Interview: Jenna Torres Wears Her Heart in Her Songs

Jenna Torres (Photo credit: Glenn Sweitzer)

We all love a good song. Especially one that pulls at our heart strings and moves us to feel like dancing or crying. Jenna Torres is what I would call your classic songwriter; like a painter who recreates a beautiful scene with paint onto canvas, Jenna transcribes her life experiences so exquisitely through melody and lyrics. Her latest single, "Heart on Wheels," presents a rockin' depiction of a ramblin' man you just can't keep down. He loves you, then moves on. I hear the pain in the lyrics and in Jenna's vocals, but I also hear the wisdom and acceptance of just who the man is. She is both the subject and the observer. I was curious to dig deeper into this artist's mindset and had the privelege of sitting down with Jenna to talk about her songwriting process, particularly with her latest release. Read the following interview and definitely take a listen to her new track'll be mesmerized!

Congratulations on the release of your new track, "Heart on Wheels"! The lyrics and music have a lot of passion behind them. Would you say all of your songwriting inspirations come from an emotional place?

JT:  Thanks so much I am excited to get the music out there! As a writer I would have to say that in my case all of my songwriting comes from an emotional place. So often my songs are born directly from a me songs are dressed up feelings. I love the challenge of describing an emotion with words and music. Songs are the perfect vehicle for our emotion, if ever you are not sure what to do with your feelings I highly recommend putting them in a song!

With your successful career as a songwriter for other artists, such as Martha Wash, how does writing songs for yourself effect your creative process?  Is it easier or more challenging?

JT:  I find that even when I am writing with another artist in mind the best songs still come from a personal place…I try to put myself in someone’s shoes but the heart of a song so often comes from human experiences that we all share. That said I do find it easier to write for myself … I feel free to tell my stories my way. There are some songs that may come from you but they don’t belong to you… the ultimate goal as  a songwriter is when you succeed in telling a story that is both personal and universal.

Having been in the industry for several years and seen how music has evolved over the years, what do you think of the quality of songwriting today?

JT:  I belive in the power of song…I hear songs everyday that move me. I have a deep reverence for the truly great songwriters that came before us and I am moved daily by songs from newer songwriters that are known and not at all known. I think as long as there are people with stories to tell there will be great songs!

How do you keep your songwriting fresh?

JT:  Well…I am definitely one of those people who has to live to write, you could say my life is research and development …you know what they say about getting involved with a songwriter…you will invariably end up in a song. So in answer to your question …like the title of my new single “Heart On Wheels” my heart is constantly in motion which works well for a songwriter.

What do you think of Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature?  Any particular song of his you admire the most?

JT:  I love Bob Dylan and I think it is wonderful that a songwriter has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The amazing thing about a songs it doesn’t take chapter’s or volumes to tell the whole story...  in a few short minutes you can be propelled across the universe , see all four corners of the globe,  see inside a person heart …learn about history…feel love,  pain,  sorrow,  redemption you can be healed and energized and informed . Bob Dylan is the ultimate example of a man who has exalted songwriting to it’s highest form. As for some of my favorite songs it is nearly impossible to choose from his staggering catalog but I will say “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” “Just Like A Woman” Lay Lady Lay” “Times They Are a Changin” “Forever Young” …this list could go on and on but you get the idea!

Who were or are your songwriting idols?

JT:  This is the kind of question I find nearly impossible to answer, I have so many! Some you know and some are less well known…one of the beautiful things about working in Nashville, the ultimate songwriting mecca,  is being exposed to incredible songwriters... there are so many people I deeply admire.  

Let’s start with Bob Dylan! The Band,  The Beatles,  The Eagles,  Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny, Willie, Waylon, Merle & Chris.. I hear new writer’s all the time that I love…Travis Meadows, Ward Davis and Cody Jinks to name just a few.

What can your fans expect to see in the coming months from Jenna Torres?

In the coming months my dreams of getting my music out there are in full force! In just a few short weeks I will be releasing the video for “Heart On Wheels”  which was shot in the beautiful town of Dahlonega, Ga and co stars Richard Turner of Blackberry Smoke. Oh I should have put them on my favorite songwriters list…they are awesome! My full length album Wild Sugar is due out in February and I can hardly wait! We will be taking it on the road and hopefully coming to a town near you.

Jenna Torres, "Heart on Wheels" from new album, Wild Sugar (out Feb. 17, 2017)


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