Musician of the Week: Jenna Kopp


Illustration by Gemma DeCetra

Jenna Kopp uses real-life experiences as inspiration for her songwriting.

Audrey Hettleman, Arts & Entertainment Editor



Weinberg sophomore Jenna Kopp said she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t making music. Her earliest memories include recording an album at age 2 with her sister and the help of her father, Clayton Kopp. Their high-pitched voices played over songs like “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.

Now, Jenna Kopp has since recorded many more (self-written) songs. With the help of her father, a keyboard and a guitar, she has recorded one EP and multiple singles.

Jenna Kopp said she tries to take inspiration from real-life experiences. Many of her songs focus on past relationships, including her latest single, “Can’t Forget This Time.”

“I do like that aspect of songwriting that you can make it like storytelling,” Jenna Kopp said. “A lot of that comes from my own emotions and experiences.”

Clayton Kopp said Jenna Kopp’s songwriting began to seriously take shape after her 16th birthday when he gifted her an acoustic guitar, but she didn’t record songs until her senior year. Along with local producer Chris Smith, who had worked with one of Clayton Kopp’s bands, the three worked together to produce her 2020 EP, “Sunray.”

One of Jenna Kopp’s main inspirations is her father, with whom she grew up singing and watching perform in his own bands. The two now work together to produce Jenna Kopp’s songs.

“I always hoped that (my daughters) would have the same kind of love for (music) that I did, with the dream that when they get older, we’ll be able to jam together,” Clayton Kopp said. “It happened sooner than I would have thought.”

Jenna Kopp almost transferred into Bienen, but said the formal structure and traditional methods were not what she wanted. For now, she is still majoring in computer science, but makes time to pick up her guitar. Jenna Kopp is also a member of the a capella group Northwestern Undertones.

Jenna Kopp said she typically creates the chord progressions that accompany her singing, and her father typically creates the hooks and other important musical elements.

Working with family can be straining for some, but Clayton Kopp said creating music with his daughter brings them closer together.

“We were listening to the raw recording on the way home after butting heads all day, and it was fantastic,” Clayton Kopp said. “We ended up with something like the ‘lightning in a bottle’ effect. That’s a special thing that we’ll always share … It makes it all worth it even after you’re arguing.”

Jenna Kopp said promoting her music is one of the most challenging parts of the process. Along with creating an Instagram to promote her songs, Jenna Kopp also played her songs on local radio shows. In one instance, she was featured on a show run out of a Connecticut town’s fire station, and they had her introduce her song with a fire safety fact.

Smith said he doesn’t know where Jenna Kopp’s music career will lead, but hopes he will be able to stay involved.

“The more that she’s able to explore a variety of different subject matter, maybe trying some different instrumentation or even flirting with some different genres … that would be really exciting,” Smith said. “As she’s liking what she’s creating, I think all that will come naturally.”

While Jenna Kopp said she is unsure whether she will pursue her music career after university, she is excited for the journey ahead.

She will release a new single, “Thinking Bout You,” on April 17 with a music video filmed by NU students Caroline Bates, Allan Rodriguez, Adriana Martinez-Smiley and Jeffrey Hunter.

“I just want people to hear my music,” Jenna Kopp said. “It’s not even like, ‘Oh my gosh, I really want to be famous,’ it’s just exciting for people to listen.”

Check out the first edition of “Sound Source: Deep Dive,” where we take a closer look into the lyrics of “Can’t Forget This Time.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AudreyHettleman

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