Feature Artist of the Month: Exclusive one on one with JP Hennessy

Feature Artist of the Month: Exclusive one on one with JP Hennessy

 

JP Hennessy is an Irish recording artist located in Seattle. He plays a brand of music that can be best described as a bluesy blend of rock and jazz.  In May 2014, JP began recording his debut EP.​ Consisting of 4 tracks and in a genre that is best described as rockin’ soul-blues with a splash of swing, his self-titled EP was released December that year.

 

SSL: You have been playing the six string since the age of 15. What drew you in to want to play the guitar? Who would you say was your biggest influence when it comes to playing guitar?

JP: My best friend at the time was a fantastic piano player. There was always a guitar around, whether it was at school or his house, so I would pick it up and play the few chords I knew (the easy ones!) It was fun and I soon became addicted to learning new music on the guitar, and of course, performing to an audience.
My influences have varied a lot in the past 9 years; Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page, Brian Setzer, BB King, Freddie King, Charles Baty, etc. I go through phases. Right now, I’m in a Stevie Ray Vaughan phase – and I’m loving it!

SSL: You once played in front of 15,000 fans at the MTV EMA’s with your old band the Voodoos…You left the Voodoos back in 2012  Can you walk us through the transition from playing with the Voodoos to your now solo career? Did you have any reservations about venturing out on your own or Where there any obstacles or things that you had to overcome?

JP: You know, I rarely discuss this transition with anyone. It was challenging at first; with the Voodoos, I achieved a lot in a very short space of time. We played the MTV awards and a month later, we were on ShipRocked performing on stages with Hinder, BuckCherry, Candelboxx, and Queensryche, to name a few. While it was fun and great to be touring in a band with my brother, deep down I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me. 
Making the decision to go solo was exciting but also quite daunting in the beginning. However, the more I stuck at it, the more I realized just how right it was to go my own way. The only obstacles were my own thoughts and fears. I think it’s normal for us to fear the unknown. To fear change. Homeostasis plays a part in there somewhere. But because I took it step by step, I was able to become more confident and sure that I was doing the right thing. My wife was a huge support through these times, and continues to be in my journey. Not to mention, I have had outstanding help and support from friends, family and fans. I can honestly say going solo is the best decision I have ever made in my music career.

SSL: What would you say is best part of becoming a solo artist?

JP: I have found that the best part about being a solo artist is that I am in complete control…of everything! I am in control of my music. My sound. My image. My social media. Where I perform. Who I perform with, etc. 
Solo artists are also fortunate because when we sell a CD, we keep 100% of the money made without having to split it 4 or 5 ways.

SSL: Tell us about your first gig as a solo artist?

JP: My first official gig as a solo artist was my EP Release party at the J&M Café, Pioneer Square. It was an amazing experience. It was the first time I played all my own songs at a gig. I was backed by a 6 piece band that night- they were incredible! Not to mention, there was such a great turnout to support me. 
I sold a bunch of CDs and T-shirts and went home a very happy and fulfilled man.

SSL: What was your favourite gig to play?

JP: That’s a really tough one. I think I have played over 1,000 shows since I was 16 so there are a lot to choose from. Though, if I had to choose, I would say my EP release party. Presenting my music as a solo artist for the first time felt so good! I feel like I have finally become who I was meant to be.

SSL: Who would you like to open for?

JP: The Rolling Stones. I’d be set!

SSL: There is always someone to thank…Who would you like to give some thanks to?

JP: I have received amazing help and support and to name them all would take up a whole page! 
Obviously my fans and followers have been amazing. Some of them genuinely surprise me with how supportive they can be.
My bandmates; It is truly an honor to be able to perform with such talented musicians on a regular basis.
I want to pay special thanks to some of the people “behind the scenes”: my friends and mentors Jeff and Ed; they remind me of who I am, and that what I am doing has the potential to be very successful. They are both great role models when it comes to succeeding in business. 
My parents and brother; they have always believed in me and always made it seem possible to become a success with my music.
And of course my kids and my darling wife; they push me to be better. They push me to be successful and to do it with confidence and integrity.

SSL: What do you have planned for 2015 (Album/tour/Festivals)?

JP: I am planning to get my name out there and my music heard as much as possible. My goals this year include playing festivals and a tour of the West Coast. Regarding an album, I will most likely release a couple of singles before thinking about that. It seems in today’s music industry, an artist may benefit more by releasing singles rather than albums. And with the internet/social media growing rapidly by the day (creating a demanding need for constant stimulation) it only makes sense to give listeners little bursts of your art here and there- Leave them wanting more, right?

SSL: If you could have one of your songs put into a film soundtrack, which film and which song?

JP: This is a tough one. It’s always been a dream of mine to write the opening song to a James Bond movie. It’s on my list of life goals. 
I have a song called “Down” which hasn’t been performed or recorded yet- I think it would be a great fit. Look out for it later this year.

If you don’t know who JP Hennessy I strongly suggest you take the time to get to know him. His style of music is timeless and as his fan base continues to grow so will the demand to see JP and his band perform. Seattle is lucky to have a performer like him right here at home so do yourself a favor. Check out JP’s calendar and have a listen to his EP. You are gonna like what you hear… I guarantee it.

See more of JP here:

http://www.jphennessymusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jphennessymusic/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/overdose-single/id931681138 

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Christian Hamilton

Christian Hamilton

Christian is the founder and Editor of Rock Paper Rock as well as a freelance concert and event photographer serving the Pacific Northwest and Beyond. He is a certified member of the PPA and Gold Level member of the CPS. He has recently began working with Mental Itch Records and has launched his own Photography website.



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