I tend to fall in love with many songs, but it takes a lot for an entire album to grasp me. However, Jeen‘s latest solo record Tourist did just that. This Canadian singer-songwriter creates infectious indie rock-pop gems with Western nuances and the inspiration “not to suck”. She has also collaborated with Great Big Sea, Serena Ryder, and Hawksley Workman and is in Toronto group Cookie Duster with Brendan Canning. With the recent release of Tourist, Jeen graciously took the time to speak with me about dream collaborations, Breaking Bad, busking in Toronto, and the album. Dive in:
AMBY: Hey Jeen, congrats on the release of your debut solo record Tourist! What was the experience like creating the LP?
Jeen: Thanks Alicia! I was kind of on my own little island for this. I had originally been looking for an outside producer but as time went on I became impatient. I felt if I continued to wait for the right guy (or girl) it may never see the light of day. I just got sick of waiting so I started hacking away at it myself, which was tedious at times (production not being my forte) but probably more rewarding in the end.
AMBY: I love the Western nuances and harmonies the record has. Who were your biggest influences or inspirations when it came to the songwriting on the album?
Jeen: My inspiration was not to suck mostly haha …to be honest I don’t listen to a lot of music anymore. In fact I don’t listen to music at all right now. A little depressing sounding, I know, but I suppose it’s because I do it for a living so when I hear songs I over analyse, critique, compare, making the whole listening experience pretty crap. So it’s hard for me to say where my current influences come from. But I grew up on the Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Band, the Who, OLD Smashing Pumpkins, Janes Addiction, Beastie Boys, Nirvana… sounds like some pretty cliché choices right there but they were huge to me….they had a massive impact on what I do.
AMBY: What’s the meaning behind the title Tourist?
Jeen: I was reading ‘Killing Yourself to Live’ by Chuck Klosterman and there was a moment in the book where he noted ‘we are all tourists, life is tourism’…it really resonated with me, that notion of being a bit of an outsider and that we’re all just coming and going.
AMBY: Before this solo record, you worked with Great Big Sea, Serena Ryder, and Hawksley Workman. Who would your dream collaboration be with?
Jeen: Sooo hard to choose …ok maybe a little outside here but a cameo chorus in a JayZ song would be cool
AMBY: Your songs have been used in many national ad campaigns. But if you could have your music featured in any show or film, which would it be?
Jeen: Louie…or if they resurrected ‘Breaking Bad’ that would definitely be a dream license… and anything Quentin Tarantino.
AMBY: Which songs do you remember most from your childhood? Did these have an influence on your sound?
Jeen: Rocky Raccoon particularly sticks out. The whole white album really. Maybe not as a direct influence on my sound but more in regards to how that record was compiled. The way it was pieced together and had no defined lines, like nobody was telling them what they could or couldn’t do…I think I take from that a bit or at least I hope to.
AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about Jeen that nobody knows yet?
Jeen: I quit high school in grade 10, moved to Toronto and busked for a living when I started out.
Thank you Jeen, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout