Jenna's Musical Journey through Outthere

02 June 2021

Take Art has been collaborating with our friends at Actiontrack Performance Company and working with young people across Somerset. #Focus5 is one of the referral agencies that we work with and they've been a brilliant connecting point for us to make contact with participants. 

This is our story about Jenna, her music, and her journey.

Jenna and Tim sharing ideas in the studio.

'We love nothing more than to see our young people achieve their dreams and this was certainly the case for one #Focus5 young person. Jenna is a true creative soul, and she has been making up her own songs her entire life.

Singing is an outpouring of expression for her and when the urge comes to sing, she just has to do it! So, when she got the opportunity to step into a recording studio, she knew one of her dreams was becoming a reality. Jenna took a few minutes to absorb the scene – the mixing desk, the microphones, the booth, it was all there for her and it was a little bit overwhelming at first.

Before #Focus5 Jenna was feeling isolated and upset. She had developed Tourette’s in 2016 and to make matters even worse she was targeted by bullies. Her ticks made her feel self-conscious and her family were unsure how best to support her; this was new for them too! When Jenna came to #Focus5 she was no longer studying Performing Arts at college and was in limbo. Jenna’s key worker has made a huge difference in giving her tools to help manage the anxiety she has about her ticks.

In a cruel twist of irony Jenna’s ticks will become stronger when she’s anxious, however, when she’s singing her ticks stop altogether. Jenna’s new coping strategies include a stress ball, relaxing audio and breathing techniques. Jenna has developed one coping strategy that is particularly effective, in this she imagines she is at the beach in Lyme Regis. This deep visualisation is so real for Jenna that she can feel the sand on her feet and hear the sea lapping the shore, it’s so powerful that it brings her anxiety down to a more manageable level.

Jenna’s done so much with us during her time on #Focus5. Not only has she challenged her anxiety, but she has also built a better relationship with herself, learned coping mechanisms for her Tourette’s and even completed a 40-page PIP application form. This was a big task completed between Jenna and her key worker over several emails, but they got there. However, for all of Jenna’s successes with us we are sure her most memorable moment will be her time in the recording studio at Actiontrack in Taunton. 

This was made possible thanks to Outthere, a project funded by Youth Music and the Sound Foundation Somerset. Jenna had a one-hour session in the studio and once she got used to the sound of herself coming back through the headphones, she managed to record two songs in that time. Both songs are original material written by Jenna and she was very involved in steering the sound of the production too – she really is a complete artist.'

“This was one of the best days I have had in a really long time. This is one of the only days I can remember where I wasn’t getting judged for my ticks and I wasn’t feeling alienated because I was doing something I couldn’t control."

Jenna recently returned to Actiontrack in Taunton to record Glass. Being her second time in the recording studio she felt instantly at ease and eager to get this track down. Glass is written and performed by Jenna, with her being involved in the production/composition of the backing track too.