Thursday 28th October 2010 by C. Freeman
Singer songwriter Jen Dobson is preparing for a 40-minute slot at Northampton's Roadmender venue. She will be one of a variety of acts appearing on Sunday 28th November at the open mic event and was successful after sending organisers a link to her Youtube channel so they could see her in action.
Jen, who is in Year 10, self taught herself the guitar just three years ago, and has only been writing songs for the past two years. She was crowned BW Factor winner at a talent show earlier this year for her rendition of her own composition 'Are You Ready?' and took part in another show, the K Factor at the Masque Theatre, in front of an audience of hundreds.
She likes acoustic rock, numbering Tracy Chapman, KT Tunstall and Martyn Joseph as musical icons, and pens songs that mean something to her, either emotionally or politically: 'People tend to be quite surprised because they think that, as I am a teenage girl, it is going to be pathetic, love-songy kind of stuff, which some of it is. There is a pathetic love song element in it but there is also a political stance because I feel quite strongly about some issues so they come out as well in my writing.
'I tend to write songs that I feel quite emotional about. It's like a therapy. It is easier to write the music first and then add the words. I am constantly trying to improve, no-one can ever be at a point where they are not improving with guitar and I find myself getting better and finding new chords and techniques.'
Jen is already working out her playlist for the Roadmender gig: 'I am definitely going to start and finish with an upbeat song because it tends to get people liking what you are doing. I get really nervous before I go on, but once I'm up there I love doing it and, as long as you can believe what you are singing about, you can always do a performance. It is something I would love to do as a career. I am going to do music at university and if I don't make it as a songwriter I would like to become a music teacher or a worship leader. My favourite song is one that I have recently written called Light, there is a lot of messed up stuff going on in the media about sexism so I thought I would do a song about it.'