To date, Jamie Kent ’09, musician and songwriter, has released four albums. Two are full length, with 10 songs each, and two are shorter releases (EPs) with five songs, like his most recent, Embers & Ashes. Kent says, “Even if I had 10 tunes, I’d rather produce two EPs. It’s a shame, but everyone’s attention span, even that of record execs, is short now. It’s easier to keep people interested with an EP.”
Kent’s introduction to music came at an early age, when he was “forced,” as he says, into playing different instruments—violin, trumpet, cello, percussion—probably because his parents didn’t have that opportunity. “But all I wanted to play was sports.”
However, once he reached high school, Kent realized that the guys who played in bands got the girls’ attention, so he picked up the guitar. He quickly fell in love with music and started to compose songs. “I had all sorts of feelings I wanted to capture,” he says. “At first, I was focused more on music. Now I’m focused more on lyrics. As a songwriter, I’ve developed songwriter ears. I used to carry a small recorder for ideas and melodies, but now I have an app on my phone that takes care of that.”
Recently on a bus in Puerto Rico, Kent noticed a small restaurant called Rosalita’s Kitchen, and he had an aha moment. Feeling inspired, he sang loudly and passionately into his phone and says he probably freaked out everyone on the bus. That moment became Rosalita, a song for Kent and his group, The Options. “Art comes before embarrassment,” he says.
Kent also has been writing with other people. At first, he was resistant to the idea because he felt strong ownership for his emotions and ideas. “But collaboration blew my mind,” he says. “When it’s just you, it’s tough to have perspective. When you work with other people, they tend to challenge your ideas. The experience can be intense.”
Lately, his inspiration comes from time on the road and how it affects his friends, family, relationships, and himself. “A theme seems to be the journey—the constant work and struggle—of being a musician,” says Kent. “And some are love songs. Sometimes, I can’t resist.”