Jenn Grant will be performing at the National Arts Centre on Saturday March 25th. Her new album Paradise, released on March 3rd, is a serious departure from her past work, full of lush sounds and dreamy soundscapes. While walking in a foot of March snow, I talked to Jenn about her craft, the new album and its live performance.
“After touring there was a time away from shows that was definitely necessary to regrow myself.”
In the years following her last release Compostela, Jenn toured extensively around the world. This constant movement led her to ruminate on the balance between hard work and self-care. “I toured the most I have ever done and thought a lot about the idea of healing yourself and creating an environment where you can work very hard but also have the balance of trying to feel whole inside and not giving too much of yourself. After touring there was a time away from shows that was definitely necessary to regrow myself.”
Jenn took this time to write Paradise, exploring some new territory. She wrote on her piano for the first time which allowed her to carry her voice to new soundscapes. She also wrote with her producer/husband Daniel Ledwell for the first time. An experience she found not only inspiring, but productive. “There are a few songs on the record we wrote together because we spent a lot of time in the studio together. He would just start playing an interesting progression on the keyboard and if he triggered something in me I would get really excited. The lyrics and songs would come really quickly and we’d have it done in an hour and a half. The rest of the record were all songs that I was writing on the piano and those would all take me like eight or nine hours cause it’s a new instrument for me. So the record is a mix of those two worlds coming together.”
Speaking with Jenn, it is very clear she is dedicated to her vision and craft, always striving to evolve, learn and flex new muscles. Her oft celebrated voice is treated as an instrument in and of itself. “Singing is a skill I’m constantly trying to work on. I’m still learning about my voice and with every album or tour I am more connected to that voice. So there’s always more to play with. I think the delivery of singing changed on this album and that was a learning experience.”
If there is one thing of which Jenn is certain, she loves playing her new music live. “I just want to play the album in sequence! I don’t want to leave anything out!” Jenn will be playing with a four piece band but the sound will be anything but simple. Expect multiple instruments, lush electronic sounds and of course, Jenn’s unforgettable voice.
Jenn’s is looking forward to playing the NAC here in Ottawa. She often visited here as a child and it was the home of her grandparents and mother in the 1970s. “I feel a kismet connection to Ottawa because are a lot of family ties that I have that are kind of magical. It’s going to be a really special night.”
Jenn Grant performs at the National Arts Centre Theatre (1 Elgin St) on Saturday March 25. Tickets cost $25–42 available online at www.nac-cna.ca as well as the box office.