Tonight Alive Jenna Mc Dougall 2019 Photo Credit Jordan Knight

Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougall: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life

Step inside the record collection of Tonight Alive’s Jenna McDougall – from Zeppelin to S Club 7

From the cradle to the grave, the soundtrack to Jenna McDougall’s life is as colourful as Tonight Alives own music. Here she shares the 10 songs that changed everything for her.

The first song I remember hearing…

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)

I remember hearing this because it was such an epic journey of a song. My dad was a massive Queen fan when I was growing up. I remember, I recently found a piece of paper with my childhood scribbled handwriting on it, and I was trying to write the lyrics out to Bohemian Rhapsody, but they were all wrong. I was doing it from memory, and the b’s and d’s are backwards (laughs)!”

The song that reminds me of my childhood…

S Club 7 – Bring It All Back (1999)

Why not? It’s S Club 7! I danced and sang to this in a talent contest in primary school when I was, like, seven. Me and my sister loved S Club 7, and I wanted to be like Rachel [Stevens] – Rachel’s my middle name. I thought S Club 7 were sick – I thought that whole album [S Club] was uplifting! It’s a pretty dorky choice, but I’m into it!”

The song that made me want to be in a band…

Avril Lavigne – Sk8er Boi (2002)

This song came out when I was 10, and I’d just started learning guitar at the time. I just wanted to be Avril so badly. I guess she wasn’t really in a band, she was a solo artist, but this song was the first that made me want to pick up an electric guitar.” 

The first song of ours I ever heard played on the radio…

Tonight Alive – Drive (2016)

This was a crazy, serendipitous moment… Drive was already being serviced to radio in Australia, and we made the video on a Saturday, and the How Does It Feel? music video on the Sunday. When we were driving back from the How Does It Feel? shoot on the Sunday, Drive came on the radio and it was a really epic moment. Whak [Taahi, former guitarist] was embarrassed! It was a totally cool moment that, having just worked for the last two days on the videos for the first two singles on this album, Drive was already on the radio.”

The song that has gotten me in the most trouble…

Tonight Alive – Welcome (2011)

This is a B‑side from What Are You So Scared Of?, and it’s really old. My ex was really upset to hear it because I wrote: I just don’t feel welcome in this house anymore,’ and his mum had heard the song and was quite offended as well. That relationship was coming to an end, and hearing the pain in the songs written months prior was a blow for them.”

My favourite song to play live…

Tonight Alive – Temple (2018)

It’s the closing track of our set, and it just goes off. For some reason, I developed these strange dance moves in the music video and they’ve really affected my performance style with this record cycle, so playing that song is usually quite manic and I do some unusual things with my body. It feels really honest and raw.”

The song I’d most like to cover…

Led Zeppelin – Black Dog (1971)

I have always wanted to cover this song, but it does have quite a repetitive structure. It goes verse, chorus, verse, chorus – there’s about five verses in the song, overall! It’s a never-ending repeated section that some people might not bother covering because it could be quite easy, but it’s definitely something I’d like to learn how to do, as I absolutely love Led Zeppelin.”

The song I’m most proud of…

Tonight Alive – My Underworld (2018)

There’s quite a few that I’m really proud of, but maybe from this record [Underworld], I’ll choose My Underworld, which is the closing track. I really love this song because it’s got so much perspective – it’s like being in the eye of the storm but being able to see the whole thing as well, and that’s a pretty unusual position to be in. It kinda speaks truth about the phase of my life that I’m in. I know I’ll look back and think, Fuck, that was intense,’ about how I got through it, but at the same time, I’m able to see past it at this point. It’s like, nothing is permanent, and this is just a temporary position that I’m in.” 

The song I’d like played at my funeral…

Train – Drops Of Jupiter (2001)

It’s one of my favourite songs ever. When Patrick Monahan sings, Did you make it to the Milky Way…?’ it turns it into this really intergalactic song! And when he sings, She acts like summer and walks like rain,’ it makes whoever he’s talking about sounds like such an awesome person. It’s just one of those songs that is going to shoot you off to another planet, and that would be an awesome way to go out! It’d set a good mood for people who are mourning me!”

Tonight Alive’s latest album Underworld is out now via Hopeless Records.

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Posted on August 9th 2019, 12:00p.m.
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