Provocative and prolific, a girl named jaen (agnj) fills the void left by rock singer-songwriters like Shirley Manson and Alanis Morrissette with dark yet hopeful songs and an unexpected, fresh voice that beckons. She crafts strong melodies with thoughtful, culturally relevant lyrics and rich production to form her signature “Erotitronic Popternative” music. While her voice is clear, sensual and youthful at first listen, powerfully sung themes of truth, rejection, ambition, escapism, fear, the hunger for fame and wanting to disappear completely, reveal a girl named jaen to be multi-dimensional and misunderstood, just like the rest of us.
Growing up in Southern California, agnj was always drawn to create and perform; dancing and choreographing from the age of 8, putting on live shows for family and friends. She also learned early that she would have to fight for what she wanted. As a young girl, her mother pulled her out of acting for fear that she would grow up to be a brat and when an early dance teacher invited agnj to travel to Boston to study in preparation to audition for the Boston Ballet, her Mom again intervened. She kept dancing and choreographing locally before sustaining two injuries which halted her dance career. She told herself “Never give up. Don’t ever stop!” When you’re a “passionate creative”, to ignore that voice to explore that passion can leave you feeling empty. So, it’s no surprise when a friend asked if she knew any singers for a project he was working on, she stepped up to the mic though she had never sung professionally before. agnj says, “It was like my inner soul was shouting out to me that there was no choice but to start creating again”. She got the gig singing covers with a live band, and learned to write songs by collaborating with other artists, sitting in on industry song critique sessions, and studying songs on the radio. She further honed her craft to the point of obsession, recording melodies while driving on L.A. freeways & writing lyrics on any scrap of paper she could get her hands on.
Gloss, the latest release from a girl named jaen, opens with the theme of image obsession. “Lips are more luscious with shine”, but when it comes to her songwriting, agnj would prefer to focus on what those lips have to say. agnj has garnered many accolades for her music including top songwriting awards from songwriting contests like John Lennon, USA, Unisong, Australian, Broadjam, and others. She has placed much of her own music as well as many songs she’s written for other artists on TV shows and their subsequent DVDs, including Top Model, Dawson’s Creek, Vegas, That’s Life, Grosse Pointe, Soul Food and others that have aired on NBC, CBS, Showtime, WB, CW, UPN, MTV, Disney and Lifetime. Film credits include Showtime’s Barhopping (produced by John Travolta) and independent films like (Sundance Feature Film) Britney Baby One More Time, Hotel California and The Young Unknowns.
Gloss began when agnj met Barrett Yeretsian (Producer/Co-writer of the smash hit “Jar of Hearts”/Christina Perri) at a radio conference. They had a mutual, musical love-fest for each other’s talents and one song turned into a full album. Grammy nominated Jean-Yves (Jeeve) Ducornet (Santana, 2Pac, Paulina Rubio, Thalia) producer and co-writer on agnj’s debut album Dusk, returned to co-write a few songs on Gloss. About Dusk, Pasadena Star news said it best, “agnj has created a stunning work that is extroverted and introverted, atmospheric and sensual, moody and popping. Gloss the album, has raw emotional lyrics, memorable melodies all written by agnj, layered over crunchy guitars with a fantastic rhythm section to create a rockin’ sound, in contrast to the more electronic laden elements of her first offering, Dusk. It’s exciting to be witness to agnj’s explorations; to imagine just how she might embrace the next sound and wrap it around her lyrically relatable themes. While Gloss is musically a departure from her previous work; it’s certain that agnj’s newest sound is still infused with her great style and that unmistakable voice!
Written by: Mara Hitner