Ben Jelen

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Ben Jelen
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Background information
Born (1979-07-08) 8 July 1979 (age 39)
Edinburgh, Scotland
OriginNew York City, United States
GenresPop, pop rock
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano, violin
Years active2004–present
LabelsMaverick (2003–2004)
Fearless Management (2004–2005)
Custard (2006–present)
Associated acts Linda Perry, Tori Amos, Joseph Janus, Under the Elephant, Bigelf

Ben Jelen (born Benjamin Ivan Jelen; 8 July 1979 in Edinburgh, Scotland) is a Scottish-born American former singer-songwriter who plays the piano, violin, and guitar. He has lived in Scotland, England, Texas, New Jersey and New York. His career has been characterized by near-stardom, with his debut album, Give It All Away peaking at No. 113 on the Billboard 200 list. As of 2011, he is on indefinite hiatus from his solo career and is working with a new band, along with former Deuce Project member Josh McMillan known as Under The Elephant .

Edinburgh City and council area in Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Scottish people ethnic inhabitants of Scotland

The Scottish people or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically, they emerged from an amalgamation of two Celtic-speaking peoples, the Picts and Gaels, who founded the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. Later, the neighbouring Celtic-speaking Cumbrians, as well as Germanic-speaking Anglo-Saxons and Norse, were incorporated into the Scottish nation.


Early life

Jelen attended high school in San Antonio, Texas briefly, as a freshman at Northside Health Careers High School. He completed high school at Princeton High School in Princeton, New Jersey and graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in biology. After that, he moved to New York City to work as a producer and sound engineer at a local recording studio. [1]

Northside Health Careers High School

Northside Health Careers High School (HCHS) is a magnet school in San Antonio's Northside Independent School District for students that are interested in pursuing a career in the health professions. HCHS attracts students from school districts all across Bexar County and some from as far as Hondo, Texas.

Princeton High School (New Jersey) public high school in Princeton, New Jersey, United States

Princeton High School (PHS) is a four-year comprehensive public high school in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, operating as part of the Princeton Public Schools district, which serves all public school students in Princeton. Students from Cranbury Township attend PHS as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Cranbury School District. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1932.

Princeton, New Jersey Borough in New Jersey, United States

Princeton is a municipality with a borough form of government in Mercer County, New Jersey, United States, that was established in its current form on January 1, 2013, through the consolidation of the Borough of Princeton and Princeton Township. As of the 2010 United States Census, the municipality's population was 28,572, reflecting the former township's population of 16,265, along with the 12,307 in the former borough.

Music career

2004: Give It All Away

Jelen was discovered by Joseph Janus of Fearless Management, who originally wanted to sign him as a model. Instead, Jelen handed him a demo, and shortly thereafter, he was signed to a label and released his debut album Give It All Away in May 2004, promoted by appearances on TRL, AOL Breakers and Rock the Vote. [2] [3] [4] The album also debuted at No. 13 on the Top Internet Albums chart, [5] No. 120 on the Billboard Comprehensive Albums chart [6] and No. 113 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in the United States, [7] making it eligible for the Top Heatseekers chart, a chart of artists who have never entered the top 100 of the Billboard 200. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Top Heatseekers chart. [8]

Fearless Management is a New York City-based music management company founded in 2003 by Joseph Janus, the acting President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

Top Heatseekers are "Breaking and Entering" music charts issued weekly by Billboard magazine. The Heatseekers Albums and the Heatseekers Songs charts were introduced by Billboard in 1991 with the purpose of highlighting the sales by new and developing musical recording artists. Albums and songs appearing on Top Heatseekers may also concurrently appear on the Billboard 200 or Billboard Hot 100.

Debut single "Come On" was a hit, reaching the MTV top 20. It also debuted at No. 58 on the Hot Singles Sales chart. [9] Apart from "Give It All Away" being included as a B-side to the "Come On" single, no other track from the album was released as a single.

2005–2006: Independent period

Following his debut album, Jelen left Maverick Records and independently released the EP Rejected through Fearless Management Records in 2005. He wrote and recorded a song for a compilation album for Tori Amos' RAINN organization [10] and joined the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Wildlife Works. Jelen also appeared on the compilation album Breaking for the Holidays in 2006 with his self-produced cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" through Breaking Records. [11]

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. EPs generally contain a minimum of four tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

<i>Rejected</i> (EP) extended play by Ben Jelen

Rejected is an independently released EP by American singer Ben Jelen. The EP failed to appear on any charts in the U.S. and, apart from the recordings released as part of his appearance on Sessions@AOL, was the only material released by Jelen after his departure from Maverick Records until he signed to Custard Records and released his subsequent album, Ex-Sensitive. The album is still available for download on iTunes.

Tori Amos American singer-songwriter and pianist

Tori Amos is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She is a classically trained musician with a mezzo-soprano vocal range. Having already begun composing instrumental pieces on piano, Amos won a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University at the age of five, the youngest person ever to have been admitted. She was expelled at the age of 11 for what Rolling Stone described as "musical insubordination." Amos was the lead singer of the short-lived 1980s pop group Y Kant Tori Read before achieving her breakthrough as a solo artist in the early 1990s. Her songs focus on a broad range of topics, including sexuality, feminism, politics, and religion.

2007: Custard Records deal and Ex-Sensitive

Jelen performed at the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and music festival in Austin, Texas, in a lineup that also included Taylor Hicks, Amy Winehouse, Tom Morello, Mika, Martina Topley Bird, The Fratellis, Bloc Party, Paolo Nutini, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Mogwai and Spoon. [12]

South by Southwest is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place in mid-March in Austin, Texas, United States. It began in 1987, and has continued to grow in both scope and size every year. In 2017, the conference lasted for 10 days with SXSW interactive lasting for five days, music for seven days and film running concurrently for nine days.

Taylor Hicks American musician

Taylor Reuben Hicks is an American singer who won the fifth season of American Idol. Hicks got his start as a professional musician in his late teens and performed around the Southeastern United States for well over the span of a decade, during which he also released two independent albums. Upon winning Idol, he was signed to Arista Records, under which his self-titled major label debut was released on December 12, 2006.

Amy Winehouse English singer and songwriter

Amy Jade Winehouse was an English singer and songwriter. She was known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul, rhythm and blues, and jazz. Winehouse's debut album, Frank (2003), was a critical success in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her follow-up album, Back to Black (2006), led to five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made her the first British woman to win five Grammys, including three of the General Field "Big Four" Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Jelen's second full-length album, Ex-Sensitive , was released on 17 July 2007. The album, formerly titled East [13] and Pulse, [14] was produced by Linda Perry and mixed by Bill Bottrell.

2009 – Under The Elephant

Jelen has placed his solo career on hold to focus on a new group Under The Elephant. The band consists of Jelen, Josh McMillan, Lisa McMillan, Tina Mathieu and James Darwin "Jimmy" Stull. The group is, as of 1 March 2010, unsigned. [15]

Personal life

Jelen met model Fern Palmer in a New York City night club on 6 January 2004. The couple married on 28 June 2009 in a private garden wedding in Palmer's hometown of Cleveland, Georgia. Jelen and Palmer have one child together: a daughter named Tallulah Rose Jelen born in 2013. In November of 2018, Jelen completed a Ph.D program in Environmental Science at Rutgers University, successfully defending his dissertation titled, "The Evolution of Microbial Electronic Transfer on Earth." <>

Television and film

Jelen's music has been featured on the TV shows One Tree Hill, Smallville and Las Vegas, and was used to promote the Academy Award-nominated Finding Neverland starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. "Come On" also features in the film Love Wrecked with Amanda Bynes and in 2007, the instrumental version of "Come On" was featured in a trailer for The Bucket List . His song, Where Do We Go also appeared in the film Fired Up. [16] In 2013, Jelen's single "Come On" was used in promotions for the film Monsters University.

Jelen, a graduate of Princeton High School, also guest starred on the Princeton-set television show House as a doctor applying for a fellowship in the episode "Kids".



Digital-only albums


Other contributions

  1. "Come On" on the compilation "CG Vibes: Music That Gives Back", available for five months in 2004 and supplied free with The Corrs' Borrowed Heaven , Toby Lightman's Little Things , Brandy's Afrodisiac and his own Give It All Away [18]
  2. "Truth" on the compilation "For the Next X: A Benefit CD for RAINN" (2004) [10]
  3. "Talking About A Revolution" (cover of Tracy Chapman's song of the same name) on the Russell Simmons/Babyface compilation Wake Up Everybody (2004)
  4. "Forever in Our Hearts" (playing keyboards and violin), a single for tsunami relief (2005) [19]
  5. "River" (cover of the Joni Mitchell song of the same name) on the compilation Breaking for the Holidays (2006)
  6. "Woman" (cover of John Lennon's song of the same name) on Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur (2007)

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  1. Music Emissions interview
  2. Breaking and Entering: Ben Jelen
  3. Billboard Bits: Rock The Vote, Mellencamp, Linkin Park
  4. Billboard Bits: 'Por Vida,' Loeb/Mitchell, AOL Breakers
  5. Chart positions by
  6. Chart positions by
  7. Chart positions by
  8. chart positions
  9. chart positions
  10. 1 2 Artists Shower Tracks on RAINN Benefit
  11. Breaking Records website
  12. SXSW Finally Confirms First Round of Artists
  13. Jelen Breaks Free With Linda Perry
  14. Ben Jelen Inks With Perry's Custard Label
  17. Single listing at
  18. CoverGirl Launching Record Label
  19. 'Forever' Unites Artists For Tsunami Relief