‘Professional Crybaby’ (self-styled) and songwriter extraordinaire Brye is back, this time with a brand new, thoroughly personal track dedicated to a love that never was.”Jenna” is a tale about giddy and exhilarating young -queer- love set to the backdrop of Summer Bible Camp.
“Jenna is the exploration of young, closeted, queer longing, set in Brye’s adolescence, during evangelical bible camp. Brye expertly relays the experience of pining after the forbidden: your straight, beautiful, best friend. A familiar story for many LGBTQ+ people who grew up closeted and ashamed.” – Brye
In this song, Brye tells the tale of falling for someone when the growing pains of adolescence are raging on from within, and the world seems both new and like it’s starting to make sense for the first time. “Jenna” is as much about stunning fascination as it is about the sweet torture of unrequited feelings amidst a friendship and a time and place you wish you could hold forever in your hands.
In just three years Brye has amassed over seventy million streams on Spotify alone and gained 350,000 social media followers combined. Collaborating with the likes of Cavetown and Addison Grace.
HOW LONG HAS THIS SONG BEEN IN THE MAKING?
I actually wrote “Jenna” on acoustic guitar, in May of last year. I had found some old photos from summer camp and I was feeling really nostalgic. Addison Grace, another artist in the alt-pop scene, had introduced me to this producer named Luke Arens, and the timing of it worked out perfectly. Jenna wouldn’t be the song that it is now without him, he took it to the next level.
DID ‘JENNA’ EVER KNOW YOU LIKED HER? DID YOU STAY IN TOUCH?
When I met Jenna I was 13 and very much in the closet. I knew that I was Bisexual but I had no intention of ever coming out. After camp, we stayed best friends for about two and a half years. It was a whirlwind of closeness and sisterhood. We understood each other in ways I don’t think anyone else could.
Our friendship ended when we were 16 in a very dramatic “friend breakup.” I cut ties because I knew that I still had feelings for her, and she was straight.
We reconnected about two years later and mutually apologized. When finally told her the truth, her response was, “You should have just told me.” I started posting teasers for this song with her name as the title about 6 months ago and she texted me asking to hear it. She seemed to like it and was excited to have a song written about her.
We actually happened to move to the same city for work and school. Nowadays we have very different social groups but we keep in touch every now and then.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO KIDS WHO FIND THEMSELVES IN A SIMILAR SITUATION AS YOU WERE AT THE TIME?
Oh god, it gets so much easier. Any shame or unrequited love you feel will subside as you get older. You will only feel more empowered with time.
Write a million shitty poems, and surround yourself with queer support groups and friends.
Appreciate that deep teenage longing, really cherish it and bathe in it.
I GET THE SENSE THAT THIS SONG IS BITTERSWEET BUT ALSO CATHARTIC. AM I CORRECT?
Extremely so. I loved summer camp when I was a tween. I got to unlock a 13-year-old version of me, it was like time traveling. Revisiting that headspace and looking through those pictures was nostalgic and strange and sweet all at once.
I UNDERSTAND IT MUST HAVE BEEN A PRETTY STRANGE EXPERIENCE FOR A CLOSETED YOUTH, BUT ‘JENNA’ ASIDE, WHAT WAS BEST ABOUT BIBLE CAMP? ANY OTHER GOOD MEMORIES?
Bible camp was THE thing I looked forward to most every summer. I got to be surrounded with people my age. I got to spend time in nature and in the water. There was singing, dancing, and group bonding. I loved my cabin mates. Those weeks were always incredibly formative for me.
WHERE DO YOU FEEL YOUR MUSIC IS HEADED? WHAT INTERESTS YOU THE MOST WHEN IT COMES TO SOUND?
I’m trying to lean into experimental, pop. I’ve been doing a lot of co-production lately and it’s my favorite. Getting to mix my instincts with someone else’s style helps me keep things fresh. There’s so much more music to come this year, this is only the beginning.
AND SONGWRITING-WISE? WHAT THEMES AND SUBJECTS RESONATE THE MOST WITH YOU RIGHT NOW?
Mental health has been and always will be my favorite thing to write about. A huge thing that’s affected my mental health throughout the years, has been my upbringing. I’ve been thinking and writing about childhood and adolescence more. I think it’s a good direction for me, and it’s such a universal subject.
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT PLANNED FOR THIS YEAR? WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM BRYE?
I’ve got a song dropping every month for the rest of this year. I’ve never released this much music before. Touring has also been on my mind, but no official plans quite yet (updates soon hopefully.) I really hope people stick around for these next releases, they’re only gonna get better from here.