Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
Country artist Jenna Jentry calls Irving home. The young woman regularly opens for big name stars like The Band Perry, Travis Tritt and Scotty McCreery but stays with her parents here when she’s not traveling. We spoke by phone recently.
“I’m back living at home, but I’m on the road most of the time,” she said. “I grew up in Flower Mound, born and raised there, and I went to SMU for college. I have a 19-year old brother, Danny, at Texas Tech.
“My parents just recently moved to Irving because my dad’s a big golfer. He‘s been golfing his whole life, but was driving back and forth, 30 - 40 minutes from Four Seasons back to Flower Mound. He’s not retired yet, but this was always his dream retirement place, so he decided to finally give in and move over here. I just love it.”
Her mother, a retired nurse, is now her de facto manager, working fulltime to keep track of Jenna’s engagements.
Her debut single, ‘Lovin’ Lazy’ was released in August and has been well-received.
“I just learned last night that it was named number one with the premier online country music site,” she said. “We had over 170,000 votes, which was a great response.”
The artist is a triple-threat: singer, guitar player and songwriter.
“I had my first poem published when I was five years old, so you could say I started out early,” said Jentry. “When I realized that I had a gift for singing and really wanted to do it, it all came together.
“Most of the time I write from personal experience. If I’m going through something, that’s when I write my best. That emotional state just pours out of me.
“I’m pretty much all the time looking for a song; looking for a story to tell.”
As she prepares her debut album, ‘Good as Gold’, she will also introduce songs she co-wrote with multi-platinum producer Kevin DeClue, perhaps best known for his work with Hilary Duff.
“I was lucky to find a co-writer I mesh so well with,” she said. “I met him three years ago, and ever since it’s been the two of us writing together. I usually provide the lyrics and he adds the melody. We can knock out three or four songs at a time.”
In 2010, her songwriting skills took Jentry to the finalist category in both the NSAI Song Contest and the UK Songwriting Contest in London.
While she always knew she wanted a career in music, her college degrees are in Spanish (she lived in Spain for several months), and in marketing.
“I promised my parents I’d finish college, and the marketing degree actually helps me in how I present and promote myself,” she said. “Plus, we’re talking about doing a Spanish version of some of the songs I’m writing.”
The upcoming album, ‘Good As Gold’ is produced by Mark Moffatt, a Grammy-nominated talent who has also worked with Keith Urban and Jason Aldean.
Jentry spends her studio time alternating between Nashville, TN, and Dallas.
“There’s a lot of talent in this area,” she said. “A lot of the Disney kids; singers like Miranda Lambert.”
No country career is complete without a video, though, and listeners will soon be able to check her out. Jentry is also involved with the Wounded Warrior Project and will be performing as part of ‘Sky Ball’, a benefit for the military and their families, in Dallas this October. Her website is www.jennajentry.com and she also invites fans to follow her on Twitter, @Jennajentry.