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Mason Jennings On Writing His New Album, Healing And More

Photo courtesy of Jade Presents

After shopping ’til you drop on Black Friday, end the night with some great music from Mason Jennings, who is returning to Sanctuary Events Center for his third annual performance.

Jennings was born in Hawaii but moved to Minneapolis to pursue his musical career. He produced his self-titled debut album in 1997, and now he has released more than a dozen studio albums and EPs.

He struggled for many years with severe anxiety and agoraphobia and decided to take a break from music a few years ago to focus on healing and rediscovering who he is. Earlier this year he married Josie Jennings and then released an album of love songs inspired by their relationship called Songs From When We Met.

I did an email interview with Jennings before his show with opener Lacey Guck at Sanctuary Events Center on Friday about his most recent album, the healing process and more.

The doors for the 21+ show open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $25-$35 and can be found here.

This year marks your third annual Black Friday performance here in Fargo. What do you enjoy about performing here?

I like the train city. I like the landscape and I like the people.

As someone who sold more than 75,000 copies of your first two albums and quietly amassed a large following without a major label, what advice do you have for aspiring musicians?

For me, music was something I just naturally gravitated towards every day and I felt a constant urge to create. It was unstoppable. Once I realized it was unstoppable, I was willing to commit my life to it and that has allowed me to do it for the last 20 years. If I had felt anywhere inside me that the source the music was coming from would dry up, I never would have stepped into the ring.

You’ve been largely independent and selective when it comes to producing and releasing your albums, including turning down some record labels and even launching your own label. How do you think those decisions have had an effect on your musical career?

I’ve basically just followed the path which allowed me the most artistic control and signed with labels I thought would support my music reaching the biggest audience that would connect with it. I feel like it’s all been pretty intuitive and that has been the core guide.

After releasing Wild Dark Metal in 2016, you decided to take a break from music and focus on healing, which included starting to paint. Then you met Josie and everything started to change. How did she affect your journey of re-self-discovery?

She is my twin flame. I’ve written about that kind of love from a place of hope and longing before. Mysticism. When I decided to care for myself and put myself out into the world in a more authentic and vulnerable way, I met her. We are basically inseparable, and she is my true partner in every way and on all points. I feel unbelievably grateful for her.

Your most recent album, Songs From When We Met, was inspired by your relationship with Josie, and you’ve said it’s a record about healing. What was your favorite part of working on that?

I enjoyed every step of it. The writing was amazing because the songs were coming in so fast, some came in as almost complete songs while I was first playing them. It was also fun because I was able to play songs for her while they were in process, and I’ve never been able to do that with anyone before. The recording was really cool too because we did it at a barn studio in Wisconsin and my friends The Pines backed me up. They are magic. The whole thing just had major flow. I hope it resonates with other folks who need healing.

So what’s next for you?

I’ve been writing a little bit and also have been thinking about doing some more artwork. I have a bunch of shows planned for the new year and I look forward to playing these new songs live and being healthy onstage again. Looking forward to playing in Fargo! I love this time of year.

Here are his top tracks on Spotify:

Written by Jessica Kuehn

Jessica Kuehn is the web editor for Spotlight Media. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead with a degree in print journalism. When she isn't writing or correcting her and other people's grammar, Jessica is obsessively quoting The Office and reading way too many books.

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