Jane N’ The Jungle were running short on funds needed to complete their first full-length album Concrete Jungle.
The local alternative rock group, who Phoenix New Times named as one of the “17 Metro Phoenix Bands to Watch in 2017,” realized in January 2018 that they had more to say than they could cover in their EP. Vocalist Jordan White, guitarist Brian Dellis, and bassist Bryan Dague wanted to take things to the next level. They started writing songs that spoke to people struggling to fit in.
You can hear these tracks at Crescent Ballroom on Wednesday, July 31, when they play their record release show with MRCH, New Chums, and Callie Yøung. The album fluctuates between message songs like “Unicorn,” which confronts bullying and gun violence head on, and touching ballads like “Enough,” which is a favorite of White's.
“[The song] rounded out what we really wanted to say with the record,” she says.
But Concrete Jungle almost didn’t get finished. Just when Jane N’ The Jungle were about to put it on hold, White says they were contacted with an offer that seemed too good to be true. BYGMusic, a company that connects emerging artists with corporate sponsors, was looking for a Phoenix-based band to help Ford Motor Company raise local awareness of its brand. Since the trio have a dedicated fan base and strong social media influence, they were a perfect fit.
Stephanie Sills-Zavala, BYGMusic’s co-founder and head of operations, acts as a liaison between the brands and the artists. She offered the band a 90-day sponsorship deal and they accepted.
Sills-Zavala explains that as part of the agreement, Jane N’ The Jungle had to post about Ford's sponsorship “in a cool way.” There was also a link to an online contest where a fan could win $30,000 toward the purchase of a new Ford. To enter, entrants gave their e-mail address to the car manufacturer so they could receive more information about their product.
As Sills-Zavala puts it, it’s a win-win for everyone: Ford can directly connect to a new customer base, fans supported the band (and one of them won a new car), and Jane N’ The Jungle were compensated for their efforts, which allowed them to finish Concrete Jungle.
Any musician can do this, Sills-Zavala says, but the ones that work hard and interact with the fans through Twitter, Facebook, and other networking sites are the ones that BYGMusic is looking for.
“This gives an artist a way to monetize their fans,” she says. “It’s not selling out. It’s really cool to be recognized by a brand when you are an emerging artist. There’s never an obligation to partner with a brand that you don’t like.”
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White says she felt bad for hounding people to sign up, but the pros of doing it far outweighed the cons.
“It’s really cool that a bigger company like Ford gave us some of their advertising budget to help us get on our feet,” she says.
As the band head west to play Los Angeles, they hope the sincerity of the album will show the industry that they want to be taken seriously. There will be 100 physical copies of the record available at the Crescent Ballroom show. It will also be available digitally on August 16 and with a wider physical release in September.