We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennalyn Ponraj and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennalyn, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I honestly thrive on risk. It’s one of the reasons why this career path was such a natural decision for me. I get bored very easily, so I’ve ended up living rather recklessly at times. It made me feel alive and kept me focused. It’s like driving a race car. Obviously it’s dangerous, so all of my energy must then be devoted to controlling it. Risk keeps your head in the game. Moving to LA without a sure-fire path at seventeen was a risk, but for me personally, comfort tends to breed complacency. I think when the stakes are high you bring your A game.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m at the very beginning of my career and although I balance three different mediums, there’s definitely periods of dormancy. I’ve realized that productivity doesn’t necessarily equate to busyness. I’ve had to get to where I am today through sheer willpower. Unfortunately part of that process requires patience, which is difficult for me at times hahaha. This industry demands all of you, and most of the time, it’s constant rejection. But I think it’s that process that makes a person unstoppable. I love the quote by Charlotte Eriksson, “I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I’m born to leave.” I think that’s always resonated so deeply with me as an artist, because it’s a process of constant reinvention. It can be very isolating and exhausting at times. However, I do feel that there is a certain power in it.
I started top-lining for a Swedish label during quarantine, and I think that reminded me how much music genuinely feeds my soul. When I left home, I was an emancipated minor and I had absolutely no connections to anyone in the industry. No savings, no backup plan, and a really shitty manager who had me babysit her dog for free! I felt like I didn’t know myself anymore, and I almost completely stopped writing. Over the last few years I’ve dabbled here and there, but my main focus has been acting. It’s been almost 4 years now since my last record came out, and what I thought was a hiatus was really a shedding of skin. I found a part of myself writing this record. I’m very excited to begin releasing new music this year. It’s been a long time coming.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite restaurant is probably Ysabel. I also love Din Thai Fung on the roof of the Century City Mall. I could eat at Katana everyday too. When my younger brother came to visit a few months ago, I had to get creative since most places were closed. I love kayaking in Marina Del Rey, and there’s a beautiful trail around the Hollywood reservoir right by my apartment. Jazz Night at Delilah used to be my absolute favorite, and Friday night at Black Rabbit Rose is the best kept secret. It’s so small, and sometimes they have a full brass section in the audience. Honestly, I can’t wait to go dancing again once No Vacancy opens up. Adults Only is such a fun, chill night especially when they have live music. They have a pool table in the back, and a popcorn machine at the bar, and it just works. I love El Matador Beach. Plus, driving on the PCH with the windows down, music blasting and the sun in your eyes is such a wicked affair.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would personally like to thank my childhood best friend Maddy who actually edited this interview before I sent it in. I forget to use commas haha. She’s been my partner in crime since we were 13. Also my siblings: Zach, Sim & Elaina thank you for always grounding me and insisting that I am unstoppable. I owe who I am to your love. I can’t possibly begin to articulate how many people have genuinely impacted my life and supported me every step of the way. However if you got to the bottom of this conversation, here’s a kiss – x
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