The 13: featuring Jenny Woo

By on June 29, 2016

photo by Nastya Keltea

photo by Nastya Keltea

Jenny Woo gives me faith in humanity, not only is she is an extremely talented song writer and musician she is humble, articulate, and kind. Jenny Woo is a hardworking, world traveling musician that promotes inner strength and self-reliance. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the World needs more people like her. All you need to do is listen to her messages in her songs and read her answers and you’ll understand.

1. If you could sing a duet with Johnny Cash which song would the two of you sing?

Jenny: Well, to be honest I’d probably choose something classic and totally expected… Probably something like “Ring of Fire.” I know it’s cliché, but sometimes clichés are exactly what they are because they resonate with so many people and speak the truth. I can relate to the song, and it’s one of my Dad’s favorites so it would be great to make him proud too.

2. Which of your songs is the most emotional for you to play? And why.

Jenny: The song “I’ll Rise Again” is probably the most emotional for me to play. It was the first song I ever wrote on my own for this solo project. I wrote it after I auditioned for a local oi! band in my hometown and then was turned away because the guys didn’t want to have a girl in the band as it would “ruin the image.” I was at a loss because I really wanted to play music, I had written a bunch of songs for the band, and I felt angry because I was missing out and excluded from something I cared about for a factor I had no control over. The song is about finding a new beginning, about coming back after a blow. It was truly the beginning of this project and it was the first song I ever played alone on stage.  “I won’t give in, I won’t give up, because I’ve sacrificed far too much. I’m not done yet, and I know I’ll rise again.”

3. What are your top three favorite books?

Jenny: My favorite book for nostalgia’s sake is “The Phantom Tollbooth” which I read when I was around the age of 12. I like it because it forces us to question society’s constructs and to imagine a world in which we aren’t held down by expectations or conventions and where life is an unpredictable adventure. Sometimes I re-read it when I feel like I’m losing my sense of wonder in the world, and it re-inspires me to see everything as if it were a miracle. My second favorite book is probably “The Kite Runner” because I am very interested in the political situation in Afghanistan and this book brings a single human story to life out of the overwhelming decades of countless catastrophes. It truly brought home to me how real civil war, genocide, and racism are and the power of kindness. My last favorite book is “The Color Purple” because again, it demonstrates the power of human connection and the pain caused by discrimination and hate. I love how the protagonist’s narrative truly hits the heart.

photo by Samuel Fava

photo by Samuel Fava

4. Justin Bieber, Drake and Nickelback all come from Canada…  How does that make you feel?

Jenny: I think the majority shouldn’t be defined by the few… Canadians are overall very accommodating, friendly, and kind. Canadian culture is rich and internally diverse, and I’m proud to be working within this tradition. I can’t say that I’m too familiar with the music of the artists above because I’m not really interested too much in alternative rock/RnB/mainstream hiphop… but that being said, I was a fan of Drake when he starred as that guy in the wheelchair on Degrassi, I did once take the Justin Bieber tour in Stratford for kicks, and I once delivered a pizza to Nickleback at Stage 13 festival in 2003. So yah, I guess I’ve got some small degrees of separation there.

5. There aren’t many females in the Punk/Oi! Scene, what advice would you give to all the girls out there thinking about starting a punk band?

Jenny: If it’s something you want to do, pursue it with reckless abandon. There will be people who will judge you, criticize you, and tell you you’re not good enough for whatever reason. You may get more shit than others because of your gender, and your success and triumphs may be reduced or marginalized because of prejudice. However, the only way we can get what we want is if we go for it, and if you are passionate about what you do and treat others with respect, then there will always be people to support you. You don’t owe people anything except for the best version of yourself, so don’t let people pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to. Remember to put everything into perspective, learn to be your own best friend, and never respond to hatred with more hate. There is a lot to deal with and a lot to overcome on this journey, but there is so much more to gain.

6. Beer, Whiskey or Wine?

Jenny: Whatever is free. Although I prefer to stay away from red wine if I’m wearing white.

7. If you were a rapper what name would you go by and what would your catch phrase be?

Jenny: Probably I’d go by “J-Woah” and my catch phrase would be “Stay Woo.”

photo by Samuel Fava

photo by Samuel Fava

8. What is your most embarrassing moment while playing live?

Jenny: Well, I try to be as energetic as possible on stage in order to pick up the crowd and to get people moving. I have definitely had a few tumbles and fallen down in front of large audiences and tripped on cables or broken guitars… but I wouldn’t say that’s embarrassing because I’m pretty good at laughing at myself… As long as it’s in the name of entertainment it’s all good. Hmmm… I’ve had some people yell racist slurs or throw bottles at me on stage, and one time I had a Molotov cocktail thrown at me… but I think that’s not really embarrassing as much as it is a safety hazard. I guess I’d probably have to say wardrobe malfunctions where button-down shirts just won’t stay buttoned up! Haha, I learned the hard way and now I try to safety pin my shirts from the inside… Always expect the unexpected.

9. What is the proudest moment of your life?

Jenny: Well, I never had a great relationship with my paternal grandmother because she never learned to speak English and I never (unfortunately) took the time to learn Chinese. She was a very old school character who had a hard life and believed that all one could hope to achieve in life was survival through struggle. I never saw her smile during my entire childhood and always remembered her working hard either in the restaurant, in the garden, or in the kitchen. She even sewed all her own clothes because she thought that store-bought clothing was a waste of money! Anyways… I remember the day I graduated university and she came down with my father after the convocation ceremony when I was still in my gown and cap. We had all worked hard to get me through school, and it was an immensely proud moment in my life to have accomplished something that originally had seemed so impossible. I remember looking into her face and she smiled right at me and shook my hand. Even though I never was able to say a word to her even up until the day she died, that was the one time in my life I felt connected to her, and I felt so important for having earned her smile.  

10. What is your “go to” joke?

Jenny: What do you call a deer with no eye? (No-eye-deer?) So what do you call a dead deer with no eye? (Stiiilllll no-eye-deer)! Whammy!

11. What is the greatest Con ever played on humankind?

Jenny: Not sure if I understand the question… but what’s the biggest force of evil that has ever played out against humanity? Ignorance.

12.   Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, or Grace Slick? And why.

Jenny: Joan Jett… because I love rock-n’roll. And I met her once at a summer carnival in Edmonton, Alberta and she signed a snow cone cup for me. 

13.   Word association time. I’ll present you with 3 words and you give me the first thought/thoughts that come to mind.

A.      Chocolate: sweet
B.      War: what is it good for?
C.      Skinhead: Oiiiiiiiii! (unoriginal yet honest)

P.S. You should also watch this short documentary that Tim Steinfort made.

Categories: Entertainment, Featured


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