Local singer-songwriter and guitarist Jenny Pearson has been making rounds across ILM’s music scene for a few years now. Though she’s turning a mere 24 this week, as well as preparing to graduate with a degree in biology from UNC-Pembroke in December, she plans to continue to celebrate life and 2018 with a lot of music.
Pearson’s overall solo sound and style match her sonnets with acoustic-meets-pop vibes, a la Jack Johnson, John Mayer or Jason Mraz. It’s more often relatable songwriting about falling in love, breaking up, personal struggles, or lifting oneself into a better state of being.
“I write about it all,” she adds. “I would define my original music to be right out of my own personal diary. Every song is from experience. I feel 100 percent comfortable sharing it to the public because I hope they can relate. If you truly want to understand the person I am, you should listen to my music.”
While she manages to carve out time to pursue her passion as a solo artist, she also collaborates with multiple musicians and projects throughout Wilmington. Pearson tours about town as a duo with her brother, Chris Pearson, of Just Yesterday and Stereotype, who also sings and plays guitar.
“Chris definitely makes our job of playing music fun,” Pearson tells. “He knows me better than anyone and is my biggest fan for sure. I don’t know what I would do without him. It is also fantastic quality time.”
Pearson fronts an amped-up version of local Americana by brothers Paul (bass, vocals, ukulele) and Sam (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, piano) Hatch. Jenny and the Hatch Brothers, along with drummer John Hamilton, match Pearson’s soulful vocals and energy on stage with years of musical chemistry. The brothers and Pearson are like family themselves. Pearson’s played with Sam since she was 12 years old.
“We grew up as neighbors and would teach each other music,” she reminisces. “To this day, I would say playing with Sam is very special. The band Jenny and the Hatch Brothers is definitely a project I am proud of.”
Pearson mixes her own solo sets with originals and favorite covers to please crowds. She showcases some of her work on Facebook (Jenny Pearson Music), but folks have to catch her live to hear songs like “Lullaby.” A personal favorite, and one Pearson is most proud of, “Lullaby” was written after her great-grandmother, Estelle Fowler, passed.
“I had to figure how I could cope,” Pearson tells. “[My great-grandmother] was the one who taught me my first chords on guitar. She also was a singer-songwriter and inspired a lot of who I am today. Writing my lullaby helped me say goodbye to my angel and develop an understanding of why things happen. The song is very metaphoric and very beautiful.”
Another Pearson original, “Ghost,” helps define the inner demons we face as human beings. “I wrote this song in a struggling state of my younger years,” she tells. “The song explains how we reflect on our own demons and it shows us how to face our weaknesses. The hardest thing to do is to admit we are wrong, but sometimes we have to learn to live with it.”
While she hasn’t cut any songs for an album yet, Pearson hopes to enter Big Rude Recording Studio to work with Worth Weaver and Chase O’Neal in 2018.
“I am a huge fan of local musician Monica Jane and . . . she pointed me to Worth Weaver,” Pearson recalls. “I trust Weaver to produce my album to sound awesome. I am looking to record about 10 songs to share [with] the public. He has been very personal and honest with me, and every musician who wants to be good needs this kind of persuasion.”
Locals can hear all of Pearson’s originals at her live shows. She’ll play next at Slainte in Monkey Junction on March 31. Jenny and the Hatch Brothers play Jimmy’s at Red Dogs (5 N. Lumina Ave.) in Wrightsville Beach on April 20 at 10 p.m.