She may be seventeen years old, but singer-songwriter Beth Jimenez’s appreciation for 60s and 70s musical icons like Harry Chapin reveals an inner maturity sure to serve her well in the music industry.
As winner of the Nick Cooper Talenthouse Invite, Beth will be mentored by Nick—the “vocal coach to the stars”—at his studio in L.A. (The resulting recording session will be filmed and promoted on DJ Skee’s Skee.TV Youtube channel). We can’t think of a more deserving candidate than this young up-and-comer who goes by the motto “Just. Be. You.” Read on for more about Beth and her musical journey.
TH: How would you characterize your musical style? What moves you as an artist, singer, and songwriter?
Beth: My music is pretty much acoustic/pop, with an occasional folk sound. What moves me is the words. I love listening to the words of a song. The music is important, but the words really move me.
TH: Is there a song whose words you find particularly meaningful?
Beth: “Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin is my all time favorite song. I love everything about it. The words create a perfect picture of a father/son relationship. I love how he wrote it out, especially the 1st verse “…but there were planes to catch, and bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away…” It’s especially interesting how the boy kept saying “I’m gonna be like you, Dad..” Great song… Brilliant. It should be required listening for the whole world!
TH: Why did you choose “Come Home To Me” for your submission piece?
Beth: [With] “Come Home To Me,” I really fell in love with the words. “The TV light of blue and white, I just can’t fall asleep…” It’s simply brilliant. While recording this song I was thinking of what it would feel like to miss someone that much. “All my life I’ve dreamed of love, I never thought it would hurt this much…” The words really touched me. I chose “Come Home To Me” simply because I love that song.
Beth’s cover of “Come Home To Me”
TH: What are your favorite music genres?
Beth: I love 70s music, and late 60s music. That’s what you’ll find on my iPhone. Mainly artists from that era. My friends make fun of me, but I love those songs. The new stuff just isn’t as good.
TH: And is there a fellow singer-songwriter you like most, or find most inspiring?
Beth: I really admire Nick Jonas for his songwriting. His latest album was great. I also admire Taylor Swift for her songwriting. She has said that her goal is to be a “fearless writer,” which I think is really cool.
TH: How did you first get into music?
Beth: Well, believe it or not I have been a basketball player ever since I was five. Music was more of my oldest brother’s dream. But when I was fifteen, while conditioning with my basketball team I collapsed. Later finding out it was because of a blood condition I had. I haven’t played basketball since. It broke my heart, but then all of a sudden I fell in love with the guitar, then piano, then ukulele, then drums, then singing…I couldn’t get enough of it. I guess I sharpen my music skills by thinking about it constantly, I’m always practicing, recording, and performing. I love it.
TH: It seems you’re quite the multi-instrumentalist, then! Do you have a favorite instrument to play?
Beth: Well, let’s see. My very first instrument was technically the piano, then violin. But at the time I hated them both! When I was about fifteen I learned to play the guitar, and fell in love. Then re-learned the piano soon after. I would have to say my favorite instrument is the guitar. My daddy says that my grampa always wanted someone to learn the guitar. He said, “You can bring it anywhere, and make money on the streets, or on the bus.” He passed away before anyone in the family learned the guitar. So here I am! I asked my neighbor (Rocky Zharp) if I mowed his lawn would he teach me how to play the guitar. He did, and also produced my CD Honesty last year. Knowing a little bit about all the instruments helps my songwriting, as well as my recording. I am able to hear everything I want added.
TH: Where do you draw inspiration from for your music? Could you walk us through your typical songwriting process?
Beth: Like most artists, I’ll be corny about it, and say “Inspiration comes all around!” Haha. It really does, though. Usually I go up to my room and grab “Rose” or “Randi” (my guitars) and get a notebook and jot down anything I’m feeling at the time. I love to create stories in my brain before I write. Even if it’s a real life experience, I go through it over and over again, making sure I have the correct emotions. I find the words and the melody all at the same time. Sometimes I write it down, but most of the time I just tell myself, “If this song is any good, you’ll remember it in the morning.”
TH: Is there a song you’ve written that’s closest to your heart?
Beth: I have written one recently. It’s called “Why She Left,” [and] it will be on my new EP soon. This song is about a little boy witnessing his parents fighting, and his mother leaving. This song means a lot to me because I knew a boy who was left by his mother, and it really broke his heart (whether he admitted it or not). It’s sad when mamas leave their little boys. It’s a selfish thing to do.
TH: Have there been any significant challenges you’ve had to overcome in your musical career?
Beth: When I first started doing the whole music thing, people reacted differently than I thought they would (more negative than positive). I think the most challenging thing I overcame was to not listen to people like them. I love music, and people can’t stop that.
TH: Do you think your regional and/or cultural identity has affected your work in any way?
Beth: My mom and daddy decided to homeschool me as well as my two older brothers (Mister and Jesse). I believe that being homeschooled my whole life gave me the freedom to be myself completely. It also gave me the freedom to work on music as often as I would want to. Also, my brothers and I grew up listening to all kinds of music. I grew up in the same house all my life. I believe that it gave me a stable atmosphere, with both parents, and a great family dog. Everything to make me feel secure. I think that it really affects my music in a positive way.
TH: What would be your dream project to work on?
Beth: Man. If I dream REALLY big, I would LOVE to work with Sir Paul McCartney. He is my BIGGEST inspiration ever. I love his work he did with the Beatles. He is crazy talented. I just love that guy.
TH: And last but certainly not least…What are your top 5 desert island discs or tracks?
Beth: “We Can Work It Out,” The Beatles; “Brown Eyed Girl,” Van Morrison; “Cat’s In The Cradle,” Harry Chapin; “Same Old Lang Syne,” Dan Fogelberg; “At Seventeen,” Janis Ian.