New Jersey-born, Nashville-based singer and songwriter Jennifer Rae has a passion for gender equality and lyrics that tug at the heartstrings.
Her honest and heartfelt writing is heavily inspired by songwriters like Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon, as well as newcomer artists like SZA, St. Vincent and Half Waif, and this influence is shown through her moody new single “22, Not in Love.”
On “22, Not in Love,” Rae joined forces with an entirely female creative team. Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, we are here for it! Poetic, layered, and self-reflective, the song features only an organ and Rae’s velvety vocals and harmonies while serving as a powerful reminder to listeners that it’s okay to not be in love at a young age and that self-love and growth are of vital importance to our development as human beings.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Musical Notes Global is celebrating women in the music and, as part of our celebration, Jennifer Rae shared her thoughts on being a woman in the industry, what she stands for, why she wants to make waves for intersectionality in Nashville, and how she is growing as a person. Check out her post below!
"The World is Finally Listening to Women; It’s Time For the Music Industry to Tune In"
By Jennifer Rae
My name is Jennifer Rae and I am a singer-songwriter in Nashville, TN. I am an intersectional feminist. I am an artist. I am a dog-mom. And I believe that men and women are inherently equal, yet women are consistently systemically held back in our society. I recently moved to Nashville this past September, and it was quickly made clear to me that this town has been, and still is, very much a white boy’s club. Almost all the rounds and open-mics I have participated in are run by white men. It is often rare for there to be more than one or two women onstage in rounds. Booking these rounds comes with its own slimy territory: deciding whether to flirt back with the men who organize them and risk not booking with them again if you don’t. And while women do increasingly rise ranks in this town, it feels men are still the gatekeepers. Radio play is male-centric, and it is still a predominant mentality that men sing hits. I’m still learning about Nashville and how it operates, as I moved here so recently. But my frustrations are too palpable to ignore. I am tired of men telling me that things are different, and I am tired of men using their power to manipulate and abuse female artists. I want my music to speak for itself and I want to earn my success from hard work and talent. I believe all women and marginalized folks deserve the same because in 2019, the music industry doesn’t have a future without us.
When I began planning for the release my first single, “22, Not in Love,” I decided it was necessary to put together an all-female team to bring this recording into the world. The song itself came out of graduating from college and having no idea what was going to happen next. I was thrust into the world with no idea what I was doing. My entire life, up until that point, was planned out. I was confused and unsure of who I was. I still am. My roommate’s dad always says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dead.” So I’ve been growing and still am. I’m trying to figure out who I am and what I want, or even just what I need. And when I wrote this song I felt like the only thing I was certain of was that I was not in love. While I continuously change, that has been constant. And maybe that’s an odd way of looking at it, but to me it’s been comforting. In a time where we teach women and girls that they can be anything they want, there simultaneously exists the pressure to be everything. This song helped me accept that flailing, uncertainty, disappointment, messing up, loving, laughing, crying are all part of being human. I hope it helps others feel the same.
And as I continue to discover Nashville and its music scene, I plan on working with and uplifting other female, gender non-conforming, POC, queer and marginalized artists. I believe it is my duty and responsibility. Although cliché, the truth prevails that together we are stronger.