This Tuesday, Feb. 16, marks two important milestones for Waconia-raised singer-songwriter Jenn Bostic. It’s the 10th anniversary of the release of her signature song “Jealous of the Angels” and the 25th anniversary of the death of her father James who inspired it.
Writing and performing the song has been a source of healing for Bostic, and she regularly hears that it has been a source of inspiration and healing for others who have lost loved ones. The song is played frequently at funerals and tributes. Its emotional lyrics share the grief of losing someone close, struggling to cope without them, and being “jealous of the angels” for sharing heaven with those who have passed on.
The song reached number one in the United Kingdom in 2012, won multiple country music awards, and launched Bostic’s career as an international singer-song writer. She now lives in Nashville, and writes, performs and records a variety of music: country, gospel, contemporary Christian, blues and pop. Bostic also keeps roots in Waconia, and typically returns at least annually to preform, although as was the case with many other performers, the coronavirus wiped out live concert plans in 2020.
Bostic says she is overwhelmed and grateful that such a personal song like “Jealous of the Angels” could speak so meaningfully to others, and next Tuesday, she will release a new version with a verse from the hymn “Amazing Grace.” Then in March, as the other part of her latest project, look for a video that captures the story around the song.
Long-time residents of the area may know it. Other music listeners, maybe not.
Bostic was just 10 years old when she witnessed her father die in a car crash, blind-sided at a busy junction just two miles from home while he was driving Jenn and her older brother Jeff to school.
In the days and years that followed, music was her counselling, provided an outlet for her grief, and was a way to stay connected to her dad. He was also a talented musician who shared in songs with the family and encouraged Jenn in her music.
But she says, “grief and vulnerability are so much bigger than me,” and in her latest project she has asked listeners to submit videos to honor their loved ones. She made the appeal in a video on her website and other social channels.
“Life isn’t just a highlight reel,” Bostic said. There is grief and sorrow. She wants people to be able to show their vulnerability and heal from it.
“When I recorded ‘Jealous of the Angels’ I had no idea how much impact it would have,” Bostic said. “There is something about the song that allowed people to also be vulnerable and share their stories with me.”
She has now performed the song thousands of times, including eight times at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, yet hasn’t grown tired of it. Bostic says the song “still feels meaningful.”
Her new release also isn’t the first time she has sung “Jealous of the Angels” with “Amazing Grace.” That started almost spontaneously at a concert some time ago, and Bostic says “the new version feels different but natural.”
A deeply religious and spiritual person, Bostic also says the timing of the new release is not a coincidence. It was supposed to be part of a contemporary Christian album release last Easter 2020, but with the pandemic that project was delayed, and now the release ties directly to the anniversary of the song and her dad’s passing.
Meanwhile, the video project “been building on my heart for some time,” she said. In her message to listeners Bostic says, “I want you to be involved in creating this beautiful piece of art that honors our loved ones and reminds us that we are not alone in our grief.”
While Jenn Bostic’s personal appearances have been limited by the pandemic, on Sunday, Feb. 28, she is performing a virtual concert at 6 p.m. as a fundraiser for Waconia’s Inclusive Playground.
Listeners and contributors can order a take-out meal through Iron Tap, or register to see and hear the concert only. For details and registration, visit the city of Waconia website waconia.org. Go to Safari Island>Program registration>Activities and search Waconia Date Night.