WWW.ROCKWIRED.COM  MUSICAL APTITUDE SINCE 2005    HOME - PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS - MYSPACE - ABOUT BRIAN LUSH - CONTACT
ADVERTISEMENT

ROCKWIRED LIVE
WITH YOUR HOST
BRIAN LUSH
http://www.rockwired.com/lush_brian1.jpg
EVERY SATURDAY
AT
5:00PM (PST)
ON
http://www.rockwired.com/ktstfm.gif
CLICK THE LOGO ABOVE









ROCKWIRED INTERVIEWS JILL JENSON

I'VE GOT THE MUSIC IN ME
JILL JENSON TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT
FINDING MUSIC,
PUTTING MUSIC ASIDE
AND GETTING BACK INTO THE GAME
WITH HER DEBUT CD

http://www.rockwired.com/jill1.jpg

WRITTEN BY BRIAN LUSH

This isn't your typical recording artist profile. Music is what JILL JENSON had sought to do all of her life, but after studying music at the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, JILL became a disc jockey and did some part time work to supplement her income. Eventually, The part time job became a 13 year career as a senior executive / consultant at AT&T WIRELESS and MICROSOFT. She returned tot he world of music, simply by looking up an old college chum (TIM CASHION) and the two began making music together. In the process, JILL quit the day gig, lost 100 plus pounds and never looked back.

With the release of her self titled debut CD JILL JENSON all those years of losing herself in corporate America are over and a stunning artist with a solid collection of songs is shining brightly for the first time.

The scheduling of this interview was troubled. The night the interview was originally scheduled, JILL rushed to the hospital fearing she had broken her arm in a fall. Obviously we needed to reschedule. The second time, both of us were waiting by the phone for someone to call. I never read the forwarded messages on an e-mail sent me by her publicist which had asked me to call JILL in Seattle.

Finally, the interview happened and there were no mix ups. Here is how it happened.

Are you aware that there are two JILL JENSONS/JENSENS out there and both of you are jazz singers?
I am aware. If you got to the -EN spelling of JENSON on the inter-net you get the best jazz singer in Wisconsin

I almost researched the wrong person. That would've been embarrassing.
It would've been interesting though.

You grew up in the Northwest. Where exactly?
Just outside of Portland Oregon in a town called Milwaukee

How did it all begin for you? Music, I mean?
As a kid I was a ham. So I was always singing, goofing around and stuff like that. Coming up through school, I started getting interested in music, I played the guitar and I had a cousin who sang in the jazz group in high school so when I got into junior high he kinda turned me on to things like MANHATTAN TRANSFER and ELLA FITZGERALD and I found myself going in that direction. On through high school and up through college, I went to the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI which is a big music school which is where I met a lot of folks who are now in the music business. From there, after I graduated, I went to work as a disc jockey at a  jazz radio station in Portland and that was where music sort of ended for me because I got a job to supplement my income as a disc jockey and ti turned out to be a full time job that lasted for the next 13 years.

You attended a vocal jazz studio program in Miami. What was that like?
It was amazing because it was a really focused program on Jazz vocal. It was a double program. It was studio music/vocal jazz program which you can actually get a bachelors and a masters in. You study all of the traditional jazz curriculum along with the instrumental jazz majors and then you study what it's like to be a studio singer so you spend a lot of time the studio, do alot of jingles and you learn to cite read on the spot and become a studio musician. I've met a lot of folks there who went on to become professional musicians and I'm one of the only ones who didn't.

What was your experience in radio like?
It was wonderful. It was a jazz radio station and my position there was chief announcer. Most of the air staff were volunteers. It's an NPR affiliate and my job was to bring in  announcers, train them, teach them how to program the music; that's another great thing about this station, they actually let the disc jockeys program their own music, and another part of my job was to teach them about jazz and teach them how to program music that flows into each other and make a show. I also got all of the fun stuff that comes with being an on-air person with a radio station. You get to go to all these concerts and you get to interview all of your idols. That was all of the great stuff, but it doesn't really pay the bills which is why i had to get the other job.

You've done some voice-over work. Anything that we'd be familiar with?
Not really. Most of the voice-over stuff had been industrials. It's all for big companies for things like internal training or phone systems. The biggest jingle that I ever did was when I was in Miami. JOE NAMATH and I did a commercial for the race track for the dog races. I didn't get to meet JOE, he came and did his part as I was leaving. So that was my big studio gig.

My biggest voice-over gig was a sleep apnea study for ST. JOSEPH's. You've also done some session work as a vocalist in the past. Did you record for anyone in particular?
Not really. It was a lot of jingles and mostly regional stuff and we're talking 15 to 20 years ago.

What was it like being away from music for so long?
I didn't realize how much I missed it. I was so caught up in having this career and the day to day issues of a big company and you kind of forget about the rest of your life. Being reunited with TIM CASHION who was a friend of mine from college and who has been a professional musician all of these years reminded me that making music was what I wanted to do originally. So he's the one who gave me that push to go back to it.

What did you set out to do? Was music your goal as a kid?
I was more of a traditional jazz singer and I always envisioned myself playing clubs, doing some recording and I loved being the studio. I always wanted to be a studio singer. That was my big aspiration.

You've mentioned ELLA FITZGERALD and MANHATTAN TRANSFER. Are there any other artists that have made an impact on you and rocked your world so to speak?
In the early days, BARBARA STREISAND rocked my world when I was in the second, third of fourth grade and I sang along with her everyday and I've got some really embarassing recordings to go along with that. As I got older I got into all of the real traditional jazz folk like ELLA FITZGERALD or SARAH VAUGHN and instrumentalists like MILES DAVIS. I like a lot of different things and I'm sure that everybody says that. The music on this CD is heavily influenced by STEVIE WONDER, STEELY DAN and EARTH WIND AND FIRE.

You said earlier and it's also stated in your press release that were reunited with TIM CASHION(songwriter and producer for JILL JENSON) How did that happen is there a story to it?
There is. TIM and I lived next door to each other in the dorm at the UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI. We were in the jazz program together and after school, I saw him on and off when he was on the road with ROBERT PALMER and BOB SEGER or whomever. He call me and say “Hey, I'm coming into town!” and I would see him. I hadn't seen him for eight or nine years since the last time he was on tour with ROBERT PALMER. I was coming up on a big high school reunion and had gotten a notice about that and started thinking, “Who else have I lost touch with?” So I did a search for TIM on the inter-net and found that he was touring with GRAND FUNK RAILROAD. So I sent the web master an e-mail and got a call from TIM the next day and they were in Idaho and were on their way to Washington state the next week. Two or three days before I was gonna call and tell him that I couldn't see him and that I was busy because I was kind of feeling embarrassed and not too excited to see someone and tell them “hey, I ended up with this exciting corporate job and I'm not in Music?” Then I got to thinking”Wow, what kind of a life am I living if I'm too embarrassed to see someone who means so much to me?” It took me back and started thinking about my life and what I was doing and after that I made some huge changes. I left my job, I decided to go back into music and I lost 130 pounds. And while it wasn't necessarily about Tim, he was that catalyst. So I saw him at the show, met the band and over the next year would go out and meet TIM on the road and just kind of got back into the music thing and realized that after seeing him do it, that I wanted to give it a shot. This was the time. There must be a reason because I don't believe in coincidence, why I met up with him and he happened to be coming out on the road in the next week. Thats the story of how we reunited and started talking about doing a project together.

What was decided between the two of you. What did you want to do musically? What was the plan?
There really wasn't a specific plan. We just decided that we were going to try and do some recording and see what would happen. When I showed up at his studio in Charlotte in January of 2004, he had a couple of songs, one was the cover tune CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION and another was a song he wrote called SUNSHINE AWAY. He got me in the studio and I didn't know the songs ahead of time so I learned them as we recorded them and that was the way we did most of the record. It's a different way to record because most times you would know the song inside and out and have sung it millions of times and have planned out for the most part what you're going to do. So we approached this project differently. Usually I'd walk in the studio and learn the song as we recorded it, then we would comp together the best takes of my learning session and use that to sort of learn the song while I was out in North Carolina and we'd record it again. We may or may not work on that song again. The vocals may have come out great and we'd leave them alone or we may record it again after we lay down the rest of the musicians playing on the record. TIM would normally record all the bass tracks so I'd be singing to just sort of basic rhythm section tracks when I record the first time. So, in the at first session we saw the direction where were going to go which is this sort of Contemporary jazz/adult pop sound.

Have there been any live performances of this new material?
Not yet.

Looking forward to it?
Very much so. Yes

Do you think that you're back for good this time?
I'm going to do my darndest. I may have to do other things along the way to support my habit as it were. I can't imagine letting myself get caught up in that whole corporate thing again. I just don't have an interest in doing it so if I can avoid it, I will.

What do you want the listener to walk away with after hearing this CD?
I guess, I'm hoping that they can appreciate the musicianship thats on it. There are some great players on this record and some great solos. The two covers on this CD CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION and THATS THE WAY OF THE WORLD are songs people are familiar with and can relate to. The other songs on this CD are not your typical love songs. They're more about peace and the state of the world. I'm hoping one those things strikes a chord with the listener.