Jennifer Thompson shares what it takes to make it in the entertainment industry – and why it’s so important to support local talent.
Having earned the affectionate moniker ‘Kak Jen’ in her 30 years of being in the Malaysian entertainment industry, Jennifer Thompson is a name held in reverence by those in the know. Her repertoire is impressive, having produced live broadcast shows such as the Anugerah Industri Muzik, had a hand in international fashion weeks, and helped with the execution of the Commonwealth Games’ opening and closing concerts.
Meeting her in person confirms one thing: this is the woman you go to, to get things done and done well. Dealing with people day in, day out – including the likes of Awie and the late Datuk Sharifah Aini – and constantly thinking on her feet to solve problems before they even arise have gifted her with composure and quiet confidence.But beneath her professional demeanour is a humorous streak I had the pleasure of witnessing, and the vivacity in her voice is hard to dim, especially when the conversation turns to music.
Her first love
Jennifer’s fervent passion for music was sparked at the tender age of eight thanks to the radio, which cranked out a variety of tunes from ABBA to The Alley Cats and Elaine Kang. “My whole life gravitated around music and when I was 15, I thought I had been put on this earth to play it,” she expresses. Before I can press forward, she continues, “I wanted to play so badly but it became obvious I was not given that gift.” This realisation only fuelled the immense respect she has for musical talent.
Fortunately, she found her true calling not long after. “I started mixing around with musicians when I was 18 – keen to learn the ropes and eager to know what happened backstage. When it became obvious I was serious, (well regarded promoter) Mike Bernie offered me an event coordinator and artiste manager role,” she recounts, fondly. Four months down the road, there was no looking back.
A passion-driven job
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