hasn’t been recorded and I feel the need to finally get them birthed into the world.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Daniel Mintseris, as I stated above and I also worked on your with a band as a vocal coach (BOTDF) and their shows are kinda like Guar mixed with glam rock and Rap…it was a very different scene than my music. I ended up becoming really great friends with Haley Rose from the band after a hotel argument that left a spot for me to stay in her hotel room. I wasn’t there for the band argument (bands are like families so it happens) but I helped hide some of the pieces. Her and I have lots in common musically and politically so we Girl power pow wow quite a bit. If they didn’t argue and we didn’t hang that night I don’t know if we would’ve connected.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
When it comes to voices I am very inspired by many artists. I love The Voice! I am also a vocal coach besides a recording artist so I just love hearing unique voices.
I love the smooth round sound of Phoebe Snow’s voice and how effortlessly she goes through the runs that she sings within her songs.
I love Carole King’s songwriting.
I love Joni Mitchell’s loft in songs like “he comes for a conversation.”
I also love Bjork for the pure emotion that she puts into her singing and every time I have seen her life I burst out into tears the entire time. Her growls are even beautiful.
Tori Amos has a magical quality to her voice that lets her flow through the guttural lows all the way up to the lofting highs and I really appreciate that alongside the classical sound that she puts in with her piano accompaniment. As a pianist I definitely look up to her for that as well.
Billie Eilish has this gorgeous sound to her tone and is sultry and pop at the same time — her words are so what I wish I said.
Madonna is someone who I also look up to a lot. In fact my motto of life has always been WWMD what would Madonna do. I love to sing her music and I loved the pop feel to her sound as well as when she started to experiment into more of a techno feel. She gained a lot of vocal strength after doing Evita. My attraction to her isn’t just a vocal. It is the entire thing. The visuals, the boundary crossing. I was attracted to the fact that she had this drive no other woman that I had seen within the music industry (or at least no other woman I had been allowed to see that from within the music industry.) She had control of everything from her sexuality to her image and her music and I wanted that as well. I know that isn’t the easiest way to get yourself signed to a record label (being upfront as an artist), but I do know that it is the best way to live your life so that you feel like you are in control. I am already giving my soul every time I am showing someone a song that I have written, I need to make sure that if I am giving that much I also have protection as well.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have been running festival dedicated two female musicians since 2008. It is called Swan Day CT Support Women Artists Now. This event has actually changed the music scene in my state and has given women equal representation when it comes to music awards and accolades. We are still not there when it comes to numbers as far as festivals but we are at least showing that our music is out there and it is making waves within our communities and beyond. The show has become a stepping stone for all female musicians who are trying to start their career within this state and surrounding ones.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Well, I feel that I have started a movement as far as Swan Day CT is concerned because Swan is a movement. It is a way of life where women support each other in the arts and support everyone equally so we can all share the benefits and rise together.
But if I could start another movement I would start a movement that has to do with helping people who are stuck within relationships with narcissistic control and abuse. I have been through those things myself and they have created PTSD that has been not a very easy part of my existence. I never had social anxiety until the symptoms from the reverberations of that relationship came to a head. It is very hard when you are in an abusive relationship like that to get help because the other person has done so much work making others believe that you are unstable etc. After going through years of therapy and learning ways to cope, I would like to help others in the same situation and try to help them get out quicker. I stayed in my abusive relationship for seven years and I should’ve left around 4. He asked me to marry him at 4 years and I said yes… then I got cold feet and called it off. He came to my home with a gun and luckily I am still here to tell the story. I stayed for 3 more years due to his charm and brainwashing hold on me. I’m lucky I eventually got out alive. I want to help others before it gets that far.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I definitely think self-care is a very huge part of being a musician. It is not easy to put yourself out there and deal with rejection and deal with the community of being a musician. I have found that although I have many great friends within the industry I also have many people that I can simply call acquaintances or colleagues because they are looking to book the same venues as I am, get the same press or muse off of my work (without permission.) Within the area that I live in original music is not widely celebrated so the places to play at are scarce which makes competition fierce. Make sure you surround yourself with other musicians and people you can trust because otherwise it can become a very difficult situation.
Taking a break from social media is also a good idea because many of us are friends with a lot of other musicians. That means seeing others working on days we are not and makes it look like people are constantly doing something… because every day at least one person on your feed will be Playing a gig or doing promo or getting an interview etc. Seeing this constant activity can make you feel like you aren’t doing enough which could lead to constant online activity trying to find new ways to promote yourself. We cannot be promoted in everything, we cannot play every show. It is impossible. We all have to take breaks and a social media break is a very good thing for the soul.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I wish I knew I had to be my own business as soon as I left college. No one told me that as a musician, unless I taught in. School system or “made it” that I would not have health insurance provided from any employer and that I would not really get paid unless I was my own advocate and businesswoman as a musician. I think I am lucky that as a kid I had Madonna as a role model because she has definitely taught me that persistence pays off and to make sure you get what you are promised.
I wish I knew how to promote myself better. But that’s why I have the amazing Nikoleta Morales helping me!
I wish I was told to be nicer to myself and to enjoy things more. I have always been so focused on getting things done that I rarely enjoyed the little fun things I did starting out. Now I relax the day of a show and I get ready slowly and almost meditate myself into the mood for the night. I am present and not thinking about what I have to do next. I do this because I love it so I might as well LOVE IT!
I don’t have anymore! I feel I was told a lot about this career while In college… I just wish someone told me how hard it was actually going to be!!
I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them :-)
I would love to talk to Madonna. She is the icon behind my life’s motto and I would love to thank her for giving me strength In times of darkness and for the soundtrack to my life that I believe led me to become a strong woman.
How can our readers follow you on social media
My links and social sites:
Murderous Chanteuse Spotify
Jennifer Hill Spotify
Murderous Chanteuse website http://www.murderouschanteuse.com/