Jenna Andrews is someone who is in a unique position. Early on, the Canadian singer signed with Island Records and began her career in the music industry as a performer. In 2013, after she stopped touring, Andrews veered down a different path. Her first project as a songwriter was with was Majid Jordan, who was signed to the Toronto-based Canadian record label, OVO Sound. “It’s an extension of artistry for me; minus the touring,” Andrews tells AXS about songwriting. “It’s fun to get into someone else’s brain. I just fell in love with that process.” It was that first experience that inevitably sparked her interest in executive producing and vocal producing.
Today, Andrews has a long list of accomplishments under her belt and has collaborated with a range of artists including Drake, Dua Lipa, Tori Kelly, Jessie J, and Jennifer Lopez. As she recently reunited with music executive Barry Weiss, Andrews’ latest role is as an A&R consultant over at RECORDS. It’s there that she gets to nurture young up-and-coming talents such as Noah Cyrus, Lennon Stella ('Nashville') and Zhavia Ward (‘The Four’).
“Because I went through it as well, it gives me the opportunity to act as a mentor,” Andrews explained to AXS over the phone. “All the dos and don'ts and things you wish you knew; especially with females. I think it’s nice for me to be able to see these things coming, to help them and guide them through it. I never had a female on my team and I think it’s so powerful because we have such a different perspective. I just feel the way we look at music, the way we even look at how business is done, there’s more heart in it. I think it’s important to have a female influence as a young artist coming up in the industry.”
Now that Andrews has added yet another role to her repertoire, she gets to come at the industry from an entirely different perspective. As someone who has created music, she’s in a distinct position to hone in on what works for other artists.
“For me, it’s if the artist can communicate an emotion,” Andrews says about finding that magic ingredient. “Artistry is so innate. It’s not like you can necessarily explain it. It just feels right. It just feels like somebody isn’t faking it. It’s not a mathematical equation. It’s not like this is right or wrong. It’s just that they’re able to communicate something that is unexplainable sometimes for other people. I think that’s when you know there’s something really special – when you can’t explain it and it just makes you feel.”
In fact, she uses that same theory when it comes to discovering new talent as well. “[It’s all about] authenticity, really; on so many levels,” Andrews revealed. “Not feeling gimmicky, not feeling try-hard, I was an artist so I know what that is. It’s so hard to have a vision and not feel swayed. I respect it so much when artists have a vision and want to stick to it. It’s really inspiring for me.”
Now paying forward a bit of that inspiration, she offers up insight to other artists out there who are seeking success. “No matter how many times you can get disappointed in this industry, it takes all those things to make you better,” she advised. “The bad stuff is actually what makes the best art. I think a lot of times people get discouraged by something that seems so unattainable but I think it’s good to just stick to your vision and put art first. I really think that if your art is first and the music feels right to you, everything will fall into place. On whatever level; if you’re a musician, if you’re on the business side, if there’s something you believe in, believe in it. Even if everyone else doesn’t like it, don’t give up.”
Certainly, Andrews is someone who knows about perseverance. Her hard work has gotten her to where she is today. Singing, writing, vocal producing, executive producing, being in A&R; each facet goes hand in hand and now allows her the opportunity to set trends as things in general shift more toward women in the industry. “It’s a really good time for females,” Andrews says. “It’s cool to be able to set that model; to be a mentor and to not be afraid. I think it’s hard sometimes for females to play in a man’s game. I like having this role, not only on the business side but again on a music side, too. It’s so cool to be able to do all of these things because I think there’s such a room for it.”
For more on Jenna Andrews, you can visit her website.