Three years ago, passion drove Nikki Jean to embark on a historic cross-country journey, visiting the great music cities of America to collaborate with songwriters who, by anybody's measure, are considered some of the most accomplished ever to work at the craft. The result is an album of twelve new, original songs co-written with Jean and the likes of Bob Dylan, Carole King, Burt Bacharach, Carly Simon, Lamont Dozier, Jimmy Webb, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Paul Williams, Jeff Barry, Thom Bell, Bobby Braddock, and Luigi Creatore.Â
Who could imagine this, that an artist whose link to the modern world of commercial pop music was appearing on records by Lupe Fiasco, who was still in her early 20s and had no solo recordings on her resume, would reach out to songwriters such as Jimmy Webb, Carole King, Lamont Dozier, Burt Bacharach, Bob Dylan, and ask them to collaborate, and that so many of them would open their doors? That she could spend weeks in Nashville writing with members of the Country Music Songwriters Hall of Fame like Bobby Braddock, go to Martha's Vineyard to write with Carly Simon, recapture the sound of Philly Soul with Thom Bell? Get Brill Building writers Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Jeff Barry, all now relocated in Los Angeles, to write with her the way they used to write in the cubicles of Aldon Music? It was hard not to get swept up in her enthusiasm, and at the same time, wondering if she'd be able to pull this off.
That was around three years ago, when Nikki and her producer Sam Hollander started talking about the project that is now called Pennies In A Jar.