Texas-born Jenna Paulette is blazing a country music trail with her distinctly “New West” style grounded in unequivocal Texas roots.
This article first appeared in Texas Lifestyle Magazine on September 23, 2019.
Paulette grew up in the Dallas area working alongside her grandfather on the family’s cattle farm. As one of four kids, her parents worked to provide the most stable home life possible. It was on this Dallas ranch she learned what it means to work hard and to turn dreams into reality.
In high school, the aspiring musician recognized the stark contrast between her hand-me-down truck parked alongside a parade of shiny new BMWs. This would only fuel her passion and inspire her “New West” sound. Paulette created a sound distinctly her own while remaining authentic to her traditional country-western music heritage.
The music video for Paulette’s single, “Wild Like The West,” was filmed in Texas with true cowboy, Dusty Whitford and is featured on her newly released EP, “Modern Cowgirl: Volume 1.” Her music has been previously featured on Apple Music’s Breaking Country Playlist and Google Play’s Country’s New Crop Playlist.
Paulette works with Step Up Women’s Network, which provides mentorship to girls and women by inspiring them to dream about endless possibilities of where their lives can go.
Have you always loved country music?
Always! I attribute a lot of that to my parents. They have always listened to country music. I also think it has a lot to do with the life I was exposed to—Texas, cattle and cowboys.I was listening to music that made me love and appreciate the life I was living. It goes into my soul and made me want to allow other people to love and appreciate life, and the beauty of it, through my life and music.
What’s the “New West” sound?
To me, it’s representing the west and it’s traditions, ideals and sounds, sonically and visually, in today’s world. Keeping alive the romance, grit and beauty that is the western way of life in a way that is easy for people (whether they are in the cattle industry, rodeo or just love that way of life) to understand.
Any songs you’ve written inspired by Texas?
Yes, all of them in a way, it’s just what comes out of me. But specifically “Midnight Cowboy.” I got the idea on a plane to El Paso to shoot music videos last year. It’s for the one at home holding down the fort while they are away. The goal of music is relatability—to bring people together based on common experiences and put into words what they cannot express, emotionally. My vehicle for that is what I represent, the modern cowgirl.
Why the move to Nashville?
People on my team said, “You can’t win if you aren’t present,” and they were right. You can’t build the kind of team you need and have the relationships necessary to do this thing on a high level and not live here. So my husband and I made the move and as much as I miss home, I know it was the right thing to do…so much is happening right now that never would have happened without making that decision.
Since moving, what have you missed most about Texas?
Being near my family and being more involved with our ranch. I think our ranch would be different if I were able to be there to help more. In some ways, I regret that but I know I will have cattle of my own and an opportunity to do that part of what I was made to do when the time is right. The other thing I miss terribly is great Mexican food and the pride I feel when I cross the state line and Kolaches on Sunday mornings before church. My dad always went early to get them and we’d eat in the car on the way to church—it’s one of those little things I miss that you just can’t find in Nashville.
What’s the best part of playing back in Texas?
People get me at home in Texas—it’s a pride thing. I am one of them and you can feel it in the room that they get the life I am singing about
Cover courtesy Jenna Paulette
Lisa Davis lives in Austin and is the Editorial Assistant for Texas Lifestyle Magazine and an honors graduate of Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations.