Besides performing at showcases, Ben Jelen came to South by Southwest to help raise money for his new environmental charity. But the singer-songwriter admits that trying to keep green while touring is harder than it seems.
“It’s difficult because at the end of the day, you are putting CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the air because of your activities,” Jelen told The Associated Press. “One day we will have a tour bus that doesn’t run on gas.”
Jelen, 27, held court Friday at the Eastport Cafe, a converted bar and gifting suite for which sponsors donated about $10,000 to his Ben Jelen Foundation. Jelen said the charity had four goals: to educate teens about environmentalism, aid those affected by climate change, to invest in alternative and clean energy sources and to finance organizations that campaign for a better climate.
Though he acknowledges that tour buses, including his, can create a lot of waste, he also said he is a big recycler.
Jelen released his second album, “Ex-Sensitive,” last summer, and performed at showcases here in Austin for SXSW.
“It’s random ears that might make a difference in your career,” said Jelen.
But he joked that his charity may have made a bigger splash than his music.
“I can’t seem to raise a penny for myself, but when it comes to a cause, it’s different!” he said.