A friend of Jennifer Lynn (Saum) reached out to see if we knew about her success in Holland. Having lived abroad for over three years, I was curious about her time growing up here and how she ended up singing in the Netherlands. Jennifer is a Barrington High School 1995 graduate.
Here is what she had to say:
When did you live in the Barrington Area?
I was born in North Barrington – last of 5 kids. 1977-1995 Then for a couple years here and there after HS. I managed Barrington Pet Shop (now Rick’s Pet Shop) through HS and for a few years after, waitressing in the evening, part-time at Harper CC, and gigging at coffee houses where I could.
Where in 60010?
I lived in Biltmore until 5th grade – every day riding my bike to the beach (back when a membership wasn’t the cost of a tuition fee! ;)
Then on Cuba Rd across from the marsh until junior year.
Then Tower Lakes with my mother after my father passed away.
Always lived near water. It seems to draw me to it! :)
When did you start to sing?
I started singing in the Barrington Children’s Choir when it started, I don’t recall what year it was. I think I was in 4th grade?
Play the piano?
I was about 3-4 I have photos playing
I LOVE drums, acoustic guitar, bass, harmonica
Where did you sing while living here?
I first started in school, musicals, was Aunt Eller in “Oklahoma!” at BHS, and sang in choir every year. I auditioned for the “Swing Choir” but didn’t make the cut…I think I wasn’t cool enough. ;-P I was a very chubby girl, and a bit of a geek. Made fun of quite a bit…not very fond memories of school!
Any teachers or coaches influential in your development or love of music?
*Peggy Crawford of BCC was a big influenc*e. I still use the scales she taught us. My mother also had a beautiful voice and sang as a church soloist. She was always singing around the house.
Earliest influence or artist?
My mom & dad for singing, my sister Cathy loaned me her guitar. She and I used to make mix tapes for each other. She opened my world to Sarah McLachlan and Joni Mitchell – 2 of my major influences even today as a performer and songwriter.
Do you have siblings?
Yes, I’m the youngest of 5 kids, all BHS graduates. My dad taught at Wheeling. Though it was financially a struggle, he moved us to Barrington because of the fine-arts programs. We were all creative in some way.
Are your parents or siblings musical?
Both my mother and father had lovely voices. My aunt is a professional pianist/organist. I’m 4th generation musician, I’m told. My sister Cathy played a little guitar, Ted a little sax, Steve a little guitar, and Beth a little piano. But I’m the only one that pursued it fully and professionally. Despite this, I do not read music. I learn by ear. It’s a blessing and a curse because I’m too undisciplined to learn since I know I just need to hear it. My mother reminded me of how I used to harmonize to everything I heard, even the vacuum cleaner’s hum. ;)
Anyone still in the Barrington Area?
My family’s grave plot is in Barrington, and my belongings are in storage in Schaumburg. I have a dear friend in Killdeer with whom I stay with when I’m in town, but otherwise, that’s the extent of it. I always make my rounds past my old homes and favorite hangouts to see how things have changed.
What did you like most about your time in the Barrington Area?
How rural and beautiful the landscape is. The homes and neighborhoods are beautiful and have so much charm. I had a horse for a few years in high school that I boarded in Wauconda where it was more affordable. I used to go every day after school with my best friend, often until late evening, cleaning stalls in exchange for lessons.
How long have you lived abroad?
I’ve been overseas on and off for nearly 4 years, officially for 3.
What took you abroad?
I was playing different gigs in different cities every weekend, one of them took me to Miami where there was a club called “Crazy Pianos” – their flagship location was in the Netherlands in a beautiful beach town called Scheveningen. I walk every day on the beach with my dog, in the dunes, hiking, riding my bicycle everywhere. I don’t have a car. Don’t need one. It’s a darling, quaint little town with a warm feeling. People smile and wave and ride their bikes everywhere! Public transportation is fantastic, so I’m able to get everywhere I need that way.
What do you like about where you are now?
The simplicity – not needing a lot. Only buying at the little grocer what will fit in my bike basket. The warmth of the people, they’re so laid back and when it’s sunny, they close up shop and go to the beach!
They’re very conscious about recycling, and not consuming more than necessary. You pay for plastic bags at the shops, so bring your own! Soda bottles are ½ the size of those in US. Less is more. I am overwhelmed when I come back to the US and go shopping… I realize we just don’t need that much to be happy!
Where would you love to be?
I love where I am…if only I could move all my friends and family here. Otherwise, if I could take all the things of Europe that I love and bring them to San Jose near my brothers, that’d be awesome!
Have you competed in other musical competitions?
I tried out for America’s Got Talent about 8 years ago and was approached by one of the judge’s friends who suggested I not do the show because of the contract. He felt I could make it on my own. The only reason I did the Voice was because the contract was NOT so binding, and they’re with the same company for which my producer is already with. Win-win situation. I had NO idea I’d make it to the final 8. I was paired up at the end against a guy from another team, the ONE guy who got over 10 million views on his YouTube video because he sounds like Bob Marley, and the world went crazy for him. I knew I didn’t have a chance! ;) Not to mention, I had no expectations to make it as an American in the Dutch version. The final 2 lives shows, I was voted #1 by the public, which blew me away. Really showed me that they’ve embraced me, despite my poor Dutch speaking.
Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol?
Ha-ha! Actually, I was just listening to Live365 tonight – Vintage Christmas hits. I really love the “Dogs Jingle Bells” & “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” – not the most thoughtful lyrics, but they make me laugh and remind me of running through the house when I was little, singing it with my brother…until my Grandma hear us and gave us a dirty look. ;)
Hopes and Wishes for 2014?
I am anxious to finish my next album in time for a spring release! I’d really like to continue playing the classy intimate gigs I’ve been doing. Small events at nice hotels, castles, special occasions. I perform with a trio sometimes and really love those shows too. I just want to keep making music for a living…as I’ve done full-time for 9 years. It’s a blessing and privilege to do something that reaches so many people and stirs emotion, even without meeting a person.
If I can make this work, along with starting a family in the next couple years, I’ll be a very happy, fulfilled camper! ☺