It’s pronounced “yellin”….

In 2004, AOL featured a new artist named Ben Jelen (pronounced “yellin”).   I have never been an AOL user and how I surfed my way through the net to find Ben featured on their page, I have no idea.  I believe it was fate, for that one little discovery has spread like ripples in a pond from the dropping of one little pebble.  It’s hard for me to explain how much influence that pebble named Ben has had on my life.  Careful….this may be a long blog and I’m getting a lump in my throat as I think about it.

Let me start with the first song I heard…which was his hit “Come On.”

It was love at first listen.  There’s something about Ben’s voice and the melodies of his music that immediately soothes my soul.  It wraps around me like a warm blanket on a cold day and feeds me hot cocoa.  I’m listening to him as I write this and I still get that feeling.  It hasn’t worn out or disappeared.  I’ve never gotten sick of it.  It took me all of about 5 minutes to order the album and I waited in anticipation for it to come.  I think I listened to it for a month almost exclusively.  Those of you who know me at all know that just doesn’t happen very often.  lol  I’m much to ADD to stick to one thing for a whole month!  I couldn’t get enough….the piano on “Give It All Away”, the violin on “Setting of the Sun”, the lyrics to “Slow Down” and omg…he sang “Wicked Little Town!”  I had died and gone to heaven.

I ended up joining his forums.  They were the first forums I ever joined and it opened me up to a whole new world of people I never would have known otherwise.  It was the first time I ever really felt connected to a network of people joined in one common bond, the love of Ben’s music.  We all spoke the same language and had common interests.  We belonged together.  I made some great friends there, some of whom I have now met and keep in contact with, and there are days when I really miss that place.  We went through so much together; the ups when Ben’s career was on the rise, the downs at the tragic losses of Ben’s sister and one of our own forum members, the eager times of waiting for a new album.  We became a family of sorts.

The new album “Ex-Sensitive” finally came out in 2007.  I had gotten to know Ben a bit through being on the forums and I had started a fan page on myspace to help spread the album and tour news on this music that I loved so much.  My oldest son had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2006. I was in the midst of dealing with chemotherapy and up to my ears in research, lost hair, and vomit when the first video off of Ben’s new album was released. I had had a huge wakeup call in my life about the effects on our children of what we do to our planet and I was floored by the research out there that showed the rise of childhood leukemia and what could be causing it.  Enter “Pulse”. 

I cannot even begin to describe the emotions that ran through me as I watched this video.  I could barely breathe I was crying so hard as I penned a message to Ben to let him know how much the song and video meant to me at a time that I really needed to hear that voice of hope.  He messaged me back with best wishes for my son and did so every once in a while.  It meant more to me than I’m sure he could have ever guessed to just hear a “Hey, how are things?” from someone I admired so much. 

In 2008, I was determined to finally get to see him play live, and I did just that on his last concert of the tour in New York City.  He did a special afternoon show at the Replay clothing store and then a show that night (the one where I first saw Ian Axel).  I waited in that clothing store for him to show up, and then got so busy looking at clothes that I didn’t even notice him come in until my friend (one of those special forum family members)  said “Hey, Ben. Did you see that Paula’s here?”  He turned around as my head came up at the sound of my name and we both broke out in grins.  It was a moment that had been too long in coming and the memory of finally being able to give him a huge hug and say thank you is one that will forever be etched in my memory. 

The songs “Wreckage”, “Counting Down”, “Not My Plan”, the list goes on and on.  I can’t think of a single song of Ben’s that hasn’t been my favorite at one time or another or touched me in some way.

It is impossible for me to truly convey the spread of that one little pebble thrown from Ben’s music.  Because of his music, I joined a forum and made some friends.  Because of that, I was then brave enough to join another (Josh Groban’s) and another (Tokio Hotel’s) on which I can honestly say I have met some of my dearest, closest, truest friends.  I started a myspace fan page which brought me another true friend and a radio show that I don’t know what my week would be like without. (We even got Ben on the show which is another great memory!)  It would take more fingers and toes than I have to count the people that I have been blessed with in my life because of that first experience with belonging to a group of people like that. Because of  Ben and his music I have become better at taking care of our planet for those that come after me.  I’ve become more aware of my own actions on this place we call home. Because of Ben, I became a member of my first street team and enjoyed myself so much I am now on another.  Because of Ben and his music, I finally got to visit the one place on earth I’ve always wanted to visit the most.  In some form or another, I can trace it all back to that one pebble dropped into my pond.

It’s amazing to think about.  7 years ago, the music of Ben Jelen landed gently in the center of my heart.  It rippled across my soul, affecting me, and in turn spreading out to those who I have come to know and love because of it, gliding ever onward as they pass it on to someone else. I watch in awe as that one small ripple spreads into the vast universe.

Ben’s music can be found on iTunes and he’s now in college and playing with another band called Under The Elephant. You can also find him on MySpace.

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~ by musicloveaffair on February 10, 2011.

4 Responses to “It’s pronounced “yellin”….”

  1. beautiful. just beautiful. I am grateful for Ben. cause whether he knows it or not (and I’m sure he has no idea). he brought me you. the best gift of my life.

  2. Amazing Paula! This is my favorite blog. I love how music brought us together. It’s the universal language.

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