Jenna Paulette has quite the story when it comes to how she took her Texas roots and brought them to Nashville. She didn’t want to overdo the word “cowgirl,” she wanted to stay true!
“Texans are proud people. Before I moved to Nashville, I would drive back and forth from Texas to go write songs once a month for a week at a time. Every time I would cross back over the Texas state line, I would want to get out and kiss the ground. I would see the “Drive Friendly – the Texas Way” sign in Texarkana and light up. I felt like the sky instantly got bigger the further west I found myself. Now that I live in Nashville, when I make that drive it’s usually because I am going home to be with family or to work on our ranch, the two things I treasure more than anything but Jesus. The minute I set foot on Texas soil, my soul starts slowly gathering itself and my feet feel firmer. I believe it has a lot to do with the groundedness that western culture has created, the good old men and women who still love holding down the fort – which doesn’t limit them to being behind a stove! That culture has shaped who I am.
“In a lot of ways, the things I like to sing about are a combination of growing up. George Strait-esque men that I look up to, Dixie Chicks anthems I sang on the back of four wheelers with my sisters on our ranch, and the evolution of the Dallas metroplex that occurred before my eyes as I grew up all affected my life and, as a result, shaped my sound. Along the way, popular music has snuck its way into the stockyards, and somehow both genres make sense together. The natural forward motion is like the first trains steaming towards California; you can’t stop them. I am thankful though, because the mingling of the traditional and the new is what sets my music apart.
“As I was going back and forth to Nashville when I first began to pursue my career as an artist, I met with a lot of A&R reps at labels and publishing companies. When they heard the word “cowgirl,” they went totally western on me in an inauthentic way; it wasn’t what the west actually is to me. On the other hand, when they heard me say “pop,” they went too Nashville on me. I am not one, nor the other. My music is an overtone of Cowgirl – real cowgirl – with a hint of pop undertones. It’s country storytelling making the western lifestyle approachable to today’s listener.
“The first time anyone in Nashville truly understood me publicly was when Taste of Country shared an article that dubbed me the Modern Cowgirl. She is everything a cowgirl is and represents, but she isn’t limited in any way. She can work cattle, castrate, palpate, brand and more, but she can also be a bucket of class, aware of the trends, and a part of the modern world. Essentially, this is what cowgirls truly are: limitless, strong women who have always risen to the occasion on every front. I want my music to represent what that can look like in our day and age.” – Jenna Paulette