Industry Feature Friday: Jenna Weishar (Lead Correspondent/Artist Relations, Journalist & Podcaster)
Welcome to Industry Feature Friday, putting the spotlight on the people behind the music! From producers, radio DJ's and radio trackers, to photographers, managers and everything in between. These are the music business professionals who work hard to help put your favourite artists (emerging, independent and hit makers) on the charts, DSP's, radio and on the map through their work behind the scenes!
In the spotlight this week is a very talented (fellow) music podcaster, writer, lead correspondent & artist relations with Front Porch Music - Jenna Weishar! Jenna is an incredible journalist and the amazing co-host of the podcast, "On the Porch," with Logan Miller.
Jenna has a PASSION for country music and loves the industry with her whole heart. This is Jenna's first time on a Studio B platform and I AM SO EXCITED to put her in the spotlight this week!! She is described on From Porch's website as a, "country music lover with an unhealthy collection of concert t-shirts. Always looking for up and coming artists. Believer in music's ability to soothe the soul."
Whether you have a new single or album, whether you're opening or headlining, whether you're debuting or you've been doing this music thing for 20 years - Jenna is someone who would LOVE to hear about it - and share the message with the world!! She's someone you NEED to know (if you don't already)!!
Get to know more about Jenna Weishar here:
Sarah Scott (SS): Welcome to Studio B! First time on this platform and I couldn't be more excited! Thank you for joining me today! So you are a journalist and podcast host with Front Porch Music with a love of music and too many band t-shirts from what I've read! There is no such thing as too many band t-shirts BTW! With that said, tell us more about yourself and how you got your start in this industry and in music media!
Jenna Weishar (JW): Thanks so much for the feature - this is really cool! I grew up on country music - I fondly remember the ridicule when I moved from my small town to the city and I was the only one in my grade listening to country music. I literally got made fun of for listening to Keith Urban. I was listening to "Stupid Boy" and my friends were listening to Akon and Eminem (who I also love, but that isn't my point!). If they only heard the old stuff I was listening to. Part way through high school, everyone started to figure it out and all I could think was, "this is what you've been missing out on people! I've been a writer since back in University. I spent my university years in Psychology and Sociology (sorry to our podcast guests who get to hear my random outbursts i.e. Ty Hunter learning what Synesthesia is). Writing essays was my forte - no joke, I would do a 15-20 page paper the day it was due and have 0 stress. This paired nicely with writing for some on-campus blogs. I was always writing. I was scooped by the tech industry shortly before I graduated and have been working in tech for almost five years now.
Front Porch came at the perfect time really. I stumbled across Front Porch after attending my first CCMA Award show. I remember thinking the night of the awards - I wonder what's going on behind the curtain. I wonder what it's like to be part of this. The next day, I see Front Porch Music has followed me on Twitter. So I looked it up, pitched myself via the contact form, and the rest is history! Now I don't think I knew at the time how Front Porch would open my world up in terms of the music industry, but I'm so grateful for all of it. I wrote music reviews for about two years, started doing interviews, which helped me to start building relationships with artists, and I really found my groove. When Logan and I got close, I started to really bug him about launching a podcast, and eventually he gave in! I'm extremely passionate about enabling artists - whatever that means for them. I've tried my hand at PR, I've done some written content for artist websites, and my favourite - giving feedback on song choice, going through worktapes and finding the real gems. I absolutely love going through an artist's catalog and advocating for the amazing songs they've written.
You can catch me hosting the Emerging Artist Showcase at Boots and Hearts Music Festival in a couple short weeks! I can't wait to be surrounded by talented up and comers. It really makes me feel excited about the future of Canadian country music.
SS: You are a huge country music lover always looking for up and coming artists to put the spotlight on! What do you love the most about the Canadian country music industry?
JW: I have to say, everywhere I look, there are people doing amazing work. Whether it's songwriters and artists, industry members, fans, you name it. This really amazing community of people has been built on a shared love for country music and that really inspires me. The support people have for one another's successes is so important. When I'm thinking about artists I want to feature, I think about those who are genuinely supportive and uplifting, support the community and are just good people. Our community is full of people like this - it makes my job pretty easy!
SS: You co-host a podcast with Front Porch Music (amazingly) called, "On the Porch." It's like the digital Front Porch! But tell us more about this podcast, what makes it different from other music podcasts out there and how can we all find it?!
JW: I think when we were conceptualizing what "On the Porch" would represent, we wanted to add another layer to what we've already built at Front Porch. We wanted listeners and fans of the artists to be able to listen and feel like they're getting to know our guests. I'd joked to Logan a couple times that if I recorded some of the interviews I'd done, we'd have so much content because you get chatting and learn so much about people. I think that's where my motivation was, I wasn't just interviewing people and moving on, I was making new friends, genuinely getting to know people, and then wanting listeners to feel closer to them as well. We don't often do Q&A style interviews, we let the organic conversation take us where it leads. We don't have really detailed episode structure or anything. I really can't listen to my own voice so I listen to the produced versions and still cringe a little at the sound of myself (also I make some wild noises - I gasp and yelp because I'm really expressive), but listening back to the artist conversations, you just learn so much about a person when there's no "script." I think that's what sets us apart; you can learn something about our guests that isn't part of the marketing and the brand that surrounds an artist. We have really authentic conversations and I'm so happy we've been able to hang out on the digital porch with so many people already!
New episodes of "On the Porch" are released bi-weekly. You can find us on podcast streaming services and at our podcast website: On The Porch
SS: Now, as you know we all like to be contacted differently when it comes to artists and industry reaching out to us to be a part of interviews and shows. In general though, if an artist asked you, 'what is the best way to contact or reach out to a podcast/radio host or journalist to guarantee a spot on their program/in their publication?,' what would you say to them? How should they word it, what should they include as attachments...etc., and well, how should they ask them?
JW: It's easiest to reach us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and one of us will find it there. Our dm's are open on socials but those sometimes get lost in the mix. I will say we do receive a lot of requests. If you're reaching out on behalf of yourself, remember you're marketing yourself. So think about the receiving end of the communication. What should we know about you? Why is now a good time for us to connect with you (i.e. music release, career milestone you want to promote), how will you help our audience reach content about you (i.e. sharing on your socials), and don't forget to link your website, socials, and music!
SS: Who has been your favourite interview so far and bonus question, who would you LOVE to interview? Who is your dream guest?
I've met some really incredible people - so I will not pick a favourite. I will say, I keep track of my longest interviews because sometimes we do get chatting and it's funny for me....so if our interview was over an hour long, watch out! You may be in my top three longest interviews haha
Without hesitation, my dream guest would be Shania. I don't think I have to explain myself here.
THANK YOU JENNA!
Find her on Instagram at @jennaweishar and @frontporch_music.
If you don't have streaming services, you can find On The Porch on ontheporch.buzzsprout.com.
Also, side note: She responded in purple font and it was my favourite thing ever! Fellow interviewees, please take note!