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110 Schanck Road | Freehold, NJ

What is it like to be a young artist trying to make it in the music industry? Well, just go and ask 21-year-old singer/songwriter Jillian Jensen. The Massachusetts native has been on quite a career roller coaster over the past few years. Ever since making it into the top 13 girls on American Idol’s Season 13 and into the top 24 of Season 2 X-Factor USA, Jensen has worked incredibly hard to make her fans happy.

At the time of her X-Factor audition, Jensen performed Jessie J’s “Who You Are” and left judges Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, and Simon Cowell in tears. The powerful performance gained her a lifetime following of fans.

In recent years, Jensen has released two albums composed of her original songs. Jensen’s current Kickstarter campaign, successfully funded by the love and support of her fans, helped make her third album a reality.

Jillian Jensen will be coming to iPlay America July 24 to give fans a FREE show. But why wait? Get to know this rising star here and now!

iPlay America: Which artists have influenced you and your music the most throughout this journey?

Jensen: I grew up listening to Alanis [Morrissette], James Taylor and Johnny Cash, I also sang a lot of jazz so I think all of those combined have really guided me inspiration wise.

Your X-Factor audition went viral in just a few hours and has been watched by millions on YouTube. How did it feel to get that much attention so quickly?

It was very strange. I didn’t realize how many people were going through or had gone through something so similar and it was a big shock watching my social media numbers just jump so drastically. Over all it was just mind boggling.

You released your single “I Am Whole” last summer and made it known to your fans on just exactly how important music is to you. Could you tell us a little something about the writing process for this particular song?

The writing behind this song was inspired by the fact that music has literally kept me going through hardship and depression. The bridge says, “in this darkness I have found the light, light to guide me out.” I was referencing how much music—more specifically Ed Sheeran’s—music had gotten me through a lot and the past couple years as well. Music is the one thing in my life that, through everything, has remained a constant and this song just brings that more to everyone’s attention. Music has been my savior and light through the dark [times].

What advice do you have for other young people that want to eventually break in to the music industry?

You have to be true to who you are and keep pushing regardless of how many “no’s” you hear. They will lead you to your yes.

You and X-Factor judge Demi Lovato have both shared that you’ve been victims of bullying. You definitely shared a very special moment with her on stage the night of your performance.

Demi has always been an inspiration and from time to time we have caught up via Twitter. I will always support her—she’s such an inspirational individual.

Your fans still watch your audition video to remind themselves to stay strong each day. 

I would say find whatever it is you know you need in your life more than the air you breathe and use that to get you out of the darkness. Put all focus into what you love and allow success to be your greatest revenge. Turn the negative into a positive.

How has your life changed since you left the X-Factor stage? Any interesting fan encounters?

I have many interesting and awesome experiences. One of my favorites was meeting this mom and her daughters recently and the mother said to me, “Thank you for being an inspiration for my girls they love you.” That just made me smile, and I love hearing things like that.

If you could plan your dream tour, who would you bring on the road with you?

I would bring my boyfriend Alex Preston, from American Idol, Ed Sheeran, Damien Rice, James Taylor, and Alanis Morrissette. I would cry, honestly.

Click here to see her latest music video “In Your Arms”

Lauren Hoffman is a 21 year old Jersey girl who has fallen in love with the entertainment industry. She is currently working on her  Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and Public Relations. She loves live music, reality television, New York City, and the beach. You can most likely find Lauren at a concert venue or daydreaming about Nashville, Tennessee. @LaurennnHoffman on Twitter