Club Appearances Let Actor Jill Hennessy Return To Her Singing Roots
She may be best known for starring in the hit TV shows "Law And Order" and "Crossing Jordan," but Jill Hennessy is writing new dramas and romances in her career turn as a singer-songwriter. NY1's Arts reporter Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
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Jill Hennessy knows when she steps on stage to sing, some people will do a double-take. But she's not not a TV actor dabbling with music, but a performer returning to her roots.
"It must be a really bizarre experience to see me from 'Law And Order' and 'Crossing Jordan' to doing this but what's funny is that I started out as a street musician long before I got an acting job," she says. "I sang up in the subway stations up at, oh boy, 79th Street on the Upper West Side. I sang in Washington Square Park, Central Park."
These days, the married mother of two performs her original material at clubs like City Winery in Soho. She says thanks to her starring roles as Assistant District Attorney Claire Kincaid in "Law And Order" and forensic pathologist Jordan Cavanaugh in "Crossing Jordan," she can now pursue music on her own terms.
"I can get back to what I really love doing and I don't have to save the money from my guitar case to buy bagels and Cup of Soup ramen noodles, which is literally what I did for so long. So this is a joy," says Hennessy.
Hailing from Canada, Hennessy has made New York City her home for the past 22 years. She says the city inspires her music, including many songs off her first album, "Ghost In My Head."
"I bought a kid's writing pad at Duane Reade at 4 in the morning and that's how I started writing these songs," she says.
Of course, many fans still remember Hennessy from her TV days and some even ask legal advice.
"'Excuse me, I know you play a lawyer but do you know anything about real estate law?' Why would you think I know anything abut real estate law?" Hennessy says.
These days, Hennessy is writing and telling her own stories, ripped from her heart, not the headlines.