Here is a press release that was published this morning in the Bothell Reporter (a local Seattle paper). I was a little disappointed that the reporter got my website completely wrong, and also made it seem like the violin was my main instrument (when my album is 98% piano and that is my main instrument I play), but any publicity is good publicity right? Ok, also that he spelled my name wrong, and not to mention… okay I’ll stop there. OTHER than that, I think it’s a great article. It was a pleasure to meet with him and discuss my album and I hopefully good things will come from this.
– Jenni (with an i, not a y)
Bothell musician tunes into the ‘Key of Sea’ on new album
by Joshua Adams Hicks
If there’s a gene that makes people musically inclined, then Jennifer Thomas and her mother, Carolyn Southworth, are living proof that it exists.
Both were taught to play piano and violin by family members from the age of 5. Both performed with orchestras while attending Brigham Young University. Both released debut albums late last year.
Southworth, 54, began studying violin and piano at the age of 5 with her grandfather, who was a bandleader in Oregon. By high school, she had formed a bluegrass band and was teaching lessons of her own. College was spent much the same way, as she continued to teach lessons while playing in the BU Philharmonic Orchestra and another bluegrass band.
Thomas, 29, who currently resides in Bothell, recalls being interested in music early on. She says one of her first memories is hammering away on a toy piano in onesie pajamas at the age of 3. She would join her three brothers in violin lessons two years later.
“They all played fairly well, but Jenny just took off like a rocket,” Southworth said. “The more challenging it was, the more fun she seemed to have”. Thomas was particularly interested in learning classical pieces, and the influence shows in her album, “Key of Sea,” which fuses classical,new-age and down-tempo music in a manner similar to the work of film composer Hans Zimmer.
“I like to take classical songs and make them new and fresh, so people who like all types of music can appreciate it,” Thomas said.
Thomas spent years performing and teaching lessons after college, but didn’t write her own music until 2004, after attending a concert by the duo Tingstad and Rumbel.
“It was so simple and so beautiful,” she said. “I came away feeling inspired.”
Thomas created two compositions within days of the concert, and more would follow. Repeated requests by friends and family to record the songs prompted her to make an album.
“People kept asking me to record the music so they could listen to it in their cars,” she said.
Thomas recorded “Key of Sea” in Seattle at Tickled Ivory Studios and ZD Productions.
Two of the album’s tracks — “A Beautiful Storm” and “Red Aspens” — were among the top five most requested songs on KZION Radio at the time of the Reporter deadline.
Thomas will perform songs from her album during a CD launch party on April 14 at the Bellevue Sherman Clay Piano Recital Hall.
Thomas is handling sales and promotions for the album on her own until she finds a distributor. She claims the bulk of her Christmas break was spent boxing and mailing CDs.
“Key of Sea” is available online at CDBaby.com and JenniferThomas.com, as well as at Haley’s Cottage in Mill Creek.
Southworth’s album, “End of the Day,” features new-age music with tones of modern jazz. It was created with the help of an accomplished group of musicians, whom Southworth came into contact with through pure gumption.
Southworth cold-called one of her favorite musicians, David Lanz, to propose..nthe idea of making an album. Lanz reviewed her demos and recommended that she..ncontact Grammy Award nominee Paul Speer, who was in the process of moving from Issaquah to Nashville, Tenn, when Southworth made her pitch.
“When you decide to do something, you just have to go for it, and you have to surround yourself with good people,” Southworth said.
Speer postponed his move and agreed to produce the album after listening to Southworth’s demos online and then meeting with her in person. He assembled a group of respected musicians to work on the project, including Nancy Rumbel, who won a Grammy for Best New Age Album of 2003 and played oboe and English horn for Southworth. Speer, himself, plays guitar on several tracks.
“What really piqued my interest were her composing skills,” Speer stated in an e-mail to the Reporter. “There were strong musical themes and the song structures were well-crafted.
“Once we started pre-production, she had so many good songs to choose from, it was difficult to select the cuts that ended up on the album. As a record producer, that is a very good problem to have.”
“End of the Day” was the last recording made in Speer’s Bellevue studio. It has received airtime in 20 countries since its release and is available online at CDBaby.com and CarolynSouthworth.com.