Interview With Jenna Syde
(Paradise Kitty, Jenna Syde and the Watchers)
Rockin’ Interviews- What was the first song you learned to sing?
Jenna Syde- “The first song I learned to sing… that’s a hard one, I really don’t remember. I actually grew up in a family that was very musical, singing four part country harmonies on the weekends, everybody had jams and stuff. I don’t actually remember the first song I ever learned to sing. I just always remember singing.”
R.I.- How old were you when you started singing?
J.S.- “That’s another thing, I don’t remember. I grew up singing, so my family always sang to me, so I always sang. I think that the first time I remember really performing was when I was in a beauty pageant when I was 5 years old and I sang You’re A Grand Old Flag for the talent portion and I won that portion of the beauty pagent.”
R.I.- What drew you to the music industry?
J.S.- “My family, like I said I was born and raised in it. It’s been in my blood, it’s been in my family, since they can remember and their grandparents before them. So music has been apart of my family’s last name.”
R.I- Tell me about your first Guns N’ Roses concert.
J.S.- “My first Guns N’ Roses concert was in 2016 . I’m a 90’s child, I was young back then so I never had a chance to actually see them live up until their reunion. My first one was at Dodgers Stadium which was fantastic because it was kind of a homecoming for them since L.A. is where they are, it’s where they originate from, it’s where they live. So that crowd was magnetic. Whatever they did, the crowd was extremely responsive. I saw them again in San Diego and that was amazing. And then I saw them again at Madison Square Garden in New York right before we did the afterparty for that show and they just keep on getting better. Axl, he sounds better than he ever has. It’s cool that they’re out touring again.”
R.I.- How do you balance music with your other obligations?
J.S.- “No sleep. No sleep and lots of hard work. I run on maybe four hours a night.”
R.I.- After the Australia tour, what’s next for Paradise Kitty?
J.S.- “We’re home for about a month and then we head off to Mexico with Quiet Riot. So that’s gonna be fun. I’m pretty stoked and apparently the places we’re playing are pretty awesome. Mexico is still a really big stronghold for rock n’ roll and they sell out arenas out there so I’m looking forward to those dates, I’m looking forward to those crowds.”
R.I.- Do you plan to release a new album with Jenna Syde and The Watchers in the near future?
J.S.- “That’ll happen again, it’s just not the right time.”
R.I.- Which song of Prey For Los Angeles is most vocally challenging for you?
J.S.- “I haven’t gone through that album since 2017. I would say Blame It On The Moon just cause it has the dynamics between the higher and the lower range between the higher range in the choruses and the lower range in the verses. It works two different voices for me, my head and chest voice, which means I have to put my vocal placement in different spots, between my throat and my head. But that’s all geeky music stuff, nobody’s gonna really wanna pay attention to.”
R.I.- What do you do to keep your voice in top quality?
J.S.- “That’s one I get a lot actually. I run. I do a lot of cardio and when I do my cardio, like if I’m on the elliptical or something, I run through my sets so I can do my vocal placement and breathing in the right spots, so I know where I’m gonna run out of breath. When certain songs kick in, my pace goes up when I’m running or on the elliptical. So that helps me really map out what I’m gonna accomplish vocally in that song.”
R.I.- How long do you practice for?
J.S.- “It depends on what I’m practicing for and who we are working with. We’ve ran through these sets alot so I kind of just know the songs inside and out. If we have new members coming in to join us for that tour sometimes it will be three hours or if we have our regular group of girls, it’ll be an hour or so just to run through the set before a big tour.”
R.I- How do you come up with the ideas for you songs?
J.S.- “I like to listen to other people’s stories. Back when I was younger I wrote more songs about me and things I was going through emotionally and personally. Sometimes there are still songs like that I work on and write. For the most part, I pick out stories that I see in books and create characters based on that. I like to go to bars and listen in on other people’s conversations, I kinda spy on people sometimes, which is kinda creepy but you get some really good stories that way. Sometimes I’ll have a moment of inspiration and lyrics will come to me in the middle of the night and I will write those down and then base a song around that.”
R.I.- Do you tend to gravitate towards the more happy stories or the struggle stories where you learned a lesson?
J.S.- “Good question, again I think that’s one that’s based upon experiences in life and my age. You know when I was younger, I wrote things more about me and my personal feelings. Well now it’s more based upon things that I see going on in everyday life, not just with me, with other people and then a lot of times I just wanna write a party song. Sometimes you gotta throw one in there to get people out from thinking too hard and give them something to look forward to on a Friday night. Like play a song, have a cocktail, invite friends over, and liven up the party a little bit.”
R.I.- Who was your first celebrity crush?
J.S.- “I was just talking about this. Since I’m a 90’s child, I grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My first celebrity crush was Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I wanted to be a turtle. Animal-human hybrids were kind of weird and so awesome to me and they were superheroes to me growing up. So I had a crush on Raphael.”
R.I- How do you handle mistakes when you’re playing live?
J.S.- “With a smile. With a smile and just keep going. You can’t stop cause if you stop you’re gonna stop the whole show. The whole saying, the show must go on means just that. Don’t let anybody know that you messed up, or if you did, that you meant to do it. That’s what you gotta do.”
R.I.- Do you think the flaws are what makes a live performance so raw?
J.S.- “I live here with a studio in the house and a full small live venue and sometimes when you’re sitting down with a guitar and you have just you and a microphone, those flaws are what make a song more real. It’s something that’s kind of gone away in the age of Protools and digital editing where everybody can make everything perfect. I think perfection is actually taking away from the realness in music. The raw, live emotion, the things that we originally started listening to music for in order to connect. It’s becoming more of a fantasy than something that people can connect to. So I love the mistakes. I love hearing when somebody’s voice cracks because I know it’s not a robot with autotune.”
R.I- What’s your favorite horror movie?
J.S.- “My favorite horror movie… you know I love horror movies but I’m just like more into fiction movies in general. So the one that I would cross between the two would be Interview With A Vampire, Anne Rice is also my favorite author and in that movie I think Tom Cruise nailed it with that. So I think it’s like horror/fantasy or fiction, that’s more my thing. I love vampires and werewolves. Next would be Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
R.I.- Do you have any scary tour experiences?
J.S- “I try to stay pretty safe on tour. I think the scariest thing that happens in when you’re out on the road is your credit card not working because you totally forgot to call your bank and credit card company to let them know that you’re traveling. I’ve been a road dog for many years now so I know when not to get myself in scary situations. And if I do, I know how to get myself out of them. Be aware of your surroundings and know who’s there to help you and who’s there to take up your time.”
R.I.- What’s your favorite Guns N’ Roses song to play live?
J.S.- “To play is You Could Be Mine. My favorite Guns N’ Roses song of all time though is November Rain, it’s all stuff that connects to me as a kid. I remember those videos very clearly as the ‘94 earthquake here in L.A. hit. I was watching Headbanger’s Ball right before it hit and they did the trio of You Could Be Mine, Don’t Cry and November Rain, so those three videos connected with me a lot and so those three songs connected with me a lot. But November Rain everytime I hear it, it makes me cry.”
R.I.- Do you play any instruments besides your voice?
J.S.- “Yeah I play guitar and bass and piano. My uncle is Danny B Harvey. He was the guitar player for Head Cat for many years, until Lemmy passed away. He also played with everybody from Wanda Jackson to The Struts. He’s a world renowned rockabilly guitar player. He was also my guitar teacher growing up. So I learned how to play Spanish Classical when I was 13 and nowI still play it, but horribly cause I’ve never refreshed myself with my skills. I play more so for writing songs than just play and learn. I also play piano, I picked that up when I was around 7 or 8. Just to learn how to play guitar chords, just to write songs. Bass comes along with all of those cause it’s the root note for everything. As a singer, you better know how to play one instrument or another, if not how are you going to understand what you’re trying to convey to the other musicians in the room.”
R.I.- Do you prefer to play the ballads or the heavier songs?
J.S.- “It depends on what mood I’m in that night honestly. If I’m in an angry or snarky mood you definitely wanna hear me play It’s So Easy and those shows are nice because you know you’re gonna get a big performance out of me. If I’m feeling a little motive that night, than the ballads are gonna be moving me at that moment. So it’s not so much where there’s a preference between the two it’s just in that moment. I feel like that’s the same for most people. It will show on stage.”
R.I.- What can we expect from you in the future?
J.S.- “World domination hopefully. Hopefully i’ll be doing much more world traveling and making music and records with my best friends in the industry.”