Jenna Paulette doesn’t want to sound like the typical country act. She sings and plays with a style that acknowledges today's trends in country music while firmly holding onto a traditional sound that puts her roots on display — she was raised on a ranch not far from Dallas.
Paulette emphasizes that her music is “new west,” a sound that puts a hint of pop into the familiar country offerings from decades past.
“New west to me is a combination of the world that I grew up in and the world that is right now,” Paulette says. “I grew up with a very classic idea of what a cowboy is, and it’s what the men in my life kind of looked like, and so I really love George Strait, because he looked like that kind of man — the kind of man I grew up admiring.
“I fell in love with the sounds that are associated with that, because they painted pictures of what I loved and experienced growing up.”
New west for the budding country star is not an exact recipe of instruments and lyrics, but more an intangible feeling that goes back to her earliest memories.
“I grew up rounding up cattle with my grandfather all the time,” Paulette says. “I would just be sitting on the four-wheeler while he was bringing the cows around and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my reality. This is what I want to feel.’”
The early years for Paulette led her away from the comfortable surrounding of the ranch to traveling back and forth between Nashville and Dallas, playing familiar Dallas stages, like The Rustic and Love and War. With dreams of a Grammy in her future, Paulette worked through smaller gigs, developing a following as she found her footing in defining her musical voice.
Her single “F-150” drew eyes to Paulette. "F-150" successfully married the catchiness of a poppy dance track with the twangy traditional country touchstones, a tone Paulette looks to continue pushing and exploring on future singles.
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A sampling of Paulette’s new west will be available on her EP, to be released later this year. Produced by Brad Hill and Lee Holland, the EP will have a collection of songs previously released on CMT, with possibly some previously unreleased tracks. She sees the new songs as a continuation of her confessional musical efforts.
“I’m excited about the stories, and they all feel very authentic to who I am,” Paulette says. “It’s fun as an artist to get to that place where you feel like what you’re producing isn’t so much what you think people are gonna like, but it’s good and it’s you.”
No matter what immediate success Paulette has experienced, she feels the key is to continue writing, continue bettering her skills to create the best work for her fans, and ultimately, for herself. She sees herself on the right path to achieve her Grammy dreams by staying true to herself and continuing the work ethic she learned many years ago as a child.
“I feel like I represent the modern cowgirl,” Paulette says. “I don’t think there’s anybody that’s doing modern country music in a traditional mindset. As far as really having lived the life that I’ve gotten to live having a ranch, and having been given the ability to have those classic type of men around me, and really see and breathe and live that kind of lifestyle, and then have that manifested in my music.”