A graduate from the Victoria Conservatory of Music used a fiery disaster to spark her career.
Jenny Lou was finishing her diploma in music and vocal performance and living in a suite in the 1100-block of McClure Street when the house burned down on March 18.
“It was very scary, I still can’t believe it happened to me,” Lou said.
She had been working at the YMCA at the time, and came home to find dozens of firefighters outside and the burning house. No one was hurt in the fire, but everything was destroyed.
“I lost everything, all my possessions except my guitar, which was locked in my car. It was literally the only thing left to my name… having ‘nothing to wear’ took on a whole new meaning.”
|Jenny Lou was studying music and vocal performance at The Victoria Conservatory of Music when the house she was living in burned down. (Ragnar Haagen/News Staff)
The Gibson 45 guitar is what Lou calls the “industry standard” for performers.
“I was very relieved, it was the positive in a very bad situation,” she said. “If I could have one thing, I’m glad it was my guitar.”
Lou said she saw an outpour of generosity and support from the community, including Camosun College which rented a place for her at the Ocean Island Inn hostel.
“They gave me a crisis relief grant, everyone was so amazing, all the teachers gave me clothes,” Lou said. “The people at the YMCA gave me gift cards.”
Still, the fire was something that Lou felt she couldn’t really talk about, so instead she turned to her music.
“The fire inspired me to write more songs because it’s a very rare thing to happen to someone, so there was no one that could relate to it to talk to,” she said.
Losing all her possessions also pushed Lou to follow her dreams and move to Nashville in September.
“It was pretty easy, I had nothing to pack up when I moved so I just drove 36 hours,” she said.
Since she arrived Lou has been working none-stop at performing, networking and making friends.
“Nashville is such a great place, you make friends with people and all of a sudden learn some of their music has cuts from Tim McGraw,” she said.
Just this week, Lou received a publishing deal for her music, which will allow her to perform and record her music full time, and perform in downtown Nashville in iconic venues such as Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, which saw stars like Willie Nelson, Roger Miller and Terri Clark come through.
“It’s just amazing,” Lou said. “Now I’m just gonna be down here playing as much as I can.”