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We are back from the new year break with a new Spotlight – JEEN. We got the chance to chat with JEEN just before the Christmas break which was a delight. Coming off the heels of the release of the I won’t Be Home for Christmas, we caught JEEN at the perfect time. Check out the convo right now

Today with Hidden Beats we have the grunge-rock superstar JEEN. Would you like to give an introduction to all of our readers?

Hey! I’m Jeen 🙂 I write songs and sing for a living, and I just released a new album in October called Dog Bite. It’s the 5th solo album I’ve put out digitally.

How did your influences in childhood help mold your style to what it is today?

I loved a lot of different styles growing up, from Pink Floyd to Corrosion of Conformity (their older stuff) so I appreciate a lot of varied influences. It has made me approach writing with an open mind. Hopefully a less restrictive one.

When did you know that music was what you wanted to do?

I started singing at a very young age, so I’ve sort of always known this was what I wanted to do. I thought I would go into musical theatre when I was a kid but ended up getting a guitar at 13 and a few years later I had quit Grade 10, moved out of my parents’ place, and joined a band. 

Have you been given any sage advice you’ve held on to?

I’ve definitely been given a lot of bad advice, ha-ha. 

Your music incorporates so many different sounds, rock, grunge, indie, sometimes even flecks of country. Are there any genres you tend to identify your music with?

Overall it would be hard to pinpoint. I definitely let every song I start to do its own thing, so I don’t box it or myself in. ‘Alternative’ is probably the best word for my stuff right now since it has a wider spectrum. (ie alt-pop/alt-rock/alt-folk). I get bored easily so I like coming from different angles with my songs/albums. like something pretty and something ugly. But that can work against me if I’m too all over the place for people listening, so it’s a fine line.

This new album “Dog Bite” has been out for a few weeks now. How do you feel? Are the reactions from fans what you were expecting?

It’s been great! I’ve been really happy with the feedback and it seems to be connecting to people in the right ways. Dog Bite was made under a lot of duress with all the pressure mounting last year. It was chaos at times so I was just really grateful to even be able to make/release an album at such a fucked-up time. And it’s given me a reason to be less of a recluse, which is probably a good thing too.

Do you have a favorite song on the album? Why?

Maybe I’ll Be Gone might be a favorite? I just like that it’s concise and to the point, and the lyrics hit me on a thousand levels this year. I have a soft spot for the sentiment of the track Better Drugs too.

This is your 5th full-length studio album, how does it individualize itself among the others?

I think it’s maybe a bit more rock-leaning than some of my other records. I was pretty pent up when I wrote the songs (June-November 2020) and I can hear that in them. And as I said before, trying to pull this off last year was a bitch. Way more emotion and a million more hoops than usual to jump through. I did the writing and recording in 3 smaller batches which were a bit different than usual too. It was just more of a ride like we made it in the trenches or something. It was also the only light in the tunnel for me at times. This album definitely saved me over the last year and a half.

On your track “Don’t Wait” you corroborated with Ian Blurton. How was that experience? You’ve been acquainted for a long time I believe.

I love working with Ian. He has been a huge part of what I’ve been doing these past few albums so doing a song with him just felt like a natural progression. We wrote Don’t Wait long distance over email/the internet and I hope we can do more writing in the future. I’m obsessively interested in sharing lead vocals with a guy singer lately too so I’m always bugging him to sing with me. But yeah, even though we both worked on the Cookie Duster stuff from years ago oddly we never really worked one on one/directly until I reached out to him about mixing my record Gift Shop. 

Do you ever feel doubts after releasing new music? What would you tell others who are scared to release music in fear it will never be truly ‘done’?

Oh yeah, for sure. On every album actually, ha. Like it’s intimidating, you know? For anyone at any level I think. No one wants to be told they suck. And yeah nothing is ever truly done in music writing, you just have to cut it off somewhere. I’ve seen tons of guys just write or produce a song into the ground. If you don’t let it go, good chance you might end up killing it anyway.

Going out into Toronto to begin a music career at the ripe age of 16 must have been difficult for you. What have you learned about the music industry and what it takes to make it start so young?

You know it’s almost impossible to compare now because when I started it was literally a different industry. Fuck, it was a different world. Things have changed so much and so fast. But the same theory still applies I guess…if you are not in the game then you don’t have a chance. 

Having a history in bands, and having broken out on your own years ago, what is the main difference between working as a band versus an individual brand?

I love both. But honestly, after being solo for so many albums now, there’s definitely a lot of days lately where I just want to be in a band again. So yeah, if anyone’s looking for a singer… ha.

You have a release coming up! Just in time for Christmas a cover of a famous Blink-182 song. Are you a fan? How were you able to give the song a special Jeen touch?

Well, I was happy to find this song. I actually didn’t know it existed until I was searching for something Xmas-y to cover. I was never a die-hard fan of blink-182 but I have respect for them and love, love that melancholy downer vibe they pull into their pop/punk. It’s something I’ve always really appreciated about them and it’s what drew me into this track.

How have the last two years impacted your career? Were you able to keep up with social media and virtual concerts during the live show break?

So weird. It’s been chaotic. I just keep writing/recording records and I try really hard not to be scared of social media (which I am). Making music is the only thing keeping me from losing my mind, but simultaneously it’s all still pretty messed up out there at the moment. Live streaming is not my thing so I haven’t done it. I just think after not being able to play on a stage in front of people for almost 2 years I’m not going to risk sounding like shit on some awkward internet performance. No doubt if I could afford to put some decent production money into a live stream/online show I’d feel different. But yeah, not in my living room.

Is there going to be a “Dog Bite” tour?

Man, I wish. I would do anything to have a decent tour where I wasn’t worried my band could get super sick or that I would go way into the hole to pull it off. Shows are my biggest uphill battle right now, but there’s nothing I’d love more than to tour. Working on it.

What advice would you give to new artists coming up?

If you don’t try, you will not succeed. It’s an apocalypse in the music business right now so you really need a strong state of mind to participate. Keep your head down, your hopes high and just don’t stop moving forward. 

Thank you for joining us today. Before you go would you like to tell us one fun fact you want your fans to know?

My pleasure! thank you so much for having me. And hmmm. Omg, why is that the hardest question… maybe I have a tattoo on the palm of my right hand? 

Our Spotlight – JEEN has come to an end. I want to give a big thanks to JEEN for taking the time with us especially around the holidays

Listen to the new release right here

Keep up with JEEN right here

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