Los Angeles can be a tough town but Carmel Valley native BC Jean is doing her best to make her mark.
The work of the aspiring singer and songwriter can be heard on the radio or on MTV - the 21-year-old is the broken heart behind the song "If I Were a Boy," which Beyonce Knowles performs. Jean wrote the song with producer Toby Gad last year.
Jean recently signed to the Sony Records/RCA/Jive label and is hoping to put out her first album by the end of the year. It's an exciting time to be "up and coming" - she's been traveling to meet with producers in New York, Miami and Nashville and has roused 30,831 friends on her MySpace music page.
"I feel really blessed," Jean said. "To be able to work and do what I love to do - that's the coolest thing in the entire world."
Jean grew up in Carmel Valley, attending Del Mar Heights and Carmel Valley Middle Schools before moving on to Torrey Pines High School. She left Torrey Pines in the middle of her sophomore year to do independent study at North Coast Alternative High School in Encinitas as she grew busy touring with a cover band.
Jean took a huge leap at age 17, moving to Los Angeles to focus on her career. She completed her high school education independently.
Jean has a sweetly strong pop-rock voice. She sings with a Janis Joplin-esque rasp and puts a lot of emotion behind her words.
Music came natural to Jean. Her grandparents were musicians who recorded with artists like Perry Como and Fred Waring. As a child, Jean was into dancing, singing and performing little shows for her family.
She also liked to write her own music. She'd listen to CDs and figure out how a song worked with lyrics, choruses and bridges. She converted poetry into songs and played them on her keyboard.
"Now I don't see myself ever not writing," Jean said.
The inspiration for writing "If I Were a Boy" came out of a bad break-up. Jean was walking around in Times Square with Gad, the producer and songwriter who helped pen the Fergie hit "Big Girls Don't Cry." Jean was lamenting about how she was trying to stay away from the enticing hot dogs being peddled on the street and noted how if she were a boy, she could probably eat one without regrets. That led to her musing on how if she were a boy, she'd be so much better than her ex.
Gad asked Jean to repeat her sentiments into a recorder. They returned to the studio and wrote the song in 15 minutes.
Jean admits it's a little surreal hearing Beyonce sing her words:
If I were a boy/I think I'd understand how it feels to love a girl/I think I'd be a better man.
Jean recorded her own version of the song. Check it out and more songs at
, to listen to Jean singing the song