Growing up, Jenna Raine played centerfield, the position that sees everything. Despite regularly being the shortest, smallest, and youngest kid on the team, she often shined on the diamond. Raine played softball from about four years old to about 13 and despite being more accomplished at that than anything else, she gave it up to pursue her passion for songwriting.
While no one in Raine’s immediate family had any particular talent for music, she says, it’s something she always knew she wanted to dive into. When she was eight years old, for example, something innately told Raine to enter a talent show. It was then when her mother asked, “What’s your talent?”
But by playing piano and singing in the competition, Raine showcased the beginning of her future. She began taking vocal lessons at nine—this on top of the YouTube karaoke videos she’d sing along to at home, developing her chops. Now, nearly 10 years later, Raine has worked with some of the world’s biggest names and earned millions of song streams on the very platform she used to obsess over. And her latest release, “See You Later (Ten Years),” continues to portend a bright future for her after it recently hit No. 1 on the Spotify Global and U.S. Viral charts and went gangbusters on TikTok.
“Music,” Raine tells American Songwriter, “is my way of coping. Doing what I love, it really does help me heal if I’m in a bad spot in my life, in a bad season. You can share that with people, which is so special. You can share that with the whole world and let them know that those people who are going through the same thing aren’t alone.”
Raine, who was born and raised in Westlake, Texas, has wasted no time when it comes to practice and improvement in her chosen craft. She’s taken vocal lessons, songwriting lessons, stage presence lessons. Her voice has always outpunched her stature (Raine says she was 50 pounds at 10 years old, a “tiny little thing”) and it has been the impetus, along with her skill at composition, for so much investment. Thankfully for Raine, her parents are as driven as she is. They support her array of interests, providing wind for the sails of an already driven artist.
“Practice doesn’t make perfect,” Raine says, citing the advice of one of her teachers. “Perfect practice makes perfect.”
Indeed, Raine will stand for nothing less than precision. She’s been through many of the rigors of an artist already, well before she’s legally allowed to drink alcohol. At 10 years old, she auditioned for a girl group, L2M. At 11 she got the part and dove in. For the group, she spent days on end learning how to harmonize, how to record vocals (and to do so quickly). She learned the arduousness and the payoff of putting in the time. But these were lessons she’d already begun to understand through athletics.
“Through playing softball I learned to try to outwork people, “Raine says. ”I know that I might not have as much talent, but I also knew that if I outworked people, maybe I’d get a good spot in the batters’ lineup.” And it worked. “I went from not being on the lineup to the lead-off hitter in two years.”
For Raine, like softball, being a performer is about teamwork but it’s also about shining your own light as well as you can, as brightly as possible. If anything, she doesn’t want to have any regrets later in life for lack of trying. No stone unturned, of course. Later, as L2M was at the end of the line and the girl group was recording its final record, Raine found her passion in earnest. The members were in a camp for songwriting and, she says, some of the girls liked the work, others didn’t really. But Raine ate it all up.
“I was the one who absolutely loved it,” Raine says. “Through those songwriting sessions, I learned that I had a passion for the studio, of being part of that process. So, as soon as the girl group started to fall apart, I told my parents that I wanted to get songwriting lessons.”
Raine got a guitar around 13 and from then she continued to study both piano and the six-string. She wanted as many tools in her toolkit to write with. Her teacher then laid down a challenge: write 100 songs and then she’ll be where she wants to be. Raine says she started and wrote about a dozen tunes, then she began to co-write with people, penning new songs about whatever she wanted. She dropped her first EP and her song “Us” got attention for her as a solo artist (the video currently has more than two million YouTube streams). Things were heading in the right direction. But Raine was still not satisfied. She needed to take even more control.
“I think being in those sessions,” she says, “I learned how to own a room and direct the songwriting process. We’re going to do it my way because if we don’t do it my way, it’s going to fall apart by the end.”
A handful of years ago, when she was in her early teens, Raine says people didn’t take her seriously for the artist she knew she was. Now, with success, direction, and vocalized confidence, she is the captain of her present and her future. She’s even now taken to acting, which has indirectly led her to work with famed songwriter and performer Ryan Tedder. He’s aided her confidence, underscoring how she has all the talent in the world.
Raine has been using that talent lately on social media, on TikTok, where she is again back to writing those 100 songs for her million-plus followers. She’s listening to her fans for inspiration and the process helped her create her smash hit, “See You Later (Ten Years).” Indeed, Raine’s future, thanks to all the work she’s put into it, is as bright as ever.
“Honestly,” Raine says, “the only thing I want to do is be a light in a dark world and help everyone see that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Photo by Caity Krone / Press Here Publicity