Jenna Lotti: The Good Girl with ‘Bad Habits’

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Jenna Lotti is a 26 year old singer/songwriter from Boston. Lotti has pursued a career both in interior design and music, and has found a way to combine both of her skill sets. Lotti is hard working and self-critical in a constructive way. Since the release of her first album Tunnel Vision, she has greatly improved as a musician, vocalist, and songwriter. She has big plans for the future release of her EP titled Bad Habits, and announced the track-list during our recent talk together.

It is clear that Jenna Lotti was destined to be a musician. She is a very hard worker, yet her road to success was almost inevitable. Here’s the story.

Jenna Lotti (full name Jenna Bortolotti) was raised in a creative environment, yet didn’t actively pursue her dreams of being a musician until after college.

“I was so shy and would only sing in front of my roommates,” she said. “I was always involved in the arts and grew up in an artistic household with my mother being an artist/seamstress.”

Lotti attended Endicott College in Beverly, Mass., where she majored in interior design. For Lotti, being a musician always seemed an unattainable dream, yet she managed to prove herself wrong.

Lotti always had a passion for both music and writing, but after school she continued to pursue her career in interior design. While she is grateful for the lessons and years of hardship, Lotti eventually realized that interior design wasn’t the life for her.

“I always felt out of place, like I wasn’t where I was supposed to be while working in the design world. I literally would cry in the bathroom almost every day because all I wanted to do was music and I felt trapped,” she revealed.

Luckily, Lotti followed her heart. Five years after graduating, she decided to dedicate all of her time to music. Lotti is satisfied with her decision, and still uses many of the skills that she learned at Endicott.

“I don’t regret any of my experiences working in design because I learned so much and met some amazing people along the way,” she said. “I feel lucky now because I can apply my skills in Photoshop, etc., to my music branding. I am able to create most of my artist artwork, posters, websites because of my skill set from Endicott.”

Lotti is best known for her music, yet interesting enough, she was a writer before she was a musician. While Lotti’s road to success may have been rough due to personal struggle, her practiced writing skills have greatly benefited her.

“I have depression so I would keep journals and write a ton of poetry for self-medication,” she shared.

While it’s in Lotti’s nature to write by herself, she recently chose to step out of her comfort zone and try co-writing. Lotti talked about this experience when she said, “Co-writing is great. You get to see how another person’s mind works while writing and their perspectives. It’s a great learning experience as well. This EP, is all co-writes. I wrote three of the songs with my good friend/producer, Susan Cattaneo, and the other two with my fiancé, Chris Facey.”

Lotti shows maturity in her decision to co-write. This experience helped her grow as a songwriter and also as a generally shy and introverted person in the chaotic world of musicians.

Lotti’s new musical exploration has led to her newest EP titled Bad Habits which is due to be released on October 20th. It consists of five tracks: “Bad Habits” (written by Lotti and Cattaneo), “My Oh My” (Lotti and Facey), “Drive” (Lotti and Facey), “Simple Man” (Lotti and Cattaneo), and “Passenger’s Seat” (Lotti and Cattaneo).

This EP was produced by Cattaneo, and Lotti is thrilled to announce that she is having a CD release show at Thunder Road in Somerville, Mass, on Oct. 20th. Dan and the Wildfire and Now for Ages open the show.

While talking about Bad Habits, Lotti especially expressed excitement over how diverse the songs are.

“The new album is VERY diverse. Every song on this is so different from one another,” she said. “I want people to be able to dance and groove to this album as well as connecting with it on a deeper level.”

With Bad Habits, Lotti wants to show the world who she is and what she is capable of. She isn’t shy about critiquing her first album, Tunnel Vision, saying “These new songs are so much better than Tunnel Vision. They are better written and more mature. I’ve learned a lot since writing Tunnel Vision and I think that is obvious once you listen to Bad Habits. Also, vocally, I’ve grown so much and that is also very obvious.”

Lotti is thriving in the world of music, which includes her recent tour of the country.

“We toured with our friend, Keelan Donovan, who has been touring for quite some time now,” she said. “We learned a lot from him and had so much fun on the road! My favorite part was just being in a different place each day. We were exhausted by the end but it was so worth it!”

All those exclamation marks are evidence enough that Lotti is happier than ever with the new experiences she is having. She finally has an outlet for her creativity, and a solid fan base to appreciate it. Lotti is enjoying her success, and has more exciting things to come. Once Bad Habits is released, Lotti will be going on tour. The dates aren’t up yet, but they should be up soon on her website www.jennalotti.com.

Grab a copy of Bad Habits at her CD release party and peel back the different layers of Jenna Lotti. Tickets available HERE.

Photo by Kiera Slye Photography
Photo by Kiera Slye Photography

Lita Ford to perform at Narrows Center in Fall River, Mass.

Lita Graveyard_8x10

Lita Ford, who played lead guitar in the groundbreaking band, The Runaways, before launching a successful, Grammy-nominated, solo career in the 80s, will make her debut performance at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass., on November 1st. Click HERE for tickets!

Born in London, and growing up in Long Beach, California, Ford began playing guitar when she was 11 years old; starting out on a nylon-string acoustic that she received as a birthday present from her mother. For Christmas, she received an upgrade: a steel-string acoustic that she played for the next two years. She saved her money from an after-school job to buy a chocolate Gibson SG that finally allowed her to play Black Sabbath and Deep Purple riffs the way they were meant to sound. It was this guitar with which she joined The Runaways. The band released four studio albums and one live set during their late ‘70s run. Among their best-known songs are “Cherry Bomb,” “Hollywood,” and “Queens of Noise.”

Following the demise of The Runaways in 1979, Ford concentrated on her own career and now looks back on many memorable hits including: the Top 10 duet with Ozzy Osbourne “Close My Eyes Forever,” “Kiss Me Deadly,” “Falling In and Out of Love,” “Shot of Poison,” “What Do Ya Know About Love,” “and “Larger Than Life.”

This year has been particularly busy and productive for Ford. In February, she published her long-awaited autobiography, Living Like A Runaway. Two months later, she released Time Capsule, a compilation of previously unreleased songs from the 1980s that she discovered in a collection of analog tapes in her home.

For her performance at the Narrows, Ford will be playing with a full electric band. Expect to hear the hits and fan favorites from her entire storied career.

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street. Tickets to her show can be purchased online at www.narrowscenter.org or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Limelight Magazine & Narrows Center Launch ‘Opening Act’ Contest

JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine, in partnership with the Narrows Center for the Arts, is hosting an “Opening Act” Contest on September 8, 2016, at 7 PM. A portion of the proceeds will be given to a local no kill animal shelter.

The “Opening Act” Contest will spotlight local, up-and-coming musicians, giving them an opportunity to be the support act for a show booked by JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine in 2017, as well as the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA, also in 2017. On top of that, the winner will be the featured artist on a segment of WATD’s “Almost Famous” and be given the opportunity to play a live set on their Tiny Stage. While the winner will be guaranteed a support act slot, all participants will be the only acts considered to open up for any show  booked by JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine in 2017 when a national touring act requests a local opener.

Registration

All musicians wishing to register for the “Opening Act” Contest must read and accept the following rules and regulations before completing the registration form. Please note there is NO entry fee for this contest, but we need you to submit your completed registration form, along with a five minute or less YouTube link of you or your band performing original, live music (no covers) to jkbbooking@gmail.com by Friday, July 22, 2016, at 5 PM. (For those unable to scan the registration form as a PDF, it can be mailed to us at JKB Entertainment Group, P.O. Box 79263, Dartmouth, MA 02747).

Click HERE for the entry form.

Summary of Rules, Regulations, and Scoring Criteria

  1. This contest is for any band or solo musician from New England performing any genre of original music. Since this opportunity is aimed at up and coming bands and artists, entrants cannot be signed to a contract or a label at the time of entry through the duration of the contest.
  1. After the co-owners of JKB Entertainment Group have reviewed the entry materials, six to eight finalists will be selected and contacted on Saturday, July 23, 2016.
  1. The finalists will perform at Narrows Center, located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, MA, on September 8, 2016, beginning at 7 PM. Each band will be allotted 15 minutes to perform. (For every minute exceeding the 15 minute limit, the band will be penalized 5 points from their total score.) All musicians should be at the venue by 5 p.m. to draw their time slots. We ask that everyone stays until the end of the event to support the other musicians.
  1. The songs must not include profanity. All songs and performances must be family-friendly. Only original songs will be permitted.
  1. There is no limit to the number of bands who wish to apply for the competition, but no more than eight will be chosen.
  1. Each competing band will receive two complementary tickets in order to gain awareness and build their fan-base for the show. All other tickets will be full price at $12 general admission.
  1. Judging is done on a 1-20 scale by three to five qualified judges. The criteria on which the bands will be judged are explained below. The final criteria, however, is a vote of the audience. Each band will be pro-rated points based on how they rank by the audience vote. (First place = 20 points, second place = 18 points, third place = 16 points, etc.).
  1. A backline drum kit, bass amp, and vocal mics will be provided that the artists must use to move the event along quickly. Bands must provide their own instruments, guitar amps, and pedal effects. Drummers must supply their own snare and cymbals. Vocalists may supply their own mic if desired.

Judging Scale and Criteria

1) Music (This criteria is based on clarity, lyrical content and overall musical performance) 1-20

2) Stage Presence and Crowd Interaction (This criteria is based on how well the band “rocks out” and how well the band connects with the crowd) 1-20

3) Appearance and Personality (This criteria is based on the overall look and personality. If you want to be a rock star, you need to look the part) 1-20

4) Original Material (This criteria judges the most important part of your act, your original material! Musicians want to show originality in both their lyrical and instrumental performance to impress the judges) 1-20

5) Audience Vote (The key ingredient to rock stardom: THE FANS!) 1-20

Disclaimer

JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine and the Narrows Center for the Arts will determine what national touring act the winner opens for. Support act slots always need final approval by the artist’s manager. We also need to make sure the winner’s genre of music fits the national act they will be appearing with.

Click HERE for the entry form.

Opening Act Contest 2016

The Yardbirds to land in Fall River

Photo - The Yardbirds hi-res

Legendary rock band The Yardbirds, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, will be making their debut performance at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA, on Saturday, October 15th. Purchase tickets HERE.

The Yardbirds are more than a rock band…they are an institution…which, in the brief period from 1963 to 1968, made an indelible mark on the shapes of things to come. To the casual music fan, The Yardbirds are best known as the band that honed the skills of future “Guitar Gods” Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page; and for their slew of chart hits, including “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul,” “I’m a Man,” and “Over Under Sideways Down.”

Led by core members and songwriters Jim McCarty (drums), The Yardbirds debuted a new touring line-up in 2015, consisting of guitarist Johnny A, bassist Kenny Aaronson, singer/harpist/percussionist Myke Scavone, and guitarist/singer John Idan to rave reviews. As Goldmine Magazine stated, “The band’s hallmark of top-notch musicianship remains. There are no passengers in this band.”

The Yardbirds – electrifying, eclectic, and way ahead of their time – melded heavy rock, wild jams, and an improvisatory feel, and continue to influence generations of bands. Watching The Yarbirds in action is experiencing rock and roll history.

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street. Tickets to his show can be purchased online at www.narrowscenter.org or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Jimmy Bez: Keeping the blues alive

Photo by Kristen Pierson
Photo by Kristen Pierson

At the young age of 17, Jimmy Bez is an up-and-coming blues rock guitarist. He was already a prominent guitar player on the original rock scene in Boston with the 21st Century Fugitives. A songwriter and blues fan, he formed the Jimmy Bez Blues Band in 2015 and won the under 21 category at the Boston Blues Society’s Blues Challenge that same year. He also represented Boston in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, to rave reviews. His style is often compared to a young Joe Bonamassa with strains of early Eric Clapton and the late Mike Bloomfield. He recently released his debut EP Lies of a Sinner and will be opening for Tinsley Ellis at Thunder Road Music Club and Rock n’ Roll Bistro in Somerville, MA, on July 15th. We recently caught up with Bez who is planning to make music his career after high school.

Limelight Magazine (LM): You released your debut EP Lies of a Sinner on May 16, 2016. When did you start recording the album? Are you pleased with the final product?

Jimmy Bez: The 17th and 18th of April were the two main recording days.  We were all very pleased with the outcome.

LM: Four of the songs on the EP are originals written by you. Can you walk us through your personal song writing process?

Jimmy Bez: It always starts with the music for me…the lyrics come later.

LM: The last song on the EP is a cover of “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” by Billy Myles. Why did you select that song to cover?

Jimmy Bez: “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” is an old blues classic written by Billy Myles and first recorded by Freddie King. Besides the fact that it’s a great tune, I’ve always loved the Derek and the Dominos version.

LM: Did you consider covering any other songs for the EP and, if so, what were they?

Jimmy Bez: Recently we’ve been playing “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day” by Robert Johnson, “Killing Floor” by Howlin’ Wolf, and a few B.B. King tunes but I knew right away I wanted “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” on the EP.

LM: The name of the EP is an interesting choice. Why did you select that title?

Jimmy Bez: The title track “Lies of a Sinner” is one of our favorites to play and people seem to dig it.

LM: You’re opening for Tinsley Ellis at Thunder Road Music Club & Rock n’ Roll Bistro in Somerville, MA, on Friday, July 15th. Are you looking forward to this show? Will you be playing most of the songs off your new CD at this show?

Jimmy Bez: Really looking forward to it. Tinsley Ellis is awesome and Thunder Road is a great new venue with a great stage and sound system. We should be doing most or all of the songs from the EP at the show.

LM: You’re also a member of the award-winning 21st Century Fugitives who previously opened for The Dropkick Murphys. Why did you decide to pursue a solo project separate from them?

Jimmy Bez: I got really into the blues last summer and started a blues band for fun and it just ended up doing pretty well.

LM: The style of music for the Jimmy Bez Blues Band is different than 21st Century Fugitives. Are you influenced by all styles of music? Who are some of your biggest influences?

Jimmy Bez: I was originally influenced the most by Slash, Jimmy Page, and Tony Iommi when I was younger. Getting into the blues really got me hooked on guys like Mick Taylor, [Eric] Clapton, and Gary Moore.

LM: Last year, you won the under 21 youth category in the Boston Blues Society’s Blues Challenge. How did you feel about winning that award, especially since you just started the band around that time?

Jimmy Bez: We were shocked to have won but very excited to get to go play on Beale Street in Memphis.  It’s an incredibly cool place….just one blues club after the other.

LM: You’re currently 17 years old. What are your plans for the future?

Jimmy Bez: I’m hoping to make a career of this as an adult.

LM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Jimmy Bez: Thank you for always being such big supporters of local music. I really appreciate you guys checking out my new stuff and I’d like to also thank all the DJs that have been playing the EP.

For more information about Bez and upcoming tour dates, visit his website by clicking HERE.

Make Music Boston After Party on June 21st

UNION SQUARE, SOMERVILLE – This year, Boston music enthusiasts have questioned the vitality of the local music scene. Johnny D’s Uptown and T.T. the Bear’s Place have closed, leaving local performers and listeners two venues short. Events like Rock Shop Boston’s The State of Live Music Open Forum have been flush with residents demanding the scene’s revitalization.

Some organizations, like Make Music Boston, are working to flip the script by offering Boston’s music scene a new sense of festivity and community.

A global festival that takes place every year on the summer solstice, Make Music Day was launched in 1982 in France and now takes place in 700 cities worldwide. Combining local artists with venues of all sorts – churches, public parks, restaurants, and more – the free festival brings community members together in a celebration of live local music. A wide variety of Boston locations, ranging from Cambridge’s Magazine Beach to Newbury Street’s clothing store All Saints, have signed up to host musicians during the 2016 festival on June 21.

Thought the festival “officially” ends at 8 p.m., a selection of three local music advocates – Make Music Boston, Emerging Boston Area Singer-Songwriters (EBASS), and Thunder Road – have planned a post-festival celebration to highlight the vibrancy of the community. Taking the participating musicians throughout the city and pulling them together that evening at Somerville’s Thunder Road, located at 379 Somerville Ave., the Make Music Boston After Party will feature a diverse selection of renowned local Boston talent including pop soloist HEMA, indie-folk duo Jack and Katie, R&B artist Dan Cristo, pop/rock singer-songwriter Aaron Shadwell, and headlining funk band Proper Company. The event begins at 7 p.m. and will be free and open to the public.

“Boston has a little bit of everything to offer…There is an insanely awesome community of musicians and music-lovers in this city,” said Proper Company band leader George Woods. Angele Hema reciprocated the sentiment, explaining that “as someone who’s still relatively new (to Boston), I’m constantly overwhelmed by how simultaneously talented and welcoming the people in the Boston music community are. There’s a beautiful humility and honesty to the way people make music here.”

After a long year of uncertainty, performers and music-appreciators deserve a pure, unadulterated celebration of Boston’s local talent. Held on June 21, the Make Music Boston After Party will be free and open to the public.

To learn more or RSVP, visit www.ebassmusic.com.

 

Over 18 live acts and more at South Shore Indie Music Festival

BROCKTON – The 2nd annual South Shore Indie Music Festival 2016, will take place on Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Fuller Craft Museum. (Rain date is June 12th). This all day, outdoor live music festival will featuring over 18 live bands throughout the day. Performances will take place on two stages outside the Museum and on Upper Porter Pond. Tickets can be purchased, HERE.

 

This year the festival will feature some of the regions best live bands performing edgy, original music: Aldous Collins, Chachi Carvalho, Will Dailey, Shea Rose, Wheat, The Quins, Hayley Thompson King, Christina Alexander, Grace Morrison, Sadie Vada, The Parkington Sisters, Ada, Jenna Lotti, Christa Gniadek, Emily Grogan, Shane Tyler, The Wolff Sisters, Bruvs, and Carlston Wood and the Wood Street Band.

 

Photo - Aldous-Collins-BandAldous Collins Band is performing at this year’s 2nd annual South Shore Indie Music Festival on June 11th at the Fuller Craft Museum.

 

In addition to live performances, the day includes: 7 Museum exhibitions on view (indoors and outdoors), food trucks, craft beer, arts activities for adults and kids, visually stunning site specific interactive mural composed of recyclable materials, vendors, artist interviews, and sustainability talks/films.

 

The South Shore Indie Music Festival is a great chance for people to take advantage of the best the South Shore has to offer viewing the world class art exhibitions, enjoying the nature, and listening to music with friends and family.

 

To view a promo video about the event, click HERE. For more information, click HERE.

Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!

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