Lynnwood Lifestyle: 17-year-old follows his passion for electronic music

brandon jennings
Brandon Jennings

It occurs to me, as I sit down to compose the May edition of Lynnwood Lifestyle, our timeline of music and dance this year began in the present with January’s coverage of Hip Hopera at Edmonds Community College, moved back in time to the ballrooms of the 18th Century with a March feature of Diane Brown’s Contra dancing; and is flashing toward the Future – at warp speed – with this month’s featured artist.

We were prompted by this note from Lynnwood resident, Derett Jacobs, a music enthusiast who wanted to alert us to a musician who was gaining momentum among his friends.

Derett sent us this message, which – as I will explain later in the column – led to an amazing coincidence and discovery!

My name is Derett Jacobs, I’m 34 and I am . . . currently living in Lynnwood . . . I found out about a guy in the Seattle area through some friends who is producing electronic music. I looked into his content, and I’ve come to like it.

I’m not sure what his real name is, but he goes by Zvezda (don’t know how to even pronounce that). I read his bio on Facebook and what struck me the most is that he is only 17 years of age . . . I’ve [followed] his social networks and he’s posted photos of himself in Edmonds, so I think it’s pretty cool to have a music artist in [one’s] own town!

I really think he’s earned himself a story, being so young. Somebody in this field of entertainment, at such a young age is something people should know about!

I say give him a chance, maybe even talk to him!

Just thought I’d give you a heads up on something cool in the world of local music!

Thank you,
Derett

Well, of course Lynnwood Lifestyle wanted to know more about this young musician who was grabbing the attention of Lynnwood fans. So we began sleuthing.

. . . and came up with an amazing discovery! Zvezda is our very own cameraman, film producer and all-around production talent – Brandon Jennings.

Yes! Leading a secret life unknown to his Lynnwood Today, MLTnews and My Edmonds News colleagues, Brandon Jennings has built a music career that is catching on like wildfire.

Of course Lynnwood Lifestyle (LL) wanted to know more – so we invite you in to our exclusive interview with someone who we thought we knew so well . . . Brandon Jennings, cameraman . . . aka Zvezda (Zv)!

LL: Brandon Jennings! Your musical alter-ego, Zvezda, been discovered by one of our readers who asked that Lynnwood Lifestyle find out about the 17-year old who is producing his own amazing music! We are happy to have located your Facebook page — and your Linked In page so that this interview could be arranged. Start us off – who are you?

ZV: I’m 17 years old, about to hit that wonderful 18-year mark. It’s a weird but exciting time in my life I guess! I live in Brier; but I do spend a lot of my time in the surrounding towns of Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Edmonds.

– – –

LL: Discovering your passion for music must have come at an exceptionally early age. Tell us about that: Piano lessons? Classical training? Are your parents, or siblings musical prodigies?

ZV: I did start young! Very young, in fact. I began working with music way back in 5th grade. I was 9-10 years old at the time. I had discovered my elementary school’s music program and decided to at least give it a shot. I ended up playing the trumpet at first, later finding out the hard way that I was allergic to the brass mouthpiece (that is a common thing apparently), so I ditched that instrument and went along with a clarinet.

I ended up playing the clarinet until my freshman year of high school began. I lost interest in band that year due to the negative comments about my genre of music from fellow students and my teacher at the time. In a way it kind of pushed me to do more, so I dropped the class to focus entirely on electronic music.

By 7th grade I had discovered an application on my dad’s Apple Mac called “GarageBand”. This was my entry into the world of electronic music. I began playing around inside of the program and ended up creating a few tracks. I never published them though, thank goodness, they were awful. But I had deemed it interesting, so I kept doing it.

Eventually I got almost bored with GarageBand and upgraded to different music studio softwares. The years went by and I kept upgrading my software, from Fruity Loops Studio to Logic Pro to Ableton Live 9 Suite. As of now, I am still using Ableton Live 9 Suite, which is the industry standard for music productions. And I haven’t even played with all the toys it has to offer yet! I’m kind of excited to see the range that it offers.

– – –

LL: Where do you attend high school?

ZV: I am currently a high school senior at Mountlake Terrace High School. But I am a full-time Running Start student at Shoreline Community College. That is where I spend all of my schooling time, where I study the art of film, primarily. Structurally Mountlake Terrace High School has a really great music program though.

– – –

LL: What genre (predominately) does your music compositions reflect?

ZV: As far a genre goes, I am strictly an electronic music artist, so I only create electronic music. But the term “electronic music” can be an extremely broad term today. It’s so diverse. You’ve got sub-genres like Trap, Chill, Dubstep, House, Electro House, Future Bass, etc. But the cool thing about electronic music is that you can basically pull a “mix and match” with the sub-genre’s and come up with, for example, Chill Trap, a mix of Trap and Chill electronic music. I usually just create tracks and don’t even bother to label their genre. I just let the public decide.

– – –

LL: The percussion/rhythm comes in pretty strongly in the cuts I previewed on iTunes.

ZV: Yes, percussion is featured predominately in a great deal in my work. I love percussion instruments, I always have. They provide the backbone to a song. It’s the one element of music that can get people bobbing their heads or imitating the beat on a desk. Percussion also helps with build-ups. It acts as a ramp to the most exciting part of the song.

I also do a lot of synth work as well, don’t get me wrong. Synths are the other second biggest subject in my music. Usually I end up using a lot of concert or big sounding synths, I’ve found that that style of synth can really bring a person in to the music. It’s more satisfying in a way.

– – –

LL: What is your ‘balance-music/balance school’ schedule like? How do you manage your time?

ZV: My schedule is always jam packed to the brim. I’m constantly managing my job at Safeway, as well as my job as a filmmaker, digital artist; photographer and music artist.

And then on top of all that I have school as well as my family, friends and church to think about, which obviously take the priority.

Some days I leave work and actually have free time, and I try to not waste those moments. I spend them with friends and family, but those opportunities can be a rare thing.

– – –

LL: What is your performance schedule like?

ZV: I don’t do a lot of performing actually. I have performed at two church events. A few years ago, I did guest DJ at a Homeschool Spring Formal. I enjoyed that a lot. The people were really cool and I gained a few new fans that night.

A booking agency, Divine Bookings from Paris, which is interested in my work, did just recently call me; and I’ve accepted. So I can expect a lot more performing later on in the future!

– – –

LL: How might fans follow your career?

ZV: My compositions are available on multiple websites. I have listed them below:

– iTunes: https://bit.ly/notions_itunes

– BeatPort: https://dj.beatport.com/zvezdaelectro

– Soundcloud: https://bit.ly/notions_soundcloud

– Amazon MP3: https://bit.ly/notions_amazon

– Google Play: https://bit.ly/notions_google

– ReverbNation: https://bit.ly/Zvezda_ReverbNation

– YouTube: https://bit.ly/Zvezda_YouTube

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I have an album release on May 23. People will be able to stream the release on many Internet radio sites such as Spotify, Beats Music, iTunes Radio, Rdio, Tidal, and Shazam.

I usually post my music updates on the following social media websites:

– Facebook: facebook.com/zvezdamusic

– Twitter: twitter.com/ZvezdaElectro

– LinkedIn: Zvezda_LinkedIn

– – –

LL: Is “America’s Got Talent” or any similar performance setting in your future?

ZV: No, I don’t see myself doing anything like “America’s Got Talent”. I don’t think shows such as that would approve of what I have to offer. It would basically be me just standing on a stage playing music. I do see myself performing at clubs though. I think it could be pretty cool to do that!

– – –

LL: What questions do you WISH Lynnwood Lifestyle would have asked; and how would those questions have been answered?

Some of the questions I get a lot, provoked by curiosity, include:

“How did you come up with the performer’s name, Zvezda?”

The name was suggested to me by one of my friends, Collin Rhodes, during a youth group event at church. The name sounded really cool, so it stuck!

“Who does all your artwork, promotion, and videos?”

I do everything. As of right now, I am completely 100 percent independent in terms of music. That is why it takes me so long to do everything music -elated. I can spend up to two months working on one single song because of it. But it is fun. I love putting my own imagination into the art and videos. It’s more authentic. I don’t really see the point of being an artist if you don’t do half of the work.

– – –

LL: Well Zvezda – you are quite a surprising quantity! Your news team colleagues are thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know the “you” away from the film-producer’s desk; and to introduce you to the Lynnwood community.

Thank you so much for this interview. We wish you a future of nothing but success!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lynnwood Winners!

"A Quiet Moment" by Angela Bandurka
A Quiet Moment by Angela Bandurka

Angela Bandurka – Artist

Lynnwood artist Angela Bandurka has been awarded Best of Show in the 6th Annual ISAP International Open On-Line Show (2015) for her painting, A Quiet Moment. Bandurka competed with 146 international artists for the prize.

Her painting, Like Father, Like Daughter, was awarded Honorable Mention. Bandurka was one of only two artists to receive two awards.

In serving as juror for The International Show, world-renowned artist Linda Kemp said, “I believe it is a remarkable, unified exhibition representing the wide range of excellent work submitted and the vast variety of styles. I was responsive to design, technique, style and subject matter but I tried to be equally sensitive to content and concept. I believe this is an excellent and diverse exhibit with paintings that are imaginative and innovative and depict the diversity of the entrants in subject and style.”

Interested individuals can visit the show here.

Becoming a single mother of one child in 2002, Bandurka’s dream of being a full time artist has come true as she is now recognized as established leader in acrylic painting. Her work has been published in AcrylicWorks and AcrylicWorks 2, by NorthLight Books in 2014 and 2015, and The Indispensable Guide to Acrylics by Lorena Kloosterboer for Quarto Publishing in 2014.

Bandurka has received Best of Show awards for her plain air work, as well as studio work, but is best known for her still life and portrait paintings. A recent commissioned figurative painting was displayed at the Seattle Art Museum for a wedding engagement in early April 2015. A time lapse video of the painting, as well as a photo from the event can be seen at https://www.angelabandurka.com/blog/2015/4/10/a-proposal-of-epic-proportions .

Bandurka is represented by Cole Gallery, in Edmonds. She teaches an Atelier series for all media each Thursday night at the gallery, and gives workshops throughout the Pacific Northwest.

More about her work and classes is available at www.AngelaBandurka.com.

– – –

2Plastic Ahoy

Alice Crawley – Author

Plastic Ahoy!

Lynnwood author Annie Crawley is the Green Earth Book Award Winner for non-fiction for her book “Plastic Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. What a wonderful way to have celebrated this past Earth Day!

Crawley contacted Lynnwood Lifestyle with a wonderfully generous offer, “I am happy to help inform the community with things like “5 easy things you can do to help stop the flow of pollution. I’m working with teens locally on stopping single use plastic.” We love her enthusiasm!

Crawley is passionate about environmental concerns and states, “Our Earth and oceans needs to be honored every day and I’m ecstatic the work Patricia Newman and I envisioned about the SEAPLEX Cruise with scientists Miriam Goldstein, Chelsea Rochman, and Darcy Taniguchi came to fruition in the hands of our editor Carol Hinz, of Millbrook Press, and Lerner Publishing Group.”

“If you would like to help raise awareness about ocean pollution, I encourage you to join our movement. Currently we are working with students on how they can be instrumental in making a difference. Here in the Puget Sound and around the world teens are working on programs to stop the flow of pollution into the ocean by raising awareness about single use plastic and how to stop using it in our lives.

The teens are working on a variety of ways to stop single use water bottles in their schools and discussing how plastic and pollution affects our environment. We would love to get everyone involved in this movement, if you would like to join the cause of raising awareness about this important issue, please contact us.

We want everyone to rethink their relationship with our environment and to #BeTheVoice for the ocean and all it’s inhabitants.”

~ ~ ~ ~

Lynnwood Lifestyle ends this month’s column with the observation that our community couldn’t be more proud of the contributions that these Lynnwood-area young people are making. Congratulations all around!

Emily ~ 2015 Bio jPeg for News (1)— By Emily Hill

Emily Hill is the author of two novels and a short story collection. She also writes the Artfully Edmonds column for My Edmonds News. Emily is retired from a career in public information and news media relations. If you would like your event listed, or featured, in Lynnwood Lifestyle, Emily invites you to contact her at emily@lynnwoodtoday.wpengine.com.

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