Songwriter Jenna Andrews Pays it Forward Through Mentorship - Grazia
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Songwriter Jenna Andrews Pays it Forward Through Mentorship - Grazia

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Jenna Andrews has made a name for herself in the music industry, writing hits for the likes of BTS (she co-wrote “Butter”), Noah Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez (including “Church” from the movie Marry Me), Sabrina Carpenter, Dixie D’Amelio and many others. Now, she’s all about giving back and helping aspiring artists on their rise to fame.
The producer/songwriter was named as a mentor for Milk & Honey’s U.S. scholarship to guide female writers and producers from Australia and New Zealand. The 2023 recipient is Chelsea Warner from Sydney, Australia, who will have the opportunity to live, work and create in L.A. for two months with access to the roster at Milk & Honey (a music management agency) and have studio sessions. She will also be paired with two mentors including Andrews and Oak Felder, a songwriter and record producer who has worked with Demi Lovato, Lizzo, Kehlani, Alicia Keys and John Legend.
“Less than 20% of our industry is female and the number of women in production is considerably less, it’s time to create real experiences, connections, and provide financial support if we are to truly going to change the future landscape of the music industry,” said Milly Petriella, Milk & Honey’s new Australasian Managing Director who co-created the scholarship. “Those who have the resources and capacity can really step up and make a meaningful contribution.”
Andrews is psyched to be involved. “I love doing this type of thing,” she tells GRAZIA USA. “Over the years, I’ve been a part of developing artists. I love this stuff. It just makes me feel good and it is exciting for me.”
In fact, she was an early investor in the Nvak Collective, a label created to “help artists that aren’t so fortunate across the world to be able to create their art,” she shares.
For her mentorship with Warner, Andrews says she’s going to have the up-and-coming artist come along with her to the studio. “It’s going to be a shadowing situation — I think that’s the best way to learn and understand how it works firsthand. She’s going to come with me into a bunch of sessions and then we’re also probably going to do some sessions ourselves and write.”
The 36-year-old has made it a long way from her hometown in Calgary, Canada. She was discovered by Chris Smith, the manager of Nelly Furtado and Alessia Cara. Looking back, she says she always knew she wanted to be an artist, but didn’t understand the scope of other jobs involved in the industry. “I didn’t necessarily know the many different paths could get me where I wanted to go essentially,” she shares.
Andrews signed with Def Jam Recordings and her debut single “Tumblin’ Down” in 2010 became a hit after being featured on Grey’s Anatomy. After touring and working as an artist for a number of years, she says she began to realize her true love was with “songwriting and development of other artists — being a part of their journey and having the opportunity to ‘make a baby’ with someone and just have that creative experience.”
Andrews adds, “I think when I started writing, when I left my label for other artists, I just realized how much that was a calling me and how much I enjoyed that part of a music career.”
Throughout her tenure in the industry, she experienced the rise of streaming services and how that changed the approach to songwriting for some artists. “I literally started on MySpace, which is so funny. It sounds like a dinosaur at this point,” she shares. “Obviously now we live in a streaming world.”
She says that shift has created a whole new way of breaking out artists. “Back when I was signed, it was like labels were hesitant to put music out, whereas now they want to put music out every month, otherwise you’re not relevant. I’m exaggerating, but especially if you’re a new artist and trying to put your name on the map, it’s important to continue making sure you’re putting music out.”
Newer apps like TikTok really decide what becomes popular in a much bigger way, Andrews explains. “A lot of times when you’re writing with artists, it’s like they have to test out the songs on TikTok. You’re very cognizant of that when writing. The type of things that work in a visual media like TikTok is so different than what would historically work on radio. Then if it blows up on TikTok it’s obviously already familiar and popular, which makes it easier for it to work on radio, which is how it goes today.”
In addition to mentorship, writing and producing, she also hosts her own podcast, The Green Room Talks, and is gearing up for new episodes with Dixie D’Amelio and Mickey Guyton. “I’m such an advocate of being able to be open about mental health and it’s something that I think to some extent everyone struggles with,” she shares. “I think that as an artist, it’s really important to connect with your fans, in my opinion, because I think you can really impact someone’s life in that sense. Especially kids who look up to artists. If they hear their biggest idol tell them they have a similar thing or maybe some tips to feel better or whatever it might be, that’s a game changer and so special.”
She’s also flexing her fashion muscles too and starring in a holiday initiative for the premium leather accessories brand, HOBO. The female-founded heritage brand collaborated with like-minded artists for its music-themed holiday handbag collection. Andrews models the bags in the campaign and accompanying video and says she hopes to do even more in the fashion world soon. “It was really fun to do,” Andrews gushes. “I’m obsessed with fashion and it’s a passion of mine as well. For me, it’s goes beyond just being like, ‘Oh, this looks good.’ I actually really enjoy the art of fashion.”
Of course, after her Milk & Honey mentorship, she will “absolutely” continue to help aspiring songwriters. “I’m always looking for things like that because I just love it. In fact, I’m about to do some women mentorship for SOCAN [The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada].”
When asked who she credits as her mentor when she was starting out, she cites Nelly Furtado as someone who helped further her career. “It’s funny because I’m actually working on her album now, which is amazing and obviously such an honor.”
A full circle moment that she’s sure to give one of her mentees in the future.
topics: Jenna Andrews, GRAZIA Exclusive
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