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Meet Jen - Da Sweetnezz of Open Mic's

Bringing music to the community through Dem Sweet Nigthz



Meet Jen, aka Da Sweetnezz - the singer and community organiser whose open mic nights are bringing soulful nourishment to musical enthusiasts. We first witnessed Jen's wonder at Queer Artists Connect, blasting out her own mix of UK garage and r&b inspired house tunes. Fast forward a few months and we had the joy of attending Jen's own open mic night - Dem Sweet Nightz. From hosting on stage with her partner in crime, Empress Dems, to encouraging the crowd to support up-and-coming new musicians, it was clear that Jen's energy is one of true authenticity, fun, and uplifting enthusiasm.



We had the chance to welcome Jen onto our Islington Radio show, Cum Bx Sassy, to hear about the importance of supporting others in their journeys to the stage. As well as the role music and poetry has played in her own life. Listen from 01.45.00 to hear Jen and fellow guest Tilda Allie chat Sassy music or read on to hear more from Da Sweetnezz herself!



 


Introduce yourself and tell us about the nights you run?


Greetings, my name is Da Sweetnezz first name Jennifer and I am a 37 year old female, queer artist, poet, singer and songwriter from Newham, London UK. I am of Irish and Nigerian heritage and I have been singing since I was very young. I started to take my music career seriously in my late teens. And I have released a lot of music on my own as an independent artist and also collaborated with many other independent artists on many other music releases over the years since around 2004.



I like to call my music fresh, funky and old skool because I bring a mixture of UK garage, soul, house and R&B powerhouse vocals together blended with big bassey club beats and sultry melodies. Perfect for the dance floor and London club scene. I also write all my own songs. I feel that my music is heavily influenced by the music I grew up listening to because of my parents and mixed heritage it ranges from Afro beats to R&B and country or even from Irish folk music to rock and pop.


What motivated you to start running Dem Sweet Nightz?


I have always wanted to have my own event and my main reason behind this is wanting to do something for the culture and for other artists like myself because I know how hard it is in the industry when you are trying to make a name for yourself. I wanted to give back because I have been so lucky and fortunate in my career over the years due to all of the amazing people I have met who have given me so many amazing opportunities to perform and showcase my music and to connect with so many like-minded creative souls. I also realise how important it is and how much of an impact it makes when we artists all come together and support one another through events and initiatives like the Dem Sweet Nightz.


I realised how much of an impact it makes when we artists all come together and support one another through events and initiatives like the Dem Sweet Nightz




What would be your advice to people wanting to be more confident or find creative/musical communities?


My advice would be to find your tribe. Put yourself out there and don't be afraid. There are people out there just like you waiting to connect and hear or see what art you have inside you so desperate to share with them. We need you come and find us! There are so many communities, and online platforms now where it's easy to connect with other creative people. So don't hold back. Now is the time to show off.


Put yourself out there and don't be afraid. There are people out there just like you waiting to connect and hear or see what art you have inside you



Tell me about your journey with self-expression?


I think in some way, all my life I have always been a very creative soul. I was quite shy when I was a child and bullied a lot in school in my early years growing up so I would retreat a lot as I explained in the radio interview; I am both extroverted and introverted but I think my extroverted side developed more as I got older and became more confident in myself and around my friends or those whom I felt comfortable with. So I started to write my own poetry from a very young age. I used it as a means of escape and I used to write down my feelings and write about things that I had been through that affected me in a particular way.


As artists, what we wear makes a statement and shows who we are especially when we are on stage or appearing in public or on screen. It's important and it matters that you are comfortable with what that says about you from the inside not what others assume.


I guess later on in my early teens as I had started taking singing more seriously and joined the school and church choir that's when I began to write songs, as I took an older friends advice when they told me I should turn my poems into songs and sing them. And it took off from there really, I had all these songs but never thought to actually perform them. I was much happier singing karaoke or covers in talent contests growing up which I eagerly entered. It wasn't until I met a young group of teenage friends when I was aged 18 that my music career started to take shape and I started working with other singers and rappers. That is when I recorded my first EP and since then I have never really stopped. Being an artist and singer and performer is, and always will be, a huge part of me. The stage is my happy place and it is where I truly come alive. I love to perform my own music now. It took a long time, but over the years I have grown a lot as an artist and learnt a lot. I think it really shows when I am on stage giving it my all.




As a performer, have you felt pressure to look a certain way or be hyper-aware of your appearance?


I think as a woman, yes, and also as a queer woman there is always pressure to look and appear a certain way in society because of the media and a lot of other influences. But thankfully now I am in such a good place mentally and physically and I have grown so much as an artist and learnt from a lot of the personal experiences I have had. That's taught me not to care too much about or even think about what other people think of me and how I look. As long as I am not offending anyone or causing anyone any harm, then why should I? I love to express myself and I always have through my looks and hairstyles and the clothes I wear.


Growing up I conformed to the stereotypical female image of always looking typically feminine and wearing dresses etc. But now that I fully understand who I am and my identity, I freely dress however I want to regardless of stereotype or what is expected.


I think for a long time in my teens especially because of the first long-term relationship I had as a teenager growing up I conformed to the stereotypical female image of always looking typically feminine and wearing dresses etc... But now that I fully understand who I am and my identity I freely dress however I want to regardless of stereotype or what is expected. I think we should always do what makes us feel happy and wear whatever makes us comfortable. And for artists what we wear makes a statement and shows who we are especially when we are on stage or appearing in public or on screen. It's important and it matters that you are comfortable with what that says about you from the inside not what others assume. I think that we are getting better as a society at being less judgemental and I am here for it.




 

Keep up to date with Da Sweetnezz via her IG @sweetztagramm and learn more about Dem Sweet Nightz happening every last Monday of the month via ig @demsweetnightz_

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