Ottawa’s annual Bluesfest has really become a popular international music festival in the last several years. The common joke locally centres around its lack of actual “Blues” in the headliners – but really, so much of today’s music has its roots in blues, it doesn’t really matter to me.
This year the biggest story was the killdeer nest preventing the main stage from going up for a little while. Luckily that didn’t stop anything, and the festival kicked off last night with leMeow and Bryan Adams. Tonight is Jethro Tull but I wanted to highlight a local artist performing Saturday: JENNA Nation. Her bio:
Born in Ottawa, Canada, JENNA Nation was introduced to music at an early age through her musical family. She began her career with extensive training and success with classical music/opera, jazz and then with R&B/soul while studying and graduating Summa Cum Laude with her Vocal Performance Degree from the famed Berklee College of Music. An outstanding vocalist with a charismatic stage presence, JENNA Nation progressed to hit some significant milestones early in her career.
JENNA Nation boasts a soulful and even jazzy vibe to her music. Long-time influences include Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Stevie Wonder—a notable name with whom she aspires to collaborate. JENNA Nation has worked with a number of Grammy and JUNO-nominated producers and songwriters with whom she collaborated to create her third and fourth albums of all original music. JENNA Nation’s fourth album, ‘You Don’t Know’ (2017) has already received numerous accolades. The album was named Canada’s Best R&B Album of 2017, one of the Top 10 Best Records of the Year and #9 Best Album of 2017.
Her music is all available on multiple platforms; I listened to 2017’s “You Don’t Know” on Spotify, and really enjoyed the R&B album. Nation is probably one of the few artists on the Bluesfest slate actually playing a form of blues. I especially liked “It’s You” – it’s got a great percussion beat and I enjoyed the lyrics.
JENNA Nation plays at 5PM on the Main (City) Stage, ahead of Amos the Transparent (another local) and The Strumbellas. Sounds like a great lineup to me. You can get tickets at www.ottawabluesfest.ca.