INTERVIEW: Jennifer Adan Follows Her Dreams And Get's A #1 Hit For Blake Shelton

Jennifer Adan (pronounced Aayden) moved to Nashville in 2007 following her heart and pursuing her songwriting career, two years later she is not only realizing her dreams of having a song recorded, but has secured a #1 hit; “She Wouldn’t Be Gone”, recorded by Blake Shelton, a song she co-wrote with another music row song writer, Cory Batten. Jennifer and I spent some time to visit about the achievement, her goals and the dreams she is still chasing.

Bev: Jennifer it is such a pleasure to visit with you, you must be absolutely elated to have reached this part of your “dream come true” journey. Can you define what that feels like?

Jennifer: It feels unreal. I do not think it has sunk in yet. Knowing that it is there, just feels incredible. It hits me, when people know who I am before I say anything.

Bev: You wrote in a blog in April of 2008 that your goal was to make that song a #1 – did you ever think when you were writing that blog you would be sitting her today and realizing that dream?

Jennifer: At the time it really was wishful thinking, because I did not know what was going to happen. With it being a new song, and a different kind of song, I did not know what kind of reaction it would get.

Bev: Can you share how the song landed in Blake Shelton’s lap?

Jennifer: Cory. 100% Cory. He is signed with a publisher and they pushed it to the music community, who eventually got it to Scott Hendricks, who is Blake’s Producer.

Bev: Had you met with him prior to this or when was the 1st time you met Blake?

Jennifer: No, but apparently I saw him in concert and I have totally washed it out of my head, because I told my sister I was going to meet him for the 1st time and she reminded me he opened for Rascal Flatts. I shared that with Blake and he thought it was funny, but to answer your question, I had not met him in person prior to this.

Bev: With this being one of your first songs to be cut by a major recording artist, do you remember the moment when you found out he’d recorded it?

Jennifer: I was at home when he put it on hold and I was screaming and jumping up and down. I was in the car when I got an email that it would be released as the first single from his album and I started crying.

Bev: When you and Cory wrote the song, I know it fell into place like so many do, just rambling and putting words together as you sat and talked about the surroundings. Do you usually have a method you follow or does it depend on who you are writing with or the song you are writing?

Jennifer: I honestly do not have a method. It can be an idea I have about something I am excited about or something someone else brings, but I never know the direction when I start. In this case we both had some ideas, but we just were not feeling anything on either idea and Cory started out with the flower and it grew from there. I love it when you can have a session like that.

Bev: Do you prefer to write with someone or would you rather write on your own?

Jennifer: I like both. I also write pop music and will get in a mode and do a song from start to finish, sometimes in an hour. I like to bring songs I have written to someone else to bounce ideas off.

Bev: Do you have any one person you really enjoy to write with?

Jennifer: There is a few I write with at least once a week. One person is my guitar player, Zach Below and Canaan Smith and a new singer songwriter, who is signed to Dan Hodges publishing; named Megan Conner. I love all of them. But over all Rebecca Lynn Howard has been my over all favorite. Everything I write with her I really love.

Bev: Has any one person had a big influence on you?

Jennifer: Dianne Warren. I love her style and the fact she writes 90% of everything herself. One of the biggest compliments I ever received was from a publisher, who was listening to one of my demos several years ago and he stopped the CD and asked if I knew who Dianne Warren was, and I of course said “yes”, and he said “you better call her up and tell her to watch out because you are about to take her job.” I was so blown away he said that.

Bev: I know In September of 2006, you won the Jeffrey Steele songwriting boot camp and came to Nashville to work with him. What do you remember the most from that experience?

Jennifer: Networking, networking, networking. Jeffrey and his assistant at the time, Sara Wood, really pounded it into my head to talk to everybody and anybody and really to get out there and put myself out there. I was never that person before, so it was not easy for me to walk up to a stranger and introduce myself as a songwriter. I used to get mad at my mom because she would do that, and now that I realize how important it is, I have become more outgoing and I cannot shut up! (laughing)

Bev: You are also writing several screenplays, novels, children’s stories, greeting cards, and poetry. Do you have a preference on the type of writing or is there really not a difference as they are all expressions of your feelings and outlook?

Jennifer: Songwriting will always come first, but second would be poetry. I love to write poetry. It is almost like writing pop music, because you can be vague and artistic to a point that it does not make sense, but the more exciting it becomes because multiple people can relate to it as they see it different ways. Because of that, I enjoy writing the pop/rock genre instead of always having to tell a story in detail and be so descriptive.

Bev: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?

Jennifer: I do not, I started writing when I was very young with poetry about princesses and fairies, but the first song I did in public and really let people know I wanted to do this was at my parents 25th wedding anniversary when I wrote a song for them and sang it at the party.

Bev: On your website you have a quote that says "I want the world to hear what I feel...", can you put into words what you try to make people feel or you want them to feel?

Jennifer: I want everyone to hear my music, and I really write what I feel, so I want people to feel that.

Bev: Do you also aspire to sing and perform, or do you just want to write?

Jennifer: I strictly a writer, but that said, I have been playing out and doing showcases, to expose my songs and music. I only do acoustic rounds, never a band show. I do not want to be an artist, so I do not present myself as a singer. I have a couple shows lined up. I do not enjoy that part as much, but it is part of that networking and letting people know what I have written, so I have to push it and get it out there.

Bev: As I interview artists, I often ask them if there is a venue that they enjoy performing at, so as a writer, is there any one venue or place you prefer to write at or to showcase your songs?

Jennifer: The Bluebird CafĂ©. The first time I went is when my dad and I were visiting and I can vividly remember taking a cab there, pulling up and thinking “this is it?”. But once you hear the music start when the lights go down, you feel it. I just love playing there.

Bev: If you were asked to give someone one piece of advice you have received that you consider most valuable in this business, what would you offer?

Jennifer: Never give up. If you feel passionate about something, do not let anyone stop you from going after your dream. It makes me sad that so many people are afraid that it won’t work out and they give up. You just need to try. So never give up. Keep trying and learn all you can about what you want to do or want to be.

Bev: Have you received any advice that was bad?

Jennifer: I have! When I was in high school, I took choir and was in musicals, you name it. I would always carry a small notebook with me for jotting down my ideas and writing songs in. I hated high school and people were very cruel. There was one particular girl who would steal my journal and read it aloud to the class and it was just a horrible experience. In class one time we were on the subject of song writing and of course another student pointed me out saying I was a song writer and my teacher asked which instrument I played. I did not play anything. He told me to choose a different career path if I did not play an instrument. But I used that experience as fuel and pushed myself harder because of it.

Bev: Has this number one already opened more doors for you?

Jennifer: I have gotten some amazing co-writing opportunities and that is exactly what I want. Giving me opportunities to express myself and then to write with artist and writers I have idolized growing up is amazing. I also have found people give me more credibility when I am introduced, and that is a great feeling.

Bev: Tell me how you feel your life has changed with this milestone?

Jennifer: I am much more busy than I was before. In fact I have my own intern now to help me organize and get things taken care of as I am pulled in more directions and so I can focus on the writing. I am learning to adjust to the phone being attached to me and emails constantly.

Bev: How about the financial part? I know there is a misconception about the music industry and how a #1 song makes you filthy rich, can you elaborate on how this has affected your pocketbook?

Jennifer: I have not seen a penny yet. My parents have been unbelievable in supporting me. I am independent, meaning I do not have a publishing deal so I will get both the writer share and publisher share, so I think I will be fine once I do start to see the royalty checks.

Bev: What is next on your horizon, what goals are your reaching for now?

Jennifer: I just want to keep writing good songs, but the pressure is off now, so I do not have to strive for a number one. Really my goal is to just stay on top as a recognized songwriter and putting out good material.

Bev: You mentioned your publishing is your own, you have your own company that you started right?

Jennifer: Yes I do, called Tommy Jo Publishing, after my mom. I eventually want to be able to sign writers in favor of the song writer, and to be able to help other people. I want to pull them along with me and get recognition for the hard work they do. I assumed growing up that whoever I heard on the radio wrote the song, I had no idea you could do this for a living. So I want to help others realize their dreams.

Bev: Jennifer, I truly have enjoyed this time, and I wish you much continued success. Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself with me.

Jennifer: Thank you, I have really enjoyed talking to you.

Bev: Again, thank you so much and I look forward to next time.

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