Jenny has loved singing “forever” and always dreamt of making it into her career. But with a difficult start in life and not much support, she had no idea how to turn her dream into a reality. Jenny was working in a bridal shop, run by a lady who was a mentor for The Prince’s Trust, and when she shared her dreams, her boss pointed her to The Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise programme.
“I wasn’t sure if The Prince’s Trust would take me on, being a singer. I thought maybe it was a 50:50 chance. So I thought, I’ll go for it and see what happens. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. I remember leaving the room in March 2014, when they asked me to sign on the dotted line. I was so excited.”
With the help of The Prince’s Trust, Jenny was able to make money from her passion for singing, and work as an entertainer in the music industry. She has won awards in Dorset and across the UK, and sung alongside Broadway legends Idina Menzel, Julie Atherton and Alice Fearn.
“Without The Prince’s Trust giving me that stepping stone, I wouldn’t have got out there. The music industry is so hard to get into, and my Gran, who was my main support, died when I was 13. I lost my mentor. After testing my confidence with auditioning for The X Factor and The Voice UK, I found an agent and started to get regular gigs. I’ve been in the business for six years now and I love it.”
However, as soon as the Covid-19 outbreak hit, Jenny’s work was affected, and she lost all her gig bookings for the next three months. Jenny was determined to keep singing, and keep entertaining, especially as many of her fans are older and might be feeling lonely and isolated at home. To spread some positivity, Jenny has been running live gigs on her Facebook and Instagram pages, encouraging fans to request songs and get up and have a dance while she sings to them.
“I am lucky that I have another job as a bookkeeper to keep me afloat, but I have lost all my gigs until June. The only way now is to communicate via social media. I love talking to people after the gigs and getting to know them, and I missed doing that. Lots of the people who come to my regular gigs follow me on social media and so I decided to do some live videos to help people keep positive and spread some cheer. I’ve been taking requests too.”
Jenny’s grandad, who turns 84 in July, is her biggest support and comes to every gig Jenny does. He too is in isolation at this time, and so Jenny is thrilled that she is still able to sing so that can listen along. She’s hoping to help him with the technical skills so he is able to listen to her online gig! She has been getting fantastic feedback from others, too.
Jenny’s daughter is now at home, as school is shut, and her husband is a key worker, working hard to deliver food. Jenny says this week has been the toughest so far – as an entertainer, her job is all about socialising, meetings and workshops, so do be staying indoors is a challenge. She’s relieved to hear the government’s announcement for support for the self-employed and has received a grant from the Music Union.
“Even the man who came to fix my boiler has been getting involved – he offered to do a duet when he arrived in the middle of a gig! I’ve been loving this #LockdownSingalong project, and have been dedicating songs to friends, family members and colleagues. If The Trust hadn’t taken a chance on me all those years ago, I would never have had these opportunities. I’m still talking to my mentor and she is still supporting me. The Prince’s Trust changed my life and I am loving that I am able to keep singing at this crazy time.”