From the somewhat racy EP cover, to the subject matter in her lead single and title track, “Innocence,” which reveals a very personal story, Jena Irena is presenting an edgier image than when she performed sweet love ballads like “Can’t Help Falling In Love” on American Idol back in its 13th season. The Detroit native came in 2nd two years ago to winner Caleb Johnson.
Jena has also reclaimed her last name, Asciutto, as she re-introduces herself to fans via a new EP titled Innocence, due out this Friday (April 22) with the Detroit-based 1265 Original Recordings. Check out the official video below, where the scorned singer exacts revenge that will seem very familiar to long-time fans of the FOX singing show.
“The song is about me losing my virginity to an (expletive),” Asciutto told the Detroit Free Press in a recent interview. “Even though I gave consent, I still felt weird afterwards because it didn’t feel right. That happens often now — I know I’m not the only one, girl or boy, who feels that way when when they have sex for the first time. And it doesn’t get talked about.”
Label heads, British industry veterans Kevin Nixon and Sarah Clayman, worked closely with Jena on her songwriting. “I had some organizational issues with my songwriting. The lyrics made sense to me, but not necessarily everyone else,” Jena said. “We wrote from scratch together, and the stuff we came up with was just blatant honesty.”
Jena also avoided synthetic instruments, aiming for “a live, organic feel like you’re in the room.”
“I didn’t want my record to sound straight pop like everything on the radio,” she said. The new material is “very string-heavy…pretty much on every track of the record.” The singer added: “Strings have such a dramatic and epic sound to them. And the way these songs were written, it’s very dramatic.”
Jena was noticeably absent from the American Idol series finale a few weeks ago. She is consciously distancing herself from the show. “I’m definitely trying to break away from it,” she said, “because I know my music isn’t necessarily American Idol-related.”
The show helped her understand to a certain degree, how show business worked. “…press-related stuff, knowing how to answer questions, being in the public eye,” she said. “But I had to center myself and get back to focusing on the fundamentals of me as an artist and songwriter.”
The singer is set to play a date in Los Angeles in May and plans to tour the midwest this year. A tentative November release date is set for her full length debut.
Watch the official music video for Jena Irene Asciutto’s “Innocence” right here.