Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pheaturing Phile Alum Jennifer McKee

All summer long we sang a song and then we strolled that golden sand. Two sweethearts and the summer wind. Hmph! That did not happen. Welcome to the Phile, kids, I am your host, The Lone Blogger.  Did you have a good Independence Day? You didn't get burnt by any fireworks, right? I have to show you this... a Phile reader sent me this photo of Port Jefferson that was taken on the Fourth of July.

I miss Port Jeff.  Anyway, it was estimated that 150 million hot dogs were consumed on the Fourth of July, and another 50 million were eaten by a depressed Paula Deen. While 150 million sounds like a lot, that number actually dropped 3 percent from last year. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the slump in sales is due to the increase in raw material costs. Maybe hot dog sales are declining because the people who eat them regularly die. I'm excited to know there is a National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. That is a council I'd like to be a part of.  Researchers at the Center for Tobacco Control at Scotland University are working on an invention: Talking packs of cigarettes that warn smokers about the side effects of tobacco. I don't know; that actually might make me START smoking.  Microsoft is testing a smartphone that can sense your mood, using a scope that tests your mood and shares them on media sites. I don't need that. I have a wife who can test my mood.  President Obama recently gave a big speech on climate change. He believes global warming is getting worse because apparently he's sweating a lot more during his second term.  In an interview, Pat Buchanan predicted that the inflow of Hispanics from the immigration bill will break the U.S. into two countries with different cultures and different languages. Of course, as a resident of Orlando, I can't imagine what that would be like. Tourism officials in Paris have launched a campaign to make Paris friendlier to tourists. First step? Kick out the French.  Obesity has now been declared a disease. How hard is that for a doctor to diagnose?  SO, you guys know I'm a big "Doctor Who" fan, right? Well, on the 50th anniversary episode in November he is getting two new companions. I have a picture of who they are here.

Well, you know about the whole Paula Deen using the N-word, right? That's old news. CNN though had a big debate the other night which I thought was interesting. Check it out.

What about firecracker? Is that a bad word? You know what I love? When magazines and websites show pictures of celebrities with and without their makeup. So, I thought I would do the same thing on the Phile.

LOL. That looks like the face I make when I'm annoyed.  Okay, so, one of the things I like to do in my spare time is to go on Twitter and look up certain words to see what people are talking about. One of those words I look up is Foghat. This is what I found recently.

Apparently during the Stanley Cup playoffs they played "Slow Ride" a lot. Ca-ching! Haha.  It's summer as you know and one of the things I love to do in summer is swim, even though I haven't done that once this summer so far. There's as lot of phascinating swimming pools out there so for a few weeks I am showing them off to you. Take this one, for instance.

The island of Koh Samui's infamous Chaweng Beach is littered with hotels, but none of them comes close to the Library in terms of that all-out beach bliss-out factor. This elegant and modern boutique hotel is most remarkable for its amazing blood-red pool and the tall trees that seem to grow in, around and through the building. The aforementioned red pool serves as the focal point, with daybeds, Thai antiques, and an open air mini-library. Ummm... no thanks. And now, from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York here is this week's...

Top Phive O.J. Simpson Tweets About The Aaron Hernandez Case
5. Aaron - stay strong. If I beat the rap, so can you #juicewasloose
4. A.H. - see if you can get Ito #takeachanceonlance
3. After playing for Belichick, life in prison will be a relief #earlyretirment
2. Showering with guys in NFL different than showering with guys in prison. You'll see #dontdropthesoap
And the number O.J. Tweet about the Hernandez case is...
1. FYI: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit" is a registered trademark of OJ Enterprises #suehappy

What is wrong with me?! My guest today is a fine Christian woman and it's Sunday! I should know better. LOL. If you spot the Mind Phuck email me at

The 32nd and 33rd artists to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery are known as The Chalk Twins. Here's one of their pieces...

The Chalk Twins will be the guests on the Phile next Monday.

Today's guest is a Phile Alum who was the second interview I interviewed on the Phile and was last on the 300th entry a few years ago. She has a self-titled EP on iTunes and could be seen on YouTube in the short "You Don't Know Me". Please welcome back to the Phile, the lovely... Jennifer McKee!

Me: Hello, Jennifer, how are you? Welcome back to the Phile.

Jennifer: Hi, Jason! Thank you so much for having me back! It's been too long since we chatted!

Me: So, in the Phile's history, five years ago you were my second guest but the first musician I had on the Phile, and now 95% of my guests are musicians. You had one three song EP out, which we'll talk about in a bit, but in the past few years you have put your music on the back burner. What happened?

Jennifer: I have still been writing and performing here and there, but I kind of got sucked into the acting world. I've been acting, producing, and writing and screenplays and scripts for TV. I really feel like you go where momentum takes you and the doors kept opening up in that area, so I have just been going with it and having the time of my life. Music is still very core to who I am, and this is just a season.

Me: I know you have done some acting. You were in a video for a band called Viper Creek Club, right? Where did you meet this band, Jen?

Jennifer: I had heard about them, they have quite an underground indie following, but never met them until the casting director for the music video saw my acting headshot and resume and asked me to be a part of the project. It was a blast!!!!

Me: Do you like acting more than singing?

Jennifer: I like them both so much it's hard to compare. I can't imagine not being able to do them both. They are both a creative outlet. It's like comparing apples and oranges though. I love telling stories... whether it's through the lyrics I've written in a song, or telling the story to an audience through performing it, or writing it in a screenplay, or acting out the story. I'm a storyteller, plain and simple.

Me: You also did this video for something which I can't figure out what it's for. The premise is you and a Luke Bryan look-a-like go on a picnic and you're dressed like you were in a 1950's movie, and you eat a film strip or something. I have a picture of you and this guy here...

Me: What is that about?

Jennifer: Ha! I have never even made the connection to him looking like Luke Bryan until you mentioned it! He was such a nice guy and easy to work with. It was very a Seattle based media company. They made the commercial to advertise what they could do for someone's business (marketing, commercials, etc.)

Me: You also were in two independent movies as well. What were they, Jen?

Jennifer: They were small indie short films that were a lot of fun. Indie films have a raw quality to them that is so enticing to me as a storyteller. The people working on them are usually just so thrilled to be there and getting to express their creativity through the avenue of film. One of the films was invited to several film festvals and was very well received.

Me: I just watched your short film you were in called "You Don't Know Me". You were drinking, smoking and you even said the F word. The only thing it was missing was a cat fight. You did get smacked across the face though. Was that short fun to make?

Jennifer: It was fun and challenging. I got a call the day before filming asking me to step in and fill the role. I had to memorize lines fast! It was a continual shot with no edits which means if you mess up you have to start all over from the beginning. I didn't want to be the one to make everyone reset the scene so there was a little pressure to get it right. Some friends of mine produced it and when they called I was more than happy to jump in.

Me: You don't actually smoke or swear in real life, right?

Jennifer: That character is so different from me it's not even funny! It was out of my normal comfort zone for sure. I've had to learn that in acting, I can't always play characters that are like me... or that would do and say things that I would do. In the beginning of my acting career, I was really nervous and worried about how the people that knew me, would react to me playing different roles. I've had to work through that and learn to get over it. Because you are always going to be judged by someone for something. The characters I play are not me. The things that my character says to her friend, I would never say to anyone. I've actually never smoked a cigarette. They were herbal (no nicotine) cigarettes and I didn't even "smoke" them. I pretended.

Me: Were you hesitant smoking? How many herbal cigarettes did you go through?

Jennifer: The night before filming, when I read the script, I called the director/producer and told him that not only did I not smoke, I didn't even know how! So he picked up the herbal cigarettes for me. We actually shot the whole thing in just a few takes so I didn't use many cigarettes at all.

Me: It looks convincing, Jen, so good job.

Me: Remind the readers, and myself where you are from, Jen. Do you get to travel a lot?

Jennifer: My roots are in southern Alabama, but I spent my teen years in Northwest Washington. That's where I currently live and I love it! I go through certain phases where I travel more than others. I haven't traveled for a bit due to some projects I'm working on right now, but I'm getting the itch to pack my bags!

Me: How is your family? You have three boys, am I right?

Jennifer: My family is great! They are so supportive and we are really a team in all we do. I do have three boys. They keep me busy, that's for sure. But they are three of my favorite people on the planet. They keep me laughing.

Me: What do they think of your acting?

Jennifer: They aren't quite sure what to think. One of my son's saw me in a commercial where I was holding another guy's hand and he looked really intently at my husband, to see what his reaction was going to be. He was making sure it was all okay! LOL. Of course it was, so he relaxed. To them, I'm just mom, and as they get older, they seem to think that I'm not really that cool... LOL. They love all the perks of my career though (free tickets to certain shows and events, and meeting other industry people).

Me: They are musicians in their own right... are they still playing?

Jennifer: They are all still playing. I have one son who just eats, breathes, and sleeps music. In his bedroom, alone, he has a drum set, vibes, keyboard, microphones and recording equipment, guitars, congas, etc. He is only 9 years old and has more musical talent than I could dream of. He's a musician through and through.

Me: Your oldest son had his first song published by ASCAP at age 6, if I remember rightly. What is that song called?

Jennifer: The song is "God You Made the World". He recorded it and now, as a 12 year old, when he listens to it, he gets so embarrassed... but I'm still so proud. :)

Me: Have you guys released it?

Jennifer: We never released it to radio or anything. It's on file so if someone wanted to buy the rights to use it, they could. We did mail a CD of it out to every family member we knew though!

Me: I have a 'band' called Strawberry Blondes Forever and we have two singles out... "Bicycle of Oppression" and "Kelly Clarkson". I wrote the lyrics, which are kinda corny. Thank God I am working with a talented musician and collaborator. I bet your son is a lot talented then I am.

Jennifer: Ha! You have so much talent in your gene pool. I'm sure you can hold your own! :) Corny lyrics can be the best!

Me: And is your husband still playing keyboards for you?

Jennifer: He does play on all my recordings and in my live gigs. But, I am planning to start doing some more acoustic shows that will just be guitars. He will definitely enjoy the break. He's more of a behind the scenes kind of guy.

Me: You studied improv at Ryan Stiles' Unfront Theater. I almost went to improve school in the 90s, but was too lazy. Was it fun, and did you learn a lot?

Jennifer: It was a BLAST! I loved it. It really helped my acting. I think everyone should take at least one improv class. It really helps you in all areas of life. I learned so much and I am so glad I took all of those classes. The group of actors at the Upfront are amazingly talented... some of the best in the business. They are some of the nicest, most talented, funniest people I know.

Me: Did you get to meet Ryan?

Jennifer: I did get to meet Ryan. He's a very nice guy.

Me: I have to mention your self-titled EP, Jen. I love the songs on it and listen to "Happily Ever After" a few times in the the last few years. Did you write all the songs on that EP?

Jennifer: Thank you so much! I'm a romantic idealist at heart, so I wrote "Happily Ever After". My husband and I co-wrote "Do You Love Me Still" and my dad and I co-wrote "I See Your Daddy".

Me: The song "I See Your Daddy" gives me tears every time I hear it. Even though my dad passed away in 2000, I am very lucky I am always seeing photo's of him and fans still send me pictures of him I've never seen. Your mom passed away from a car accident, right? Is your dad still alive though?

Jennifer: I do remember us talking about your father and what a legacy he has left! You are so blessed! My mom was killed in a car accident when I was a teenager. My dad is still alive and has been such a support in my life. My mom left an incredible legacy and I strive every day to live up to it. I was blessed to have her as long as I did.

Me: So, who is "I See Your Daddy" about? Last time you were here you said it's based on a song your dad wrote for your mom, am I right?

Jennifer: My dad originally wrote the song "I See Your Mama" about me and my sister; about how when he looked at us, he saw her in our eyes, and if he was missing her, he could see her in us. I took the song, added another verse and bridge and changed a few lyrics so that it could be sung from a woman's perspective. I have had a lot of people have an intense emotional response to that song. If it can touch someone's heart, then that makes all the hard work, and exposing that vulnerability, worth it. 

Me: I know your music is on hold, but you're still writing song lyrics I hope. You ARE writing for TV and movies though. Did you take script writing classes?

Jennifer: I have never taken script writing classes but I have studied script writing a lot on my own, and I have a wonderful co-writer who is so gifted and some great friends and advisors who are wonderful script writers. I do write a lot! Somedays it's a blog post, or a song, or script. I have to always be telling a story.

Me: What kinda stories are you writing? Love stories, biopics?

Jennifer: I just completed a feature length romantic comedy. I'm now working on a period piece dramatic feature length film, an indie style drama, two sitcoms, and a hour long drama/comedy.

Me: What about writing a novel, Jen?

Jennifer: My initial response wants to be "no way, never!" but I've said that before about screenwriting, songwriting, and blogging and look how that worked out for me! LOL. I will never say never again. Who knows... if the right story pops into my head...

Me: You and your sister were selling organic oils. Is that oils that you can put on your skin? You never did send me a sample. LOL. Are you two still working together?

Jennifer: We do still work together. It was an organic, all natural cosmetics company that specialized in lotions and tanning lotions/sprays. The business began taking off faster than we anticipated and we had to put some things on hold because it began to really distract me from my other priorities. We have scaled back and restructuring and planning. I hope to move forward in the future though! I would be more than happy to send a sample! Just give me your address :)

Me: What is the website where a Phile reader can purchase these oils?

Jennifer: Right now, that's all under construction. I will keep you posted!

Me: Any other business ventures you have planned or doing?

Jennifer: You have no idea what can of worms you opened by asking that! LOL. Just in the last 10 months, my husband and I have started businesses! Some retail stores (consignment for woman, furniture consignment, consignment warehouse, auction house, entertainment production company, etc.) We have an amazing team around us that helps run these businesses. They are doing well and are growing so fast! We feel so blessed. We plan to expand more in the near future.

Me: Holy crap. You are so busy. Jen, thanks for being back on the Phile. I really wanted you back as it was five years this year you first were here. And you haven't been here since 2010 when you were on the Phile's 300th entry. I really hope you release more music soon, Jen. Don't put your music on the backburner forever. You are going back to your music sometime, right?

Jennifer: Thank you so much! This has been my pleasure. I hope to release some more music very soon! I have been playing around with different styles and sounds and can't wait to let you hear it!

Me: Alright, so, this year I am asking random questions thanks to a game called Tabletopics. What's one thing you've done that you'd like to erase? And don't say being on the Phile. LOL.

Jennifer: Wow! That's a tough one. And no, the answer wouldn't be being on the Phile... LOL. I'm a forward thinking person and rarely look back... I'm always envisioning the future. I feel like every thing I've ever done has made me who I am today, and I've learned from my mistakes. The biggest regrets are when I've hurt someone and never meant to. I truly love people and want to do everything I can to make those around me feel loved, valued, and important. So, any thing I have ever done or said that would give a wrong impression of how I value people, would be something to erase.

Me: That's really nice, Jen. Mention your websites and I wish you continued success, and come down to Orlando with your family for crying out loud. Take care, Jen. Release more music!!!

Jennifer: I would LOVE to come to Orlando. Maybe I could book a few gigs and make it a "work" trip. Let's chat and see what we can come up with!,,

Me: Thanks, Jen, take care.

There, about about does it for another entry of the Phile. The Phile will be back tomorrow with Phile Alum Dean Povinsky from the Canadian band Wildlife then next Sunday with Phile Alum Shanna Delaney, lead singer for the band Bethesda and on Monday The Chalk Twins. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. Strawberry Blondes Forever!

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