Many people learn in hindsight that even life’s most difficult challenges can shape their future in a positive way. Songwriter Jenn Bostic ’08 is among them. In Bostic’s childhood home in Waconia, MN, her parents instilled in their children a strong work ethic, and her father, an amateur musician, inspired a passion for music. But when Bostic was just 10 years old, her father died tragically in an automobile accident that she survived. Nevertheless, her father’s influence lives on in her life and music.
The first song she wrote was about her father. She has always felt a connection to him through her music. Her best-known song, “Jealous of the Angels,” which she cowrote with Jimmy Fortune and Zach Runquist in 2011, deals with her father’s passing. It has struck an emotional chord with listeners in the United Kingdom and the United States and given her career traction.
Bostic arrived at Berklee in 2004 to study music education. She took only a single songwriting course during her Berklee years and learned how to write by studying the songs she sang with a Boston cover band. Her Berklee experience included three visits to Nashville for the annual Berklee Spring Break trip and two performances in Singers Showcase concerts. Even though her heart continued to beat for music education, Bostic—a woman of strong faith—felt called to see where life as a performing songwriter would lead her. After graduation, she moved to Nashville and made her first record. Her good friend, Charlie Hutto ’06, then interning at Reba McEntire’s Starstruck Entertainment, offered to produce the project.
Bostic’s faith and relentless work ethic enabled her to take chances when others might have hesitated. “I’m still scared at certain opportunities,” she admits, “but I’ve learned to try to visualize my goals, take things step by step, and work as hard as I can to follow through.” After finishing her first record, Bostic and Caitlin Nichol-Thomas ’08 embarked on a three-week coffeehouse tour that took them from Nashville to Minnesota and back. They barely broke even, but most important, the trip offered Bostic validation about her career choice.
Further validation came when she won the “We Are Listening” songwriting contest. One of the contest judges—Jay Frank (former VP of strategic marketing at Country Music Television)— became her mentor and publisher. He flew her to Los Angeles to record her song “Jealous of the Angels,” her first song that would prove to be the catalyst for things to come.
Bostic’s video for the song made it into the hands of Simon Bates, formerly of Smooth Radio in the United Kingdom, where it quickly became a fan favorite. Listeners began sending in stories from their own lives relating to the song. Momentum built, and Bostic was invited to appear on the British morning show BBC Breakfast. On the day of her appearance, “Jealous of the Angels” hit number one on the UK Singer/Songwriter chart, paving the way for additional single releases and headlining tours there in 2013.
Bostic continues to cultivate her career in the United Kingdom and stateside. She has been a featured performer at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry five times to date and is currently working on a new album with producers in Nashville, Los Angeles, and London. She describes herself as a dream chaser. With her talent, faith, and drive, it seems she has yet to meet a dream she can’t chase down.