What got you into music? How did you know you wanted to pursue music professionally?
Well, we gotta take it waaaaaaay back then. My Mom told me that when she was pregnant with me, she put headphones on her stomach. I asked her, “Hey, what kind of music did you play?” and she was like, ohhh.. I played Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and some Led Zeppelin. So, honestly, it was my Mom that got me into music! My Pops loves music as well and is an avid vinyl collector.
Another stand out I’m thinking of is when I was 8 years old and I was spending my summers down in Puerto Rico with my abuelita. She had a beautiful grand baby piano in the garage. I would wake up, have breakfast and play the piano for HOURS. The neighbors started to come by and just sit and listen and it became this whole neighborhood hang thing. I remember my Abuelita told my Aunt, let’s get her some lessons, she’s good. I overheard the conversation and told my Aunt that I didn’t want any lessons and that I just wanted to play. She then told my Abuelita to just let me do my thing and that’s what I did. I later became obsessed with learning on my own. It was a blast.
I also wrote a report in 8th grade that I wanted to be a professional musician. I still have that report till this day. I’ve always known that music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Once I went to my first hardcore show, it was ON. I wanted to make people feel and music was my best form of communication. In some ways, it still is.
What is it like navigating the music industry as a Puerto Rican woman, who also happens to be a metal bassist?
Oh, I’ve dealt with a ton of bullshit. I’ve dealt with a lot of racism and sexism but, I had no choice but to power through it. Nothing was going to stop me from my goals. I took every opportunity that would come my way that made sense and would network like crazy. Metal is a boys club so I learned how to hang with the boys. What makes them tick, what they like, what they don’t like but most importantly, I stayed true to myself. No one could say that I didn’t put 100% effort into everything I worked on and I began building a good reputation of being someone awesome to work with.
They say like attracts like and I’ve found that to be very true in my career so, I tended to work with very open minded badass humans who just wanted to play some kick ass music together.
The TDLR answer is, it’s been hard but very rewarding. It’s like you are always proving yourself over and over but, these days, the only person I’m proving anything for is myself.
How was the transition from playing with Kittie and Suicide City to then becoming a solo act? Did you find any challenges while making the transitions?
I was playing with Suicide City while in Kittie so, the transition was much smoother than if I wasn’t. Plus, the conversation I had at the time with Kittie wasn’t the best so, it did make it easier to jump headfirst into SC.
The tougher transition was going solo. Everything is on your shoulders and I knew that going into it. There was much more to organize and navigate through especially since I was taking care of having a live band as well. It’s tough but it's also been pretty rewarding because I get to make the calls. Now, it’s been exciting speaking with musicians to gear up for another go. This time I have a better understanding of what works vs what doesn’t work.
What was it like touring with Shiragirl and being a part of the 25th anniversary of the Warped Tour?
I’ve been playing on and off with Shiragirl for over a decade. Shira is quite literally an icon in the Warped Tour space and the 25th anniversary run was super special.
I remember looking at the crowd and the beach and turning around and looking at the band and our crew and was like YES. This is THE ABSOLUTE SHIT. I’ve always had a blast touring with them but there was something special about that run. We had an all female roadcrew and we are all friends and it was just a good fucking vibe. It’s hard to explain but it's one of my favorite touring experiences ever.
We also had to evacuate the beach and that was total madness but, what a fucking great time it was!
Who are some of your favorite female artists at the moment?
I just saw Spiritbox at INKcarceration (where I hosted the tattoo competition for the 4th year running) and I am just in love with Eternal Blue. It’s a fantastic album.
I’m also into the Nova Twins and Devmo. I’ve recently got into Scene Queen. She’s got an album called “Bimbocore” that fucks. Oh, and the new Lizzo album might be the most perfect summer album yet.
Who/what are your biggest inspirations lyrically and musically?
Cliff Burton is one of my favorite bassists of all time and Jerry Cantell is my favorite songwriter of all time. I’ve been really influenced by Faith No More, Biohazard, Metallica & Life of Agony. Those LOA lyrics hit different and I’ve always wanted to convey that type of emotion when I’m writing lyrics. I’m inspired by storytelling and by anything that pulls at your heartstrings.
Do you have a dream collaboration, dream concert lineup, and/or dream place to perform?
Oh Sheeeeesh. What era?! It it was today at this very moment, my dreamline up would be:
Life of Agony - Headliner
Make Them Suffer
If someone was about to listen to your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them before they press play?
Metal n Roll with Pop Sprinkles on top.
In addition to music, you’re also a boss in the business of 3D printing. What does a day in the life of Jenn City look like?
My day starts early and it starts with a win. You have to start the day with a win! It sets the mood for the rest of the day. Anyone who knows me knows that I literally live by this. No win is too small or too big. It can even be making your bed but, start the day with a win.
Honestly, my day starts the night before because I’m checking emails, looking at my calendar for what’s planned for the day ahead. I like writing my top 3-5 goals down everyday of what I want to get accomplished or begin working on for the day. Writing down your goals daily will change your life. It helps you become laser focused. Plus, you feel accomplished when you start knocking them out.
Get that day started (with a win), feed my adorable cats, get showered and get pumped for the day. I run a Sales team so, I have to be that example for the rest of the team. I’m focused on my energy and what I need to accomplish and how I can help my team crush it. Which they do!
I’m often on a lot of calls with prospects/customers and/or building out sales processes and efficiencies. I’m also currently offering my services to those who are about to scale their sales teams, so that’s an exciting aspect of my career I’m beginning to focus more on.
Once the day is wrapped, I take some time for myself and then I tend to go for a bike ride or head into my studio and work on some music. I’ve been healing up from major leg & ankle surgery so my health is my #1 priority along with taking care of my family.
You have cultivated a unique signature look. Can you share any fashion or beauty inspirations?
I thought you would never notice. ;)
Yes! I love all things makeup and can get easily lost in Sephora or Ulta for hours. I’m always on the hunt for the perfect lipstick or eyeshadow.
I would say that the right primer, powder and setting spray will change your life. Especially how you sweat onstage under the lights. If you want your makeup to stay onstage I recommend putting on your primer, let it dry, and then spray your setting spray and use a damp blender to put on your foundation. Do your thing, powder, and then use your setting spray again and let it dry. Get a lil fan or just give it an extra minute or two. I’m telling you, it will stay on your face during the show.
When it comes to fashion, really inspired by the Mad Max / military vibe and throwing in some bright colors to offset the dark. So, I might do a faded black eyeshadow with red eyebrows. It’s super fun and another way to express yourself.
When I get ready in the morning, I always feel like I’m putting on my warrior face and I’m into that vibe.
What was it like seeing yourself in the recent Kittie documentary?
I really enjoyed it and it brought back some good memories! I also had a blast with the producer recording my interview footage for the documentary. We ended up meeting in Atlanta, GA of all places to film and got a chance to get to know each other and get the footage done. I think overall it was a huge success and I love that people can easily access it now with it being on Amazon Prime Video. The live reunion show is available on Amazon Prime Video as well. That show was CRAZY and a lot of fun.
What was the craziest part of being on TV for Big Brother?
Being completely cut off from your friends and family. The no music or writing was slowly killing my soul. I would say that the craziest part was that right after the show EVERYONE knew who you were. I couldn’t go to the bodega without getting stopped. I had horrible social anxiety for a long time. It peeks its head out every now and again.
What’s next for you? Any special projects we can expect in the future?
You can expect more PMA videos, a possible podcast is in the works, and Lion Country (my new album, a follow up to OUT IV BLOOD) to come out in the very near future. I also plan on launching my own sales consulting firm which I’m really excited about.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Vibing and thriving and being my own boss. I'll be a New Yorker forever, but I’ll probably be living in a different part of the country during different times of the year within 5 years from now. Plus, I want to do a cross country trip on my motorcycle by then.
How can people continue to support women and other marginalized voices in music?
Outside of buying their merch and going to their shows, PUT THEM ON!!! Let people know about them!!! Share their music on your platforms OFTEN. Tell the people that follow you WHY you love them and how they can check them out!!!
You’re a big advocate of PMA. Any favorite mantras you’d like to share?
I’m a huge advocate of PMA. If you are into meditation (or if you want to get into meditation) please let me introduce you to Ho'oponopono. Ho'oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian spiritual practice that involves learning to heal all things by accepting "Total Responsibility" for everything that surrounds us – confession, repentance, and reconciliation. The word ho’oponopono roughly translates to “cause things to move back in balance” or to “make things right.”
The ho’oponopono prayer goes like this:
“I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, I love you.”
One of the things I’ve struggled with the most is forgiving myself. Especially once I got sober. This practice has helped me on a deep level and I believe it can help anyone who is reading this that struggles with the same thing.
How did you get involved with Gritty In Pink?
I’ve known Shira for years and have always deeply admired her tenacity. Nothing can stop her so, when she created and began developing the concept of Gritty in Pink, I wanted to be as supportive as possible. That’s how I got here and the future is outrageously bright!