Mark Ballas and BC Jean on New EP, Writing… by Uinterview

Mark Ballas and BC Jean just recently released their second EP, titled High Enough. Under the name Alexander Jean, the duo has toured extensively together, also. Additionally, Ballas just got through playing Frankie Valli in the Broadway production of Jersey Boys. Oh yeah, and the couple just got married.

Singer/songwriters Ballas and Jean recently sat down with uInterview to discuss High Enough, what it’s like to write with each other, and to talk about their married life.

The couple – they married in November 2016 – has certainly gotten into a groove when it comes to writing and making music. While they don’t have a set-in-stone process, most of the songs typically come about the same way.

“A lot of the songs kind of stem from a guitar riff that I’ll be working on and I’ll kind of jam around the house and I’ll usually know when something is inspiring because she’ll start singing along to it – just organically,” Ballas told uInterview exclusively. “And I’ll think, ‘Oh, she’s feeling this one,’ and I always have the iPhone on standby to record her because I usually capture the best things when she’s not thinking.”

Sometimes though, Ballas joked, he may irritate Jean just a little bit. “I hound her in the house, like ‘What about this? What about this? What about this?'”

In the same vein, there are times where being musical partners and life partners can turn into a problem – but never a big one.

“We bicker in the studio and things,” said Ballas.

But Jean explained. “It’s usually over small things and we kind of balance each other out. His passions and expertise are similar but different to mine so we’re kind of like a teeter-tooter. When he goes up, I go down. We know when to pick each other up, we know when to push each other, we know when to help. We know each other so well now that it’s actually beneficial.”

With all that’s been going on, the couple has been finding out ways to balance their careers – in both music and acting – with their married life. But don’t worry, they’re almost there.

“It was a lot,” said Jean, speaking about planning the wedding against the backdrop of their hectic schedules.

Said Ballas, “We still haven’t gone on our honeymoon yet but we’re going to do it on our one-year-anniversary.”

High Enough is available now on all major music platforms.


Q: What was the process of putting together your newest EP? -

Mark Ballas - "We were writing it on tour last year, touring for a while. We kind of wrote the songs sporadically. Then we went to England to record it so we spent about a month in the UK in a small town called Hereford, where we worked with an incredible producer named Will Hicks. It was awesome because there was no phone service, we were in the middle of no where. When you went outside this cottage studio there was a load of sheep around and that was literally the only thing in sight – and pubs. There was a pub we would go to called "The Angel" and a restaurant we would go to called "Ye Old Steps." It was nice to kind of switch off from technology and the world of social media and the internet to really focus on these songs and lock in and seek inspiration from everything, really."

BC Jean - "We started writing this EP during EP one. As of now, we are writing EP three. So we are constantly writing and you never know when the pieces of the puzzle are going to come together. So by the time we got to Hereford, we had already written everything. We just started tracking all the instruments and making the tracks. And then we came back to LA to do the final vocals."

Q: What's your songwriting process? -

Mark Ballas - "We don't really have a set routine. I will say that a lot of the songs kind of stem from a guitar riff that I'll be working on and I'll kind of jam around the house and I'll usually know when something is inspiring because she'll start singing along to it – just organically. And I'll think, 'Oh, she's feeling this one,' and I always have the iPhone on standby to record her because I usually capture the best things when she's not thinking."

BC Jean - "I have a book of concepts and poems that can always grab from. So I'm kind of like, 'Oh this idea might go with track,' and just kind of let it naturally take place."

Ballas - "She's constantly writing poems. I'll find little napkins and things around the house and I'll think, 'Wow, this is cool, let's do something with this.' I hound her in the house, like 'What about this? What about this? What about this?'"

Q: Does being married to your musical partner make it harder to write together? -

Ballas - "We bicker in the studio and things but ..."

Jean - "It's usually over small things and we kind of balance each other out. His passions and expertise are similar but different to mine so we're kind of like a teeter-tooter. When he goes up, I go down. We know when to pick each other up, we know when to push each other, we know when to help. We know each other so well now that it's actually beneficial."

Ballas - "If one of us is feeling particularly strong about an idea, we both love each other and respect each other so if one of us is like, 'I'm telling you, this is how its got to be,' the other will be like, 'OK, I trust you, if that's how its got to be, that's how its going to be.'"

Q: Where did the two of you meet? -

Ballas - "We met at a singer/songwriter night that we were both mutually invited to from a mutual friend. I got there a little late for my set and BC was already on stage. It was packed in this guys house and he had GoPros all over his house. It was kind of an online concert that people could buy tickets for and the money would go to charity, so it was for an excellent cause. So when I got there, the whole room was silent, paying attention to this incredible voice on stage and it was BC. If you're in Los Angeles it's virtually impossible to have a silent room there. People are on their phone, people don't care, they're talking, they're screaming, but this room was locked in. And I remember hearing BC's voice and I was blown away. I remember thinking to myself, 'Whoever that is has got some chops, that's some real vocal talent there.'"

Q: Is it hard to balance your music careers, acting, and married life? -

Ballas - "I just got finished with a six month run on Broadway playing Frankie Valli on 'Jersey Boys' and we were writing the EP during the day. As soon as I finished Broadway, we went straight to England to record."

Jean - "We did our wedding during Broadway. We wanted to kind of make it easy with an in town, simple, little wedding but as soon as we sent out the invites we learned we were going to be living in New York actually. I planned the wedding from New York, went back and forth, and when he would have the week off. It was a lot."

Ballas - "We still haven't gone on our honeymoon yet but we're going to do it on our one-year-anniversary."