Hi Jenna, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hi, thanks for having me! I’ve been doing good. It feels like we all are collectively taking a sigh of relief now that we’re getting vaccinated and COVID rates are going down. I’ve been able to see some friends I haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic, and seeing them has made me so happy. The pandemic also made me pump the breaks on my music releases so it feels so freeing to finally get “Disconnect” out in the world.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Disconnect”?
“Disconnect” is about this person that I was getting mixed signals from. A lot of our interactions were very cryptic, and I couldn’t decode the angle he was coming from. Things were mildly flirty and could be read either way. I wanted to be direct and call them out. I think this song also speaks to the kind of person I am. I just want to know where I stand with someone. If you like me, let’s do something about it. If you don’t like me, let me know so I can move on! Haha. The soundscape of the song captures that direct interrogative feels; it is dark, stealthy, and sinister.
Did any event, in particular, inspire you to write this song?
I was driving back from somewhere where I had seen this person, and I was feeling so confused about how they felt about me, so I just started riffing in my car. When I sang that line I knew I had something special, so I started a recording in my Voice Memos. Some of my best writing happens in the car. There’s this thing called “default mode network” that your brain goes into when doing more monotonous things like driving, showering, etc. where the brain synthesizes data and plays with information. So I think I write my best melodies and lyrics when I’m not actively trying to.
Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
Yes! I’m working on a video with my high school friend Corey McCrea as the director, who moved out to LA a year ago, and one of my first LA friends Brandon Craw as my co-star. I play a detective interrogating Brandon, trying to get him to admit the truth. I am so impressed with both Corey and Brandon’s talent.
How was the recording and writing process?
Usually, melodies come to me before lyrics. I wrote the chorus first in my drive home that night, then the pre-chorus. The melodies and lyrics came pretty naturally for those parts, especially “you say we’re just friends / but then when the night ends / you keep trying to stick around”. The verses were a bit harder to write. I was having major writer’s block, so I set aside a whole afternoon to finish the song. I just laid on my floor and tried to “trick” my brain into thinking I wasn’t writing, it was kind of meditative. And once I quieted my brain, then the lyrics came.
I brought the song and the bassline to my producer Rockshay and he started working from there. It was a very collaborative process, he lays down the general framework and then we work together to decide what sounds work best for the song; what to keep, what to add, and what to remove. One thing I remember distinctly that was a bit different in earlier drafts was that the first pre-chorus was much more intense. However, I wanted the first pre-chorus to still have that sneaky suspicious feel. And then the second pre-chorus has that more pulsating energy and lets loose. I really like the distinction between the two.
What role does LA play in your music?
I’ve become such a better songwriter since moving to LA. There are so many talented people here. The way I see it, you can let that overwhelm you, or you can learn something from each of them. Knowing how many talented people there have really motivated me to work on my craft as a songwriter, singer, and performer and get each of those elements as strong as they can be.
Does the new single mean we can expect new material? How’s that coming along?
Yes! I wrote Disconnect two full years ago, and since then I have written a lot of others. There are probably 8 really solid songs I wrote over the last couple of years that I’m looking forward to fully producing now that the pandemic is dying down. And now that things are opening back up and we can start living life again, I bet I’ll start writing more as I experience more exciting things in life again.
The next single is a song called Talkin in My Sleep, about being torn if you should stay in a relationship or not. I’m working on it with producer Lucas Sader. I’m really excited about how it’s turning out.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
“Talking in My Sleep” should be out in August!
What else is happening next in Jenna’s world?
I am planning a live show in Los Angeles for late summer with my friend and booking agent Carly Birker of BehindtheBirk. I’m also just excited to start hanging with groups of friends again and have a fun summer of quality friends and music-making.