Jen Ayers is a singer, songwriter, playwright and performer, whose latest work, “SHe Said,” is set to show Oct. 6 to Oct. 9 at Seattle’s Broadway Performance Hall. “My new project, ‘SHe Said,’ is a culmination of all my artistic endeavors coming together: a double concept album and multimedia theatrical production about gender identity and transition based on a very personal story but with universal themes. It’s been eight years in the making and a true labor of love.” Learn about Jen Ayers…
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
First job: Ice cream cone and Blizzard maker at the local Dairy Queen
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: Walking around Lake Washington. Camping in the mountains on the river with family and friends.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: The SHe Said project – seeing it through. The process of writing the songs and story was completely cathartic. But creating art while you’re living it is super challenging. I needed to step away and just let life unfold for months at a time. Luckily, my friend and dramaturge/director, Daryle Conners, kept showing up and encouraging me to keep going. I’m so glad I did. I’m proud of the album and the show we’ve created. And of course myself for working through a challenging period and coming out the other side stronger, wiser and more compassionate. I think it’s made me a better person, partner, mother, daughter, friend and artist.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: In my 20’s I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that turned my world upside down. It took perseverance, time and commitment to good health and well-being, as well as the support of family and a wonderful partner to manage and work through it. The experience helped me see the importance of taking care of myself mentally and physically every day.
Someone who inspires you and why: My partner, Graham. I admire Graham’s patience, sense of humor, fierce loyalty, selflessness and drive to learn new things. I wish I was more like him/her in these ways. I try to learn by Graham’s example in these areas.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Trust your gut, take your time and be persistent. And there’s no such thing as perfection. Your art is meant to be shared with the world and is a snapshot of a particular moment. Release it! Let it go! Make your mark! Take risks!
Favorite quote: “Be here now.” –Ram Dass
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I used to be a social worker and if I hadn’t made music and performance my life, I would’ve gotten a joint psychology/law degree and become a profiler for the FBI, like Jodie Foster in “The Silence of The Lambs.” I’ve been obsessed with true crime since I was a teenager.
What makes someone fabulous: Being your authentic self loudly and proudly!