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INTERVIEW: Jenna Lee James

Hi Jenna, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you. I’m really good. I’ve been really busy over the past few months, having just finishing touring the World with Hugh Jackman and then going straight on tour with Queen Symphonic where we’ve been performing in France, Tel Aviv, Budapest and back on home turf in the UK.

How were you drawn into the world of music?

From the age of 3 I was constantly singing and dancing and had my first ever public performance at the age of 3 singing ‘Brown Girl in the Ring’. My parents always had music playing in the house and I just loved to perform. It was at the age of 10 that I found a real passion in actually singing.

How did this love eventually lead you to acting?

With singing its not just about singing the tune, its about feeling it from the heart. Hence the greatest love songs of all time are always written by someone mending a broken heart. Acting is just about being honest and having an open heart. Its about being real. Having the passion for music and wanting to express my love for it more took me on the natural progression to act.

In what way would you say both passion get to blend together?

I guess I’ve just answered this previously but Music really is about telling a story. Bringing acting ability and the passion for music together delivers the best performance. If you really believe the story you are telling you will make the audience believe it too and then will be completed consumed in the moment.

You’ve gotten to tour in both theatre stints and even dancing like in the case of Brendan Cole – does your approach tends to change depending on the format?

I am always up for a challenge and as performers we have to be able to do a little bit of everything. I don’t actually do a lot of dancing with Brendan, he’s the real Show man and dancer. And like I do with singing he tells his story through dance. The passion he gives in dance then reflects on how I sing the song. I feed off of his emotion.

Speaking of challenges and approach – what’s been like to play three leads in one live play as it was the case back on the We Will Rock You World Arena Tour? What have you learned from experiences like this?

Playing all 3 lead roles in We Will Rock You is something I’m really proud of. You have to immerse yourself into each specific character. The 3 characters in WWRY are all very different so I had a lot of fun with each. I had a few times where I would perform the first half of the show as one character and the 2nd half as another. That was a real challenge. I really had to think about which character I was playing and her background. Changing costume always helps too. Its a challenge but its why I love what I do. If every night was the same then it would be boring!!

Do you tend to modulate your vocals and look for new vocal ranges to differ from each character?

Different now to how I may have sung them 10 years ago but that’s because I’m constantly learning new things about my voice. Where to place different notes in my voice, how to create different tones and sounds and how to make things a little easier to sing. Every day is a learning curve for me. You never stop learning about what your voice is capable of.

What’s been the most challenging moment in your career?

There have been a few moments that have really tested me, but I think the most challenging was performing in an ice show, skating onto the ice and singing the opening number! I saw an advert looking for ice skaters who could sing……..and i thought…..well I can sing! I had skated for fun with my dad as a kid but never as an adult. Anyway I got the job and had 10 days to learn to skate. Including a nasty accident injuring my coccyx. But I did. That was certainly a challenge, but one i loved and would love to do again.

What else is happening next in Jenna-Lee James’ world?

Lots is happening right now. I’ve just released my debut Album ‘on the edge’ recorded at Abbey Road Studios. About to tour the UK with Brendan Cole in his latest production ‘Show Man’ and also, obviously touring the UK with ‘Queen Symphonic’ and finally playing my home town of Glasgow. 2020 is going to be a busy but exciting year. I’m also planning to release my album on vinyl with some bonus tracks being recorded in the next few months.

Queen Symphonic: A Rock Orchestra Experience UK tour – February 2020.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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