As a little girl, Jennifer fell in love with music in church, where she heard her Grandad singing from his heart to the Lord, leading the congregation with a big smile on his face. She credits her Grandad as one her greatest musical influences, as well as the pure gospel hymns he used to sing. She loves hymns to this day, and claims Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art as two of her favorite songs.
Spending her youth in a small town in South Georgia, church was an avenue for singing, but at only once a week, that left her wanting more, so often at home the mirror was her audience, and the hair brush her microphone. She realized she could actually sing, and realized she was made to.
Her best friend introduced bands like Motley Crue and shows like Headbanger's Ball to Jennifer when staying up all night singing Girls, Girls, Girls and doing makeovers just seemed like the right thing to do. Jennifer began writing poetry in her teen years, and in Highschool, formed her first band with some of her best friends, where she covered songs like Man In A Box and Hotel California for graduation parties.
Upon moving to college, she discovered a karaoke bar, and how singing Feel Like Making Love in front of an intoxicated college crowd could be fun. She didn't form any bands in college, but she made a point of soaking in the music scene often, usually from the audience perspective. There was so much music to discover. Expansion of the mind, and the repertoire ensued.
Moving to Savannah Georgia in her 20's, she met a couple of musicians while working as a server in the Historic District. Singing backup and covers of Pink Floyd tunes, with this trio, she hit songwriter and open mic nights around the city. Tied down to nothing, and armed with an adventurous spirit, when the chance came to "move to Austin Texas for music" presented itself, she accepted. Moving to the Live Music Capital of the World was appealing no doubt.
Shortly after arriving in Austin, she joined up with party band, Rotel and The Hot Tomatoes, and added to her audience the attendees, including the Potus at a President's Dinner, the sports fans at a half time show during a major sporting event, as well as thousands upon thousands of guests at countless weddings and corporate parties. Her resume includes references with many other well-respected cover bands in the Austin, TX area.
In Austin is where Jennifer met her future husband at a Secret Chiefs 3 show at Emo’s downtown. He, a musician too, woo'd her with a beautiful Martin acoustic guitar. She taught herself to play, and wrote a set of alt-folk music. With this music, a trio was formed. Coffee shops and open mics filled the years as well as other musical endeavors, ranging from Tribal Pop to Blues bands, and solo acoustic.
After moving to Austin, she discovered her love of jazz and middle-eastern music. She discovered Jeff Buckley and Nina Simone. The Dead Can Dance and Billie Holiday. The influences kept piling on, and when you hear Jennifer's original compositions, you can hear subtleties from these various genres. With a sound and writing style all her own, her vocalizations have been compared to Robert Plant, Jeff Buckley, Fiona Apple, Edie Brickell, and Joni Mitchell, among others. It’s hard to confine Jennifer’s music to one genre, so she rests in Alternative Adult Contemporary, or Alt-Folk.
While continuing to record her original music, she is often found out in Austin singing with jazz greats, Magnificent 7 and Monster Big Band at The Elephant Room and Brass House. She is also a member of all female pop-rock band, The Mrs.
You can keep up with her music and shows at www.jenniferzavaleta.com.
Her theory on music is that by keeping it honest and real, it can enhance people's lives. To Jennifer, music is Medicine for the Soul. Her songs are unique and insightful, showcasing layers of vocal harmonies on top of the melody, with soul-searching lyrics about life, love, and spirituality. She loves collaborating with new musicians and making friends in the process, and looks forward to the days of writing songs with her young daughter, who of course, loves to sing too.
MUSIC IS FUN. MUSIC IS REAL. MUSIC IS HOME.