Interview With Jenna Leigh-Raine

What was the beginning point for your music career? How did it all start?

Well, it was long ago so let me just say, like every young kid who sees their rock hero on TV for the first time, if it’s in you that knows from that second, it’s what you want to do for your career. That’s exactly what happened to me. So, when I told my mum I wanted to be a musician, she got me my first electric guitar aged 15 and I took drum lessons too. At the time, I was listening to a lot of the music, predominately electronic. 

I met someone who had synths so we set about forming a duo called Lonely Crystal Child and rehearsed solidly. 

I was writing lyrics and as time went on, we enjoyed three or so fun years, until I went to Paris and signed an artist management deal. 

I travelled between UK and Paris for two years recording a lot. 

Always learning, learning – finding my feet. 

Were there any bumps on the road? What kind of challenges did you have to deal with?

The ones that come to mind straight away were signing dodgy deals that was common. Famously in 1987, the management company Adam Ant was signed to took my lyrics and firstly decided to pretend they were not stealing – it was a very horrid situation. Adam was not involved and oddly I met him several times over the last 30 years and he wanted me to sign to his label once. 

What was the most fulfilling and satisfying moment so far?

Well, being asked to sign to a label that wanted to put my music forward for films owned by a peer. But better was signing a new publishing deal in July 2019, agreed in London yet signed using fax whilst away in France. I signed the forms with my witness then jumped into the pool and drank champagne. 

But more I think is having people recognise your work to merit a deal. When I was younger, I literally got on planes and chased and blagged my way into record companies to get them to listen. Sadly, now, it’s about social media numbers and safe music. You walk through any mall in LA you only hear one kind of music. Urban music is shooting itself in the foot as there’s no substance in it, compared to what we had in the early 80s.

How would you describe the music that you typically create?

Sci-Rock – I’m joking. I make quite cinematic music but I think its real name are synth rock, alt rock or electronic punk wave. Basically, I create a wall map of sound that sometimes sits behind a driving rock or punk heavy guitar. 

What is your creative process like?

Normally at the point of a new album I think of my next progressive theme from where the last one finished. Once this theme is decided, which can just arrive as an entire idea, then I may have a first whole lyric and melody which I will record into my phone. Eventually you write more and more. A lot of the time I will leave out tracks or lyrics that don’t fit or I don’t like as much. 

Months later I will find I’ve ten tracks but will keep going until the moment which can sometimes feel like a breath of new air and you realise the album is done. Then you mix tracks and record vocals. I record all vocals without any reverb or flat so when it comes to the mixing they will sound even better. I’m quite good at being note perfect even though my voice has changed. 

The next step is mastering which is its own artform. This is the final procedure until the vinyl test pressings arrive to check all levels seem right. Then weeks later the album arrives shrink and wrapped. 

If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

We’re in such a different era where before you used to really work for it. Now it is one music dominating world sales in the digital world. I would level out the digital royalties and pay the musicians a proper day’s work, and invite more real music. 

If you were asked to give a piece of advice to upcoming bands, what would that be?

Pick up a real instrument. Not rely totally on digital VST instruments. But honestly sound is what I love creating. My advice is to be yourself, create your own sound, own look and have something new to offer. Don’t compete with another hundred acts in the same genre. 

What has been the best performance of your career so far?

I once performed on a TV show in Los Angeles at the Sony. I was told after that 58 million people in two time zones were watching. Apart from that, I did a residency at the Madam Jo Jo s in Soho, London where my mates from the band Republica did two years before. 

If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?

A writer. But I’m also a healer and psychic and have travelled helping people for many, many, many years. 

What is new with the band at the moment? What are you currently working on and would like to share with the world?

I am now deep into recording the next album which so far is very upbeat and has vast walls of sound and loud punk-rock anthems.