Photo by Angelina Castillo
“Bad Actor” is the new EP from Music City singer-songwriter Jen Starsinic. Following her tenure playing the fiddle in bluegrass bands and touring with the likes of the David Mayfield Parade, Jen’s own music finds her more on the “dreamy side of indie-rock.”
Watch the video for “Picture in a Frame” here. Tremolo guitar tones meld with Jen’s hushed vocals to sonically bring to life the “electromagnetic smile on your face” in the photo she sings about. It’s as soothing a song about a broken relationship that you could ever ask for.
Jen is also the co-founder/co-director of a nonprofit called Girls Write Nashville that provides accessible no-cost creativity and empowerment focused songwriting and music production programming for girls in Nashville.
There are currently no tour dates on her calendar, but we hope that will change soon. A big thank you to Jen Starsinic for making music and taking time out to visit with 11 Questions.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I’m from Hummelstown, PA which is prime small-town steel-city suburbs south central Pennsylvania. I moved to Nashville because I was playing the fiddle in a band based out of Nashville and had a lot of friends living here. I’d come to visit and go with them to see Kenny Vaughn play at 12 South Taproom, and I just loved being in a city surrounded by such a wealth of amazing music.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
I have a lot of fond memories of stealing my parents’ mid-90s CD collection when I was very little: Fleetwood Mac The Dance, The Wallflowers Bringing Down the Horse, Tracy Chapman New Beginning, John Mellencamp The Best That I Can Do 1978-1988, Madonna True Blue and Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited. I remember my brother having a cassette tape of The Presidents of the United States of America “Peaches” on one side and a Smashing Pumpkins song on the other. Those are my first records in my mind. I don’t remember the first CD I went out and bought, but it was definitely a CD. I still buy CDs. I think the most recent record I bought was Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
My first concert was seeing the band American at Hershey Park in Hershey, PA when I was a little kid. I was very lucky in that my dad has always been a music lover and I had music around when I was a kid. The most recent concert I went to was one of the nights of Brandi Carlisle at the Ryman. Specifically, the night that Courtney Barnett opened because I’m super obsessed with her.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
I would love to see Marion James, Nashville’s “Queen of the Blues”, added to the Music City Walk of Fame. She came to fame in the Jefferson Street blues clubs and Jimi Hendrix played in her band before he was THE Jimi Hendrix. She’s such a legend and incredible musician and songwriter.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Bongo East for Coffee and Five Points or Two Boots for pizza, depending on what side of town I’m on.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Kroger (LOL!). I honestly can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a show and then ran into another musician from that show in the frozen aisle of Kroger.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
Becky Warren, Hays Ragsdale and Caroline Spence
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
I play at and love The 5 Spot a lot. I really miss the Family Wash and the Stone Fox.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
I don’t think I have any specific musicians I’d love to see move here, but I would love Nashville to start attracting more musicians outside of country music. We have great diverse scenes here, and I think the overall music scene would be stronger with more diversity.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Touring, making more records, writing more songs. I’ve never really done a ton of co-writing, and I’d like to start trying to do more of that. I’m really excited about the fact that I just bought a Nord. I’ve played piano since I was a kid and am so obsessed with the world of sounds and am super excited to start playing keys with some folks on the side.