Interview Transcript Available Below
Jenny Oaks Baker is the daughter of Elder Dallin H. Oaks (4:15) Jenny started playing violin at age 4 and she says that her faith evolved as her talent evolved. She saw her prayers answered as she performed and was able to be comforted and to do her best. She was also strengthened by priesthood blessings. She received her Bachelor’s degree from The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and her Master’s degree at Julliard. She met her husband while attending Juilliard and they were married in the temple. She was invited to join the National Symphony and continued with them until her 4th child was born. Heavenly Father has blessed her with lots of opportunities to perform since that time. She was nominated for a Grammy for her “When you Wish upon a Star” album. She talks about receiving her Grammy nomination and how grateful she was for that honor and how it opened doors for her. She realizes the gift that it was, and is grateful for her affiliation with Shadow Mountain Records. Her husband and family help to keep her centered. She is busy raising them, keeping things done at home, and doing her music on the side. 2:55 – spoke of re-evaluating her music career.
6:26 – She practiced violin hours and hours a day. Her patriarchal blessing indicated that Heavenly Father had a plan for her. She says her parents encouraged her to reach her potential. She is very grateful that the Lord has lit her path.
8:06 – How do we encourage children in their musical talents? She always hated practicing, but knew she needed to practice to play well. She loved to perform and so she would practice to perform. Her mother would set up home performances, community performances and many opportunities for her to perform, which helped her to improve. Those performances kept her going. The performances keep her practicing. She LOVES to perform. Now, she only practices when she has a performance. She doesn’t practice now just to practice, due to busy home, children. As she grew, it became more about sharing her gift with others and reaching her potential.
11:44 – Finding her gift for music: The moment she found her “gift” was when she was asked to play for Pres. Hinckley’s 90th birthday celebration in the conference center. Since she knew she loved to perform, and she wanted to showcase her talent. She was 22 and just completed her Masters. She offered some violin virtuoso pieces as options. President Hinckley requested something slower and more well known. This was a disappointment, and wondered how that would “show her skills”. But she offered “Believe me if all those endearing young charms”, and “Hoedown from Rodeo”. Pres. Hinckley requested only the slow piece and she was really worried. Before the performance, the producer spoke to those performing and reminded them that the program wasn’t about them, but it was about President Hinckley and bringing people together and feeling the unity of the church. The chosen song fit so beautifully into the program. It was a great lesson in following the prophet, and that he knew more about music than she did, even though she had just graduated from Juilliard. This helped me become a different artist. How can my music impact people and touch them and bring them together and help them feel Gods love. It’s not about “showing people how I play”, it is a bigger purpose. When she needs to be reminded what she is doing it for – she says, “The Lord will have a humble Jenny”.
16:40 – Being an instrument in the Lords hands: It’s not about us, but about how we share our gifts. This is a good message for lay leaders, about how they can learn and grow and serve and become an instrument in Gods hand. She relayed a memory of a talk by her father to missionaries, using a pen as an object lesson. The pen does what the master requires. He encouraged them to be an instrument in the Lord’s hand. We can be more effective as a tool for Him.
17:30 – Blessings of family performing together Most shows are with the family. This is a great blessing and meaningful to them as a family, as well as being impactful for audiences. There is a lot to remember, so that everything goes ok (hair clips, belts, socks, matching clothes).
Don’t focus on the performance:
- Not enough time to focus on how the performance was, just moving on to the next thing.
- That seems to be how a leader would be, not how well it went, just focusing on what is coming next.
- Don’t dwell on failures, just work towards next thing coming.
Perspective learned from her father: Even when he says things that might upset people, cause contention or hate mail, he continues. He knows that he is on the Lord’s errand.
- 20:40 – Remember we are the tool, as the leader in any organization.
- 21:10 – Rules of performing in the Baker house · Work first, play later.
- Practice first, then homework – kids like to drag on the homework for hours, so they stress importance of doing the hard things first (practice).
- Be good.
- Keep the commandments.
- You are blessed when you do what’s right.
22:40 – Leadership principles from UVU “SHEtalks”: This was a great the opportunity to speak with so many talented women. Thankfully it was not about pushing women to work outside the home, but more pro-womanhood, pro-motherhood, appreciating women, and encouraging them to better themselves. It was a great event offering encouragement in whatever women are doing, not just a working mom conference but a celebration of women, motherhood and our distinct gifts. She prayed really hard to develop her 15 minute presentation.
1) Prepare yourself – Know your voice. You need to know your own gifts and talents. Until you know that, you can’t share that. Heavenly father knows our gifts and knows ways to help us develop those gifts.
2) Give of yourself – be willing to walk the path that Heavenly Father has in store. Don’t let fear or inadequacies hold you back. Rely on the Lord and know that He will bless you and make up the difference. You don’t have to have a “title” or calling to give.
3) Believe in your voice.
– 28:15 – How do you balance your talent with your home responsibilities?
1) Rely on companion/spouse,
2) Rely on your family.
3) Rely on the Lord.
4) Just do your best.
29:05 – Light the World campaign
She will be doing a music video with her 4 children “The First Noel” and sharing it. She believes it will be on December 7th. There is also a discussion about a ‘Live’ facebook concert. Video production is so fun, but so hard. Requires a lot of time and energy and people to make it happen.
33:18 – How has leadership/music made you a better disciple:
- Taught me to rely more on my Heavenly Father .
- Although performing comes with the possibility of failure, I need to trust Him.
- I am aware of when I am rescued by Him.
- He hears my prayers, He is there to help us when we ask for help.
- Blessed to feel of God’s love for the people in the audience.
- To be a vessel for God’s love.
Kurt Francom (LS): Today I have the opportunity to sit down with the Grammy nominated violinist Jenny Oaks Baker. [00:05:00] How are you Jenny?
Jenny: I’m great, thank you.
LS: Nice. Does it ever get old to hear Grammy nominated violinist?
Jenny: No, I wish it said Grammy award winning.
LS: Right? Someday.
Jenny: I think most people just hear Grammy and then they don’t really listen, so that’s great. Now I’ve just outed myself.
LS: Help me understand the world of being Grammy nominated, or how the Grammy’s work? I’m not, I’m not a musician by any means, but is that you’re super bowl, is that what you always hope for? Obviously you want to produce great music, but how did that come about?
Jenny: Oh wow. I mean it definitely opened doors [00:05:30] and I’m grateful for it. It’s really hard to get a nomination or a Grammy award, without being with a major record label, so it was really just a great blessing that I know my music’s worthy of multiple Grammy’s, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get another nomination or an award because , I’m not with a major record label like Sony or BMI, so I kind of slipped in with the way it happened, and I know it was just a great blessing. A few years [00:06:00] back when I released my Disney album, the Grammy voting block, it’s really hard to find out who they are, like you’re basically running for President without knowing who the voters are.
LS: Oh wow.
Jenny: And so it works if you’re with a major record label because then they just put all their block votes. They’re not supposed to but yeah.
LS: It’s just how it works.
Jenny: Definitely happens. All of the people and their company vote for the certain ones that I’m pretty sure are pre-determined. Wow am I going to get sued?
Jenny: I don’t know this is happening I just imagine that it does.
Jenny: And so I don’t have [00:06:30] that voting block but the Grammy people have this social, this kind of social network that they put online for the first time, where you could, for the first time you could reach the Grammy voters, so I was able to share my Wish Upon a Star album with Grammy voters. This was something people were able to do for the first time. And so they were able to listen to it, they liked it and they voted for it, and it got the nomination. After that, they kind of put the Kibosh on that system.
LS: Oh really?
Jenny: So now to get your, get the word out, [00:07:00] the indie artists, I’m not an indie artist, but I’m kind of in, I’m not with a major label so it’s kind of like you in Indie artist, now you have to kind of reach out to people through Facebook groups. And it’s kind of got flooded with Indie artists, so it’s really difficult to manage now. So I’m just grateful to Heavenly Father for gave me that gift, and, grateful it opened doors. I know my albums are worthy of multiple Grammys, but I’m just not sure that, it will happen.
LS: And really, just like all things in this world, [00:07:30] things are changing, systems are changing.
Jenny: Yeah, exactly.
LS: So how exactly have you had to reevaluate your approach to music cause now it’s like okay what am I going to put on Youtube, what video am I going to put together.
LS: How can I reach an online audience rather than it’s just, you know, grab a major record label?
Jenny: Yeah well I mean I’m with Shadow Mountain Records and just Deseret Books recording company and I’m grateful to them because they kind of worry about that sort of thing. I have release a number of singles on my own, a lot of them with my children, [00:08:00] and I’ve done videos of those signals, so i’ve kind of entered a tiny bit, but I’m so busy being a mom and being a performer that I don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out the, the whole business side of things cause I’m just so busy, you know, trying to make sure my kids get their music lessons and they don’t miss their soccer games, and we have dinner on the table, and we have laundry. So, it would be great if I had a full time business person. My husband helps me where he can but he has a full time job. So we just pick our battles and I [00:08:30] just release things now and again and Deseret Book, I have a new album coming out with them in the spring and they have a great job of distributing that. So I kind of don’t worry too much about it and hopefully people find my music however they find it.
LS: Yeah, that’s great. Now tell us just, maybe there’s some audience members that may have heard your music but you name doesn’t jump out to them that connects to that music. So, tell us about your background. How would you describe the development of your own personal testimony?
Jenny: So, I’m a violinist, I started playing when I was 4, [00:09:00] and really my faith definitely evolved as my playing evolved, my parents were really great about having, helping me to know that I could rely on the Lord, and before every concert I would pray that I would play my best, and then I would see my prayers immediately answered on stage. I’ve had experiences where I was just super super nervous and Heavenly Father would comfort me and, I know that Heavenly Father is there for us when we reach out and ask him for help, so all along the way, definitely, [00:09:30] I would get Priesthood blessings, and my faith was being strengthened by experiences, some of which would be when I would fail, and I would pick myself up and Heavenly Father would help me be better the next time. And a lot of times when I would succeed, I would be grateful for those blessings. So definitely my faith was growing alongside, at the same time as my musical development was happening. I ended up going to the Curtis State of Music in Philadelphia, which is one of the world’s best music schools. I got my bachelor’s, and I went to [00:10:00] Juilliard for my masters. Um, got married in the temple, to my husband, after my first year at Juilliard, and then we started having children. I got into the national symphony, and then I resigned from the symphony after our 4th child was born because I felt like I was supposed to be home more with our children. And then from that point on Heavenly Father blessed me with a lot of opportunities to, to be a soloist, and hopefully bring people the spirit more into their lives with my music.
Jenny: And recordings, my recordings [00:10:30] kind of took off from the time I left the national symphony, cause I had a little more time to devote to those recordings and performances. So it’s been a life.
Jenny: A beautiful life in music.
LS: Awesome. And you mentioned you started playing when you were 4. Was there a moment when you were growing up, maybe in your teenage years where you thought, “Oh, this is it. This is what my purpose is and the direction I’m going”?
Jenny: I think it happened before my teenage years. It really had to cause I mean, I was practicing hours a day, you know. As a child, and, I’m grateful I didn’t figure it out as a teenager, I was kind of figuring [00:11:00] it out along the way, and my patriarchal blessing definitely helped me know that Heavenly Father had a plan for me and I better be prepared for it, and I better do my best to reach my potential. And my parents were really great because they didn’t have a motive for themselves to push me in music. It was not so they could, you know. My mother was totally a believer in, a sweet stage mother and would always brag about me and try to convince people to have me come play placed, but she really wasn’t [00:11:30] doing it for herself in any way. It was just because she was so proud of me and she wanted everyone to hear me play, and she was just so sweet about it. And so, my parents would encourage me to, to reach my potential, and that was really key because it was all about practicing as much as I could so I would be prepared for whatever the Lord had in store for me. And I’m just so grateful that heavenly father did have something in store for me, and he kind of would light my path one step at a time in front. He never gave me the [00:12:00] whole picture but he would inspire me and my parents , and then me and my husband as we kind of took those steps forward to try to figure out what it was that Heavenly father wanted us to do.
LS: Yeah. You mentioned reaching your potential and your parents sort of, encouraging you towards your potential , and I’m just thinking about the many parents out there who are listening, that have the youth that are in the, like myself, my own experience, I regret not following through with my piano lessons, and I didn’t find any passion in there, but in the moment I really hated it, right? [00:12:30]
LS: And so how did your, whether, something that you learned from your parents or something that you’ve found that is, is being a parent of encouraging that child to continue to play, or to continue to discover their musical ability, and to discover their potential, when I mean were there moments where you just didn’t want to practice anymore?
Jenny: Well I’ve always hated practicing but I knew that it was a necessary part of playing well, and I wanted to play well, and I always loved performing, so for me my parents would, my mom especially, my dad was pretty busy, and he was very supportive [00:13:00] financially and emotionally and otherwise, but my mom was always there but, she knew that I loved performing and so she would set up performances, however she could. They would set up home recitals for me to work towards. I would enter competitions that would make me work hard. When I was younger she would even invite the neighborhood kids over and give them cookies so they could be my little audience.
LS: Oh awesome.
Jenny: So I would practice in front of them and feel like I was performing. So she would do whatever anytime anyone came to the house, she would just like force them to listen to me [00:13:30] perform, and, anyways, so she would create performances for me, and it was the performances that kept me going cause I loved performing. And then with my, now, I basically practice only when I have a performance, which is every other day it seems, but, so that keeps me performing, or keeps me practicing. And I really don’t practice just to practice. When I was younger I did a set amount of hours everyday, but now I just practice for the next performance, which is just as needed basis, and luckily I have so many performances [00:14:00] that keep me going.
LS: Yeah sure, sure and would you say that those performances I love that you, it sounds like you mother was always encouraging you towards that next performance, because that was a level that you pull out the measuring stick and see where you’re at. Did you get, was it some type of, natural high that you got from those performances, was it just putting yourself out there? What was it about the performances that drove you?
Jenny: Wow, I’m gonna look really amazing now, but I love being in front of people apparently and just, doing things that are [00:14:30] super difficult being able to accomplish that goal, like, if you’re learning a new song and you work really hard and then you conquer that song and then you get to display it to the world or something.
Jenny: I mean I don’t if thats great in a gospel sense. We shouldn’t be doing things just to receive the praise of men, but
LS: I think I see what you’re saying.
Jenny: As a performer that’s just a big part of it, and I love talking in church. I don’t enjoy preparing my talk in church [00:15:00] but, yeah. Let me get up in front of people for any reason and I would be more than happy to, wow. Okay, I’m amazingly deep, aren’t I? But you know what, that’s what makes performers performers. That’s what they enjoy doing and when I was younger it was definitely just, look at me, look what I’ve done, and that’s just the way it was. As I grew up, as I matured, it definitely became more about sharing God’s love for others. Like as, when you’re young, [00:15:30] I’m not sure you can have that as your, as your motivating factor, or maybe some people can but, it comes with some maturity. And the moment that I really found that, not I mean found what I feel kind of my gift was given for was President Hinckley’s 90th birthday celebration I was invited to be a performing and um, in this, it was the first production they had [00:16:00] at the conference center. And um, President Hinckley put some directors in charge of producing it and they contacted me and they said Jenny what would you like to perform and I was like 22 years old, so I was young. I just graduated from Juilliard with my masters and I said, well how about, how about I play some really flashy violin (foreign language) pieces, like introduction (foreign language) or Carbon Fantasy. [00:16:30] And that are pretty well known violin flashy pieces that are just fun, and would show off my skills.
Jenny: In front of 25,000 people and then people broadcasting throughout the world. And then the director’s took that to President Hinckley and he said well how about something slower and something more well known. And I was like, ehh.
LS: That’s not fun.
Jenny: That’s not going to show my skills. But I mean it was his birthday party and, anyways so I suggested, Believe Me [00:17:00] If I Wasn’t Enduring Young Charms which is on my album Where Love Is that i was just releasing at that point, to be followed by Hoedown From Rodeo which is fast and would show my skills. And then President Hinckley decided to just have me play Believe Me If I Wasn’t Enduring Young Charms which is a lovely, like love ballad. It’s very epic and celtic and very golden. But I was really worried that everyone would know that I could not play the violin well. But I got to the dress rehearsal and the producers explained to us that the program was not about us [00:17:30] as performers, and I’m like, what? What are you saying here? But that is was about President Hinckley and bringing people together and feeling this uniting of the church, and feeling the spirit and I was, as I was the program unfold and how Believe Me that song fit so beautifully into the program. I was so grateful I was playing that and not one of these silly, flashy ritualistic pieces because it was perfect for the program and it was such a great lesson and number one following the prophet, and he knew more about [00:18:00] music than I did even though I just graduated from Juilliard. And I was grateful I learned that lesson back stage instead of on stage. But it was also a great lesson for me that, my music can be impactful without showing off my claim. And I think from that point on, it like, I became a different artist, because before that it was like about showing my skills, showing what kind of a violinist I was, and then it became more about, how can my music impact people [00:18:30] and touch them and bring them together and help them feel God’s love and really make a difference in their lives? And that was kind of the moment where I learned that lesson and I’ve been grateful that since then I’ve had the opportunity to play all kinds of music that I think impacts people and touches them on a much deeper level than just showing them how I play.
Jenny: It’s a bigger purpose.
LS: Yeah. And I would imagine for performers that like, as you began it sort of felt awkward saying things like, “I like being in front of people and I want this” cause that, [00:19:00] I know that’s not what you mean.
Jenny: I don’t think I’ve ever like, admitted that, but clearly that’s why I did it while I was growing up, that was my motivation. But it was also to reach my potential, whatever that was. I didn’t know what it was, but I felt like I was supposed to reach my potential so I could be ready for whatever the Lord had in store for me.
LS: And I think that a perform is always finding that balance of, “yeah I like being in front of people, but I like it because I’m sharing a gift that’s impacting them.” Right?
LS: And changing them.
LS: And not just so they can sit back and think, “Wow, she’s great.” Right? [00:19:30]
Jenny: Yeah. But definitely when I was younger, it was, I didn’t quite figure that out.
LS: Yeah. And I’m glad you shared that evolution of your purpose of practicing, cause early on that sort of, maybe as a young child think that all of us are sort of, in a different spot, as a developing teen, as we’re finding our gifts and talents and why we do things. And then as we go into the world, and we see how it’s not about us anymore, it’s about how we share our gifts. And I think that’s such a strong leadership principle. That even I think of the lay [00:20:00] leaders that when you first get in these callings, and it’s a little uncomfortable, you don’t know what to do, you wonder if people are judging you with, oh he’s not as good as the last guy, or the last gal or whatever, but then you realize that it’s not about you, and that you’re simply a tool, a vessel that’s, that’s moving forward, yeah.
Jenny: I remember hearing my father, Elder Oaks teaching some missionaries, and he took a pen in his hand, and he said he encouraged the missionaries to be an instrument in the Lord’s hand, and how when they’re an instrument, [00:20:30] they’re expected to do exactly what the Master would have them do, like, a pencil that writes whatever it wants outside of the hand of the Master is not very helpful tool. So, to be an instrument in the hand, you need to do what the Lord would have you do.
LS: Hmmm. Love that.
Jenny: Help you be more effective in your leadership.
LS: You’re more of the, the violin than the violinist in the grand scheme of things, right?
LS: Yeah, that’s great. How have you seen that concept, I mean do you sometimes have to remind yourself that maybe [00:21:00] you’ve performed in venues like the Stadium of Fire I mean, huge venues, maybe even bigger than that where you are, do you ever have to come back, to regroup and remind yourself, this is about the crowd and how they’ll be impacted here.
Jenny: Well, the Lord will have a humble Jenny, and I definitely am not a perfect player all the time. Definitely, and that is good because it keeps you working hard, it keeps you humble. I’m just so busy that I have very little time to [00:21:30] just think back to how great a performance was. It’s really onto the next one, let’s make sure we’re ready for the next one. Also, when i’m performing, right now, I, my children are very musically talented, and I perform most of my shows right now with them, which has just been such a blessing, because I’m no longer leaving them to perform, I’m bringing them along with me.
Jenny: And it’s been really impactful for audiences and really meaningful for us as a family. But like making sure that everything that, [00:22:00] they’re all ready with their own music, we remember all their instruments, we have all their hairclips. We remember all the dresses coordinate or at least don’t clash and I remember my little boys belt, who like, men have to remember belts. Like I don’t even think of like, the man clothes.
LS: The struggles real Jenny.
Jenny: No it is. Like you have to remember the socks and the belt and everyone’s heels and my kids they grow, so every other month it seems like they need new clothes, [00:22:30] and then they might not coordinate with the right colors, and it’s, anyway, just making sure that the whole show comes off and then they actually remember their music, and well that I remember my music, because I’ve practiced with them so much that sometimes I remember their music and not my music and, so I don’t have a lot of time to be like, “Oh, aren’t we great.”
LS: Oh, right, right.
Jenny: So I mean and sometimes most of the time it’s like, oh I missed that. So my kids never seem to miss things, I sometimes have so many things I’m keeping track of [00:23:00] that I forget what I’m playing.
LS: Yeah. And I think that relates so well to, you know, an experience of being in a lay leadership. I think most Bishops would describe their Sunday like, I’m just lucky I got to the end survived, or Relief Society president who just feels like it’s all coming at them. And realizing you’re just focusing on the next performance, the next thing, right?
LS: And that’s almost a good spot to be in wouldn’t you say?
Jenny: Well yeah, cause you can’t just kind of dwell on any failures you’ve had, you just have to pick yourself up and do your best and like. I’ve kind of likened it, [00:23:30] my father, I just admire so much, he has such a great perspective, but, sometimes he’ll, you know, give a talk or something that upsets different people, but he knows he’s on the Lord’s errand, he’s on the right side. He’s doing exactly what he knows he was inspired to do. And so he just doesn’t worry about it when people, you know, get angry with him or write him hate notes or he just, cause he knows he’s on the Lord’s side, so why does he have to worry about anything else?
LS: Yeah, sounds like perspective [00:24:00] is important right?
LS: And understanding. And I think that applies to so much, I mean, it’s so easy to worry about, you know as my time serving as a Bishop just defaulting to the group that’s sort of has a problem with me, doesn’t like how I’m doing this or that. But to really just step back and say, I’m the tool, I’m the violin or the instrument, right? And moving forward and doing the best you can.
Jenny: I hope those Bishop’s can understand and realize how essential their role and their leadership is, and how much 99.9% of the people [00:24:30] in the ward appreciate it.
Jenny: And honor them for their great sacrifice.
LS: I’m glad you mentioned that. Going back to your, the, this life you have with your children and performing and things, if we were to have a panel of your children here, what would they say are the hard and fast rules, of performing, and growing in passion to music in the Baker household?
Jenny: Oh well in my family growing up it was always work first play later. And my siblings joked that it was work first play never. But definitely we [00:25:00] liked to play, but I try really hard not to let my kids do the fun things until their practicing is done. Like once their practicing is done, then they can, you know, they can read their book, or they can do their homework not that homework is the fun thing.
LS: It’s got to be done, right?
Jenny: I don’t want them to do their homework first cause homework can take all day if you want it to. Like you can sit and mess around and have your homework take all day. And my kids probably would if I let them do it first cause homework’s easier than practicing. So I make them do the hard things first, [00:25:30] and then they can go clean their room as their break. Hooray for them.
Jenny: So work first, play later, and just be good. Keep the commandments. In this there is safety in this there is peace. That you’re blessed when you do what’s right, and you don’t want to miss out on those blessings.
LS: You had as I was researching, preparing for this interview, a sister in my audience mentioned that you had an opportunity to speak at a UVU conference. I need to get the name right, [00:26:00] but it’s a women in leadership or something.
Jenny: She Talks.
LS: She Talks? Oh that’s catchy.
Jenny: Like Ted Talks.
LS: So how did that come to be and how did you approach that event?
Jenny: Well, I was invited to be a part of a leadership panel along with some incredible women like Shannon Hale, who’s the Newberry award winning author. And I saw quickly began chatbooks that, Brooke Walker who’s the On KSL, on Studio 5. Oh, Deadra [00:26:30] Henderson? who’s in the Utah state senate. Maybe there’s other people, I don’t remember, sorry!
LS: Oh, you’re fine.
Jenny: Anyway, just these women were really incredible, and just, I was honored to be a part of that panel. And I appreciated, when you hear kind of women in leadership, I was afraid kind of that there might be kind of a push for women to work outside the home, I was just, what I appreciated about this kind of leadership women conference was that it was very pro [00:27:00] family. It was very pro motherhood and I think that’s the best kind of feminism, is appreciating women and all their incredible gifts and their leadership capabilities. And encouraging them to just better themselves in whatever sphere they’re engaged in and to honor womanhood and honor motherhood and honor just, setting goals and reaching them and trying to have great influence in your own spheres and our in the greater spheres. And I felt like it [00:27:30] was just a really great push for motherhood, and elect womanhood.
LS: Yeah, and did they give you a certain direction as far as what they wanted you to talk on, or how did you develop your speech for that?
Jenny: Oh I just prayed really hard.
LS: Good, you’re normal.
Jenny: Yeah, writing was like, 15 minutes. I was like, don’t you just want me to play for like, 10 minutes and just bare my testimony or something. But I mean I enjoy speaking, but I spent a lot of time on it.
LS: Yeah. And I don’t know if we want to dive into some of these [00:28:00] principles here, but you broke it into 3 areas here, is that sort of your basic framework as far as prepare yourself, give of yourself, and believe in your voice.
Jenny: Yeah. So I, like I started off talking about how in order to be a good leader you need to know yourself and you need to know your own gifts. And you need to know what your talents are, because until you know, what it is that you have, your voice, you probably can’t share it or lead with it, so for me I was very blessed early on to know that I have a gift for music, and so I was able [00:28:30] to try to develop that, so. I know my gifts in music, and then I was able to prepare myself and a lot of the focus on this was education, and how important education is as, in order to be a good leader you need to be educated and prepared.
Jenny: And then to give of yourself, cause true leadership exists in the service that we’re able to give.
LS: Yeah. Going with the first point, I’m just thinking of that Relief Society president that thinks, “I just don’t know [00:29:00] what it is, I don’t know what my gift is. Maybe I just don’t have one, and if I do it’s, it’s not really impactful.”
Jenny: Well they wouldn’t be a Relief Society president if that were the case.
Jenny: Right, oh for sure. And the beautiful thing is, Heavenly Father knows all our gifts and he knows, he knows ways that he can help us develop these gifts, and I’m, I’m sure Relief Society presidents, that’s an amazing way to develop yourself. I mean, every Relief Society president I’ve ever had I’ve absolutely adored [00:29:30] and been so grateful for the gifts that they’ve had, and the way that they’ve shared them with the ward.
LS: Yeah, with this point, as far as a give of yourself, how do you see this manifest in your, in your life? Regardless of official title or leadership. I mean it’s a leadership principle, but does it require a title or a calling to do that? Any example come to mind of how that’s manifested itself in your life?
Jenny: Well, I think just being willing to walk the path that Heavenly Father has in store for you. And not let any fear of [00:30:00] any inadequacy hold you back. But you just do your best, and not think you have to run faster than you have strength. But just do your best, and rely on the Lord, and know that he’ll bless you and he’ll make up the difference.
Jenny: Like I’ve definitely seen that in my own life, especially when my children were young and they were home, and, you know, all hours of the day, and I still had practicing to do and performances and I would just practice as much as I could without impacting them. [00:30:30] And then I would just kind of say I’ve done all I can and I’m gonna just rely on the Lord and luckily I’d done so many hours of practicing when I was younger that I could kind of fall back on those. That early preparation. But then just do as much as you can and then rely on the Lord, and not worry about it.
LS: Yeah. And then there, I like that, that there just had to be a moment where you thought, well, I planned to do maybe another hour of practicing, but this is all I can give today, and just be content with that and move forward. [00:31:00]
LS: Yeah. And that, and this goes to sort of the next question I wanted to ask which is, as far as balance, obviously you, you are very busy with, at the same time, you recognize that you’re a mother and you have a lot of responsibility here as far as developing your home and your family. Any tactics or rules that you have in your life to help you keep that balance in a healthy spot?
Jenny: Well luckily I married a great man who, helps me whenever I need him to. So rely on your companions, rely on your family, [00:31:30] and just really just rely on the Lord and just do your best. I’ve just been extremely blessed to be able to not have a lot of trials that have prevented me from accomplishing my goals and everything I want to accomplish everyday.
LS: That’s great. And obviously the upcoming holiday season, Christmas and Thanksgiving, the church has the Light the World campaign.
LS: Coming up which is always fun and it’s fun to see that. Obviously there’s always a general Christmas spirit of the Savior [00:32:00] and uh, what will be your involvement in Light the World and how have you really seen this work well. And are there any suggestions you would maybe give to Bishops, Relief Society presidents to help encourage this effort forward?
Jenny: Um, well I am really grateful I get to be involved again this year in Light the World. I’m going to be creating a new music video of me and my 4 children of The First Noel, and sharing that on my social media platforms and encouraging people to share the hashtag and to do the service that [00:32:30] will bring people so much joy, and shed, and bring them so much life, I mean light in their lives and bring more of the Savior’s influence into their lives. And also kind of help share the gospel. So, and I think we may also be doing a live Facebook, kind of concert.
LS: Oh that’s so cool.
Jenny: I’m not quite sure how that will happen, or when, or where.
LS: Well, we’ll make sure we include the details in the notes.
Jenny: Yeah so, the video I’m really excited about.
LS: Nice. I imagine a video like that, you see some of these and we kind of take it for granted, [00:33:00] the production value.
Jenny: So much work.
LS: You know, and we just, we just think, oh that was a cute 5 minute video.
LS: I’ll share it but I’ll move on. But we don’t realize this is days and months of preparation.
Jenny: Well, it is for some. I mean, my videos are pretty high production, they work, I asked Kurt Bester to write us an arrangement, and we have to get, well he has to write it, and we just barely got it last week, and we all learn it, and then we rehearse it and then we record it. And then we get that recording to the director and he figures out a concept, and then we figure [00:33:30] out wardrobe, and then we video. And we, we take the recording and we make the video to the recording, and figure out wardrobe and location and then releasing the video. I’m really bad with electronics, but my husband helps upload it and sometimes my daughter Hannah helps me upload it and trying to like share it with more than just your 5 friends, then. Yeah, just, get it out there, it’s so much work and I’m so bad at social media that I’m just surprised more than 5 people have [00:34:00] seen my videos, because really it’s so much work, but it’s so much fun and I love being able to just perform for people throughout the world while I’m, you know. Watching a movie with my kids.
LS: And so this one that you’re doing for Light the World is First Noel you said?
LS: And what concept should we expect?
Jenny: We’re still trying to figure it out
LS: Oh yeah?
Jenny: We just made a kind of rough recording in our living room, or in our music room to, to, to give to the director so we can start trying to figure out [00:34:30] what we’re going to do with it.
LS: Yeah, well that’s cool. It will be fun to look forward to that and to see that. We’ll be sure to, when it does come out, there’s not a specific release date that you know of yet?
Jenny: I think it’s gonna be on Thursday December 7th or somewhere around there. 6th or 7th of December.
LS: Okay, alright. Well, we’ll look for it and make sure we put it with this interview so people can share it and if people do want to. I have one more question for you, but I want to make sure that if people do want to follow you, and learn more about your music, where would you send them?
Jenny: So I have a website, [00:35:00] Jennyoaksbaker.com so Jennyoaksbaker.com I also have a Youtube channel, just search for Jenny Oaks Baker. I also have a Facebook of course, Jenny Oaks Baker. Instagram, Twitter. Those are the best ways to reach out to me.
LS: And if you follow the story you’ll probably see this video pop up when your daughter helps you upload it, right?
Jenny: Yeah. Yeah, as long as she’s not in the middle of homework or something.
LS: Nice. Well, you know, again I’m not to push the leadership thing too much obviously it’s not a podcast about [00:35:30] leadership, but you, obviously have been had an influence in the leadership role in the music realm of sharing the gospel in that way. And so as you have lived a life of practice and developing your skill and leading through your skill, how has that experience made you a better disciple or follower of Jesus Christ?
Jenny: Well, I think it’s made me rely on Heavenly Father more, because when you have to stand up in front of people, there’s a potential that you’ll fall on your face. There’s a potential that you’ll embarrass yourself, [00:36:00] there’s a potential that you’ll make mistakes and everyone will know it. And so I mean and sometimes that’s not bad, and sometimes that’s okay to fall and pick yourself up, but I prefer not to, and so you know it’s really required me to learn to rely on the Lord and trust in the Lord. And to be aware when he rescues me. Like some performances, I’ve really literally felt myself in the palm of his hand, being upheld by his strength and power and his love [00:36:30] for me. And I’ve just been so so grateful to experience that and to know that he hears my prayers and he answers them, and he’s here to help us when we ask for that help. And I think that along with also being a performer, I have been so grateful to feel of God’s love for the people in the audience, and that’s an incredible feeling, when I’m kind of a vessel for God’s love, and being able to feel that and experience that is pretty incredible and it’s the feeling that, [00:37:00] I try to have in every performance, and I definitely feel it more in sacred music, music about the Savior, about, you know, about the gospel, and definitely that feeling of love God has for his children is definitely stronger, and so that has helped me to know even more, that God is there. He loves us, and he lives.