Hip Kitty will perform Saturday at DeLuna Fest. / Special to GoPensacola.com
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Ever since she was a little girl, Jen Halverson knew that she was going to be a rock star. As the leader of the Nashville rock band Hip Kitty, Halverson is living her dream and rocking out for fans and American troops around the world.
With constant touring and the work ethic of a soldier, her ambition is no secret; if Halverson and her band have their way, Hip Kitty will be headlining DeLuna Fest in the very near future.
Q: With all of the touring, traveling the world, recording, live shows, charity work and everything you do, what is the most amazing part of the entire Hip Kitty experience for you?
A: I donít have one particular favorite, I love every part of it. Obviously, a big highlight for Hip Kitty is our work with the military. Weíve been overseas twice now in the Middle East, and to perform for the troops is always a treat, so I love doing that. I love writing, I love recording. Out of the whole musical aspect of it, my favorite is live performance. I just love getting out there with the crowd.
Q: When did you know that you wanted to do this for a living?
A: (Laughs) I always knew! Isnít that the answer that everybody gives? Being seven or eight years old, I just knew thatís what I wanted to do. And the funny thing is, you know (when) youíre in school and youíre signing yearbooks and everybodyís like ďGood luck in college!Ē and ďWhat do you want to be?Ē and itís ďI want to be a rock star!Ē
Q: Youíre living the dream and youíre in Nashville, but whatís the biggest obstacle youíve had to overcome in this entire ride?
A: In music, a lot of people donít really understand the work that goes into being a musician, being in a rock band. Sometimes we get stereotyped; so many people just look at what we do, and theyíre absolutely right, what we do is a blessing; I love being out on the road, traveling and playing music, but I think that some of the work is forgotten. Our hour and a half performance is the cherry on top of the sundae. Thatís why we do what we do. Our workday starts five oíclock in the morning if we have to get up to work out, to go to a radio station, to do the songwriting, to do the rehearsal and then you finish the show and youíre back on the bus and then youíre traveling. Our workday is not an eight hour workday. Sometimes itís a 24-hour workday. Iím not complaining, I just think thatís something that a lot of people donít realize.
Q: What is the craziest thing youíve seen at one of your shows?
A: Hard to pick just one, I have a few. The first one that comes to mind is a fabulous fan. We have Hip Kitty merchandise and one of the best selling items that we have is the Hip Kitty panties that have Hip Kitty whiskers on the front. Now generally, you would think that women would buy Hip Kitty panties, but on occasion, there have been men that have bought the Hip Kitty panties and have worn them to the show. We were playing in Ft. Wayne, Ind., and we had one that literally got up onstage, pulled his pants down to show everybody that he was wearing Hip Kitty panties. We got to see more than just the Hip Kitty panties and that was very memorable to me. And thatís just one.
Q: What are you expecting to happen when you hit that stage at DeLuna Fest?
A: The reason that Iím so excited about going to DeLuna Fest is because everybody thatís going is there for music. Generally, weíll play other concerts, venues, whatever, but this is a rock crowd. Theyíre coming for a rock show because they want to throw their fists in the air. They want to have a good time. Iím just expecting an all-out rock show. Iím excited for them to get into the music and make some new fans and the fans that we have already to be there and have a good time. I certainly donít want them to stand there and watch. I want them to be interactive, to feel like theyíre a part of something.
Q: Are there any particular artists or bands that youíre looking forward to rubbing elbows with or seeing perform at DeLuna Fest?
A: Oh my gosh! Of course Foo Fighters! I mean, really? Dave Grohl and Joan Jett. Those are my two. Obviously, being a female artist and seeing rock music, Joan Jett would be huge, but I love Foo Fighters, so thatís the whole Hip Kitty plot, trying to get a picture with Dave Grohl (laughs). Whether that will happen or not, I donít know, but we will certainly stop him and try.
Q: With all the people youíve run into and your experience in the business, whatís the best piece of advice youíve ever been given?
A: The best piece of advice Iíve ever been given was actually by Mark Slaughter. We worked with him on one of our earlier albums, and what he said was very true. What he said was ... I think it was a fishing analogy, pretty much. ďHave a million poles in the water.Ē Youíve got to have a million different things out there and you just need one of them to bite. And itís just getting that one bite on the line that can take off your career, but in the meantime, you have to entertain every idea. Entertain every thought, every place to play, every song idea, donít be afraid to try new and different things because you never know whatís going to be the avenue to propel your career forward.
Q: What would Jen Halverson of today tell a younger Jen Halverson just starting out?
A: This Jen Halverson would tell a young Jen Halverson that I am going to work harder than Iíve ever worked in my life and Iím going to earn every performance on stage because I donít think people realize the work that goes into this. Itís been a journey. I learned so much about myself and who I am, about what I want to project in my music, the message I want to convey and I think you can never be certain in life. You might have a certain direction for Hip Kitty, ďOh, this is going to happen,Ē and then a whole other avenue comes open. So always let the doors of opportunity open and know that youíve got to work hard for things in life. I donít think that anything really ever comes easy thatís worthwhile. Thatís what Iíve learned.
Q: Whatís the next big goal for you?
A: To record a new record, you have short term and long term goals. Short term goal for this year is to get a new album out at the first of the year. The next thing that weíre looking at is weíd love to do some stuff over in Europe ó tour in Europe ó and thatís in the talks right now, so thatís a term discussion. Obviously, longer term, instead of the Foo Fighters headlining, Hip Kitty will be headlining DeLuna Fest very soon.
Ever since she was a little girl, Jen Halverson knew that she was going to be a rock star. As the leader of the Nashville rock band Hip Kitty, Halverson is living her dream and rocking out for fans
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