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Jensen McRae: Master of musical storytelling


Andrew Mazariegos– Ovalle/The Olaf Messenger


When was the last time you discovered an artist that made you feel like you’d rediscovered art? I was scrolling on TikTok.


Her name is Jensen McRae, and if you haven’t met her yet, I’m so happy to introduce you. But I’m almost positive your paths would’ve crossed soon. 


McRae’s warm, dancing vocals and mastery of storytelling were the first two things I noticed about her music. For a moment, I was no longer doom-scrolling, but walking alongside her through the rooms of a house in Massachusetts, immersed in the emotions of loss and reflection that come along with a past relationship. With every detail, it was as though McRae added a new and vivid color of paint to a canvas. “I’ll never forget how I bloomed for your gaze or your wall of guitars or your video games,” she sang. The song — currently unreleased — has taken up permanent residence in my brain ever since.


Born in Santa Monica, California. In 1997, McRae began singing and playing the piano as a kid, a talent and passion that earned her a full ride to the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. Her first EP, titled “Who Hurt You,” was released in 2021, followed by her first album, “Are You Happy Now,” in 2022. 


As a Black woman who creates alternative folk-pop music, McRae’s experiences in the music industry have come with challenges. “Oftentimes, I would get ignored, or people would act really confused that that was the kind of music that I was making and would make weird, racially charged comments about the music,” McRae told Edition Modern Luxury in an interview. She cited that many make the premature assumption that she is an R&B artist just because of her race.


McRae’s music is only one part of her expansive creative genius. She’s a poet and writer, too, who soon hopes to have her first novel published. In July 2023, McRae launched her own podcast, titled “What Were You Thinking? With Jensen McRae.” In each episode, she interviews other creatives and encourages them to share the stories and thought processes behind their art. Guests have included her producer, Rahki, singer-songwriter Adam Melchor, and most recently, actress and singer-songwriter Katelyn Tarver.

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