Premiere: Sultry Soul and Suffering in Jennifer Denali’s Passionate Debut “Painkiller”

Jennifer Denali © 2018
A heavy, heartfelt lament, Jennifer Denali’s soulful and sultry debut single “Painkiller” wrestles with loss, longing, and addiction.

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Jennifer Denali has had high highs and low lows. She’s known what it’s like to dwell in her own darkness and spiral through depression, and she’s made her way out of the clouds and into the sunshine. Life can sometimes feel like a runaway train, burning at full throttle while you cling onto your seat, a mere passenger waiting out an uncontrollable storm. When you finally get through to the other side, you’re a changed person – different from who you were going into that experience.

Painkiller - Jennifer Denali

Painkiller – Jennifer Denali

I thought I could be sober
until I met you
The world seemed to get colder
until I felt you
You left me down under
I cried for you in the alley
Th8tʼs where I died for you
Over and over again

Having weathered the worst and basked in the best, New York City singer/songwriter Jennifer Denali shares a full array of feeling in her songs, bringing her audience along for a powerful and moving ride through intimate emotion, her own personal past and present, and reflections on our very human nature. A heavy, heartfelt lament, Jennifer Denali’s soulful and sultry debut single “Painkiller” wrestles with loss, longing, and addiction as the artist brings her pain and suffering to life in song.

Stream: “Painkiller” – Jennifer Denali


Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Painkiller,” the debut single from New York City songwriter Jennifer Denali. Channeling R&B, pop, soul, and rock elements all in one track, Denali shines through her breathtakingly expressive singing and savvy songwriting. “Painkiller” sets a high bar as Denali’s first original song release, perfectly introducing the artist as well as her story.

Nothing could ever put me down
the way you do
Heads up I almost drowned
to keep you cool
You love to see me suffer
I hate to crave such torture
And I could die for you
Over and over again

“Painkiller, for me, is about losing a person to addiction and the irony of turning to your own addictions to get through the loss,” Denali tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s about needing more and more…. In a way Painkiller means it’s too painful to feel. What used to numb the pain no longer does. It’s the never-ending cycle and how hard it is to break. I think it’s human nature to want a shortcut to a temporary high, but for a permanent low.”

She continues, “There’s also a bit of dark humor because you can picture this person getting so high that they actually lose their Painkiller… I wrote it because I’ve seen it and experienced it myself. It’s obviously an epidemic in our world. I wrote it because it’s real and it’s true. I wrote it because that’s my way of getting through.” Denali’s coming out of the gates exposed and swinging, revealing her scars and taking full ownership of her story. This is a special beginning for the artist, who as a teenager signed to a development deal with Mike Mason (Mariah Carey, Tevin Campbell), but whose career was sidetracked and impeded by personal struggles – some of which she’s sharing today.

Jennifer Denali © 2018

Jennifer Denali © 2018

Get me some morphine
Hiding in the back
Roll up the papers
Bottom of the glass

She’s mourned tragic loss and felt suffering’s wretched grasp, rode down to rock bottom, and come back into the light. Jennifer Denali has songs to sing and stories to tell, though truth be told, her story is just beginning. “Painkiller” is heavy and heartfelt, a smooth neo-soul song burning with intense need and passionate longing. Some may listen to this debut and hear a tale of sex and seduction; others may listen and hear depression and healing. The deeper beauty of this song lies in its flexibility: It can mean whatever you want it to mean. We’ve all gone through turbulence and turmoil, and like Denali’s narrator in “Painkiller,” all we want is to break back through to the other side.

Stream Jennifer Denali exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

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:: stream/purchase PAINKILLER here ::

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Painkiller - Jennifer Denali

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📸 © 2018

:: Jennifer Denali ::

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com