Jenna Nicholls

Tell me about your business or specialty.

I'm a singer / songwriter. I get up on stage and try to make people laugh and enjoy music.

How'd you get to where you are now?

I started playing with songwriter friends. We'd have songwriter nights in their homes, I'd sing along. I then started writing my own music. I spent the next years playing all kinds of shows: little ones, big ones, great ones and terrible ones. One gig leads to another and so on. Even the not so great gigs have led to opportunities I wouldn't have known about otherwise.

What surprises you in your work?

I'm always surprised when people enjoy my work. I need to keep telling myself that what I do is valuable. I'm also surprised at how much I enjoy making people laugh. Humor is a large part of my writing and my live show. Hearing a thousand people laugh at a lyric or a joke is thrilling. When I know the audience is laughing, I know they're with me, and it makes for a much better performance.

What drives you crazy?

I'm not great at social media and self-promotion. I'm a very insular person, and it goes against every fiber of my being to post something that says "Look at me" - yet in order to be successful and do what I love to do, it’s a necessity.

Who inspires you? (it can be anybody you know, or don't know)

It’s more of a general philosophy than a singular person. I'm inspired by anyone who goes against what's socially expected of them and doesn't quit. I’m inspired by risk takers and people who are afraid to step out of their comfort zone but do It anyway. Ultimately it’s our own fear that keeps us from moving forward, and anyone who can tackle their fear and plow through it is inspiring in my book.

You're a trailblazer - what are some highlights?

I'm not afraid to use as many sounds that come out of my voice as I know how to do. I have songs where I sing country, songs where I sing like a 1920's cartoon character etc. I like writing in all kinds of styles and I don't let the kind of genre "I'm supposed sound like" stop me from doing whatever I feel like doing. This Is great for creativity, not so great from a marketing perspective. PR agents can't figure out what to do with me so in that sense it’s a challenge, but ultimately, I just want to make great work. That's all I really care about.

Any lessons you’ve learned and would like to share?

Stick with it. Success comes in small victories over the course of a lifetime of work.

Words of wisdom or thoughts?

Never phone it in. If you're going to do something, give it your best.


The music of multi-instrumentalist Jenna Nicholls has been turning heads since she arrived on the door step of the Lower East Side of NY. Whether she’s crooning a jazz standard, belting out a New Orleans dirge or plucking her 1920’s style original ballads on her Ukulele, she’s giving a vintage genre a new spin with her own lush nostalgic style. Recently, Jenna has toured with Ingrid Michaelson, shared the stage with Oscar Winner Glen Hansard, Amanda Palmer, Lucius, and Joan as Policewoman. She released her latest project "Radio Parade" in 2018. Jenna has performed in venues all across the country including The Beacon Theater and Carnegie Hall.

To hear her music and read more about her:

(published 2020)