guest post

Taking Chances Pays Off for Musician Jen Allen

Guest Post by Jen Allen

As a woman in jazz I often struggled to find my voice and place. Feeling the tension of being a stay at home mom and wanting a career was so uncomfortable. Many years went by and I existed in this tension but I never let myself really go after what I wanted for one reason or another. 

I didn’t even think what I wanted was still possible for me. I’m too old, I'm too far behind, I'm not good enough, and I missed my chance were just a few of the negative phrases I told myself often. 

In the last few years I began to realize that I was trapped in a bad cycle by this way of thinking. I started to slowly take chances. I tried new things here and there but still held on to the cautious way of living. Good things would happen but I still felt stuck. 

Then after my mom passed away last July, I decided that life was too short to care what others thought about me. I let go of the negative self-talk and I began believing that my desires in life were really important. I decided to step out and make the things that I wanted to happen - happen! 

I let go of the negative self-talk and I began believing that my desires in life were really important.

This year I started a house concert series to encourage community and the arts. I also applied for and was accepted to a prestigious composer’s collective, the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. I have also taken my first gig as a leader at a club in NYC - just to name a few! 

Jazz musician Jen Allen, delightful and badass as ever.

Jazz musician Jen Allen, delightful and badass as ever.

All three of these steps were scary but have produced amazing results. The house concerts have been a success, the BMI workshop has had me making new connections and I was chosen one of 9 (from the 40 who were accepted into the program) to have my composition premiered next week, and my single gig in NYC has led to a whole week for my band at Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center in September!

Being a good mom, friend, wife, AND musician is possible with a little vision, will to persevere, good friends to encourage, and a whole lot of faith!