Jensen McRae is a 20-year-old, self-identified wordgirl, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. What is a wordgirl? Jensen has spent her whole life defining the word for herself.
Jensen is currently a third-year in the popular music program at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music. The program has been described as “the cutting-edge department that’s become the site of Los Angeles’ most productive new music scenes” by Rolling Stone. Her emphasis is in songwriting, and her classmates' talent and grit inspire her every day. In November 2016, Jensen released her first single, "Super Moon," produced by GRAMMY-award winner Alonzo "Novel" Stevenson. Jensen and Novel have recently resumed their collaboration, writing and producing together. In April 2017, Jensen released her debut EP, Lighter. Jensen has performed all around Los Angeles at venues like the Mint, Whisky A Go Go, and Hotel Café (ask her about the time she fainted in front of John Mayer in the green room). When her intense love of music isn't temporarily disrupting her equilibrium, Jensen uses it for good; every year since 2014, Jensen has put on a charity performance called Love Notes, enlisting the help of her talented friends to benefit charitable organizations (so far: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles, the Justin Carr Wants World Peace Foundation, No Kid Hungry, and the GRAMMY Foundation). Jensen is passionate not just about her own artist project, but also about pitching songs to other artists. Her hunger for songwriting has led her to collaborations with producers in addition to Novel, like Paper Son and Jason "Spicy G" Goldman. In November 2017, Jensen made her Sofar Sounds debut with a performance in the Arts District, and performed again for Sofar Sounds Los Angeles in April 2018. Jensen's song "Sweet Dreams" is featured in the award-winning short film "Charity," written and directed by Alex Haney.
But a wordgirl doesn't just write music; she writes everything else, too. Her poetry has been published by Hooligan, Into the Void, and Occulum, and is forthcoming from Alternating Current and Alchemy. She also won second prize at the 2018 USC Undergraduate Writer's Conference in the Creative category for a collection of poems entitled Requiem for Bundy. In high school, Jensen fell in love with slam poetry, joining her school slam poetry team for her junior and senior years. During her senior year, a poem she co-wrote with a classmate, "Trumpets," was featured on Button Poetry, a slam poetry conglomerate with more than 800,000 YouTube subscribers to their name.
Her love of slam poetry led her to another love: screenwriting. At 16, Jensen penned her first ever feature film, entitled Blister Fiction. The script advanced to the Second Round of the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. Jensen has since written two additional feature films and is at work on a fourth. The short film she wrote and co-produced, "Since Feeling," recently completed postproduction and is being submitted to festivals. Visit the CONTACT page to request information on any of her film projects.
As if this isn't enough, Jensen also for some reason decided to write young adult novels. She wrote her first her senior year of high school, and has written three additional manuscripts since. Visit the CONTACT page to request information on any of her literary projects.
In addition to her four novel manuscripts and three feature films, Jensen has written hundreds of songs and poems. She has filled seven journals and is working on an eighth. The girl really just won't shut up. She has so much to say. As a young black woman living in a particularly turbulent political climate, speaking at all is a radical act. Jensen hopes you know she is speaking in the third person by now, and she also wants you to know how much words mean to her. She believes that language has the power to move people, that a well-placed comma or a particularly poignant run-on can change the course of one's life. She has been touched by countless other writers--Bon Iver and Buddy Wakefield, Kurt Vonnegut and Kaveh Akbar, Corinne Bailey Rae and Chuck Palahniuk, Alicia Keys, Sara Bareilles, Elif Batuman, she's forgetting plenty but trust her, there are so many more--and she hopes one day to reach the next generation of young wordgirls, crying into journals, typing so fast they wake the neighbors.