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Getting personal with Jena Douglas

Getting Personal... 

Okay here it goes... I'm an Introverted,  Asexual, Rock Power Ballad Singer/Songwriter.  

So, how did I get to here?

I've struggled with crowds and personal relationships all my life.  As an introvert, I prefer my own company or the occasional  intimate group of interesting people (mostly musicians)…   and don’t get me started on “relationships” but on occasion I would go to concerts.  With the encouragement of friends, I have been to some large musical events like California Jam in 1975, where I was recently reminded, insisted on getting closer to the stage and so, with me leading the way, we all muscled our way through a massive crowd to get to the front (I was focused!).  My personal favorite large event was in 1982  where I was among 60,000 fans of The Who at the Colosseum, singing “see me, feel me, touch me, heal me…”.  I experienced a strange feeling of group consciousness for this introvert - “a oneness” and so… at that moment it was like the heavens opened up and a shaft of light rained down upon me proclaiming, “You shall be a songwriter.”  So, since 1982,  I’ve been focused on writing songs that are personal, dynamic and inspiring-  I call them: POWER BALLADS.


Music has always been a major part of my life.  My dad named me Jena after Beethoven’s Jena Symphony (I later found out, while attending UCSB, that Beethoven did not write the piece that I was named after).  I loved to sing, and before I could read, I was sizing up the different sides to a 45 (a small vinyl record) so that I could sing to my favorite song, Fools Rush In (Ricky Nelson). My first performance was when I asked my Kindergarten teacher if I could sing the National Athem in front of the mixed class of Kindergarten and first graders.  The strange thing about this performing introvert  is that I was never shy about performing, I just was not someone who liked being the center of attention for too long… and that is why I liked to play in bands as it allowed me to avert attention…  Squirrel!

I'm Complicated, what else can I say…  

What is my genre?  I am everything I've ever heard... 

Growing up, I used to perform for my dad all the songs I learned  from my record collection and the radio.  I loved to sing and would try to imitate some of my favorites…  

I belted out Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Linda Ronstadt. I got my moves from Mick Jagger, fell in-love to Elton John, learned civics from Bob Dylan and John Lennon. I learned to sing jazz from Billie Holiday, learned to paint a picture with my words from Joni Mitchell, learned my chords from Pete Townshend and The Beatles.  The Rolling Stones, The Who and Jethro Tull also influenced my style.


In my family, there were musicians and music lovers. I told you about my dad naming me but he also named my brother after Aaron Copland.  Funny, my brother and I were the musicians of the family… Hmmm… I was also fortunate that Aaron, who was older, played bass for a rock band… called… 

 wait for it…    

              The Stray Cats (no not them, Ha!). They would practice weekly, sometimes daily, in our childhood home, at the top of the mountains, that overlooked the city of Santa Barbara (Heaven right?). They would practice in the room right next to my bedroom and so I would fall asleep to them practicing, The Yardbirds, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones and all those great rock and blues songs of that period (1969-1971).  This was a memorable beginning to my love affair with singing and songwriting. It’s no wonder music, especially rock music, is in my blood.

Songwriting enhanced my life like therapy, so much so  that I wrote a book,  “Change The World, Write Your Song!”  I think now I should have named it, “Write Your Song, Change Your World!”  for that is what songwriting has done for me.  I feel better whenever I finish writing a song. I wanted to share that with people, so I wrote the book. I plan to eventually edit and republish it but that will have to wait til after I get my MUSIC done.  Maybe you’re wondering… after all this time being in the music business as an author, singer and songwriter, why haven’t I had a break?  Maybe, you’re thinking, my music just wasn’t that good?… But then here you are… Have I not paid my dues and worked hard enough?

Ha! I come from a family of hard working folks and was raised to believe in the American dream.  I knew I wanted to write songs and sing but touring and performing were not my thing. I did spend lots of time in the studio playing music, songwriting and recording.  In 1993, after working for 13 years in a good Union job I was laid off and found out that I was pregnant, with few options. I was also kicked out of the studio because I was pregnant.  I made the decision to go back to school to pursue my passion, MUSIC.  

So, I became one of those “Welfare Mamas” (such a degrading term).  As a single mother I received help from the government but it was hard work, more than most as people knew back then (glad that’s changing).   Every school day, I had to drop Dylan off at daycare and then take the bus to school, sometimes making several trips on the bus to get to the daycare then another bus or two to get to school, but I was young.  I was 35 and enjoyed the next several years of school until I finished with an A.A. in Music at Santa Barbara City College and a B.A. in Music from University of California Santa Barbara.  It was no picnic, I had to work or be in school at least 32 hours a week, so I worked at both schools I attended and picked up hours working at Starbucks. 

Sooo,  being  an asexual introvert explains a lot about why I’ve chosen the paths I’ve taken.  I don’t know if it would have made any difference but it wasn’t until the #metoo movement in 2017 that I read up on what an asexual was and “lightbulb!”

I was never shy about performing; put a camera on me and I was a show-off but I’m also an introvert.  What?????  Yes, I can be that and then I am not, that.  I used to call myself an extroverted introvert. They say that introverts just need time to re-charge and I guess that’s true, but the thought of going out to play music in lots of places, and being away from home, is not appealing to me.  Creating music has been my longest and truest love.  I’ve never wanted to do anything else.  I guess I just kept following the path that was before me. I know that when I was songwriting, whether in the studio or in school, that was/is always my focus. Creating MUSIC… 

But how can you make it in music if you don’t like being in a crowd? I love the stage! If I didn’t have to deal with the realities of booking, management and being my own roadie, I think performing and traveling could be fun.  However, there are a lot more options these days.  This Pandemic thing has helped me as an introvert get myself out… now I can enjoy giving a concert from my own home.

I like people, don’t get me wrong, and I have fallen in love, I have a kid (Dylan, the best thing that ever happened to me), but other than family, personal relationships, usually with other musicians, never lasted.  Now at age 63, I know why they never lasted. You see, I always thought that I was just “hard to get” but, I’m asexual… there… I said it!  My AhHa moment allowed me to reflect on my life to this point and develop into the Power Balladeer that I am.  

All will be revealed… 

This explains everything.  I have found it hard to keep close male friendships, especially when playing music together that is so personal, emotions can run high and feelings can be misinterpreted.  Whenever I would break up with someone the connections and support I’d made with that someone were fractured or dissolved.  Now it’s clear to me at age 63 that I was unknowingly at fault.  I guess it’s taken me this long to discover how I fit into this world.  Acknowledging my asexuality gives me the same lift as writing out my feelings in a song. 

I had to feel the music in that 1982 “live" setting to understand the power of songwriting and how it can move energy around and through people.  I am forever grateful to my friends who continue to stick by me. You are a part of my song. 

Record Player
Walking With Guitar
Writing Music
Music Set
Girls at Music Festival

Power Ballads


Jena Douglas

"What Makes A Man" was written during the women's march and this video is my contribution.

Written Jan. 21, 2017

Jena Douglas


Santa Barbara California

805-455-9814 (text only)

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