Ella's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Team BNE

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Chicago, IL

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 9

  • ON DVD:

ELLA JENKINS

Children's Songwriter

“You can't be discouraged…whatever you do, [make sure] it's something worthwhile. That's what you're sharing.”

INTERESTS:

Music

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Chance Family Hobbies & Pastimes Negativity Struggle Values Self-Reflection

FOUNDATION:

Helping People Being Creative

TAGS:

civil rights movement, criticism, critique, dance, discouragement, feeling it, growing, harmonica, helping others, history, impact, instrument, learning, martin luther king, music, prejudice, progress, Rosa Parks, slavery, solving problems

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Her uncle would play harmonica in his free time; as a child, she was captivated by the sound.
  • Mother put in extra hours at work to buy Ella her own harmonica.
  • She was a teenage director for the YWCA; everyone always wanted Ella to perform because she’d make up cute songs and dances.
  • Eventually, someone mentioned that she should start seriously recording her children’s songs; was introduced to a record executive.
  • Says every professional has to acclimate themselves to criticism; people have told her her songs are “the worst,” she doesn’t get discouraged.
  • Never had formal harmonica training; says she just thinks about the tune, then she plays it.
  • Makes her feel good to be able to share her music, know she’s leaving a positive impact.
  • Says, “if there’s something you like, and it’s not harmful to other people, and it’s helping people grow, that’s a plus.”

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