For her 5th ALBUM Jenny embarks on a LIVE ALBUM playing some of her most loved originals, capturing her quirks, improvisations, guitar journeys and your audience sing-alongs. At one of her faovurite outer Melbourne venues, Selby Folk Club, be part of the audience and be stamped in time with the making of her LIVE album.
JENNY BIDDLE’S FOURTH ALBUM is AVAILABLE NOW!
Recorded with legendary producer and former Thirsty Merc Guitarist, Sean Carey, this album showcases a top selection of infamous covers. Jenny’s ingenious renditions show off her feisty guitar playing as she plays a gorgeous handmade guitar by Papa. C. Her tasty piano playing and soulful voice will melt your core, and her sprightly harmonica playing will get you moving, along with some other surprises. For the first time her self-made Baritone guitar features on this record, creating a unique and deep resonance. There’s a track for everyone on this album (including your grandma).
It’s WIN WIN WIN
You find a unique gift for your loved one = WIN
Your loved one receives the gift of new music = WIN
You help support an independent musician to continue making music = WIN
Starting on the ukelele at age 4, Jenny’s love affair with the guitar began when her father handed her a 3/4-sized acoustic guitar at age 9. 2014 marks the 20th year of her guitar playing (before ya get ya calculators out, she’s 29). Congrats Jenny!
I debated whether or not to blog about this topic. But I figured it’s a way to start discussion, open communication, get people talking and perhaps hear about other people’s stories.
I’ve decided to come off my anti-depressants.
I went on a low dose of Effexor (75mg) in April 2011. At that point it had been some months where I’d lost enthusiasm for life, for everything I enjoyed. Everything was an effort. I had to force myself to go to work to entertain people, force myself to go busking, force myself outta bed. And when I wasn’t binge eating or sleeping, I would lie on the floor in the dark in my tiny shoe-box apartment and write depressing songs. It was getting harder to face people, harder to face the day. I decided to nip it in the bud and saw a doctor about it. I was shocked to hear I was depressed. It was hard to admit. Hard to accept. I didn’t want to be given that label, as it seemed so… real… permanent… like it would frame me to BE depressed. I was depressed. Eventually I came around to the idea of pills, along with therapy.
The pills helped take the edge off the depression. The lows weren’t as scarily low. And gradually I started to change my life and feel better. Found love, moved house, tried to find balance with work/personal life, developed some new tools to cope.
I tried to come off the meds a year later. I thought I was doing all the right things in my approach to come off them – I saw the doc and psych and had their support, I was exercising, and I weaned off really slowly over a couple of months. But when I got to the point of half a pill every 48 hours, I couldn’t handle the withdrawals; dizziness, headaches, pins and needles in the face, suicidal thoughts. I was most terrified on the day I went looking for a rope. I knew they weren’t real suicidal thoughts. I just had to keep telling myself “This is not real, this is not real, it’s the drugs, it’s the drugs.” But I didn’t trust myself. I was afraid to be alone. I ended up falling back into depression, I literally cried over spilt milk (and I spilt milk a lot), my relationship couldn’t handle the withdrawals and neither could my body/mind, so I went back on 75mg before I could reduce them anymore.
It’s been over two years since then. Life has changed significantly. I’ve moved to the country, which suits my soul and personality far more than the city. It gives me space to breathe, write songs, be creative and reflective. I’ve got to know new beautiful friends and be part of the community. I do tours here, there and everywhere and come back to my little bungalow sanctuary in the mountains. My music career is full of things to excite me and help me grow and I’m about to do a live album in December. I’ve done a lot of soul searching, reading, self-reflection, journal writing, and got some new tips and tools for life. And… I’ve found new love! I think it’s time. I think it’s time to come off the meds.
I’ve been thinking (and talking) about this for 6 months or so. It seems to be a controversial topic. Some say “Well if you don’t have any side-effects, why come off them and potentially ruin a good thing?” Others say perhaps I’m born with a chemical imbalance and need the meds. Then there are peeps who say “Sure, why not try and come off them? You’re in a good place. You can always go back on them?”
I have faith, if I can JUST get through the withdrawals, my brain will find its own balance and I will be able to handle life without meds. Part of me thinks that “you need the meds cos you have a chemical imbalance” is a cop out – A) it’s a quick Band-Aid solution, B) it stops people having to deal with the fact that I might be depressed and C) stops ME taking responsibility for the way I feel/process/operate only to rely on drugs. In saying that, I know there are certainly cases where people are born with chemical/hormonal imbalances and have a far better life with medication. It’s an individual case. I had depression as a teenager and it was believed that maybe there’s a chemical imbalance. But I don’t think so. I may just be in denial, but I think I was just really struggling with stuff teenagers struggle with – grades, being accepted, being gay, family, friends, religion, society, the media, body image, eating disorders, what to do with life, identity, balance, growing up, sexuality, becoming your own adult person with your own choices, opinion and pathway. That’s not to say I’ve got all my shit together, but I have faith that I’ve learned a few new tools to handle every day – like learning to say no and finding balance between work and social life, recognising that many of my problems are how I perceive them, working on finding self-worth from within rather than expecting it to come from external sources.
I think anti-depressants have their place. For me, at this point in time, I don’t want believe I’ll need to be on them for the rest of my life. I don’t wanna reside in “it’s a chemical imbalance, just take the pills.” I don’t wanna be tied to them. I don’t wanna spend the money. I don’t want the withdrawals on the odd day I might forget to take a pill.
So I am going to attempt to come off them. I saw the doc yesterday. I’ve been prescribed the half dose. This time instead of going from 75mg a day to 37.5mg for a month, then one every 36 hours for a few weeks, then one every 48 hours, the doc has suggested reducing by 75mg over each WEEK. A new plan. And when I get to the end of the 37.5mg script just stop altogether. I also plan to create a list of things to do when withdrawals hit: go for a walk, call a friend, write, sing, etc.
I’m scared. I’m scared of the withdrawals. I’m not really scared of “failing”. I think once I get through the withdrawals things will balance out. I could be wrong. In which case, I’ll go back on them. But I have to try. I’m at the point where I just have to try.
If you have a positive success stories to share with me, with us, give me a li’l pep talk, I’d love to hear your experience and insight (remembering that it’s an individual case).
I also ask that you just… check up on me. Every once in a while. It might be a rocky few months. But when’s a good time to do it really? Life is always gonna be there. But I’m pumped (and scared!) and I’m excited (and nervous) and ready!
We did it! In just three weeks fans raised over $8000 through Pozible to help the making of Jenny’s FOURTH album, Cover to Cover, an album full of Jenny’s ingenious covers. Recorded and produced at Sean Carey’s Sydney Studio, Trackdown Studios, Cover to Cover is expected to be released in May this year.
A huge thank you to all the financial supporters below.
|Ellie Stubbs & Simon Gronow|
|Jill Guscott||Guitars by Jill Guscott|
|Alan Clement||Southern FM 88.3FM|
|Alan & Jenny Nossal|
|Patricia McCormack & Brendan Hopkins|
|Nic Tate||Beauty by Nicole|
|Bones & Greg Mackinnon||The Swamp Dog Show – Casey Radio 97.7FM|
|Sally Leonie & Ben Pfau|
|Atonya & Melissa|
|Ann Skarratt||Annies Whale Watching|
|Mook & Jude|
|Dave & Belinda Atherton-Northcote|
|Frank Shaw & Robin Birch|
|Elly Maria Brus|
|Beverley & Matt Coldhurst|
|Sally Maer||Cello Diva|
|Richard von Schrenk|
|Anita Monika Madura||Anita Monika Madura Artist|
|Brian & Kerry Lapsley|
|Phil & Narelle Wood|
|Tim Keeble||The Artist Shed (Queanbeyan)|
|Shannon Cornish||Shannon Cornish Manufacturing Jeweller|
|Clare & Marcus de Rijk|
|Jenny Lewis & Clare Parslow||Bright Holiday Rentals|
|Nicola Nossal & Jana|
|Ian Gordon Wright|
|Jo & Steve Reader|
|Janet & Owen Quinlan|
|Steve Guest||S Graphics|
|Chris Wynne||Thomas Lloyd Guitars|
I had a school belly ache this morning.
Today I set foot back in my old high school. To sing and to speak. It’s been 12 years since my year finished up and I hadn’t been back since.
School is a rollercoaster for all of us, aint it? I have vivid memories. Good and bad. The experiences at this time in our life that can make us… or break us.
I walked back through the gates and was flooded with memories. Everything was kinda the same, yet… so different. I remember the table where I sat on my very first day, reluctant in a skirt, with my hairy legs (I didn’t know you were supposed to shave back then), shy, very dorky, but eager to please, and aching to fit in. (It didn’t take long before I was shaving my legs…). The buildings, the teachers, uniforms, the quadrangle, the hall, everything was as I remembered it. Students were lectured about etiquette on public buses… just as I remembered. They all have the hots for the young male teacher… just as I remembered.
It was like the new me was meeting the old me. The teachers who knew the old me were meeting the new me.
I was greeted by a friendly and familiar face. Ashamedly I didn’t recall her name, she wasn’t my teacher, but she knew all about me and the guitar I made and won a Design Tech Award for 12 years ago! And suddenly I’m reminded that teachers are human. With passions, visions, their own hopes and dreams, their own opinion, their own flaws, failures and mistakes. They don’t seem human when you’re a student. It’s us versus them. There are the ones who are like heroes to us, who inspire and encourage, who plant seeds that we take with us for life. And there are the teachers whose harsh words can define and limit us for the rest of our lives. I am grateful for the teachers who saw something in me and believed I was worth their time, effort, patience, and guidance, despite my troubled teen years. Unforgettable.
My school was a great school. There was opportunity, respect, education, some wonderful teachers. But it wasn’t always easy. Adolescence is a tough time for anyone, only to be made tougher by the idea of grades and “figure out who you and what you wanna do with your life NOW”
I approached the school wanting to come back to talk and sing. I wanted to share a bit of my story, my time at school, and where I have landed today, in the hope that if I could get through to just ONE person and make their life a little better, it would be all so worth it.
I stood in front of the school of 1000 people. I spoke about my high school years. I was a good student, but I struggled with an eating disorder. I struggled with being gay, lying about it and pretending I wasn’t to avoid bullying, I struggled with depression, anxiety and self-harm. How school can be so tough. I felt fear as I shared my story today, and that fear could have disabled me if I gave it too much weight. But the message I wanted to leave people with is bigger than that fear. It’s the message that we’ve all got our stuff; home life, abuse, disabilities, religion, sexuality, social/peer pressures, sickness, poverty, etc, but you WILL get through it. It all feels so intense at the time when it’s happening. It’s important to try your best, but school is not the be all and end all. There IS life after year 12. “I dare you to be yourself”, I said (perhaps easier said than done). Part of me wishes I had the guts to be myself back in school (but if we were never there, we’re never be where we are today – and today I had the guts to be me). It’s liberating to not place so much emphasis on what the world thinks. I came out of school alive. Not only alive, but I’ve prevailed. I’ve followed my passion for music, despite the hurdles and setbacks. We don’t HAVE to be bad at maths, cos our maths teacher tells us we are. We don’t have to follow the straight and narrow through the bottleneck society creates to success. And we don’t have to hate ourselves for being different.
It was an empowering experience. And if it could offer one student hope, it’s a job well done.
I stood on that very same stage where I once sang my little heart out and tied for first place at the School Talent Quest. The stage where I sang to my peer group at our graduation, and received a goosebumping standing ovation. Today I sang Hero in Me to the most appreciative audience. A song I would never have been brave enough to compose in high school. When the school applauded, it was like no applause I can ever recall. It echoed endlessly through the hall, and I felt their sincerity and enthusiasm as I stood there, struggling to accept their humbling praise. I felt a sense of empowerment and pride. I was proud to have found the courage to reach beyond my comfort zone and stand before those young people as the true person I am today, and inspire them to become the true person they are.
It’s all gonna be ok, ey.
What was your high school experience?
Was there an experience that made you?
Was there an experience that broke you?
Where are you now? Who are you today?
Tell me a fond memory?
Did you also draw a mustache on your face with eyeliner in the 8th grade?
Who are you grateful to?
Jenny has just finished recording Album #4: “Cover to Cover” at Trackdown Studios with Sean Carey.
Photos by Matt Dorhauer.
To BUY REWARDS and HELP FUND ALBUM #4:
Independent Producer Tony Avard is soon to launch his webseries “Follies of Youth”. Centered around four friends as they navigate their way through life in their twenties, throughout the course of the series we watch them tackle the challenges of sexuality, sexual assault, friendship, growth and various other struggles in life.
Jenny Biddle is excited have music from her first three albums featuring on their touching webseries.
WATCH THE PILOT:
Avard and the team are are raising funds through Kickstarter. To support this project and raise awareness on youth issues check out Kickstarter!
HELP FUND THIS PROJECT:
With Lycra and lumps in all the wrong places… the Official Music Video for Hero in Me is now up, up and away.
Hero in Me Music Video (Official). Directed by Rebecca Greensill (Home & Away).