Jenna Andrews is not only an extremely talented artist, but she also allows others to have a voice thanks to “The Green Room.” In these episodes, she takes on topics surrounding mental health as she starts up conversations with others in the entertainment industry who struggle with mental health issues or have something to say about it. Inspiring many to speak up and voice out their thoughts and concerns, Jenna brings on hope and light for the future. Make sure to check out her latest episode at the end of the interview!
As an artist, what does music bring to your life (both good and bad)? Growing up, what role did it play in your life?
For me, music is everything. It has, without any doubt, been my lifeline since I was a young child. It has gotten me through so many emotional struggles and tough times, including an eating disorder as a teenager. For obvious reasons, I wanted to create a platform in which we could discuss the important relationship between mental health and music.
What pushed you to pursue a career in the entertainment industry? Was there a person/place/thing that inspired you to do so ? Looking back, what would you have done differently in the beginning?
There is a lot that went into the person that I am today and the career that I’ve built. However, if I had to boil it down to one moment, I would say that the purchase of my first ever mini piano at 5 years old was pivotal. From then on, I knew that music was my destiny and that I would stop at nothing to make it my full time job. Looking back, I honestly wouldn’t change anything. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason, and so far I’ve been lucky enough to end up where I originally wanted to be as a young kid playing the piano for the first time.
Who is someone you worked with that had a strong impact on how you perceive the industry? the world? yourself?
I have definitely been influenced by a ton of different people throughout the years. The music industry can come with a lot of hardships and letdowns. Those experiences have really made me build a thicker skin and choose my relationships wisely. I’ve learned that trusting your gut, working with genuinely good people, and choosing to work on projects that make you happy are the most important things. If it doesn’t feel right, you shouldn’t do it, even if it means giving up a major opportunity.
Tell us more about the meaning/inspiration behind “The Green Room.” Did a personal experience push you to create this?
Mental health is something that is very important to me, as I’ve personally dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I faced a lot of bullying as a kid which in turn led to an eating disorder and some pretty severe anxiety. As a creative, I’ve found it very difficult to deal with the repercussions of my anxiety and know so many other creatives that go through the same struggles. I decided to create a platform to speak on these issues as I felt that they weren’t being talked about enough. The Green Room represents a “backstage” or behind the scenes look into the individuals within the entertainment industries that deal with mental health issues on a daily basis and find solace in creating and sharing their stories. In addition, the color green is associated with mental health awareness, and I felt that it was very fitting when coming up with “The Green Room” as the title of my platform.
How do you prep for an episode? What is your favorite part of being part of this?
I don’t really like to prep too much because I prefer for each episode to be raw in terms of the conversations that my guests and I share. We do, however, have a pre-call or “dress rehearsal” call where myself, the guest, and the therapist get acquainted with one another. There are never any specific questions that are written; we tend to bounce off of each other’s energy and go on from there.
You have the upcoming Blu DeTiger episode of The Green Room coming out. Share with us what it was like discussing the ups and downs of being a creative during the pandemic, and how anxiety and other factors can play into creative productivity.
Funny enough, creating through the pandemic was actually very productive and healing for me, especially at the beginning. Although everything switched over to Zoom, I was able to build some very strong relationships with fellow creatives during these crazy times that we are all sharing as humans. I know that a lot of people struggled with the switch to “remote writing”, Blu being one of them. She described that it was very hard for her to bond with fellow creatives without sharing that in-person connection. In addition, as an upcoming artist that had never played a live show, the pandemic hit especially hard because she was trying to create new content for a fan base that she hadn’t gotten to fully interact with in person. In terms of anxiety, it’s a huge factor when it comes to writing. Whether you’re focusing on a specific topic or subconsciously having those ideas come to the surface, I feel that anxiety is always driving us as creatives to get our emotion out through songwriting.
What were some answers that resonated with you? Listening to it, it’s clear that many artists struggle with this. How have you overcome your own anxiety (etc)?
I can honestly say that I have not overcome my anxiety, and that it’s not something you ever fully overcome, no matter how hard you try. It’s something that you have to learn how to cope with; you find your own methods to subdue the anxiety. There were a lot of answers / moments that resonated with me. Every episode is so great, I feel like everyone really connects and there are always so many great questions and topics that we receive and address. Afterwards, I usually receive a lot of supportive messages on how my platform has helped others get through their struggles. For me, that’s the most important thing. It brings us together as humans and allows us to address our issues in a safe and productive way.
What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
I would advise that they stay driven, authentic, and always work towards their goals. They don’t say 10,000 hours for nothing! When I first moved out of my hometown I didn’t have a social life, all I did was work on my music. I would lock myself in my room each and every weekend and continue to work, only leaving when I needed to go out and get food. Whether it was practicing the guitar for 11 hours a day or trying to get better at writing songs, I always wanted to challenge myself, and it took true determination and a thick layer of skin to keep pushing towards my goals. I would recommend that same mindset and determination for anyone that is seriously considering a career in this field.
Share with us a story where you felt yourself being empowered further.
For me, it’s empowering when people put me down, make me feel crappy, or turn me away. Without mentioning any specific story, I can tell you that there have been moments like that throughout my career that have pushed me to fight harder, prove the doubters wrong, and work until I get where I truly want to be.
What do you believe your purpose is?
I believe that my purpose is to inspire young women that have aspirations similar to mine. I want them to know that they can achieve anything that they set their minds to as long as they are willing to put in the work. Through my experiences and my platform, I hope to keep inspiring these young minds while helping them pave a path to success.
Talent Jenna Andrews @thejennaandrews @thegreenroomtalks
Photography Shervin Lainez @shervinfoto
Interview by Alexandra Bonnet @alexbonnetwrites