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'Music excites more than modelling'

Ben Jelen, whose debut album Give It All Away failed miserably at the charts, but he isn't giving up.
PTI | By Associated Press, New York
UPDATED ON NOV 06, 2004 06:57 PM IST

With his chiseled cheekbones, porcelain skin and wispy brunette locks, Ben Jelen looks like he's walked straight out of a Calvin Klein ad. In fact, when his manager spotted first spotted him, that's just what he had in mind for the young Jelen. But British born, Texas-reared Jelen was quick to set him straight, he handed the manager a demo of his music.

Just a few weeks later, Jelen, was heading out to Los Angeles to audition for record labels and soon landed a deal with Maverick Records. His debut, Give It All Away, was released earlier this year. While the album, consisting mostly of piano-based ballads, garnered him media mentions and MTV exposure, it wasn't a commercial hit, and Jelen is currently working on his next record in Athens, Georgia.

Jelen, who plays the violin, piano and guitar, talked with The Associated Press about trying to become a breakout star, his inspirations for songwriting and his school-geek background.

Q: You got a lot of media attention as the next star on the rise, but album sales were modest. Was that disappointing?
Jelen: I was really thrilled at the way everything went at the end of the day, personally, even though because you didn't have large-scale radio exposure, album sales were not traditionally what a major label would want to keep working with. But everywhere we went, we had a huge crowd, played a great show.
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