At first glance, you wouldn’t assume her 5-foot-tall stature will burst into a fiery powerhouse of well-seasoned guitar expeditions. Intertwining savoury melodies with speculative lyrics, Jenny Biddle, wraps herself around her guitar, and like a marriage between body and instrument, she commands the guitar to talk “with uncommon skill and absolute self-assurance” (Syke, 2013). Her audience is compelled to join her on a voyage of passion and story in song.
Currently based in sunny Scotland, the Aussie indie blues & roots songsmith has handmade several acoustic guitars, plays a wicked blues harp, is a proficient pianist, can bust out bubbling banjo ballad if bullied, and if that isn’t annoying enough, she dabbles in graphic design for her some albums and merch, releasing music and touring the world as an entirely independent musician (yes, she’s writing these words you read). Eight albums into her career, she admits she’s not attempting to write the next hit song, but instead fashions an eclectic mix of thought-provoking masterworks that give the feeling you’re in the company of an old friend. From the sweet lulls of folk, to her raunchier tunes, dirty blues grooves, and easy-going country flavours, she’s got a song for every mood, boldly confronting depression and anxiety and asking for your hand along the way.
Destined to walk a musical path, she had a brief encounter with the ukulele at 4-years-of-age, moving swiftly to love affair with the piano age 5, followed by a lifelong love of the guitar, age 9. Original compositions soon followed. But from age 12 she fell under the influence of a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle that saw her regularly consuming 8 teaspoons of sugar in her cups of tea. Her music took a dark turn in this chaotic chapter; she was forbidden to write angst songs about her brother and agreed to receive treatment for her sugar addiction. Suffice to say, she is still a chocoholic but this eased upon the discovery that she’s a lesbian.
Paying for her sins she completed a 4-year BA Dip Ed degree in her home town of Sydney, but spent only a mere two days teaching in primary schools. Realising 10-year-olds were taller than her; she threw in the towel and hit the stage, releasing her debut studio album Chest of Drawers at Sydney’s most reputable live music venue, The Basement, 2009. This album was met with universal praise; “…beautiful, no-nonsense folk music” (Dom Alessio, Triple), “…quite simply remarkable” (Trad & Now Magazine), but it is reported she once received an email from a confused customer requesting the dimensions of her “chest of drawers” available on her website.
In the company of Tracy Chapman and Passenger, Jenny’s hit break up song Hindsight reached #8 in the iTunes Songwriter Charts in 2013. She also held the prestigious title of Melbourne’s Best Busker 2010 – 2012, along with the People’s Choice Award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival Busking Championship 2012. Her busking career peaked in a moment of serendipity when she met her wife while singing on the cobbled streets of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014. Wooing her wife with original song, Village by the Sea, Jenny says she no longer feels the need to collect any more busking awards.
The music video for her popular coming out song, Hero in Me, written and directed by Rebecca Greensill (Flying Man Films & Home & Away), sees Jenny in a lyrca Superman suit, with lumps in all the wrong places as she sings “Be my lady and your hero I’ll be”. Despite the awkward visual, Jenny was nominated for the Australian LGBTQI Award 2017 for her contribution to the LGBTQI community through music. She has since added a new verse to this coming out song in celebration of marriage equality in Australia. Her most recent song Five Foot Tall, was inspired by the journey of starting a family with her wife, but Jenny would like to point out that she is in fact five-foot-one… but this ruined the rhyme.
Loyal fans have crowdfunded several of Jenny’s albums, including Cover to Cover, an album of renditions with her on stamp on some popular favourites like Imagine, Hallelujah and Fast Car. But she’s most known for her blistering blues & roots version of MJ’s Billie Jean, packed with lively guitar improvisations and their subsequent facial expressions to set your socks on fire.
Celebrating 25 years of guitar playing, our striking female guitarist hosted workshops at festivals such as Port Fairy Folk Festival, and was sponsored by APRA as the 2013 Artist in Residence at Macquarie University lecturing about alternate guitar tunings, songwriting, performing, and advanced guitar techniques. Despite her vast experience, she spends her spare time in front of the mirror, hoping to develop her guitar facial expressions in an effort to boost her meagre Guitar Hero score above 22%.
Playing over 200 gigs every year since 2006, supporting the likes of Lloyd Spiegel, Jen Cloher, Tony McManus, Jeff Lang, and Cotton, Keays & Morris, and touring Australia, UK, Ireland, Germany, Canada and China, her stage presence is second to none. Her audience laughs and cries in all the right places, with “a banter which is honest, direct, personal, affectionate, funny and utterly engaging” she has “that peculiar knack for making a large space like a lounge room” (Syke, 2013).
Jenny Biddle is a striking, refreshing and sweet person, a master of her craft. Her brand new album “Hoping for a Hero” comes out 13th November 2020. Pre-order your copy now.