Singer, songwriter, and musical theatre performer, Drea Jeann, has released her latest single “Come Back To Me,” which is a haunting and emotional single, in which Jeann portrays the honest struggles in a relationship. In the music video, Jeann and her other half are seen as underwater swimmers, fully immersed, fighting against the tides and currents of happenstance to reach one another. Jeann hales from the Bay Area and her songs are all tangible experiences that she’s felt in the good and bad experiences of her life, thus far, and her roots are in jazz and musical theatre, although she also dabs in electronic music with a beautiful finesse.
In our interview with Jeann, it’s quite feasible her love of performing and the emotions that music brings to the singer and her audience. She speaks very candidly about her pursuit of music, the music video making process, songwriting and what lies ahead for her music.
When did you know you wanted to pursue music?
Drea Jeann: My first performance was at the age of 3 on a cruise ship going to Mexico and I sang “You Are My Sunshine” for a crowd of 100+ people. I’ve been in love with singing from the minute I can remember. Being involved with musical theatre and jazz ensembles throughout high school, I got a clearer picture that I needed to do this for the rest of my life. Whether or not it was a side gig or a full time career, the very essence of who I am resides in performing and writing and creating music. It wasn’t until after I graduated Pepperdine [University], originally majoring in Musical Theatre and then switching to International Management & Philosophy that I got the “OK” from my dad. He called me up and told me he knows it’s my dream to pursue music with everything I have, and that if that’s what I want to do he’ll help me give it a shot and see where it goes. That was the summer of 2018 and I’ve been pursuing it ever since.
I really enjoyed your music video for your single “Come Back To Me.” Were you a part of the vision for the music video, and what was filming for it like for you?
Drea: Ben Griffin with Prime Zero Productions was the director and visionary for the video. I have no claim to fame with the underwater idea, that was all him…but when I heard about it I was super excited to see what was in store. Shooting music videos is probably the most fun thing I’ve ever done. You feel like a true super star and it’s the most tangible feeling that my dreams are actually coming true. The underwater scenes were super intense. We shot it in a pool and there was a team of scuba instructors and a scuba film man that helped guide me and Andres (the man who is featured in the video). I couldn’t see anything and it was pretty difficult to try and look casual and normal underwater, but eventually I got the hang of it. Towards the end I sang the full song underwater and it required them weighing me down to a stool that I stood on underwater and had a scuba tank give me oxygen when I cued them to. It was crazy as I had never scuba dived or used one of the tanks before, and it’s especially difficult wearing makeup and not having a mask on so you think you can breathe through your nose! All in all, it was super fun and one of the craziest experiences I’ve had!
“Come Back To Me” is a very beautiful, yet haunting song about relationships. Can you share with us the backstory surrounding the single?
Drea: “Come Back to Me” is about toxic relationships. I’ve had my fair share of relationships in the past…I tend to give my heart out a bit too easily. I trust people, naturally, sometimes for the better, sometimes it’s for the worse. I was in one relationship in particular that was extremely toxic, it was manipulation and co-dependency, and even though I was hurting, the importance of having that person in my life, or moreover the fear of NOT having them in my life was too consuming. It wasn’t about wanting at that point, but more so needing the relationship to get through.
Your music roots consist of jazz, musical theater, and even electronic music. What is it about each of these genres that you love the most and brings you creative satiation?
Drea: My genres that I listen to vary from classical to jazz to pop to electronic, etc…I think there’s beauty in every art form and every genre. I love jazz so much because it is very expressive of who I am as a person, the dissonance and the chords that might not seem to fit together yet always find their way to pull at the heart and resolve is similar to how I feel sometimes as a person through life. I love how much improv and on-the-feet thinking jazz is based on, it provides an opportunity to reveal an artist’s true talent and ability. Musical theatre is another side of my music personality that allows me to mold and adapt to a story, and deliver a message in a more dramatic, convincing way. In musical theatre, it’s even a bit easier because you’re acting as a character and not yourself. When I’m performing as just myself, it’s more vulnerable and puts me into a light where I can’t hide behind a character’s persona. Electronic music is more fun for me…it’s upbeat and dancey and allows me to get outside of myself more and have fun with it! There’s a lot going on in electronic music too that I absolutely love. It might be easy to make electronic music these days but it’s not easy to make a GOOD electronic song; where you’re composing a whole song, directing an orchestra, in an atypical manner.
Do you have any plans in the new year to release more singles and/or an album?
Drea: Yes, there’s so many plans for next year. I just started releasing music in September of 2019, and this is just the beginning. 2020 is going to be a year of me navigating my place in the industry, finding where I thrive and putting myself out there as much as I can. I have a library of singles that I’ve been working on for the past year and a half, and it’s just about timing and figuring out which ones to put out throughout the next year that best communicates who I am as an artist.
Who was your first concert, and who has been your favorite, thus far?
Drea: Carrie Underwood was my first concert. I was obsessed with “American Idol” when I was growing up, of course dreaming that I’d be auditioning one day.
My favorite artists as inspiration include Ariana Grande, Halsey, YEBBA, Sara Bareilles, Whitney Houston, Tori Kelly, Etta James and Aretha Franklin.
What was your first album on CD and/or vinyl?
Drea: Hilary Duff! I was OBSESSED with her growing up.
Which five albums and/or artists would you not want to live without?
Drea: Michael Buble, Etta James, Halsey, Olivia O’Brien, and Demi Lovato’s single “Sober.”
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
Drea: Oh yes. I absolutely love to jam out to “Les Miserables” and some songs from “Jekyll and Hyde.” I’ve wanted to be a part of those shows on Broadway for quite a bit of time and am absolutely in love with the soundtracks. You’ll find me belting out to hits from “GLEE” and “SMASH” in my car as well.
List five fast facts about you and/or your music.
1. I write only about stuff I’ve experienced.
2. Authenticity, vulnerability and transparency are of my highest values as an artist.
3. I’m a recovering addict.
4. I value my family and relationships above everything else.
5. I find nothing more fulfilling than sharing my experiences and who I am through my music, hoping it helps or touches at least one other person.