The Moment I Knew I Wanted To Make Music: JEEN

by - August 31, 2023

I started singing at a super young age, so as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a singer for a living.

When I was around 12 or 13 years old, I rented the Woodstock ‘69 documentary from the public library and it put a spell on me that day and forever. It sort of flipped a switch; the culture of it, everything so communal and connected, fucking unparalleled music pouring out from everywhere and then most of all, how literally EVERYBODY showed up for it. It felt more like a religion and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to relax until I found that high myself.

Now I can’t remember which came first, the documentary or the guitar, but my mom gave me her off-brand acoustic for my birthday that same year. I wrote my first song on a lawn chair in the backyard on that guitar, played it for my cousin Patty (approved), carved my name in its wood and from that point on, music was kind of all I did or cared about. It was like a bad infection or something and I was devoured by it. So within a few years of that, when I was in grade 10, I quit high school and moved out of my parents’ house, headed to the nearest big city (Toronto) and started pursuing music full time.

In short order I met my first legit manager on the streets there and everything solidified fast after I signed with him. For better or worse, by the time I was around 16 or 17 years old, I knew there was no turning back and that I was all in.

I guess the thing about watching that documentary alone in my bedroom a million lifetimes ago, is that it sort of permanently messed with my DNA, like I saw God or something and I never came back from that…60s and 70s music culture would continue to have an intoxicating effect on my career choices as I imagine a lot of us would say. It was sort of the holy grail on how deep it can go collectively with music and society and shit if the conditions are just right. Nothing else does it for me like that. That unspoken thing is the reason why I started making music when I was young and it’s why I’m still here doing it for a living now instead of getting a real job.


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