By Arianna Rodriguez
Meet the inspirational singer/songwriter Jennifer Vazquez. Vazquez has always had a passion for music and also had the integrity and determination to chase her dreams. She possesses a beautiful voice, mind, and spirit.
She has been called “a diamond in the LA sand.” Indie-Music.com says it best as a reviewer wrote, “There is something about this woman that makes you like her, not just as a singer, but as a person. She has the charisma that makes a star.” Vazquez is indeed a star, and has overcome many barriers in her life to become the incredible woman she is today.
This is Jennifer Vazquez’s story.
Take us back to the beginning. When did this all begin?
When I was very young, around three years old, I remember being on stage for a dance recital in a Raggedy Ann costume and holding a Raggedy Ann doll with seven other girls on stage. I was confident with the routine and felt great on stage. Around the age of five, I had the precocious thought of myself as an actress or singer, definitely on a stage. I actually wanted to be a triple threat – singer, dancer, and actress.
What was your childhood like?
I was a heavy kid, and insecure. At the age of nine, I found out my parents were getting a divorce. At school I was always funny and likeable on the outside, but inside I wasn’t really happy; I was just faking it. When I would go home I would be upset and depressed. The only way I released my feelings was through writing. I loved expressing my feelings!
Wow, experiencing that and being such a young child, it’s impressive you had such a mature reaction to such an uncontrollable and negative situation.
Yes, I felt I had to. I recall watching my father shave in the bathroom just a few weeks prior to getting the divorce, and he started crying. He looked at me and said “I don’t want to leave you.” I comforted my dad, not showing any pain and replied, “It’s okay daddy, don’t worry about it.” That exact moment is when I became an adult and I told myself I won’t be vulnerable ever again.
That is remarkable. So you never allowed yourself to be feel vulnerability?
Well, fast forward to 2002-2009, I lived in Los Angeles, and when I moved back to New York, that’s when I attempted to be vulnerable. Moving back to New York allowed me to be grounded and accepting and build a good community. I was able to dissect my life and let go of everything negative, including resentment. I contacted and spoke to every person who I hurt within the past few years. I learned that a healthy level of vulnerability was necessary. I practiced being both courageous and vulnerable every day, and it helped me as a songwriter. If I allow myself to be vulnerable, I then have the potential to inspire people. I am willing to get hurt, take risks, and feel pain to understand others. I need to be vulnerable sometimes to have a bigger, abundant life.
That is really inspiring Jennifer. You mentioned your move to California, what encouraged that cross country relocation in 2002?
I had quit my job in New York to become an independent artist. I performed in front of a few managers working for record labels such as Atlantic Records, Java, and Sony. One manager told me that I don’t have what it takes, and that I wasn’t giving everything on stage, and that I needed to leave my blood, sweat, and tears.
I couldn’t argue because he was right; remember, at the time I was putting on this façade of invulnerability, which affected my ability to show passion and empathy. I decided to make the move to California and become vulnerable on the street. I performed on the streets of Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach regularly to hone my songwriter and performance skills. In California, I gained a fan base, made strong friendships, and built a community.
You are now residing back in your hometown, Bronx, New York. What caused the move back to the East Coast?
As an artist, living in California for seven years, I felt I did everything I could’ve done in Los Angeles. I felt confusion about what’s next, because at the time I had yet to be signed to a label. In those seven years, I never thrived; I was always surviving with side street performances.
I got into a traffic accident, which destroyed my car, and I ran out of money trying to fix it, so I decided to….