Coffee House Sessions has kicked off its 2019 tour with an incredible performance from Jennings Couch. Ali Townsend gives you a snapshot of the singer-songwriter’s musical talent and unique sound.
Jennings Couch – “Jennings, like the surname, Couch, like the sofa” – interrupted the usual humdrum of Bath Spa University’s Student’s Union – not just with his unique name but with his music. Refreshing and unconventional, his sound penetrated the atmosphere: he had something new to say.
Unable to define his genre, Jennings has curated his own mixture of notes that revolutionises the image of the singer-songwriter. Born in New York City and moving to rural England at nine years of age has kept his mind open and alert; his musical palette folds together the vibrancy of the urban city and the emotive tranquility of the countryside. His powerful individuality can be felt through his British quirks, such as an interest in antiques. Just as he modifies Victorian pocket watches, he tinkers with alternative pop music, experimenting in his passions.
Jennings proudly informs me, “since I was six and since I started learning the guitar, I knew I was going to do something in music”. He refined his interests at BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music Institution) in London, meeting his producer when he was eighteen. Beyond university, the urban sounds of East London enticed Jennings. An innocent visit to a local London pub led to the recognition of his work – he was approached by producers and artists alike who worked with him to collaborate his amalgamation of sounds. Although performing at SXSW (South by South West), and earning ‘Best Song in the Show’ at the Silk Road Music Festival in China, Jennings told me his best performance was in London at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen. Devoid of any accolades, he values it because it’s “the best sound I’ve ever had”, he says. In London, he found his voice.
Music has given as much to Jennings as he has to it. His musical pathway has been rewarding for him. He confesses his shyness when performing: “I used to be very nervous. I used to think I couldn’t perform and that I’d only be a songwriter”. It was his producer who pushed him onstage, advising, “you’ve got nothing to lose, just do it”. By facing his fears and challenging conventional genres, Jennings has punched through a mainstream wall that limits some artists.
When he gets on the stage, his diverse musical thoughts all tune together. His music experiments with alternative soundscapes, harmonising the most pleasurable tones from a multitude of genres. His vocals are equally as quirky as his ideas. Jennings is adamant, “I don’t want to write something I’ve heard before”, but ironically introduces his single, ‘Love Hearts’, as “another love song”.
It’s his talent in songwriting that elevates his music from other artists. ‘Serotonin’ is a song “about relationships and the chemicals in your brain”. The scientific examination of love is unquestionably original and re-imagines the overused sentimental approach to relationships in music. Jennings has shaken the conventions of music, awakening a new, uncovered genre of sound.
He admits that he is still exploring his music. In the future he hopes to tone down his sound, refine his writing style and continue to rattle that cages of music. His distinguished style can only improve from here.
Words by Ali Townsend
Featured Image: Jennings Couch. Courtesy of Coffee House Sessions.