Seven years ago today, I was very excited and couldn’t sleep. The next day, June 23rd 2012, I was going to see Evanescence live! (Thank you Facebook for reminding me of that memory this morning). Evanescence was one of the handfuls of bands that inspired me to start FemMetal a few months ago. And millions of fans around the world are inspired by this band that many consider the best of their generation!
I was really excited when I read the news that Jen Majura has joined Evanescence in 2015. The fans fell in love with her very fast, and you could see that through social media. She is one of those artists that make you forget they are holding an instrument while playing, and that the instrument is part of them due to their passion and energy.
Jen Majura, the German guitarist/vocalist/bassist, released her second solo album in 2017, entitled InZENity, showcasing her great talent once again. FemMetal got the chance to speak with Jen about her music, her time so far with Evanescence and other things.
Mirk: Hello Jen. It’s a pleasure to talk to you. How are you today?
Jen: Hey thanks for having me, I’m doing great, thank you.
Mirk: You’ve been with Evanescence since 2015, a band that is considered by many (me included) as one of the best in this era. How does it feel to be part of a band with such a legacy?
Jen: Well… when I got the gig with Evanescence and I told my mom about it, she was like: “Oh girl, I don’t understand your Heavy Metal world…” and she was convinced that she doesn’t know the band. Of course, she did, so she called me from her way back from the office one day, excitingly shouting “OMG I KNOW THE BAAAAND! They just played that song on the radio!!!” into her phone and into my ear. With that being said – everybody (!) knows Evanescence, or at least the “Wake me up” song. It feels great to be accepted by the fans and be able to become more and more a part of this band.
Mirk: You’ve been touring with Evanescence for about four years now. What songs have you enjoyed the reaction of the crowd to most?
Jen: One of my favourite live songs is “Disappear” as I love the vibe of that song, it’s so powerful! Fan reaction-wise of course “Bring me to life” is always great and I love watching Amy doing the beginning of “My Immortal” on the piano before the band kicks in when everybody switches on their flashlights and illuminate the entire venue. It’s just so beautiful.
Mirk: According to a 2018 study by Fender, “women make up 50 % of new guitar players in both the US and the UK”. And a friend of mine told me, and I’m sure others would agree with her, that you are one of her inspirations to start learning to play. What advice would you give these young women who want to become guitarists?
Jen: Oh wow. There is so much I could say right now. I guess the first advice would be a general advice: Never stop pushing and believing in yourself as a creative artist. If the whole world tells you, you’re wrong, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong – you’re just being different. The second piece of advice is more gender-specific: Don’t let any testosterone get you down. Do not ever think you need to do something you’re not agreeing on, just to reach a higher step in your career, longtime it won’t work. Use your own brain and logic to think things over in a musical business way, do not let anybody talk you into something you don’t want and most of all – be strong, cause it can be really tough out there. Do not use your looks or feminism to gain compliments, just be a true hard-working musician!!! How many times did I hear “Oh Jen, you looked great on stage!”, when all I wanted to hear was “Oh Jen, you played great tonight!” Testosterone is a given. And also the belief in talent for a few people is a given. Let’s define feminism new, so we are no longer these cute little creatures who desperately have to prove, but who persuade by their hard work and talent.
Mirk: As I have said before, you are one of the artists that inspire young women to learn to play the guitar. Who inspired you to choose this path and become an artist?
Jen: My dad is a bass player, so music was always there in my life and at the age of 4 I knew I would become a musician. My first guitar hero, when I was 6 years old, was Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, but fast enough I would learn about the music of great artists like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Nuno Bettencourt.
Mirk: In your album, InZENity you visited different places in music. The album is definitely a Metal album. But you’re clearly not bound by one genre or one style of music and you’re not afraid to use elements from other genres. What other places in music would you like to visit in the future?
Jen: Interesting question. Hm. Well, as a private person I don’t limit myself in my musical taste. Sometimes friends who would drive with me in my car, wonder about the songs on my iPod shuffle. It varies from Death Metal to Pop, to EBM to Hard Rock, Country and Oldies… My musical mind is wide open, so why should I limit myself in the writing process of a solo album!? At one point in my life I wanna record an unplugged acoustic album with just one acoustic guitar and my vocals… I’ll do that maybe when I’ll become a less energy-hyper-driven person… maybe when I’ll turn 70 or so… haha.
Mirk: You have a growing fan base on social media and the ability to reach people from different countries and cultures. What causes related to Women’s rights or Human rights, in general, do you believe in and would use that ability to talk about or promote?
Jen: I am not too much into politics and human rights, to be honest. I am into logical humanity, the belief to be good to one another. The belief is to spread the good, to make people see the good and make them aware of what’s false guidelines on their ways. I’m not saying I’m super wise or that I know it all… all I can say is that I, as a person, have learned a lot from my personal past, to improve my life and become a better person. I wanna spread the word about a positive helpful, supportive and good vibe instead of complaining or ignoring it. Do a good thing every day and try to become a better person every day!
Mirk: If you could pick an era to live in, would you remain in this one, or would you prefer a musical era from the past? And if you’d pick the past, which era would you like to be in?
Jen: 80ies. Definitely. Because all of my favourite bands were still touring successfully back then. haha.
Mirk: You’re a guitarist, vocalist, and bassist and you work on solo projects and projects with bands. Do you give all your time to music, or do you have other hobbies that have nothing to do with it?
Jen: I recently discovered that I really enjoy editing videos for my YouTube channel. So I came up with the idea with these JM_Vlogs about random things that just happen in my life, whether if it’s “Copenhagen Guitar Show Clinic”, “Joining some friends on stage” or “Finding a pet for JenJen”… I enjoy recording these little video snippets and editing them all together to one video that might bring joy to people. Of course most of the time this could also be considered as a part of my work life, to promote my social media presence, but the truth is: I really enjoy it! Other than that I don’t really have hobbies. When your passion turns into your job, there’s not much left that you could ask for – in winter I knit socks though…
Mirk: Thank you Jen for this interview. You’re a very talented artist and a wonderful person. Wish you the best in your future projects!
Jen: Thank you so much for the nice chat!