“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.” It’s a purpose to which Jennie has been wholeheartedly committed ever since she can remember. “Music has always been there,” she explains. “Some of my first toys were musical instruments and although I experimented with acting and dancing and athletics, by the time I got into my teens I realized that music had a special place in my life.” It did indeed and with characteristic determination, Jennie pursued it wholeheartedly, joining a series of singing groups, studying classical guitar and, at age sixteen, recording early originals on a four-track machine.
“My influences are literally too numerous to mention,” she laughs. “It begins with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Louis Armstrong and then carried on to artists like George Michael and Michael Jackson. By the time I got to college, it was like I was carrying a musical encyclopedia around in my head; everyone from Duke Ellington and Miles Davis to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder. I’ve also always admired artists like Ani DiFranco, Ben Harper and Lenny Kravtiz for the way in which they were able to build a solid base, one fan at a time.” It was at the Southwestern School for Musical Vocations in Iowa where Jennie plunged into an intensive study regimen that included courses in arranging and conducting as well as ample opportunities to perform with fellow students.
“I toured with school jazz vocal and instrumental groups,” she remembers, “and in between I was getting a great classical education. But the most important lesson I learned at the time was to never settle, to always strive to make the most beautiful music I possibly can without letting the ego get in the way.” It was a realization that she would carry with her into the next stage of her musical apprenticeship, when she received a full scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee School of Music. “It all came together there,” she continues. “My natural inclination was toward a very earthy, gypsy style, which got filtered through the World Music I was exposed to – Latin, Indian and African – as well as hip-hop and R&B and even some classical influences like Ravel and Debussy.” Jennie absorbed it all and, in the process, began to fashion a sound that, while mixing and matching a broad range of approaches, was still unmistakably her own. The result is Jennie Laws’ stunning debut EP.
Showcasing her evocative and emotionally resonant singing and songwriting, the collection also boasts a impressive roster of supporting talent, including engineering by, among others, Grammy-winner Ari Raskin, and Juno-winner L. Stu Young. Through it all, Jennie Laws had maintained her belief that music can bring wholeness and healing to the world. “My goal is simple,” she concludes: “To make the best music I can.” It’s a goal she’s reached and exceeds on her debut EP. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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