Earlier this week Jenna McDougall finally debuted her brand new solo project Hevenshe upon the world and has been enjoying the ride since. This “dream come true” project is solely hers and so far it’s been met with praise from fans and critics alike following the release of her heartfelt breakup single ‘No One Will Ever Love You‘. For the collector among us, there’s also a limited edition recycled 7″ vinyl you can get here!
Tonight, Hevenshe will hit the stage for the very first time and to get you all kinds of keen, we nabbed a chat with the woman behind the music to trek down into this new musical outlet as she starts spreading her wings for the world to see…
Jenna, it is bloody good to see your face and hear your voice in this industry again. How have you fared during the pandemic and your break from international touring?
Thanks so much Browny! It’s awesome to be reconnecting with you and the world again! Honestly right now I’m just appreciating every ounce of energy and inspiration I have! Definitely feeling humbled by the last few years and not taking life for granted right now.
I guess one of the only good things to come from the past two years was it gave you time to put your attention into your solo project, Hevenshe. When I first heard this name, I instantly thought, yep, that’s a Jenna McDougall project! Please tell us the story behind deciding upon the moniker you’ll go by with this solo work?
Tonight Alive fans know I’ve referenced heaven a lot in our lyrics. The Divine is the ultimate potency we can really conceive of in the material world, so as spiritual beings having a human experience, I’d say the attraction to transcendental themes that lead me to the name Hevenshe, is something we actually all share deep down – even if it’s just through admiring the night sky. The Divine is in all of us and Hevenshe is my acknowledgement of that.
Your debut release is the anthemic ‘No One Will Ever Love You’ – which walks on familiar territory, with sounds of your earlier work in Tonight Alive (especially 2013’s album The Other Side) shining through and being met with a folky/bluesy twang. Was the intention to strip everything back so there was very minimal on show for the audience/listener?
I worked on the song through lockdowns in a few different stages of demoing, which gave me loads of time to add little countermelodies and extra sections to the song. What people are hearing in this song is my brain child! Compared to Tonight Alive’s compositions, it probably does seem stripped back because there’s only 1 big personality in Hevenshe! I laugh sometimes listening to Tonight Alive’s earlier work especially because I can hear us all competing to take the listener’s attention. That kind of chaos has its place! Hevenshe is probably coming from a more grounded, harnessed place I’d say and so am I.
I can imagine a very intimate setting with two chairs on stage, a sunflower in a vase and audiences sitting and gazing in awe of the performance and lyrics. Is that what you’re going for with your debut show at Crowbar tonight?
I still see this project absolutely tearing up stages. I can’t wait for people to hear every shade of Hevenshe! The songs were written for a mix between festival stages and crying with headphones on. I think Hevenshe can be everything! But if I ever get to play a headline slot on a festival in the rain that would be the pinnacle experience of the new music for me!
The closing lyrics ‘I wish I could give you my heart, just so you can have everything you want’ – is this boy really worth cutting your own heart out to give to him?
It was interesting circumstances for a break up, like a force greater than me was making the decision. It’s devastating to leave someone you love and want the best for. I’m sure I’m not the first to bear that burden!
The blaring question that’s been going around the scene leading up to this project’s release was – what does this mean for the future of Tonight Alive?
We are currently talking about the future together for the first time in years. I can’t say what will happen or when but we can feel a spark for Tonight Alive again and I don’t think any of us were expecting that to happen!
What people might not remember was the age you all were when you first started this musical journey. Who was Jenna McDougall back then, and how does she compare this far into your career and upon recently turning 30?
She was fiercely innocent and sincere and dazzled by her dreams. She was only understood by some. Desperate for connection and acceptance. Blindly passionate. I’m not that different from her. I just need external validation a little less these days!
Lastly, what else should we be looking out for from Hevenshe camp in future?
All I can promise is music! Loads of music!
We like the sound of that. All the best with the show tonight!
Interview by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul
Follow all things Hevenshe on Linkpop
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