Wild Thing: Interview with Songwriter Jenna Torres

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“Wild Thing” by Jenna Torres is the first single off her latest album, All Heart. The the much-awaited video for “Wild Thing” has just been released. Described as a stirring country storyteller track, the lyrics are an ode to femininity that is both fragile and fierce.

Jenna is a native New Yorker whose career took her to Nashville. Over the years, she’s written songs for Warner Music Group and Warner/Chappell Music, penning songs for Martha Wash of the Weather Girls as well as a Top 10 Billboard hit for the band For King & Country with her co-writer Ben Glover. She’s also released two critically-acclaimed albums, A Woman’s Touch and Wild Sugar, which featured the single “Heart On Wheels.”

While visiting family in New York, the pandemic hit and Jenna found herself locked down in her hometown. The video for “Wild Thing” was filmed in the stillness of the New York City pandemic. In the midst of that peace emerged a song and a video that explores the wilds of unbridled adventure. A testament to the spirit of a free and passionate woman, “Wild Thing” is the ultimate ode to chance-taking, love, and no-holds-barred adventure.

Jenna recently discussed this song via an exclusive interview.

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in music and how did you break into the industry?

Jenna Torres (JT): From a very early age, I was affected by music and song; even as a child, I felt its power! I guess the answer to how I got interested in music is that it moved me and I like to be moved. I have always been very emotional — perhaps to excess — and discovering that I could channel my emotions into song was a life-changing realization!

As for breaking into the industry, I have been around long enough to see the music industry go through many changes. There was a time not that long ago when you had to dress up like Catwoman and scale the walls of corporate buildings to play demos for record executives who held our fate in their hands, but times have changed! Music has always been ours to make, but in so many ways, the industry is in our hands now more than ever!

My biggest break was when I got signed to Warner Music. You know how they say it took 10 years to be an overnight success — it was kind of like that! Every step along the way brought me to this watershed moment when, in a single day, my life changed. When people ask me how it happened, I say, “Hard work and miracles!”

MM: How tough was it to move from NYC to Nashville?

JT: I was born and raised in NYC and I never thought there would be another place that I would want to call home. When I signed to Warner, they sent me down to Nashville and when my high heels hit the tarmac, I felt a kind of peace that I had never felt before. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with another city and its people. Truth is, my heart belongs to both New York and Nashville. I have come to the realization that I cannot choose between my given family and my musical family, so I embrace both and do my best to give them equal time.

MM: Who are your biggest musical inspirations and why do you love country so much?

JT: I always find this a hard question to answer, as I truly love so many artists that the list is endless…but if I have to choose a few, I would say Dolly Parton, Tom Petty, Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, The Band, Bob Dylan, The Eagles — that’s just to name a very few! I love country music because it’s honest, real, direct, and relatable. Country music honors the tradition of storytelling and speaking from the heart. To me, it is the People’s Poetry: straight shooting, sweet talking, and sincere.

MM: Which songs are your favorites on your new album and why?

JT: It’s hard to choose, as each song tells a different story, but a few of my favorites are:

The first single, “Wild Thing,” boldly declares my desire to be accepted for who I am. It celebrates how far I have come as a woman and expresses how much I have to give and how much I want to share it!

The title track, “All Heart,” is another favorite. It’s an intimate conversation stripped down to its bare-naked elements, vulnerable and real. When it came time to track it, I wanted more bling — a bigger track, more instruments, and a bigger production. The producer, Stephen Leiweke, said “Jenna, I want it to sound like the work tape: just you and the guitar, sitting on the edge of your bed, pouring your heart out,” and that is what we did!

“Better Boots” is all about overcoming the feeling that we don’t have what we need to rise. I admit to having spent way too much time on “if only’s,” but I have come to the conclusion that time spent thinking about what you lack or how your life compares to someone else’s is time wasted. “Better Boots” is a triumphant tribute to rising up against the odds.

Ok, one more! “Till Forever” is my answer to the question, “What would you do for love?” How far would you go to prove your devotion? It is a true story of love lost but not forgotten and what I would do to feel that “perfect kiss again.”

MM: What was it like to film the music video during a pandemic?

JT: It was an amazing, cathartic experience. After months of being locked down, I had an undeniable urge to break free and so I did. It felt like a science fiction movie — not a soul for miles— which was absolutely surreal. It took a certain amount of defiance to not only leave the house, but to fill the emptiness with life, love, and music. I felt it was important to breathe life back into the dormant landscape, and I am so grateful that we managed to make something beautiful to share!

MM: What’s your all-time favorite song?

JT: There is no way for me to choose one all-time favorite song, but here are a few of my all-time favorites!

“I Will Always Love You” Dolly Parton

“I Shall Be Released” The Band

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” Bonnie Raitt

“Just Like A Woman” Bob Dylan

“Imagine” John Lennon

…and on and on and on

MM: What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

JT: My ultimate goals for the future are to share my heart through music and song. I managed to record two full albums in the last year, so I plan on being very busy releasing my music and videos out into the world! Also, to be the best mother, daughter, friend, partner and lover, and to work hard for the future but to never forget to enjoy the moment. If the pandemic has served to remind us of anything, it is the value of time spent with the people we love. I hope you all will come along for the ride as I release my next single and video for “All Heart!”

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To watch the video for “Wild Thing” see here. Jenna can be followed via FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube or her official website.