Spotlight of the Week: Jenna Kopitske

Jenna Kopitske is a drummer, pianist and composer currently studying at UW-Oshkosh. A freelance musician and teacher, she has experience with a wide range of styles ranging from rock to blues to gospel. Her sophomore album “Pride & Joy” was released in 2021.

ME: How did you get involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures?

JENNA: Well, I’d been hearing about Wisconsin Music Ventures for quite a while before I had joined, and some of the staff members were some of my colleagues at UWO. They’re hard workers and friends of mine, so I thought that there wouldn’t have been a better time to join than now since I’m going to be a senior and trying to make more connections in the community for when I graduate. And Allison’s great with every that she does.

ME: Right on, sounds like it’s an optimal tool and resource for you then.

ME: You drum in Jonny T-Bird and the MPs, correct?

JENNA: That’s right; we’re actually playing Summerfest opening for Halestorm.

ME: Rad! Speaking of summer, what are you most looking forward to?

JENNA: No school! It’s over! But as a pretty generic answer, now that gigs are sprouting up, I’m excited to return to some of my favorite venues and see some of my favorite people. I always busk outside of Cleo’s for the Mile of Music and it’ll be great to see some friends there. I also just joined a new band called FOMO; we do 90’s and 2000’s covers so we’ll be out doing the standard 8 to midnight slots all around. I’m really excited to get the shows running.

ME: Awesome. So you’ll be playing outside a lot?

JENNA: Let’s hope, weather permitting! It’s usually pretty balanced until you get to September when it starts getting chilly and they throw you inside again. I like inside gigs, personally; there’s AC and you don’t have to worry about the weather. But we’ll see!

ME: I feel that. I do love outdoor music; that’s one of my favorite parts of summer. I saw that you and Jonny T-Bird played under a gazebo at Elkhart Lake; that looked fun!

JENNA: Yes, the Osthoff! I’m good friends with them; usually, they book me to play piano inside but now that it’s summer, the lake deck is pretty poppin’.

ME: Tell me more about your latest EP “Pride & Joy.”

JENNA: Well, the first album I’d released was “Unheard Of” in 2018, and since then I had composed a lot more mature material…longer material…one of which I made a music video for, “Cascade.” I had a lot of fun doing that. I tried writing more stories for the tracks; I wrote “Capes” for my grandmother who passed away and how she was my hero who taught me a lot. She did get to hear the song, which I always say as a mantra in shows. Another one is called “Streets of Appleton” which I composed while I was busking at Mile of Music when I was younger. Some of the songs had been written long before the record was released, and I wanted to put my best work together. I’m actually working on my third record now; I have about three or four tracks done now. I’m always trying to stay in that flow of writing and composing; it certainly helps to be surrounded by musicians in school that lend ears besides your own.

ME: Absolutely, well that’s exciting. That was going to be my last question; aside from gigging a lot this summer, what do you think will be in store for the rest of the year?

JENNA: I’ll be a senior starting in the fall, and I’m actually going to Nashville for a couple weeks this summer. My hope there is to find an internship for the spring, and so I’ll be done in May 2023. I hope to network and continuing finding those relationships outside of Wisconsin. Nashville is ideally where I want to move after I graduate; I have a couple friends down there now so we’ll see what happens.

Visit Jenna Kopitske’s website here.

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