Ukulele lady star rises
Local artist Jennifer Blennerhassett has been chosen to feature at So My Fest, an achievement given her musical career is still in its infancy.
“I was pretty happy about it, it’s a great opportunity just to find something small to start off with and to just give me practice with audiences and standing in front of people.
Her musical career was assisted by discovering the ukulele, as she struggled initially to learn the guitar.
“My first instrument was a ukulele, at first I started with a guitar but I was struggling because at the time I had short fingers and I was just finding it so difficult and I would put myself down, saying I can’t do it,” she said.
“Then I saw the ukulele and it’s just a very easy instrument to start off, if anyone wants to begin music.
She was encouraged early in her career by Formidable Vegetable Charlie McGee, who saw her play at a concert in Pemberton.
“Someone saying that to you gives you joy and makes you want to make more,” she said.
“I said, ‘I’ve got to make more, I have to get a pencil, I gotta start writing something’.”
Jen’s stage name is Peaches, taken from her roller derby nickname, a sport she competed in when she was younger.
“I used to do junior roller derby, my mum used to be a skater and that got me into skating a bit when I was younger, because I had to go to training with her,” she said. “My nickname for junior roller derby was Pummel Me Peaches, so I just took the last name of my nickname for the skating.”
She shares the name with a Canadian act of the same name, but said she was unaware of the other artist when she chose the name.
Jen hopes to inspire other people with the music she creates.
“I want people to think that they shouldn’t be afraid to do whatever their dreams want.
“I used to be afraid of the dreams I wanted to do and I was a bit afraid to go and perform at a young age.
“I want to be able to put out music to people, that says you can fulfil your dreams, no matter your age.”
Her current repertoire of songs consists mostly of covers of popular songs, but she has begun to write her own music as well.
Jen said inspiration sometimes struck when she was out in public.
“At some point if I’m walking around at a shopping centre, if I hear a beat or if I’ve got some sort of wording in my head, I have to grab my phone out and start typing it down before I completely forget,” she said. “I’ll come home and go on my ukulele or my guitar, or my piano ... and just start making the melody and start singing what I was singing in my head.
“I’ve got lots of words in my books, I’ve got lyrics upon lyrics, and they are all just kind of separated and I just kind of bring them together.”
Jen hopes to make a career out of music.
“It’s definitely a career, I’m really stuck on to it,” she said. “I can’t stop singing or doing what I’m doing, my parents have to tell me to be quiet all the time, every night, because I can’t stop singing.”
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