In Los Angeles, many people know Jen Awad as a fashion designer thanks to her glitzy, girly and rockin' runway shows, put on during L.A. Fashion Week's post–Smashbox Studios heyday (2009-2015 or so). But her love of music has gone a lot deeper than catwalk beats and dressing/styling cool people in town who make it.
The half Egyptian/half Peruvian L.A. native has always expressed herself in multiple ways, including making her own music. In recent years, she's been a fixture on the local music club circuit and was even selected to play the Broke L.A. Festival (formerly known as Brokechella) as one of 50 acts on the bill, chosen from 700 contenders.
Backed by an eight-member band, complete with horn section, the singer/songwriter/style maven's soulful sound recalls the bluesy bravado of Etta James but with a modern glam twist. And her live shows deliver as much pizazz as her fashion presentations ever did, no supermodels necessary.
Her latest single, "Love Is Dead," won praises from Flaunt, who premiered the audio version last December, but we've got the full video premiere right here, and it shows the powerhouse singer in all her blue-haired glory, playing piano (she's self-taught) and crooning about modern love and the corrosion of courtship in the dating-app era, a topic a lot of us can relate to.
"The song is about feeling like we as a current society have swiped and sucked and fucked the beauty out of romance," she says. "It’s a love song about wanting to fall in love the way people used to fall in love. It’s acknowledging that our society has killed love out of its own need to be financially stable and seem successful."
The video depicts Awad visiting an abandoned dance hall, heartbroken and sad. As she begins to sing, she transports into a fantasy realm where “spirits” start to appear that she can't see. "These ghosts aren't from the past, these are my fuckboy ghosts," she explains. "And in my dreamlike state, they are still fucking with me! But just as it seems that I’m letting them win and I might cross over to join them, I rebuke it and they disappear. By the end of the song, I’m alone, back to normal, but feeling hopeful."
Anyone who's tried online dating or dating period these days, especially in L.A., knows the terms "fuckboy" and "ghost," so the video should resonate with single crowds. But as you'll hear here, the old-school mood of Awad's music is anything but trendy — it's timeless.
Catch Jen Awad at the Resident, 428 S. Hewitt St., downtown, Sat., March 31, 8 p.m. With Fiona Grey and Emma Cole. More info here and tickets here.
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Read all L.A. Weekly's #LinaInLA-branded fashion coverage (featuring Awad's design work) via the links below.