ALBUM REVIEW: Drake Jensen "On My Way To Finding You" [+ Show] CountryChart.com
Drake Jensen has a deep country voice that could j...
Drake Jensen has a deep country voice that could just as easily come out of El Paso, Texas rather than the island of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Canada - where he was born and raised. Nevertheless, the country crooner is on his way to finding his own country music dream with his surprisingly accomplished new album "On My Way To Finding You."
The album's first single "Wash Me Away" received a music award, and the track has a hard-driving beat with a memorable melody. The new single "All You Need" will please traditional country fans, and it actually has a retro-cool George Strait meets Mickey Gilley vibe.
The album's first cut, "Where You Goin' With That" actually sets the perfect tone for the Drake Jensen album, and the Canadian who recently moved to Ontario showcases his deep throaty vocals. The album's production quality is also stellar. The next track, "I'm Here To Love You" also could draw comparisons to the music of Brooks & Dunn, which is a major compliment.
The album's biggest surprise is a Tim McGraw-esque cut titled "The Son I'll Never Have," which also features traditional country elements. Drake Jensen's mother was a huge fan of country music, and this led to the artist listening to musicians such as Garth Brooks and George Strait. Indeed, the influences of Jensen's musical heroes are readily evident.
The easy-going "I Hope You Smile" is the best cut on the Drake Jensen album by a mile. Jensen offers a quiet confidence that is compelling combined with lyrics that flow easily off the tongue and into listeners' consciousness. The soaring "It's Not About Me Anymore" allows Drake Jensen to showcase his powerful vocal chops, and "Still On The Radio" might have radio chart potential.
The quiet cut "I Knew Her When" is another radio-ready song that was made for slow dances at the bar, and the title track "On My Way To Finding You" is a laid-back cut that clearly illustrates the professionalism and country charm of the artist.
The album "On My Way To Finding You" is a carefully, produced 11-track album running more than 40 minutes that will leave you wondering why you haven't found the mysteriously talented Drake Jensen until now. CountryChart.com
Drake Jensen - On My Way To Finding You - www.drakejensen.ca[+ Show] Country Entertainment USA
Canadian artist, Drake Jensen, paves his way to Na...
Canadian artist, Drake Jensen, paves his way to Nashville with his first release entitled On My Way To Finding You, produced by notable songwriter/producer, Kim Copeland. Drake lends his songwriting talents to three of the eleven songs. His vocals are genuine with a strong country sound, and fit seamlessly into the production. The highlight of the project is “The Son I’ll Never Have,” to which he offers up a heartfelt delivery. There is not a lot of fluff here, just a nice solid country project.
Drake Jensen – On My Way To Finding You[+ Show] Music News Nashville
Nova Scotia-born Drake Jensen looks and sounds lik...
Nova Scotia-born Drake Jensen looks and sounds like a Country singer should. He’s tall, got the beard, the cowboy hat. And, then, there’s the voice. You can tell that Jensen spent plenty of time listening to Country Music growing up. There a traditional side that comes through, mixed with a singer-songwriter style that is very much akin to that of Garth Brooks.
Vocally, he has a soulful and assured approach, which comes to view on cuts like the spectacular “I Found Me,” as well as “Where You Goin With That?” He also proves himself to be a more than capable tunesmith, penning the remarkable “I Hope You Smile,” one of the more positive break-up songs I have heard in a while, as well as the romantic title cut, which might be the best all-around cut on the album.
All in all, Jensen just has a knack for a good Country song He can write them, sing them, and package them in a way that makes the listener just want to tap their problems away. ‘I’m Here To Love You” and “Still On The Radio” both soar with their winning melodies, and I could see both being big hits at radio. But, then again, so could anything on this album. Kim Copeland did a fantastic job producing this one. Remember the name Drake Jensen. He could very well be the next big thing!
Faced with a landscape of r...
Story: Lenny Stoute
Faced with a landscape of rocky crags and vast expanses of ocean, with nary a cowpoke in sight, for generations the people of Cape Breton have turned to country music. Why this is so likely has a lot to do with the type of music they first heard on the radio or that was available in local record stores. Country singer Drake Jensen grew up in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, a location defined by coal mining, fishing and music all around.
“ Growing up I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t music in the house. I was used to singing along with my parents’ record player and of course, most of what they would play would be country. The Celtic music was all around too but country music was the real popular music of the time”.
Growing up in The Glace, Jensen got into classic guitar at 12 and by 15, like any self-respecting teenager, was playing in a rock band, more keyboards than guitar. But as happened with the classical phase, Drake found he didn’t like it much and drifted back to his country roots.
The next phase was all about gigging around wherever they’d let him plug in, honing song writing skills and bettering his vocal chops in the service of bringing original interpretations to existing material. He’d hit on the notion of being an interpretive singer as a way of getting attention and it proved to indeed be the way forward.
In 2001 Jensen released his take on an Anne Murray hit.” A Little Bit Of Good News” and scored his first taste of lower-case stardom as the tune scored airplay throughout the Maritimes
“ I feel to be able to interpret someone else’s song and bring new meaning to it is a mark of artistry. It’s not so much making the songs your own, it’s more about bringing another perspective to it”.
But Jensen was unable to capitalize on the breakthrough. Even as he was hearing his voice on the radio, his personal and financial life had hit rock bottom. Drake Jensen turned out the lights, went musically silent and didn’t know how he would ever get back again. “I don’t think people realise how much it costs just to record a single, never mind an album and I didn’t want to put out anything that wasn’t quality.
“I am grateful to God I was lucky enough to find that one person who lifted me up, got me on my feet and encouraged me to get back to making music again”.
By 2008, a significant number of the pieces needed to get Jensen back in the game had fallen into place and he began plotting the debut album. Jensen set about sifting through 100 songs looking for material that was both airplay-likely and would accurately reflect what he was all about. “ The initial plan was to source the best songs available but (Producer) Kim Copeland was adamant that I write some songs for the album. She was like; “You’ve got to have a couple of songs on there. This has to happen”. In the end I had three, two co-writes and one I did by myself. “ It was my dream to record this album in Nashville, and last December I found myself doing just that. I got so much out of the experience; I went in thinking it might be all factory attitude; “ let’s sit down and get this done” but it was relaxed, supportive and all about the individual songs.
“ At one point I met with Mike McGuire (Shenandoah), a big idol of mine, and when he told me he loved my version of his song (“Wash Me Away”) that was so amazing to hear
“ It was all very encouraging, exciting and humbling. That me, some guy from Glace Bay could be sitting in a room writing with Mike McGuire and (major songwriter) Jan Buckingham, that made me feel like I was on the right track”
On My Way To Finding You offers 11 meaty meditations on this thing called ‘love’, leaning for the most part on its healing and redemptive powers, although nowhere is there any evidence Mr. Jensen doesn’t like a good party
“ The idea of love is at the core of the album. It’s about how love makes you fully yourself. The centrepiece for me is a song I wrote called "All You Need". It’s autobiographical but I didn't want it to be so much about me. It concerns a deep and life-changing experience but for the song to work I had to make it relatable to everyone. It’s a tale of being down in the dark depths and finding that one person who can lift you up. It’s about being lifted up and being given a new chance”.
This is one deep Drake and he worries about his message getting across. Further complicating matters is his agreement that the message is still evolving, still coming into focus.
“ I wrote songs on this album that would be easy for others to cover. For one thing, they’re not gender specific. For another, they’re open-ended in a way that allows a listener to being their level of interpretation to a song. My message has to be open to interpretation by anybody”.
That’s somewhat reflected in the album title, On My Way To Finding You. Along the way Jensen’s music evolves by changing it up just a little. His vocals are now more varied, a more emotive thing than it was back in 2001. He's doing things with his rich baritone, easing down that road stretching from Ferlin Husky through to Vince Gill and Keith Urban, trod by country singers with more than a little crooner in their mix.
The album officially drops Aug.22 but the first single “Wash Me Away” has already logged airplay on 100 radio stations worldwide and the album scored a rave review from influential country critic Robert Oermann in Music Row magazine.
In keeping with his one day at a time approach, Jensen won’t be doing the traditional support tour, at least not just yet. Instead, he’s leaning on breaking the songs on the radio and playing a few select Ottawa area dates in September, including one at the prestigious Elmdale House.
“ This album says, I have a lot to say but I’ll tell you who I am first. I feel I have the ability and the gifts to revolutionize country music but this will unfurl over time”.
DISClaimer Single Reviews (6/8/11) - Robert K. Oermann
[+ Show] Music Row Magazine
We have a mixed bag of sounds on tap today.
We have a mixed bag of sounds on tap today.
The listening session was dominated by indies. Some of them were quite listenable (Stephanie Urbina Jones, Aaron Einhouse), others not so much. The one who stood out as a DisCovery Award winner was Drake Jensen. Other than the fact that he is managed out of Ottawa, I know next to nothing about him.
Lady Antebellum was, as always, a luscious listening experience. But the Disc of the Day belongs to Kellie Pickler. “Tough” is the perfect song for this personality-packed performer.
I don’t have an awards category for this, but maybe I should honor someone each week who reminds us all what hardcore country music really sounds like. If I did, I would certainly polish a statuette for the supremely soulful stylings of Gene Watson & Rhonda Vincent. Their album is called Your Money and My Good Looks. It dropped this week. Get it.
JIMMY LEHOUX/Twenty Toes In The Sand Writer: Liz Miller/Tom Stipe; Producer: Tom McBee; Publisher: Check to Rex/Pen, ASCAP; Ruby (www.jimmylehoux.net) —Half of this town has been ripping off Jimmy Buffett for years.
DRAKE JENSEN/Wash Me Away Writer: M. Narmore/M. McGuire; Producer: Kim Copeland; Publisher: Oven/Avalon Avenue, BMI/ASCAP; Soaring Eagle (track) —Very dramatic. Unmistakably country, but with a certain sonic majesty and terrific, multi-layered production finesse. Not only is the song finely crafted, he sings with open throated confidence and clear conviction. A winner.
KELLIE PICKLER/Tough Writer: Leslie Satcher; Producer: Frank Liddell & Luke Wooten; Publisher: Sony-ATV Tree/Leslie Satcher, BMI; BNA —At last! The giant hit that Pickler has always deserved is finally here. This rumbling, romping rhythm number has a lyric with real moxie, and she delivers it with just the right amount of sass.
T.J. BROSCOFF/Pillow Writer: T.J. Broscoff; Producer: Bill Green; Publisher: Bill Green, BMI; BGM (www.tjbroscoff.com) —Take vocal lessons to learn how to hold a note longer than a nanosecond.
CLAUDIA NYGAARD/His Left Side Writer: Claudia Nygaard; Producer: Claudia Nygaard; Publisher: Cattlelog, BMI; Bet the Ranch (track) (www.claudianygaard.com) —This one’s a story song on the folkie side of things. His wife has passed away, and he wants to come back to work the land as soon as he recovers from a stroke. Instead, he comes home to die, holding the reins of his old horse standing by his bedside on the front porch.
GENE WATSON & RHONDA VINCENT/Gone For Good Writer: Jimmy Melton; Producer: Herb Sandker; Publisher: Castle Street/Bughouse/Bug, ASCAP; Upper Management (track) (www.geneandrhonda.net) —The first duet album by these two superb country vocalists features chestnuts like “My Sweet Love Ain’t Around,” “Sweet Thang,” “Til the End,” “Out of Hand” and “You Could Know as Much About a Stranger,” plus three Rhonda originals. Among the new tunes by others, this lost-love weeper is the awesome single/video. If you yearn for a real honky-tonk ballad with emotion-soaked harmony and moaning steel, this will smack you right between the eyes. A match made in hillbilly heaven.
LADY ANTEBELLUM/Just A Kiss Writer: Dave Haywood/Charles Kelley/Hillary Scott/Dallas Davidson; Producer: Paul Worley & Lady Antebellum; Publisher: Warner-Tamerlane/DWHaywood/Radiobulletspublishing/EMI Foray/Hillary Dawn/EMI Blackwood/String Stretcher, BMI/SESAC; Capitol Nashville (CDX) —A delirious dream of harmony vocalizing. It is, indeed, the audio equivalent of a romantic kiss.
AARON EINHOUSE/The Cougar Song Writer: Aaron Einhouse; Producer: Walt Wilkins; Publisher: none listed, BMI; AE (www.aaroneinhouse.com) —Three husbands down, the lady at the bar is waiting for you to light her cigarette, if you catch my drift. Bouncy, and sung with drawling good humor.
CONNIE KIS ANDERSEN/Steamy Dreams Writer: Connie Kis Andersen; Producer: Doug Wayne; Publisher: Kismana, APRA; Kismana (track) (www.conniekisandersen.com.au) —This has reportedly already been a top-5 country hit in Australia. She sings capably in a slightly bluesy way, and the swampy guitar work is exemplary. But the whole thing is just too “white” for my taste.
STEPHANIE URBINA JONES/I’m Not A Pinata Writer: Stepahnie Urbina Jones/Mark Marchetti; Producer: none listed; Publisher: Casa Del Rio/Baby Z, SESAC/BMI; Texican Entertainment (www.stephanieurbinajones.com) —The instrumental single is a snappy country rocker with a whiplash beat. The vocal version has a husky alto intro before the smoking track catches fire. I have long been a fan of this performer, and this time around she’s really kicking tail.
Fresh from a spirite...
Drake Jensen is exhausted.
Fresh from a spirited concert at the National Arts Centre, a weekend songwriting session at a cottage in Calabogie, and the filming of a deeply felt new music video, the man has kept himself thoroughly occupied — but not overworked. What’s really tiring him out is telling his story.
The 42-year-old Ottawa-based country singer recently felt a compelling responsibility to be honest about being gay and came out with an announcement accompanying his new music video, On My Way to Finding You. The video is dedicated to the memory of Jamie Hubley — the Ottawa teen who took his life in October after struggling with depression and being openly gay in high school — and features Jensen’s husband and manager Sean Morin.
Jensen says that with each telling of the story of how he came to be where he is today — to the press, to the Hubley family and surely to anyone else who wants to listen — he feels more at peace.
The Cape Breton-born-and-raised musician has a burgeoning music career, one that he’s used already to help grant wishes to terminally ill children and as a platform for speaking out against bullying and intolerance. And now that he’s come out to his fans, he says he feels right about his identity for the first time.
Jensen’s not the first openly gay country artist, but he is the first in Canada, and his management team braced themselves for a backlash after his announcement in what’s still considered a fairly conservative and traditional music community. Intolerance or accusations of attention-seeking seemed as likely as acceptance; country names such as Sherrié Austin and Shane Stevens (co-songwriter of Lady Antebellum’s 2010 hit American Honey) have concluded that country radio isn’t ready for gay airwaves yet.
But fan reaction has been overwhelmingly supportive, Jensen said, and the music video is now on its way to Country Music Television Canada.
Even so, Jensen says what people think of him isn’t his main concern. He says he came out so he could truly be himself, so his fans could know who he really is. “I did it for the honesty of it all.”
Jensen, who was born and raised on Cape Breton Island, says he was bullied throughout his childhood, starting when he was six. As with many families, his parents knew he was being picked on, but couldn’t do anything to help it. “When you come home from school with your clothes stripped off you (by bullies), it’s pretty apparent,” he said.
This went on for another eight years, until Jensen had had enough and dropped out of school at 14. As an honour-roll student who loved learning, his decision was confusing for himself and his family.
Jensen locked himself in his room for months after leaving school. When he emerged, he lived a pretty regular life, but on autopilot — stifling everything, he says. “You become broken. And nobody understands the depth of that brokenness. What happens when people do this to you is they take little pieces of your soul. They extract, extract, extract, extract, until … all that’s left are the mechanical aspects of your mind and your body. And you lose yourself in it.”
Jensen says the process of discovering who he is and why things were so hard for him was long and tiring.
“I was in therapy for three years to deal with the abuse issues that I had. And I remember my psychologist saying to me, ‘You know, it’s OK to be gay.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not gay.’ Because you don’t want to see it. It was all part of what I pushed down.
“And I remember one day I got up and I looked in the mirror, and I thought to myself, ‘Time to fess up. This is why it happened to you, because you were a gay little kid. You were effeminate. They knew you were gay.’ ”
Jensen said that coming out to himself was the hardest part. He then came out to his family and friends — almost as hard — but was met with support and acceptance.
But still he felt something was missing, that his journey wasn’t complete. Even as he began his new career in music, he says his voice still didn’t resonate with the warmth that it should, and later would.
What it took to help him fully reclaim himself was his husband, Morin. The two met and were married within six months, and have now been married nearly four years. Jensen says Morin is his partner, best friend and personal manager and appears in the music video for On My Way to Finding You, the newest single from his debut album of the same name. Morin emerges from an SUV to offer Jensen a loving embrace in a Vankleek Hill driveway, where the video was filmed.
The music video begins with a foreword written by Jensen and addressed to Jamie Hubley, a letter he says he wrote with tears in his eyes.
“This video, celebrating finding love in its truest form beyond the confines of sexual identity, is dedicated to you and the freedom of your spirit,” Jensen wrote.
Jensen visited the home of Jamie’s parents, Allan and Wendy Hubley, shortly after the video’s release. “We had a long conversation. It was very enlightening to talk to them.”
The degree to which Jensen related to Jamie was astonishing, he says, adding that he left the Hubleys feeling exhausted from how emotional their discussion was.
Jensen says that now he’s finally at peace with himself, he feels there’s no better way to express himself and reach out to others than through music. And he says his voice has improved with the spirit and confidence he’s gained.
“Am I the most technically brilliant singer? Absolutely not. But the one thing is that I sing from here,” he says, pointing to his heart.
“Everything I feel, I can push it through my voice now. I couldn’t do that back then. It was the one thing that was lacking.”
Last year, Jensen donated profits from sales of his Christmas single Little Toy Trains to help terminally ill children through Make-a-Wish Canada. Now he’s teamed up with Bullying.org, selling wristbands at his shows and donating all the proceeds to the organization.
Jensen says he believes it’s up to parents to teach their kids at a very young age to love, accept and listen to others.
“It’s not a gay issue … it’s an issue of tolerance. We all need to sit and start to listen to each other — not just hear what other people are saying, but listen to it. And if you don’t agree, that’s fine. But you have to find the love in everything.”
SYDNEY — From his earliest chi...
Laura Jean Grant
SYDNEY — From his earliest childhood memories to the challenges he faces as an adult, music has always served as an important outlet for singer-songwriter Drake Jensen. Topics : Passchendaele , Glace Bay , Nashville, Tenn. “I remember graduating from nursery school in Passchendaele in Glace Bay and everybody had to do something and I chose to sing at four years old, so I guess it was one of those things for me,” he said. “It was something I always wanted to do, and then I realized at this time in my life that I had something to say.” The result is his debut album “On My Way to Finding You,” released last year through Soaring Eagle Productions. “The whole CD, the concept was about love,” he said. “So when I was in the studio, the one thing I thought about was, not being technically perfect because I’m not and neither is anybody else. So what I wanted to do was I wanted to convey the feeling that I had at that moment because recording that album was a very big thing for me, especially to do it in music city, in Nashville, Tenn., with all of these hugely talented people around me.” Jensen, who will be better known to many Cape Bretoners by his given name Robbie Myers, left the island about a decade ago, and lived in New Brunswick before eventually settling in Ottawa, Ont. He said the last several years have been crucial in finally dealing with painful parts of his past. Jensen said he was bullied and even left school at age 14 because of it, and also endured other forms of abuse in his childhood. They’re difficult issues but ones Jensen doesn’t shy away from in his music. “The most emotional song on the album for me was a song that I wrote myself, and ‘I Found Me’ is the name of the track. It’s the last track on the album,” he said, noting the recording process helped him feel even more comfortable expressing himself. “I’m gay and I’m a country singer and nothing and nobody is going to stop me from doing this, because they stopped me before and I won’t allow it again.” The title track of the album, “On My Way To Finding You,” written by Richard Mitchell, is also a sentimental favourite for Jensen. “It just stood out totally because it meant something to me and you can’t really sing anything unless you really understand the meaning of the song, or somehow interpret it in your own way,” he said. “This one meant a lot to me because it was very relevant to me finding my own love in my life and it just struck a chord with me.” Jensen said he’s pleased with reaction to the new album, particularly the amount of radio airplay it’s been receiving across the country. He plans to release two more singles from the album over the coming months and is looking forward to an opportunity to showcase at East Coast Music Week in Moncton, N.B., in April. Jensen’s plans for 2012 also include releasing a song this month for bullying.org with proceeds from it going to the bullying.org organization, and doing a radio tour of Nova Scotia to promote his music. “Then we’re going to be starting a Christmas album, probably in May, and then I’m going to be starting a brand new album in the fall,” he said. Jensen also hopes to schedule a performance in his hometown at some point this year. “I love Cape Breton. Cape Breton has been very dear to me,” he said. For more information on Jensen or to purchase a CD go to www.drakejensen.ca. firstname.lastname@example.org
DRAKE JENSEN TO BE RECOGNIZED BY THE FONDATION EMERGENCE, MONTREAL (ANNUAL PRIZE FIGHT AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA 2012)
[+ Show] Cashbox Canada
MONDAY, MAY 7TH NATIONAL BANK HEADQUARTERS – MONT...
MONDAY, MAY 7TH NATIONAL BANK HEADQUARTERS – MONTREAL, QUE
Drake Jensen has been invited to this year’s Annual Prize Fight Against Homophobia presented by The Fondation Emergence in Montreal where he will be presented with the Coup de Chapeau (Hats Off) award for his contribution to the fight against homophobia. In 2011, Lady GaGa received this award for her “Born This Way” release. When told of this latest news – this is what Drake had to say: “Having the privilege of receiving this award means so much to me…not only is our community rediscovering country music, but I am being recognized for my mission to help people through the message within it.”
Recently as many of you now know Drake has come out and acknowledged he is gay. He has also aligned himself with Bullying.org to lend his voice to put a stop to bullying and hopefully put an end to the senseless suicides of teens worldwide who have been bullied because of their sexual orientation in life. His latest video which contains a tribute to Ottawa teen, Jamie Hubley – “On My Way To Finding You” has received 15,350 views on youTube at this time. And the video is being widely accepted throughout Canada, United States and around the world. In fact, the video was the topic of discussion on News Talk 98.7 out of Knoxville, Tennessee!
The concert starts at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25 at O'Reilly's Pub, 43 Gore St. E. Tickets are $5 and the event is sponsored by the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) committee of Lanark County. It is also a Capital Pride event.
"Perth was the first to embrace me," Jensen said. "This will be one of the highlights of my year."
Jensen has played to sold-out crowds at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans, Ont., but "I've never been in the country," in eastern Ontario.
"There's a lot of country fans (there)," he said excitedly. "I started singing when I was four and I grew up on country and western music."
He commended Lanark County's new LGBT group for connecting its membership, as a type of "support group...(now) people don't have to leave to dance or drink," together.
"I didn't voluntarily step up to this plate," he added of his difficult decision to come out so publicly. "My husband (Sean Morin) and I worked diligently to say that you don't need to be straight to sing country and western music."
Growing up in Glace Bay, N.S., on Cape Breton Island, the son of a coal miner, his early influences were Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, which turn out to be prophetic since their duet, "Poncho and Lefty" which he first heard when he was five, was to be his first release off of his album. In fact, listening to so much music from the Deep South would, in time, affect how he sang.
"A lot of people have accused me of being a poser because I sing like someone from the south," he said. "I picked up that accent very easily. It's something that just happened."
In his teens, he "deviated slightly away from country and western" and began playing in a rock band. It wasn't until he was in his early 30s that he returned to his country roots, and also to the kitchen parties of Cape Breton that also shaped him.
"It was a very modest beginning for me," said Jensen of the "company house" he lived in growing up. "Kitchen parties were a part of it... It was so much the culture for it."
Over a year ago, his latest album, recorded in Nashville, Tenn. with producer Kim Copeland, On My Way To Finding You, was released, and received international airplay all the way from Australia to Ottawa.
"Most artists hardly get any recognition their first time out," said Jensen. He also garnered many very favourable reviews.
Morin and Jensen were married five years ago. Jensen had been working for several years as a hairstylist and agreed to move from Moncton, N.B., to Ottawa where Morin worked for the federal government.
"(As a hairstylist) I can work anywhere," he joked. "We're viewed as a gay power couple in the gay community. (But) I take it very seriously."
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper recently came out of the closet in a letter to a friend which was later posted online. For years beforehand, Cooper's sexuality had been known only to himself and close family and friends. For many years, as he sought to "reinvent myself musically" Jensen did not want to have to contend with putting out an album and performing - stressful enough - without having to out himself publicly and the inevitable fallout that would stem from what has traditionally been a very macho form of music.
"I was still growing myself," he explained. "Getting into my own skin."
He pointed to fellow country singer Shania Twain losing her voice after her first marriage broke up.
"Music takes a tremendous amount of passion," he said. "For me, I first had to find my footing musically. (But) I never denied anything."
The album came out and it was only around the time that his first two singles from that album were released that he decided to out himself publicly - via a press release, saying he was North America's first openly gay male country and western singer.
His family knew already and were supportive of him, but unlike other gays and lesbians, gays in the public eye sometimes have to out themselves a second time to the larger world as Cooper did. Jensen had set up an interview with his hometown newspaper, the Cape Breton Post, where he would be discussing his sexuality.
"I called my family because I have a tremendous respect for my family," he said of preparing them for the story to hit the paper. His mother is very supportive of his coming out - in fact, "she enjoys it and the culture."
His sister "is a little more conservative but she is OK with it."
He has heard a lot of positive feedback from fans and others, and the video "On My Way to You," filmed in Vankleek Hill, is said to be the first country and western featuring a gay couple - giving each other a hug after a long separation.
(A music video from the Irish boy band Westlife, featuring openly gay member Stephen Gately, is said to have featured the first gay couple in a pop video - also giving each other a hug.)
However, not all reaction has been positive, as witnessed by the comments section for the video on YouTube being disabled. He claims that he has not gotten any recognition from the Canadian Country Music Association, though he has made several requests for "showcase" performances with them - this after having seen other performers with less experience securing showcases.
"I think that (the video) may have damaged me," said Jensen. "Do I care? No."
(He was however granted a country stage showcase during East Coast Music week this past April back in Moncton.)
In fact, he tries not to get hung up on what any haters feel about him, his sexuality or his music.
"I don't really care what people think of me," he said. "If you did care, you would crawl under a rock and never come out again. People can be vicious."
He admits that with gay role models like Elton John, Adam Lambert, Boy George, George Michael, and Melissa Etheridge on the pop side of things, homosexuality "is more acceptable in pop music. It's very different if you are gay in country and western music."
With his cowboy hat and cowboy attire, some think that Jensen is trying to fit into the mold of the country star, but, instead, he stresses that he is just being himself.
"I've never tried to fit into any image," he said. "I've been that way my whole life. I'm not playing dress up... I identify with that masculine image."
In fact, in his younger days, his cowboy hat was his trademark in Moncton.
"I was famous for that (hat) in Moncton," he recalled. "I was the only guy in the bar in Moncton on a Saturday night with a cowboy hat."
When asked if he falls into the new or old country category, he again refuses to be neatly categorized.
"It falls into my category," he said of his most recent album, calling it neither new nor old country, and pointing to the rock influences from his friend Jonathan Edwards who toured with him in their rock back around Cape Breton.
"It sounds like this guy singing traditional country with a very slick rock (background)," he explained. "It's ever-evolving."
Edwards once gave Jensen what he considers to be some of the best advice he has ever received.
"You need to drop these preconceptions about recording for radio," Edwards told him. "Record music that moves you."
While his music career is growing, Jensen is also looking at the business side of things too with his husband. He had business meetings lined up in New York City for Aug. 16, and he and Morin are looking at expanding their gay talent agency, Soaring Eagle Productions, which has already opened an office in San Francisco.
"We need to get me off of the ground first," he said, before the agency full gets operational. "It has got major potential."
Drake Jensen ‘s had quite the career year. Since dropping his debut album "On My Way To Finding You" and coming out as Canada’s only openly gay country act in 2011, dude’s become a talking point in both the gay and Country communities. On account of his pairing with bullying.org Jensen’s become a figure in that community as well.
Musically, he scored a Coup de Chapeau, a Montreal award which recognises emerging artists, enjoyed a slew of positive reviews for the album, played a sold-out gig at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, recorded a single, “”Little Toy Trains” to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation, saw airplay on both sides of the border for “All You Need”, performed a well-received Country Stage showcase at this Year’s East Coast Music Week and made his Nashville debut at the Commodore Grill.
Jensen likes Nashville, working and recording there as often as he can with Music City luminaries such as Beau Fuller, Jan Buckingham and Kim Copeland. Along the way he’s done tons of interviews with media outlets from Indiana to Ireland, charted on the European Country Music Association with “Wash Me Away” now 14 weeks on the chart and counting, released a clutch of high quality, intriguing videos and is just about to drop his latest single “Pancho And Lefty”.
You’d think he’d be happy and he is. Happy but also perplexed and pissed at the resistance he’s having to deal with from within the Canadian Country music establishment. So much so that the big man’s sounding poised to become another Cannuck who had to flee South to blow up large.
But back to “Pancho And Lefty”, a Townes van Zandt buddy/road trip tune given the Drake Jensen vocal treatment and boasting a searing guitar solo. Dude’s very excited about it and rightly so, as it heralds a new, more country-rockin’ direction, which he says, typifies the sound of the upcoming “Outlaw” album.
“It’s going to be quite different; you’ll be able to hear just how far I’ve come as a singer and songwriter in the last year. It was interesting to me to see how the overall sound influenced the composition of the songs."
“I was going to call the album “Be” after a track that’s on it which I co-wrote; I’m not looking to be a hero but hoping to be a voice of something positive for somebody. Which is why it’s so frustrating trying to get my voice heard."
“ After "On My Way"…I guess I became a force for speaking out against bias and anti-bullying. so both in the music and as a public figure it’s been a positive year. I just wish it could be more so.”
This Year’s CCMA show happens in Saskatoon and for the second year Drake Jensen will not be playing a Showcase spot. "I went through the whole process last year and n the end, I was told they’d forgotten to mail me the confirming documents, that was their story. No apology, no accountability.”
This year, again Drake didn’t make the cut and as usual, there was no hard explanation because there’s no accountability factor built in. While Jensen and his support team have become very adroit at making lemonade when handed lemons, the CCMA situation still leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.
“It takes a toll on you dealing with this kind of ongoing bias. There’s rarely anything specific you can take issue with; it’s like a fog; nothing is ever said directly, it’s all allusion and behind your back but the end result is the same as if it were blatant."
“I look at their line-up and I see artists who have accomplished a lot less than I and it’s disheartening. Not that I haven’t had support in Canada, I’ve had a lot of airplay in Canada and much thanks to the DJs who’ve supported me but I don’t feel totally accepted by the Canadian Country music community at large.”
For the foreseeable future Drake Jensen’s now training his sights on America, itself a product of Team Jensen’s way with making lemonade.
“(Songwriter) Jan Buckingham said to me,” You’ve created a different kind of template. Now you have to create a different way of getting it out.”
Drake Jensen in Concert “We’ve sent out dozens of emails to agencies and such and never got much of a response. Until now and the deal we have just signed has been worth the wait”.
Late yesterday Jensen went public on the deal via this Facebook posting: “So its official...we begin working with the amazing Karpel Group of NYC. What a privilege it is to work with a publicity firm that has handled the likes of Madonna, Katie Perry, Dixie Chicks, and the list goes on...I'm honoured they believe in my music...thanks guys!!"
While he’s way excited about that situation, he’s still very much invested in the mystery of why he can’t get a showcase at the CCMA hoedown. Jensen smiles, leans back in his chair at the Detroit Eatery and ticks off the probable causes.
“Maybe it’s because I’m not country enough. Maybe it’s because I’m too ugly. Or I can’t dance. Or I’ve never been found naked on a Texas highway. Or maybe it’s my hat. Or my guitar. Maybe my choice of friends. It’s got to be something. Wait, maybe it’s because I’m gay. Nah, that can’t be it. Right? Right?"
Drake Jensen Debuts “Stand By Your Man” Video Featuring Willam Belli[+ Show] Music News Nashville
Gay country artist Drake Jensen has premiered the ...
Gay country artist Drake Jensen has premiered the video for his cover of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” which features superstar drag queen Willam Belli (“Nip/Tuck,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) and is directed by Michael Serrato. This song and video add a new twist to the old classic.
To view the video, visit www.youtu.be/aNX9oljTwgo
Born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, Drake Jensen has become a unique figure in the world of Country Music. He has become a voice for the LGBT Community and speaks through his music. Gaining fans who are rediscovering the genre and can now feel included in it, he touches the heart and soul of listeners through his rich, warm voice that tells not only the stories, but conveys deep, sincere emotions.
Drake’s complete discography is available on iTunes and CD Baby, as well as his website at www.drakejensen.ca