Mental Health for Creative Professionals w/ Recording Artist-Songwriter-Publisher Jenna Andrews
As an artist (Island Def Jam) and a songwriter (Sony/ATV) herself, Andrews is sensitive to the challenges that both up and coming and seasoned singers and writers face in music today, and she carries that knowledge with her in her work as a consultant for industry veteran Barry Weiss’ RECORDS label, as well as in her joint venture with Weiss, publishing company Twentyseven Music at Sony/ATV. The Calgary native has collaborated with some of the most renowned names in the market today, including heavy hitters such as Drake, Jennifer Lopez, Little Mix, Tori Kelly, Jessie J and Benee, as well as producers Noah 40 Shebib, Diplo, DJ Mustard, Max Martin, Illangelo and Stargate. Most recently, she has taken pop singer-songwriter Noah Cyrus under her wing, A&Ring her single “July” and writing the remix featuring Leon Bridges, which has garnered more than 160 million streams to date. She is also celebrating the stellar success of the hit she co-wrote with New Zealand-born singer/songwriter Benee, “Supalonely,” which has produced over 10 million TikTok videos and has massed over 125 million streams on Spotify alone. Today we’re talking about her passion and work towards the premise of mental health for Creative Professionals. Enjoy!
[Read more about our guest today HERE]
***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***
In this episode Peter & The Jenna Andrews discuss:
1:10- Intro and welcome Jenna! Ref: Aliza Licht’s podcast Leave Your Mark
3:30- So what prompted you to make mental health a passion? Ref: Emily Ratajkowski article in Harpers Bazzar
6:28: Talk about what resources there are or more importantly, what resources there should be for artists/songwriters for anyone trying to pursue a career in The Music Industry. Ref: Jenna’s new podcast The Green Room. Ref: The Jed Foundation
10:00- On working to removing stigma, stereotypes, being honest, open and just not judging!
12:48- What are you doing personally to take care of yourself? What are your sort of life rules that you put into place?
15:50- And you were first discovered on MySpace??
17:30- A couple of lightning round questions. Where’s your happy place? Where do you go when you just want to be happy? What place is the happiest, the most creative, most confident?
20:00- Since you’ve kinda got the RomCom thing going on then answer this: Awesome or Creepy: “Love Actually”
21:30- What is your most unhealthy favorite food?
22:40- Ok, last question; what’s your favorite type of work out, if you work out?
23:40- Thank you Jenna! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.
STAY HEALTHY – STAY SAFE – PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.. until next time!
24:10- Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits
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We have a new sister video cast called 20MinutesInLockdown! A video podcast devoted to learning fascinating lessons from interesting humans all around the world, all in 20 minutes or less! 20 Minutes in Lockdown was born in early April of 2020, when we were in fact, in lockdown, and couldn’t do much of anything. Realizing that more than ever, people could benefit from learning from people outside of their comfort zone – people with interesting stories to tell, people with good advice, people with useful ideas that could help improve lives, we started hosting short Facebook video interviews, and we grew from there. (Plus, you can actually see my hair colors change before your very eyes!) Check it out: www.20MinutesInLockdown.com
Hey guys, Peter, Shankman welcome to another episode of Faster Than Normal. Thrilled that you’re here. It is a gray, disgusting day here in New York city, but we are hopeful. Um, even though we are looking at a 3% rise in coronavirus, because most of you mother won’t wear a mask and it’s pissing me off, but whatever, it’s still great to have you all here. I am glad you are here. I’m glad you’re I hope you’re all healthy and safe and that wearing your mask. Okay. We’re talking to someone today. I I’ve talked to her now for about three minutes before I started. And I’m already in love. This person is awesome. I love everything about this person. Let me tell you she’s so Jenna Andrews. Okay. If you are in the music industry, chances are, you’ve heard of this one. As artists with Island Def jam and a songwriter with Sony ATV. She sent him to the challenges of both up and coming as well as seasoned singers and writers and what they face in music today. She carries that knowledge with her as a consultant for industry veteran, Barry Weiss, his record label, as well as her joint venture with Weiss, a publishing company called 27 music and Sony ATV. Okay. She’s worked with Drake, Jennifer Lopez, little mix, Tori Kelly, Jessie, J Benny producers, Noah 40, Diplo, DJ mustard. Max Martin. I am not cool enough doing half these people are, but I, I know that she’s worked with Noah Cyrus, um, uh, eight and her single July and writing the remix featuring Leon bridges, which has garnered over 200 million streams to date. I always hesitate to put streams or numbers in my bio because I have to update them like every week, 210 million, 20 million. Anyway, I was actually going to say that I’m sure it’s in there. Tell your publicist, update the stream. Okay. Anyway, she is very, very passionate about, about mental health and mental health for creative professionals, songwriters musicians. And that’s why she’s here today. I heard her on my wonderfully good friend Aliza Licht’s podcast and Leave Your Mark, which if you haven’t subscribed to that one, I strongly recommend that Lisa is the shit and I am thrilled that Jenna has taken the time to be here to gentle. Welcome. Thank you so much for being on Faster Than Normal.
Oh, of course. Oh my God. By the way, your intro is pretty spectacular. I was like, wow, this is awesome. You’re really good at you’re really good at that. I’m like, I’m like, yes, I am. I’m here for it. When people introduced me I’m always looking around like, who the hell are they talking about? It’s really, but that’s cool. Literally.
I love it. So how tell us about, so I want to focus most of the mental health, cause you know, we only facet normal is only 20 minutes, 30 minute interviews cause you know, 80 days. But um, I want to focus on the premise of mental health, you know, Whether you’re an entrepreneur or you’re a musician or any kind of creative or whatever you’re doing in life. We tend to push mental health to the side. We still tend to push it to the back burner. We don’t think about it as something, you know, we’ll go to the gym right, five times a week and we’ll do this dumb ass juice, detox, cleanses, whatever. But the one thing that we don’t focus on anywhere near as much as we should, as society is taking care of our brain. And so what prompted you to make mental health a passion?
Um, it was funny because when, when you were, we were actually talking three minutes before, um, we started and you mentioned, um, your story and, and obviously how having ADHD, you know, back, you know, I guess what was it like 15, 20 years ago? It was totally something that wasn’t, um, kind of okay to admit. So I actually have a similar experience because I, I feel like throughout high school people always were telling me, Oh yeah, she has a learning disability, dah, dah, dah, like all this kind of stuff. And I was so embarrassed about it. And, um, you know, at the time I didn’t want to see anybody and it’s it’s um, yeah, it was like, it was shameful, which is so, which is so weird. I mean, that’s one of the reasons, another reason is, you know, I was pretty badly bullied in high school as well. And, um, I went through an eating disorder and you know, I think a lot of young girls can relate and unfortunately way too many girls go through it. So it really made me feel one, you know, being a musician, it’s been a way that I’ve been able to purge my emotions and feel better in a cathartic way, so I feel like in combination with that, and also just, you know, being able to be open through song. I was like, well, we do this every day in a song writing room. Like, why can’t we open this up to the world for whoever’s comfortable to talk about it, especially for the fans out there, you know, listening to these musicians or idolizing people that probably are going through similar things that they are, you know.
It makes a lot of sense what you say. You know, the interesting thing though, is that again, it’s not necessarily something that tends to be focused on. Um, long-term, you know, I remember, uh, a lot of my friends I was telling you before, and then I went to LaGuardia, high school, Performing Arts, and a lot of the kids who I went to school with a good handful of them, you know, they started out their musical careers and they were working on it and they were, you know, sort of, um, pushing forward and pushing forward. And it was a constant grind that constant struggle and a constant, you know, series of rejections and being told no, and being told to lose weight or gain weight, or dye your hair or change this, or change that and get a boob job, whatever it was. And this was in the nineties. I, I, by the way, I I’m, I’m madly in love with you about the fact that you said it must be 15 to 20 years ago, that was in high school. It’s closer to 30, 35 years ago, but bless your heart. Anyway, I appreciate that. Um, but you know, the, the, the, the concept of all of these rejections and all of these sort of, you’re not good enough, or you’ll be better if you do this. Right. takes its toll. There was an article written by, um, uh, Emily Ratajkowski, the, the, the model. Um, I don’t know if you read it. It was in, I think it was in New Yorker. It was in Harpers. I don’t remember where it was published last month or so where she talked about what she went through as a woman and as a model and how she was basically just treated like a product and, and, and she could never, she was never get everything she did, you know, was fixed this change that do this and. Talk about, um, in the music industry, talk about, you know, sort of what resources there are or more importantly, what resources there should be. Um, for artists forcing us we’re songwriters for, for anyone trying to pursue that career. Who’s constantly told no. I mean, we’re told to just, you know, I’ll just keep pushing forward. Same thing and sales, I guess, in the business, keep trying and keep going, keep going, but they never talk about sort of what people can do to, to fix themselves and to get the help they need.
Yeah. I’m actually in the process of trying to figure that out actually in, in doing this whole thing. I mean, really it’s so it’s so interesting because you know, starting.. I’ve started, uh, my own podcast called The Green Room about mental health. And obviously, you know, that, um, I, you know, in doing that, I think it was, it started as like, you know, an idea of being able to, you know, just be able to purge as I said, but then it really built into something that’s, that’s become just what you just asked is like, you know, being able to support people in the industry and outside as well. But like, I guess I’m working on that now. In fact, I spoke to, um, I spoke to somebody yesterday about potentially coming up with, you know, essentially making things like making some sort of program up or, you know, he writes policies. He was talking about ways that we can sort of come together and find ways that we can actually provide um, ways that people can or places people can go. Cause right now, you know, honestly, just speaking from the music community, it’s like obviously writing songs is something that’s therapeutic, right? That is, that is why people do that song is the feel better, right. In terms of actually solving some problems, like one thing I spoke to about my, to my friend or this, you know, this therapist yesterday is he basically was saying that he’s trying to find a policy to like make, you know, have it be that people don’t necessarily have to go to prison when they’re, you know, abusing alcohol or drugs, because, you know, there has, there’s such a deep rooted problem, like reason for that, for that. So it should be something should be there to help them rather than like, sort of punish them for it because it’s really based on mental health. And a lot of times in music and entertainment, people really get. Um, get like a bad rap because a lot of times it will be like, Oh yeah, musicians are druggies or alcoholics or whatever, but it’s really just because it’s like, we’re depressed in the same way everybody else is, it’s just that you’re putting it out for the world to see. Right. So. Like going back again to your original question. That’s I don’t, I don’t know that I have like the solution right at this very moment, but I guess what I’m hoping to do through The Green Room is to be able to, you know, talk about it. And obviously I partnered with The Jed Foundation, which is, um, a nonprofit for mental health. So we’re giving all of that money back to the mental health, all the donations go back to mental health, which is the first step. Um, And yeah, and I guess there’s just, you know, obviously, you know, providing hotlines and things for people to call, but I do think that there has to be a bigger. Being in that. So I feel like this is something it’s a work in progress.
There’s a, a nonprofit called #SameHere started by my friend Eric Kussin and the whole premise there is, is just to sort of, to legitimize the conversation around mental health. I think that if we, you know, if the conversation around mental health to legitimize, it would, it would solve, you know, we’re not gonna solve all the problems, but that’s a great start, right. Getting people to open up and talk about it and know that, you know, One of the reasons that I, I, I look at my ADHD and I know that it’s a benefit. And, and the reason I do this podcast is so other people can learn that and not be stigmatized for it.
You know what, that’s actually a really, exactly what you just said is a hundred percent what I am hoping to do through what I’m trying to promote in doing The Green Room and also just making mental health, such a, um, I guess an okay thing to talk about it with, within the music community, because I think. By coming out and saying, Hey, listen, I had an eating disorder and, and saying, Hey, listen, I was bullied in high school. Hey, I drink too much. Or just stuff like that where it’s like, Hey, listen, not everybody can admit that. Right. But I feel like when you can, it helps you get through it because you’re like, okay, you you’re going through it, so you’re not alone. And I think that’s really. That’s like the mantra is like, people don’t want to feel alone.
One of the things that I’ve noticed in my, in my spare time was I’m a licensed skydiver. I jumped out of airplanes for fun and yeah. Okay. Uh, we call it, FEMURing in, bring in, when someone lands has a hard landing, 90% of time, they land on their femur and they break their femur. Right. Which is essentially breaking their leg. It hurts like hell and, um, you know, they get titanium putting in, they get like rods in my leg or whatever, I think. There’s actually, they’re actually t-shirts that people sell that says, you know, I’m 90% metal or titanium or whatever we immortalize and embrace the concept. Oh yeah. I broke my leg. Look at how strong I am, you know, but we don’t do that for mental health, you know? And, and I think that’s really, what has to change is the premise that I’m not saying we need to go around and say, yes, I’m an alcoholic, but, but not to be. Um, not to be judged. That’s not to look at it as a sign of weakness. Right. We break our leg. We don’t look at someone with a broken leg. Hi, you fucked up. Look at you. Ha you broke it. You know, why do we still have that same stigma around mental health? And I think that is what a lot of you know, is sort of starting to sort of gain traction and become a movement where it’s not stigmatized.
A hundred percent. And by the way, you’re so right about that. It’s like people are allowed to make mistakes and it’s not to say that you should say alcoholism is the way to live. It’s not, it’s not promoting that. And that’s only one example of many different types of things. But I guess that I found that interesting in, in, in my conversation yesterday, because I was like, okay, yeah. I mean, that is a serious stigma, but you have to realize what, what, what, it’s, what extend that, you know what I mean? Like why does that person have the addiction that they have. And, and, and I think that, um, the important thing is exactly what you said as well is just not judging somebody. And I think, um, you know, for example, I’ll give you another example. A couple of weeks ago, I did a show, um, I talk with Teagan and Sarah and we talk about obviously, you know, you know, the gay community and coming out and what that looks like? And there’s so much judgment in that too. Like even a lot of what they talked about is, you know, the stigma of like, Hey, if you know, even in the gay and lesbian community, it’s like, if you don’t look like you’re gay and even the let’s be in community, judge, you. You know what I mean? It’s like, how crazy is that? I mean, I’m just thinking there’s, it’s such a, a broad, um, subject, I think for judgment all across the board on a lot of different levels.
What are you doing personally to take care of yourself? What are your sort of life rules that you put into place?
Um, exactly this, I really find the most healing thing for me is the talk about it and I think, um, therapy of course. Um, but I find that it’s beyond just going to a normal therapy session. I find that just talking about it with friends or, you know, Instead of repressing feelings, just putting it out there. I find that as much as open as I am, the better I feel. Do you know what I mean? Cause if I’m going through something, I feel that if I, what I learned over my life is that when I. When I sort of like pretended it didn’t exist or like, you know, just kind of like put it, put it away for now. I was always way more depressed. And I think that talking about it is just so healing for me. So I’m constantly trying to talk and challenge myself to get better, I guess. Um, yeah.
Okay. Let’s uh, let’s move, move to a fun topic um, as well, we’ll come back. We’ll circle, we’ll circle back to this at the end, but I, I gotta ask you a couple of questions and, you know, forgive me for this. Um, tell me how I’m hoping for a great story here. Tell me what happened or how you found out and how you reacted when you discovered, when you found out- when, I guess when your agent, whoever called you and said, Hey, “Tumblin Down” is going to be on Gray’s Anatomy?
Oh, well, it’s so funny. I, I, that was, um, like that was so many years ago now. Yeah, actually it might’ve been like 2000. Yeah. Something like that. 2011. Um, you know, I mean, obviously I thought it was really exciting. Um, but it’s, it’s. You know, as an artist, this is another thing to say is like your, your, so you have this like, That nothing’s ever good enough.
Oh my God. Imposter syndrome. There we go. I was at imposter syndrome shows up in every single episode, every single guest talks about it. So congratulations for continuing for continuing the streak. We’re good. We’re I think we’re 202 for 202.
Haha! Awesome! I’m glad. Okay. This is good. I mean, we’re, we’re, we’re artists out here, you know? Um, but it’s a good sign. It means that you really, you know, I think the best artists and no ones that, you know, have the most pain and have. You know, I have something to say in a story to share, to share with people, um, all feel these ways, because I think that it’s impossible to be satisfied and make good art, you know, think about it. It’s like if you, if you fall into a place that’s complacent, you feel like you’ve arrived, then there’s like, like you don’t want to, how could you still want to create? You know, so I guess that. That’s how it feels. It’s just like, okay, cool. That’s good. What’s the next thing. And it’s not even like, not being grateful.
Right? Of course it’s grateful, but it’s just like, it’s just the nature of the beast.
Yeah. Now, if, if I’m, if I remember correctly, you were discovered, and this is, this is gonna, you know, as someone who grew up in the eighties with the era and the era of dial up modems in America, online, this continues to blow my mind, you were discovered on MySpace weren’t you.
Yes. And I it’s so funny now because my face is, so it’s such a dinosaur now, too. So it’s like, it’s so odd to think about because really my space was the first social network, I guess that really started this whole trend. Right. So, but no, I was exactly that. So I just kind of, I put up a song, um, For my parents basically than I, so I had moved out of my house, um, right from high school and, um, I, you know, didn’t have any money and I really just wanted, had a lot of pride that I wanted to show that I could do it on my own and all these things. So I really wanted that. I like didn’t have that to get back to where I was living, which was like, you know, an hour outside of the city. So I slept in my car by the beach and I wrote this song for my parents, um, being, obviously couldn’t buy them a Christmas gift. And, um, and then I ended up just being like, Hey, cool, it’s an acoustic song. Like I really like it. Let’s just throw it on MySpace. And that was it. And I’ve learned now through my career as those things that happened the one, the times that you really just think. Absolutely not the times that you’re just like, you know, if you’re going in, you know, 350 days of the year being like I’m working today, I’m going to write a hit, I’m going to do this, or I’m going to do that. The other, you know, 10 days are the days that you’ll actually accomplish something that you’re not thinking about anything. It’s like, those are always the times that you actually achieve the best things is when you’re doing it for an authentic reason beyond any sort of specific like superficial goal. From my experience.
Couple of questions, uh, sort of, sort of, um, uh, lightning round questions. Where’s your happy place? Where do you go when you just want to be happy? What, what place the happiest, the most creative, the most, uh, uh, carefree and confident.
Well, okay. There’s two that you just asked what makes me the happiest and what makes me the most creative are definitely two different things right now. Oh my God. You’re gonna, you’re gonna, literally, I don’t, I’m scared to say this, but as a person that just says I have to be vulnerable and say everything, I feel I have to do it, but I freaking love the stupidest romcoms, like Hallmark movies. They make me. Like this time of the year literally makes me so happy. You guys don’t understand. Like, I actually like have an obsession with Hallmark movies. Like I, like, after the day writing, I like look forward to being like, Oh my God, the Hallmark channel. And I’m like so excited. Um, and, but you’re asking me during these, this December months, so this is definitely my happy times, right?
Yeah. Okay. And what about most creative?
Most creative is. Um, like it’s, it’s either being like inspired looking out the window right now. It’s like either being inspired by like, you know, what, something around you like where it’s like, I can’t even define it necessarily. It’s like, it’s, I feel like I get the most creative when I’m either like, so inspired by a thought or a melody or just something visual, I guess I’m a really visual person too. So I feel like, um, that really captivates me. So I need to feel like I, if I, if I all of a sudden see something or hear something, like if you said something right now, Like often the best songs are like, you could say it and I’m like, Oh my God, it’s the best content I’ve ever heard. And that’s so inspiring to me, you know, I was just like in conversation, having like the song, just write itself, and that’s what a song is.
So to follow up on the first point of your Hallmark movies, I saw a, um, an Instagram ad, I was at a certain Instagram and the other day that showed a person wearing socks. And the socks on the soles of the socks said, “if you can read this don’t bother me cause I’m watching Hallmark movies”. So I’ll have to get you up to get you a pair.
OMG, Yeah. I’m actually dying right now. You have to! I will send you a pair. Yes. I’ll get your address from your, from your, uh, from your publicist.
Okay, so here’s the same question. Since you’ve got the romcom thing going on, then answer this’ Awesome or Creepy: “Love Actually”.
Thank you! Thank you! There’s a, there’s a growing movement that says it’s creepy and like stalkery and all that I’m like, come on. It’s Love Actually.
Oh my gosh. How many times have you watched that movie? Hundreds. Hundreds. Okay. Actually I’m like, I’m like, shit. I bought that movie is iconic. It’s wonderful.
What’s creepy is the little boy chasing the girl. I mean, that’s like, no, that’s awesome. I think the creepy part is the guy stocking the, his best friend’s wife. No, it’s not, the science is like that, that scene where it’s like, Oh, I get goosebumps thinking about it.
I, I remember I, my, my ex wife, I’m still very good friends with, we were watching the movie and I was listening to the song. Um, Anywhere You Go, right? [[“Wherever You Will Go” by The Calling]] Anyway, you follow you. And, um, uh, No, no. Wherever you may go wherever you, um, the one that’s playing in the bar when he goes to America and he meets the girls. Right. And I’m listening to it. I love it. So it’s a great running song. And she says to me, my, my ex says to me, one day, she goes: ‘You just like that song because he ends up having a threesome’
That is such a, like, I, I, yeah, I could see that. I could see her saying that, but that’s not why come on! That song.
That’s not entirely why. Okay. Couple more, couple more questions. Um, favorite, uh, or worst, I should say, um, most unhealthy favorite food.
Ooh, what was that healthy, favorite food? I rarely eat healthy. Like, I don’t even know if I, um, Oh, I don’t even like that, like bad food. Like that’s the truth. I mean, I’m actually being serious. Like, I mean, my cheat is like tomato, basil rice cakes, which I’m like obsessed with. And I know I sound insane. I know, but like, I’m not like a pizza, French fry, like person. I don’t even know that that would be like my choice.
I’m really glad that I live in the other end of the country because just knowing that we’d never ever date- oh my God. I don’t like pizza? What the hell is wrong with you?! Rice cakes are, are literally an affront to God. Okay. Whatever, they’re an affront to God.
Can I just say I do like pizza, but interesting, but I, but I just feel like. It’s not like my go-to. Okay, fine. I put, I’ll put cheese on a tomato basil rice cake and you’re when we, when we, when we hang out, you’re going to have it and it’s going to change your life because it’s so good.
Only if I can I take you- I’ll take you to Claudio’s pizzeria on 10th and 43rd street. Oh, okay. Deal? Deal.
Last question. Tell us, do you tell us about what you work out? Do you work out? What’s your favorite one?
Pilates. I love Pilates. That’s an easy one. Yeah. It’s just like, it’s so. Um, I feel like one it’s like so refreshing to do right in the morning. Cause it’s like, it’s like, obviously you get all like stretching and you can like get all your muscles working. But it’s also like a lot of like core strength, especially when you do it without, um, the reformer, like, cause we’ve been doing Pilates like this whole. You’re just with, um, an instructor on zoom, which has been awesome. And it’s like, you know, like I don’t have a reformer, so it’s just a lot of core strength, like weights and it’s just like, you’re kind of like working everything and it just, I love it. I just think it checks all the boxes for me.
Jenna Andrews. It’s everywhere. You know, all my socials are the same, so that’s when they can find me. And I’m behind the screen on behind the green wall.
Well, I was gonna say behind the, is the rest of your life, right? Don’t take it down. And that’s where the that’s where the wizard hangs out. Jenna Andrews, thank you so much for being on Faster Than Normal. I truly appreciate your time. This was, this was phenomenal. I hope to have you back.
Of course, thank you so much for having me!
Guys, thanks for listening as always, if you like what you hear drops review, uh, stay safe, stay healthy. It is crazy out there and it looks like it’s only gonna get worse. So until it gets better, I’m reminding you to wear the mask. Please wear the mask and we, if you don’t do it for yourself, if you don’t care for yourself, do it for someone you love and you should love yourself anyway, because we’re the only ones we got. We’ll talk to you guys next week on another episode of Faster Than Normal. Thank you so much for listening. Take care of yourselves.
Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at www.FasterThanNormal.com I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at petershankman.com and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were performed by Steven Byrom and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week.