Jenn Grant: Creating Work and Connecting with the World
Jenn Grant’s social media accounts are a gateway to endless entertainment: live performances, collaborations, covers, worldwide recognition—and Jenny Town, a whacky, laugh-out-loud YouTube romp through her world of artistry, humour, friends and cookery.
For someone so at home in front of an audience, the isolating nature of the pandemic was a stark change from her reality: Grant and her husband, producer Dan Ledwell, were midway through a North American and European tour, toting their 9-month-old son along for the ride, when the world shut down.
Tucked away in her Echo Lake, N.S., house, “I’ve been having this really beautiful time with my children at home, carving out this new existence I didn’t think was really possible for me,” says Grant, who welcomed her second baby during the shutdowns. “But I’ve been making music the whole time, and have been dabbling in producing for the first time, too—my own stuff, mostly.”
Last winter, Grant created a Christmas special and hosted a holiday contest, in which entrants suggested friends and family who needed a personal concert, answering the question Why does this person need extra cheer?
“There were a lot of people who were alone, and I just wanted to connect with those people and others, too,” Grant says. “I drove around Nova Scotia with my friends and my baby, performing in the street with Kim Harris. It felt really nice.”
“I absolutely loved doing the special, and want to do it again,” she says. “The pandemic gave me a lot of gifts, and I was open to receiving them. It wasn’t like that for everyone, I know. But I was able to find positivity for myself and for my family.”
An ongoing cover project has brought particular joy: “I’ve been recording songs by Canadians that I love. Legendary artists like Leonard Cohen and others who have passed away,” says Grant. And, for this community-minded artist, working with friends has been a mainstay: “I’m collaborating with Canadian artists, my peers. We’re creating songs, sometimes duets and sometimes not, for an album I’m just in the thick of right now.”
An accomplished visual artist, Grant also worked to create a small new body of work—larger-scale paintings she hopes to present soon in Halifax.
The new album, ongoing cover recordings, season two of Jenny Town, a second Christmas special, new paintings—staying off the road has certainly not slowed Grant down. “I’m really happy. I really love working and creating; I love being with my friends,” she says. “I’m really feeling so proud of all the work I’ve been able to continue to do, being at home.”
Grant is nonetheless looking forward to being back on stage—with and without her band, each of whom now sports their new Blundstones nearly every day: “I really love performing. I’m really excited about the record I’m making, and am excited to perform it.” Which comes as no surprise for someone whose true home is in front of an audience, wherever she can find one.