Jennie Laws - The Passion, Poise and Heavenly Sounds of a Canadian Recording Artist
by Stacey Newman
Within a minute of my introduction to Jennie Laws, she was telling me about her day in the recording studio in Los Angeles. No small talk, no insincere or rehearsed publicity spiel. Jennie immediately began describing the sound of her favourite guitar—the Martin OMJM John Mayer Special Edition she had been playing earlier in the day. Beginning with a quiet, thoughtful description—its smooth, gorgeous tone, its shorter notes—she burst into a crescendo of enthusiasm as she told me about the tracks she was laying down in the studio for her latest songs. It has been three years since her last release, songs that were quickly popular and spanned musical genres with influences from jazz, soul and pop. The single "Heavenly" continues to be popular today and Jennie's following has grown to include fan bases across North America. From Toronto to New York, to Los Angeles and beyond, Jennie describes her music today, compared to her music of a few years ago, as soul and pop, some ballads, but more up-tempo. Jazz continues to influence her vocals, but her sound is currently more retro, with live instruments and the organic fluidity that punctuates her effortless talent. "The new tracks are full of harmonies, colours and textures, hip hop rhythms, mandolin, live strings, sampled drums and... the resonance of a really good love song."
Love is a succinct word, perfect for describing Jennie's approach to music. Says Jennie, "As much as it is about entertaining people, it's also about creating positive energy and spreading love. There's a purpose to what I do and that's the most important element of the songs I write and sing." Jennie is genuine and clear when she discusses her training, her education, and the personal goals she has set for herself as an artist. She grew up in the Toronto area, and at the age of 16 she had already originals using a four-track machine. Her musical influences demonstrate the diversity of her talents, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Michael Jackson to Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder. She hopes to touch her listeners, to make them feel good, for them to feel less alone, or to simply feel a certain something.
Receiving a full scholarship, it was at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, it was there that Jennie Laws was able to develop her own, unmistakable sound. A sound that she says she continues to hone and refine as she learns from the people with whom she has been thrilled to work, both in Canada and in Los Angeles where she now resides about half the time. Los Angeles is a Mecca of industry people, and her work has been introduced to movie producers, licensed for television and where the people with the studio and industry knowledge are there to support emerging artists like Jennie. "The business end is where I've had to do a lot of learning. Connecting with the right people, learning to promote myself and develop my live performance skills. I had a lot of stage fright, but I performed here every week, then every month until I got over it." Now she easily performs on stage and she is bringing that confidence to the 12 songs, the lyrics for which she has written collaboratively, that she is recording.
Jennie has grown so much, stating that the people who have watched her since the beginning describe her as having come into her own. She's looking forward to live performances and the release of what she believes will be her breakout singles in the coming months. Recording costs a lot of money. Artists like Jennie usually fund their recording efforts as independents. She has invested everything in her music and it's paying off. She is busier than imaginable, but she loves it. The excitement in her voice for her recent projects is almost tangible. Projects such as string arrangements for other artists, background vocals, lead vocals, playing guitar, playing keys (Jennie plays guitar and piano, as well as being a gifted vocalist). As though her talents weren't enough, she's also a composer and works in film scoring.
"It's an honour to be a recording artist. I love it so much. I want to do it as long as I can." With no shortage of talent or passion, Jennie Laws will undoubtedly be taking the music industry by storm for many years to come.
Like Jennie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @JennieLaws. "Heavenly" and some of her other previously released tracks are available from iTunes, or listen to samples of her music at www.jennielaws.com.