Jennel Garcia of ‘X Factor’ On How To Spot a Douchebag Guy

Jennel Garcia is no average 21-year-old.

In 2012, while her high school classmates enjoyed one last summer before heading off to college, she flew across the country to LA to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer on “The X Factor.”

Although she finished 11th under Demi Lovato’s guidance, Jennel has been determined to work endlessly on her musical career ever since. Currently finishing up her first album, which will be released in the next few months, Jennel has made it clear that “The X Factor” was just a starting point for her, not a finish line.

We spoke to Jennel about moving from a small town to a big city, how to break up with a douchebag, and what it’s like to work in a notoriously back-stabbing industry as a young female artist.

Was it strange quickly accumulating fans from your X Factor fame?

I spent so much of my childhood and teen years dreaming of what it would be like to be a star and to have fans, that being on “The X Factor” and building a fan base in real life almost still felt like a dream. I still look back and wonder if I’m still sleeping and if it all really happened.

You’ve tweeted, “Date someone who you can pick your nose in front of.” What other qualities do you think are important to have in a significant other?

When it comes to a strong, healthy relationship, the best quality is to just have your best friend and boyfriend/girlfriend all in one human. You trust your best friend, you’re loyal to your best friend, and you love your best friend, right? So, you should do all those things with your significant other. When you build a romantic relationship off of a friendship that has honesty, trust, loyalty, and respect, etc, etc… It’s just really easy. It’s easy to fall in love and it’s easy to do anything it takes to make your relationship work.

If you were to play any festival, which would you choose?

I’d love to play Coachella. Mainly because it’s the most popular festival and it brings in thousands of people from all over the country, not like a regular tour drawing local kids, it’s people of all ages from everywhere. That would be such a cool and diverse crowd of people to play for and a cool line up to be on. They always have such a great, broad variety of artists playing. I haven’t been to enough festivals to know which is my favorite but exposure wise, definitely Coachella!

Who are your musical influences? Who is your dream collab?

I’m extremely influenced by classic 70’s-80’s rock. Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, Janis Joplin, even 90’s divas like Alanis Morissette, or pop divas like Madonna. I just love the thought of being a diva! But I’d love to sing with Steven Tyler or maybe Stevie Nicks, someday. Maybe write a song or two with Jared Leto. The list is endless!

When you’re not working on your music career, what are you doing?

If I’m not working, I’m thinking about working. Probably eating or working out while I’m thinking about working. My mind doesn’t stop. It’s nuts. I can’t even take naps because I freak out. I constantly have to be doing something. Writing, reading about the music biz, making videos, practicing… Always doing something!

Your video for “The Only One” features you breaking up with a douchebag guy, what tips do you have for our readers about getting over a bad breakup?

Let your hair down, put on some red lipstick, sexy high heels, and take a shot of whiskey! Being independent is a beautiful thing. Getting over someone is difficult, but learning to love yourself and take care of yourself can be a very fun adventure. Don’t take time to yourself for granted. There isn’t a single man out there in the world who’s perfect enough to steal your happiness… Except maybe Brad Pitt.

From your experience, what are some signs that a dude isn’t worth your time?

If a man makes you forget about everyone else in the room and makes you feel like you’re the only two people on the planet, you’re probably vibing with him really well and you shouldn’t ignore that. If he makes it seem like HE’S the only person on the planet, no matter how hot he is, you should probably ignore him. It’s all about the vibe. Having things in common, sharing the same sense of humor, enjoying discussing the same topics, etc. Of course, if he’s the kind of guy who has too much growing up to do, and doesn’t seem to have his shit together, that’s the major sign that he isn’t worth your time too.

You’re from a small town in Massachusetts, what was it like transitioning to LA? What was the most difficult part?

I’ve lived in a small town my whole life, being in the city was definitely weird at first. The way people talk and act is so different. I hated that coffee milk, and peanut butter & fluff, and saying “that’s wicked cool” was so bizarre to west coast folks when those things are normal for me! Dunkin Donuts over Starbucks any day. Nothing beats New England clam chowder. And I really missed autumn. I live on a farm. I’m used to corn fields and hay bales and scarecrows around Halloween. I also hated adjusting to the time zone difference and being so far away from my family. That was the worst. And the time zone made them feel so much further away. But I did love the city. It was different and after getting used to the changes, I really found that I had a special place in my heart for LA. Some of my best memories were in that city.

You’ve tweeted about how you’re naturally quiet, do you find that this makes it difficult when trying to break into an industry that is all about connections? How do you push yourself to go out of your comfort zone?

When it comes to meeting new people in the industry, I usually surprise myself because I really do open my mouth when need be. I speak up when it’s necessary. I’m most quiet when I’m around other kids my age. Not a lot of people really understand my life style and my interests, so I find that that’s when I close up the most.  It always comes off as stand offish, but I’m actually a really friendly kid. I just always feel so out of place when I’m home and go out with my friends. And just like everyone else who’s over the age of 21, I allow myself to loosen up with a little bit of liquid courage. I love tipsy me. She’s very fun, opinionated, and electric!

Many people working in the music industry are said to have ulterior motives, can you describe a time you’ve been taken advantage of? How do you spot the good people from the bad?

You never really know when it comes to someone having your best interest. You just have to vibe with people, feel it out, and let the mutual respect either unfold or just crash and burn. Respecting your team and them respecting you in return is very important. If they don’t take you seriously, or they take advantage, or they only think of only dollar signs, then that’s not a healthy business relationship. I’ve lost thousands of dollars working with the wrong people. Thousands of dollars that I’ve worked very hard to get. Some people would think I’m crazy for still being in this business after some of the things I’ve experienced, but the rush of being on stage and singing is worth everything to me. I’ve put my physical and even my mental health at risk for the last three years. I’ve been through things that have made me change the way I look at some things in my social, everyday life, but I chose to focus of the positive and learn from my experiences. So with all that being said, I keep all the gory details to myself and my close friends and family. It’s all about the music for me. Just focusing on what’s best for me and the music.

What’s the weirdest DM you’ve ever gotten?

I’m not sure what the weirdest DM I’ve ever gotten was! I’m that friend who reads text messages three days late so I bet you can imagine how often I read/see my DMs. The first thought off the top of my head was a recent Tumblr DM of someone who’s picture was a shirtless man’s torso with abs and the DM read “hey kitten ;).”

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