Former Sylvan Lake resident finds success after house fire tragedy

Musician Jenny Lou used the loss of her home as motivation to follow her dreams

Former Sylvan Laker Jenny Lou is literally rising from the ashes of tragedy to find new inspiration and opportunities.

After a house fire left her with nothing but her guitar, the then college student had to find a way to continue with everyday life while also preparing for final exams and performances to obtain her diploma from the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

On March 19 the college student came home to her shared house on McClure Street in Victoria to find officers and firefighters fighting a blaze that left the home a smoldering wreck.

She said it was a stressful and trying time in her life.

“The first thing I did was call home and talk to my mom,” Lou said, adding, “it was a stressful time, but I still managed to graduate with honours.”

A week before her exams, and nothing left but the clothes on her back and the guitar in her trunk, Lou says she relied on the help and kindness of those around her.

For her final performance to graduate she wore clothes given to her by kind woman she met at the YMCA, where she worked as a lifeguard.

Lou said she saw an out-pouring of generosity and support from the people in Victoria as well as continued support from friends and family back home in Sylvan Lake.

“It was all so scary – there were so many people surrounding my house, I didn’t know what was really going on at the time,” she said.

“It is one of those things that you never expect to happen.”

Out of this experience, Lou says she has found a new connection through her music and song writing.

Since her Victoria home burned down in March, Lou says she has turned to writing music more often.

This is simply because it was the easiest way to cope with the experience.

“I’ve been writing a lot more now… there aren’t many people who have gone through this experience and can relate, so I write songs,” Lou said.

In September Lou packed up her car and her trusted Gibson 45 guitar and made the move to Music City, Nashville, Tennessee.

Spending more time on her music and writing songs for herself has paid off. Recently Lou has signed a publishing contract.

The details of the contract are under wraps until everything is finalized, according to Lou.

“Basically it allows me to write songs full time and I will be performing downtown on Broadway,” she said.

She says she was playing in Nashville one day when she was discovered and the next day she was signing a contract.

“It all happened very quickly and is all very exciting,” Lou said.

Lou is excited to follow in the footsteps of some of country music’s biggest and heaviest hitters, like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Brad Paisley by performing at Tootsies Orchid Lounge.

“It is so exciting to know I’m playing where they were, and maybe even have some stop in for old times sake. I’ve been told there are a few [country stars] who like to stop by when they are in town.”

Lou plans to continue working on her music with the hopes of releasing an EP album.

More information on Lou and her journey through Music City can be found on her Facebook page @JennyLou.


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megan.roth@sylvanlakenews.com

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