Most folks recognize Jennifer Love Hewitt from her roles on the big and small screens, but when the 20-year-old actress originally moved to Hollywood, it was actually to pursue a career in music. Long before she stepped out as a thespian, Hewitt made her performing debut singing “The Greatest Love of All” at age 3 … at a livestock show.
Although three CDs released by the Party of Five and I Know What You Did Last Summer star since her 1992 import-only recording debut, Love Songs, haven’t made much of a splash (outside of Japan, where her music is huge), she says she intends to keep pursuing her musical dreams.
“I am writing a new album as we speak,” Hewitt tells Wall of Sound. Just don’t expect it to sound like shiny, happy teen pop. “I’d like to do a bit of a female David Gray [number], with a little Tracy Chapman-Jewel feel to it. Like rhythm and blues, singer-songwriter stuff.”
Regardless, this doesn’t mean Hewitt — whose most recent musical release was the single “How Do I Deal,” from the I Still Know What You Did Last Summer soundtrack — isn’t a fan of chart-topping stars her own age.
“I listen to Britney Spears and the boy bands,” she says. “I have incredible respect for them and how hard they work. But it’s not the music I listen to the most. I listen to Al Green, Bill Withers, Ella Fitzgerald. I like Creed and those kinds of people.”
Alas, Hewitt’s new album — which she hopes to have out early next year — is unlikely to include a cover of one of her very favorite songs. Another singing actress with a hardcore teen following already beat her to Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
“There are nine years between me and my brother, so when he was in high school, it was, ‘Get away, I’m going to drop-kick you,'” says Hewitt of how she discovered the song Madonna reinterpreted last summer. “But there was one day, he took me to this gas station, Mickey’s, which had this chocolate swirl ice cream and he put on ‘American Pie.’
“I remember going home that night and I stole the tape and I learned every word to it and now it’s our favorite song. Whenever he and I get in the car, we always have it and we always sing it in the car.” — Stephen Schaefer