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Don't phone Jennifer Grimm, Twin Cities vocalist extraordinaire, music director for Crooners nightclub and mother of four. Better to send a text or email. She doesn't have time for phone calls.

Since January 2023, Grimm has been booking music for the four stages at Crooners in Fridley. In addition, the singer, actor and voice-over talent — who started onstage at age 2 with her family's band — performs an average of three nights per week (often with her husband, guitarist Joe Cruz), keeps track of three kids at home (ages 5 to 17) and drives Linda Purl, Bobby Lyle and other out-of-town Crooners performers to their hotels.

The day after she'd performed her Judy Garland show as well as a tribute to a theater director, Grimm somehow found time for a rare hourlong telephone chat. Here are excerpts.

Q: How has the Crooners job been different from what you expected?

A: Seeing everything from the venue perspective is a new understanding, which is good because I can approach things from both sides, understanding the artist's perspective and needs and the venue's perspective and needs. I have to be an interpreter and advocate at the same time. The one thing I didn't expect is that people want to talk on the phone or meet in person. I can't talk that much during the day because my voice gets very tired. So I opt for digital communication, especially if I have [my own] shows coming up.

Q: Did you think you'd be driving artists back to their hotel in the middle of the night?

A: I didn't know it entailed that, but I love that piece of it. It gives me a chance to connect on a more relaxed level. It's a very cool perk.

Q: What's your background on the business side of the music business?

A: My background is as an artist. I've never had any representation for my music career. It's always been me making the calls, producing the records, paying the bills, negotiating contracts, advancing the gigs and planning tour details. I know a lot of how things work from the artist management side of things. I didn't know anything about running a club, but luckily there's an operations director [at Crooners]. I can focus on performers and music and it's not about buying more napkins and how much the price of beef is.

Q: What the most challenging part of the Crooners job for you?

A: There are four stages at the club. I'm booking over 700 acts in any given year. I'm always disappointed when an artist is frustrated that I can't get back to them.

Q: How has the booking policy changed under your watch?

A: My degree is in mathematics. I pride myself on being able to explain numbers clearly. We're trying to build back from the pandemic, and we just lost KJ's Hideaway [jazz club in downtown St. Paul] so I'm cautious in making sure the venue survives. It's an evolving mathematical formula.

We still have national jazz artists coming. Ben Sidran, Diego Figueiredo, Karrin Allyson. It's a matter of the contacts and pathways I have. Andrew Walesch [her predecessor at Crooners] should be credited for making Crooners what it is and building it up.

Sometimes people ask me if Crooners and the Dakota are rivals, are we competing with each other? I say "absolutely not." The Dakota has much more access to national acts than we do. Because Crooners is much smaller, we can't compete with their national connections. We're two completely different entities. We're focused on the talent that is right here in our backyard.

Q: Talk about some of the programs you've added.

A: Mary T [Tjosvold], the owner, gives me room to innovate and curate. So I've been able to create new shows, new series, new partnerships. We're starting a new partnership with the Minneapolis JCC featuring Jewish artists, art and music. And a new series geared toward the retirement community at 5 p.m. Wednesdays called Crooners Classics so people can be home before dark, at least most months. I've started the Up Front Series where I've taken the region's most successful sidemen and given them their own concert. I interview them and emcee the concert. The first one was [saxophonist] Kenni Holmen. The one I'm working with now is Dave Graf, the trombonist.

On the horizon is a free professional development series, Crooners Studio, on Wednesday mornings where people in the artist community can come and we'll have people talking about how to put on a show, how to communicate with the sound team, how to get your music on Spotify, how to make a record, all different topics.

Q: You're one of the most versatile singers in town. How many songs do you know?

A: Hahahaha. She laughs knowing she has no idea what the answer is. I grew with my family's variety show singing many genres of music and when we got off the road, I ended up doing a country music duo with my mom. At age 19, I joined the Power of 10, which was '60s soul music, and then I joined Soul Tight Committee, all the while writing my own music and doing jazz in jazz clubs. I went to Augsburg [College] on a scholarship singing gospel praise. I was with Phil Mattson Singers, doing group vocalese, at Carnegie Hall. But I do have a blind spot: Anything that's ever been played on KQ92, I don't know.

Q: What's the biggest lesson you learned from touring with your family variety show all those years?

A: The greatest thing that I know as a 46-year-old woman from spending my entire childhood traveling the country and never staying any place longer than three or four weeks until I was in my teens is just how similar everybody is. Everybody is a little bit heartbroken — everybody needs a hug. I understand that everybody in the room is an individual person who would like to be heard and understood, just like I would like to be heard and understood. That just boils down to I lead my life with love and curiosity and with the general feeling of acceptance before I even know them.

Q: How do you juggle all the things in your life?

A: I'm not exactly sure. It is an impossible task. A lot of things expected of a woman — cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, the more domestic tasks — are either hired out or my husband Joe Cruz is an incredible partner. My days toggle between structured and unstructured. Running Crooners is a 24/7 job because musicians don't keep regular hours. I'm having a blast. Life is for living.