Over the years we’ve talked to a lot of artists who’ve headed west to pursue their musical dreams and here’s another, Jensen Reed. From the start Jensen was hooked on music thanks to his oldies sessions in the car with his mom and no pressure from his Big 10 college football coach dad. Genetics are to thank for Jensen’s short-lived stint in football anyways. One bad game in 9th grade left the little man with a busted. No worries though, he had music to fall back on. But it wasn’t until a fateful day in high school when music went from something he loved to something he wanted to do. A friend needed a partner for the talent show where he was doing Beastie Boys, and well, the rest is history.
Six years ago Jensen headed out to LA and unlike some who’d go to any lengths to get noticed, this North Carolina native stayed humble, saying, “I let my music and performance speak for me.” With a new album out that’s for fans of everything from Gym Class Heroes to Lupe Fiasco, he’s staying local and has no tour plans as of now, but he’s looking forward to getting out on the road. So since Jensen’s not heading out in the near future, the following will have to suffice your Jensen needs. Keep reading on to find out why Jensen chose LA over NYC, a lot about TV and much more.
Kendra: If you never passed the mic, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
Jensen: I love foreign languages and was interested in going into international business. At one point I was proficient in German and Spanish, and took a little French.
Kendra: Being from North Carolina, why didn’t you pack up and head to NYC instead of LA? It’s a lot closer.
Jensen: I love NYC but I was fortunate to travel to Southern California multiple times when I was younger and loved it; the weather, the beach, surfing, just the whole vibe. Also, even though it is expensive, LA is WAY cheaper than living in Manhattan.
Kendra: Did you have a mantra when you got to LA and was hit with the intimidation on the city?
Jensen: Not really. At first it was a little intimidating being here on my own in the music world. I played a couple early shows that really gave me a lift because I felt my music and performance could compete even in a city as big as LA.
Kendra: You’ve had the chance to have your songs featured on shows like Friday Night Lights and House of Lies, but if you had to compare your latest album, The Left Coast, as a whole to one show on right now, which would it be and why?
Jensen: That’s a tough one because I tend to jump through genres quite a bit and also have positive and very dark songs. I honestly can’t think of one.
Kendra: Did working with Drew Seeley cause a flood of teeny boppers into your world?
Jensen: Ha! Drew is a buddy of mine and phenomenal talent. A true PRO when it comes to singing. It was great to collaborate with him and reach some of his audience.
Kendra: Back to the TV aspect, is there an older show that’s off the air that you wish your music could’ve been on?
Jensen: The last season of Breaking Bad airs this summer and it’s my favorite show ever so it would’ve been awesome to have a song featured.
Kendra: Is the voiceover work you do for cartoons? Are you worried that might mess with your vocals when it comes time to do your music?
Jensen: I haven’t gotten into the Animation world of voice over yet but I’m very excited about it. All of the jobs I’ve booked have been commercial TV and radio. I’ve also had some opportunities in the promo world. No worries about my voice.
Kendra: Do you ever feel you have something to prove in the hip hop scene?
Jensen: I feel like I have something to prove to the music world in general. I have been very focused over the last few years on creating a lot of solid content (songs and videos). It is very difficult to grab people’s attention because of vast number of entertainment sources that exist today. My hope is that when someone finds me for the first time, they are impressed with the volume and quality of my work.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape for yourself when you first moved to LA back in 2007 to get you through the hard times of being overwhelmed, what would the top 5 songs be on it?
Check out Jensen’s New Video “Rocketship”