Jennifer Paskow is a singer and songwriter who lives in California and focuses on songs that are suitable for all ages, and she is especially interested in content for children. Jennifer frequently volunteers at schools, hospitals and charity events since she firmly believes in the power of music when it is used as a healing aid. Jennifer’s alum titled "Make A Circle" features a blend of cheerful songs in the pop-rock genre and focuses on themes of acceptance and love that even little kids can understand and relate to.

Aside from her career as a musician, Jennifer is a trained music therapist and children's yoga teacher and she frequently partners with the regaled non-profit organization "The Art of Elysium." Recently, she granted an exclusive Interview where she spoke about her experiences working in the music industry and her hopes for the future.

Musical influences and songwriting

Blasting News (BN): How and when did you decide to become a musician and what kinds of music interested you when you were growing up?

Jennifer Paskow (JP): Seeing “Annie” on Broadway when I was seven woke up my desire to sing. I’ve never stopped singing since the day I watched Andrea McArdle sing “Tomorrow.” Shortly, after my older cousin was taking voice lessons, and my Mom asked me if I would like to as well. Of course my answer was yes. The day of my lesson was my favorite day of the week. I remember how much I enjoyed singing along with the piano vs. singing along to records in my bedroom. Back in the day, my dream was to sing on Broadway.

As a little girl, my grandmother would take me to see musicals in New York City, which fostered my love of show tunes.

When I got a bit older my mom introduced me to James Taylor, Carole King, and Carly Simon, all whom rocked my world. I think it was listening to the songwriters of the 1970s that made me want to write and sing my own songs. My dad turned me on to Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, also two of my favorites. Looking back, what interested me most about music when I was growing up was the intimacy of the folk singer-songwriters.

BN: How would you describe your unique style and/or or brand of music and what inspires it?

JP: Joyful folk pop for families, that inspires my music is my mission to put more love and beauty into the world. My desire to connect people of all ages with their hearts and to each other. Nature inspires me, the beauty, grace, and majesty of Mother Earth.

I find inspiration in the perfectness of imperfections and how the darkest moments have the potential for the greatest light, the realness of children and our human need to be loved.

BN: How did you get interested in children’s music and how did you find places to perform?

JP: Long before I was working as a children’s musician, I was a volunteer singing for children in hospitals. Every time I was there, I came alive. I had this deep sense of knowing that this is what I am here to do. I loved being with the children and seeing how the music moved both the children and their families, giving them all a joyful reprieve from their illness/hospital experience. My journey into the children’s music world professionally began when my friend asked me to teach a music class at her home for her daughter and friends.

One thing led to another and I started to book more classes and eventually starting booking concerts for kids/families.

When I first started out, I was fortunate enough to get hired at a popular children’s bookstore. They not only booked me for their concerts/events, but also referred me to some wonderful children’s events around Los Angeles. I also became friends which some of the other children’s teachers and performers who offered a lot of support. I found the community extremely welcoming and supportive.

Charity and children

BN: You do a lot of amazing charity work, so why do these causes hold such special appeal to you?

JP: I can’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t feel the call to serve.

I’ve always had this huge place for children in my heart and a call to protect them. It’s a bit hard to explain as it’s more of a feeling/a calling and singing for children in the hospital is particularly dear to my heart. One smile from a child reminds me of the power of music and its ability to deeply touch another human being. Some of these kids I meet through the charities have spent most of their childhood in and out of the hospital. If I can give them even five minutes of joy in their day, then I have done what I believe is my mission in this life. When I walk into a hospital room, I’m thinking how can I make this person/family happy and/or how can I make them feel loved by the music? It’s a deeply profound experience for me and one that I will continue to do as long as I am able to sing!

BN: Out of all your music that you perform, do you have a special favorite song?

JP: I love singing my song “I am A Tree.” It just makes me happy! There are way too many songs that I love to pick one favorite, but what comes to mind is “Shaking The Tree” by Peter Gabriel. Apparently, I love songs about trees!

BN: So far in your experiences, what has been really rewarding involving your musical career?

JP: I recently had the opportunity to support a beautiful organization called “myFace” which is dedicated to transforming the lives of patients with craniofacial conditions. It was a profound honor to sing my song “On the Inside” about loving and accepting yourself and others with seven of the girls who have been supported by myFace at their fundraising gala in New York City.

I can’t tell you the immense joy I felt to look over and see the girls singing the chorus with me ... On the inside is the best of me, On the outside isn’t all you’ll see, Let me show you who I really am.

The joy that was beaming from their lives blasted my heart right open and reminded me of the power of music and songwriting. I felt humbled to see the music working its magic in the lives of these girls as well as the audience who looked profoundly moved.

As a songwriter it’s a beautiful thing to hear anyone singing my songs. Watching these girls sing my song was particularly special because my friend and I wrote it with the specific intention to help children love and accept themselves and others and to embrace our differences.

The power of music to transform lives is profound.

BN: What advice might you be able to offer to someone who is aspiring to become a musician in the children’s entertainment industry?

JP: Play the music that brings you the most joy and be your authentic self no matter what anyone says. Find what lights you up and follow that. Believe in yourself. You’ll have many successes if you stay true to your path and always get up when you fall (you will fall).

In my experience when it comes to the children’s music industry, be you and do not try to “fit in.” There’s room for everybody.

BN: Which forthcoming projects and/or events would you most like to mention?

JP: I’m currently working on a project with Renee Stahl Dektor from “Renee and Jeremy.” We’re developing a creative show for families which I’m really excited about. I’m also releasing a new single in the Fall called “Yumminess.” It's about how fun it can be to take care of our bodies.