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Jackie Venson To Showcase Her Many Musical Stylings In Mackinaw

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Singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jackie Venson performs Saturday night at the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.

Venson is an artist who refuses to pick a lane. From blues, to soul, reggae and rock, to pop, and even electronic, her music spans multiple genres, but the thread that laces it all together is emotion-filled, masterful guitar playing and soulfully unique melodies that draw you right into her world.

Venson does not feel that being a multi-genre artist has been limiting.

“It's limited crappy opportunities that don't fit me, or my personality or the way I want to live my life. So it's limited the wrong opportunities. Yeah, well, some of the opportunities I consider wrong, other people perceive as really big," she said.

According to Venson, a lot of people have a shallow understanding of the music industry and the ways one can go about having a successful music career. She was not about to take the advice to try out for "American Idol," and she was not about to let anyone put her in a box.

“And so I don't want to live whole portions of my life in a box, right? I just don't, when I could be making a legacy that will last forever, instead of having something that's cool for a short time but is overall just part of a trend that eventually is definitely gonna die. Every trend dies," Venson said. "So I don't want my body of work to just be the latest trend of that time. And then it dies. It's like the only thing that's worth anything.”

Early in her career, when she was just beginning to carve out her path, Venson played the piano. It was her main instrument and her focus as a student at Berklee College of Music, where she majored in Composition, Writing and Audio Production (CWP). For years she tried to develop a show using the piano, but she struggled to create something she felt was compelling enough to keep audiences engaged.

She decided that if she can’t make it work with the piano, maybe she can make it work with something else.

“I considered the trumpet. I considered the saxophone. I decided not to do those because you can't do chords and you always have to have a band no matter what. And so I was like well, the other thing everybody plays besides the piano is the guitar," she said. "So then I'm thinking about the guitar and then I see like this show where this guy is playing electric guitar and getting into it and the solos were really good and it sounded really good. And I'm like, oh maybe the electric guitar.”

Venson mastered the electric guitar in just 18 months of playing hours per day. You can hear it for yourself this Saturday at Mackinaw Valley Vineyard. Opening act ZA Funk performs from 7-9 p.m., then Venson takes the stage at 9 p.m.

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