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Ben Jelen's Multiple Influences Shine on <i>Give It All Away</i> - 2004-05-26

Ben Jelen is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who creates orchestral rock and pop songs. He was offered a job modeling for fashion designer Calvin Klein, but turned it down in favor of a career in music. Ben Jelen's debut album is Give It All Away.

Ben Jelen has been described as a traveler, scholar, lyricist and musician. He's lived in several places around the world, and taught himself to play different instruments. After graduating from college with a degree in biology, Ben decided to focus on developing his music and songwriting. He's being compared to veteran singers and songwriters Todd Rundgren, Jackson Browne, Pete Townshend and Elton John.

Ben's one of the few young artists who has the ability to write, produce and perform all his own material. While Ben held down a job as an engineer in a New York City recording studio, he worked on his own music late into the night. When his good looks attracted a modeling contract from designer Calvin Klein, Ben says he was flattered, but had a different plan in mind. The Calvin Klein scout was also the executive of a management company, who helped Ben secure a deal with Madonna's label, Maverick Records, home to Alanis Morissette and Michelle Branch.

Along with rock and pop, Ben also includes some unconventional touches of banjo, strings and Celtic melodies. "I write songs about things that have stirred and inspired me, and I record when my feelings are fresh to preserve those emotions," he said.

Songs on Ben Jelen's Give It All Away also touch on the ups and downs of a long-distance relationship, the innocence of childhood, and the happiness that comes with new love. He also draws inspiration from his travels around the world.

"I don't write just one type of song," Ben said. "I write what I see, do and feel ? the blood boiling when you're angry, your pulse racing when you're excited, that's what's important. When I feel like that, the song already exists in my mind and I just start writing."

Ben Jelen's debut album has sold more than 10,000 copies during its first week of release. He recently participated in a concert sponsored by Teen People magazine as part of Music Appreciation Day in New York City. Along with Pharrell Williams and FeFe Dobson, Ben performed at a New York City public school to promote music education. He's currently on a club tour of the U.S.