Following a long-running hiatus, Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougall made a surprise return online last month. The Aussie singer-songwriter – known for dodging social media – made a hit-and-run tweet teasing new music. The news, of course, left plenty of us in a tailspin, frantically trying to find out more. After all, the singer seemingly disappeared into the night after 2018 following Tonight Alive’s departure. However, on the record, the band issued a statement declaring the break was to “address and prioritise our mental and physical health”. After a gruelling routine of tours, it was time the Sydney collective took some time apart. Departing with an on-brand Thank You & Goodnight vibe, the pop-punks bid farewell – a reality that even they weren’t aware was coming: “No-one knew it was really our last [tour] at that time,” Jenna tells Kerrang! today. “We weren't meant to know. We didn't know we're going on hiatus at that point.”
Now, debuting a new look – an edgy all-blonde mullet – and a refreshingly energised new sound, Jenna reveals her whirlwind return was only a “matter of time”. As the singer embarked on an unscheduled healing hiatus, she reconnected with her roots and let the buzz of inspiration lead her back to music. “I always felt the days away from stage and studio were numbered,” she reflects. “It was really refreshing and I needed change, but I'm glad to be back.”
After rehashing what had passed (the “big friction”, as she labels it), Jenna found herself adamantly trying to overcome a forced want for a new direction. “I went through a struggle of trying to draw the new path out of myself when it wasn't ready,” she explains. “There's trusting the process and allowing [personal] development to happen at its own rate. I definitely think that affected the way I've seen how the songs sound. My general energy at the moment is greatly influenced by having to surrender and take things as they come in.”
Now, Jenna is gearing up for a remarkable comeback under the high-energy experimental name, Hevenshe. What began as a long-awaited passion project quickly snowballed into something more. And, with a huge amount of songs already under her sleeve (and we mean a lot), plus plenty of eager plans, we caught up with Jenna to hear more about her big ambitions…
Hey Jenna, it’s been a while! What exactly have you been up to since Tonight Alive went on hiatus?
“Two of my three years away were in a heavy lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, so I started to develop a personal life and a social life that I didn't have while being on tour full-time. I spent a lot of time in nature and I've taken up a new spiritual path and study in Bhakti yoga and Krishna consciousness, which is a big part of my life now.”