A Chat With: Jillian
Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jillian Jensen (now known simply as Jillian, after dropping her last name) has released her brand new single and the accompanying music video "Stay" today. No stranger to the spotlight, Jillian has appeared on national television shows such as The X Factor and American Idol, and she's been composing original music of her own since the age of eight. While Jillian gears up for even more new songs, get to know the story behind the deeply personal lyrics in "Stay" and more about her journey.
ANCHR Magazine: You’ve opened up about the new single “Stay” being about your battles with an eating disorder. Has it been a scary process opening up like this, or did you find it more cathartic to be able to address such a serious and personal struggle through music?
Jillian: Talking about and opening up about something this personal that has been and is an ongoing struggle that has been the hardest thing I've genuinely ever done. I remember the day I wrote the song and I just sang what my heart was saying and that was it. I tried so long to explain to those in my life that knew that I didn't feel in control of my actions, almost as though there was someone else taking over my thoughts as I put myself through torture, and I think the song truly embraces that. That almost interpersonal abusive relationship that one can have with their own mind.
AM: What can you tell us about the accompanying music video for “Stay”? How did you work up the concept for it?
Jillian: The music video concept is pretty much a visual representation of my emotions that are expressed in the song. You'll get to see my darker inner most expression. How the demons inside of you just take over your body to the point of self destruction.
AM: What other artists do you look up to for putting powerful messages into their own work?
Jillian: I definitely will ALWAYS look up to Demi Lovato, as she is someone who is very open about all of her struggles, but I also really, really look to Alanis Morrisette and Pink. I feel they were just never scared to be exactly who they were...regardless of image or perception. They left and continue to leave their heart and soul in their music and I find that beyond inspiring.
AM: You’ve made it clear that you’re anti-bullying, speaking out publicly against it. What advice do you have to anyone is suffering from the effects of bullying?
Jillian: The words I live by are that "success will be your greatest revenge". It is my ongoing mantra. I believe that in times of self doubt as a result of others words or actions you must find what it is that you love more than the air you breathe and just put every bit of yourself into it. In the end you will find comfort and gratification in the fact that you pushed forward and made something of yourself versus allowing others to hold the reins of your future.
AM: Circling back to your start in music, you started singing as early as two and writing as early as eight years old. Do you remember what first inspired you to start making music?
Jillian: The first song I ever fully wrote and produced was a song entitled "Lost". I wrote it about feeling lost in the world and knowing that I would find comfort in love. How an eight year old was inspired to write something like this is honestly beyond me, but lyric and song was just always a form of expression for me so writing just kind of came naturally.
AM: How was your experience being on The X-Factor, and what’s one of the biggest lessons you took away from the show?
Jillian: I believe the biggest lesson I took away from X Factor and American Idol is that you must give 200% of yourself and focus on your passion and goals. I spent a lot of my time on both shows helping my fellow contestants with songs choices or arrangements and, though I do not regret doing so, I do wish I would've put those same efforts into myself.. which is what I'm finally doing. Giving myself a real fighting chance, for once.
AM: You recently moved from Boston to LA, correct? How has it been transitioning into the music scene in LA, and how does it compare to back home?
Jillian: Yes! I made the move from MA to LA in March and honestly I've never felt more at home. Being surrounded by so many talented individuals with the same drive and passion you possess is so inspiring. I've written more in the past few months living in LA than I have in years...which I never would've believed to have been possible as I write way too many songs!
AM: Where are some places that you’re most excited to play in during upcoming tours?
Jillian: I'm really excited to play at The Viper Room on Sunset Blvd June 29th as it's not only going to be my first time there, but it is also my LA single release show and my first time with a band playing my originals in so long. That night is definitely going to be a moment for me, both emotionally and spiritually.
AM: What can fans expect from the live show? Will you be incorporating a lot of your skills as a multi-instrumentalist or will the set remain more stripped back on the road?
Jillian: I will definitely be playing keys and guitar throughout my sets, but the focus/vision is so much bigger than I can even express. They will just have to wait and see!
AM: What’s next for you as far as new material?
Jillian: The plan is to be releasing a new single every month so be on the look out for some of the most honest and open compositions they will have seen from me yet.