JUNO nominee Jenn Grant thrives on risks and challenges
Some musicians find what works for them and stick to it, but not so for singer-songwriter Jenn Grant, who is constantly re-inventing her approach to music making.
“There are endless possibilities with music, so you might as well try everything that you can,” she says from her home in Halifax.
Grant has been nominated for Adult Alternative Album of the Year for her 2011 release, “Honeymoon Punch.” She’s up against Cuff the Duke, Jim Cuddy, Ron Sexsmith and Feist. “It’s a huge honour to be nominated in a category with such fabulous artists,” she says.
Her fourth disc, “Honeymoon Punch” was a deliberate departure from melancholic songs of heartbreak heard on her previous albums. “I wanted to take it in a different direction with more energetic songs. I wanted people to feel more of a happy vibe,” she says.
But don’t expect anything saccharine sweet. “Every song’s not super happy,” she warns, “it’s just that it’s got more elements of joyfulness. You can dance to it!”
This lighter tone is also reflected in the album’s lighter subject matter. “I don’t like to fall into a pattern, or be put under a certain label. I thrive on risk and challenge,” she says.
She says the songs are “time capsules” of what was going on in her life in the time before she recorded the album – “They echo a lot of my own emotional existence and personal stories, mixed with other ideas and visual imagery,” she says.
While she’s currently performing from “Honeymoon Punch,” and getting ready to head to Ottawa for this year’s JUNO Awards, she’s also in the process of recording a new album.
“A rap album,” she jokes.
Though Grant won’t actually be rapping on her new disc, she has collaborated extensively with East Coast rapper, Buck 65.
“He’s a hip-hop artist, and I’m not, but there’s something I’ve been able to take from working together that I’m hanging onto that I find really inspiring,” she says.
She’s also collaborated with Jill Barber, Ron Sexsmith, Matt Mays and most recently, her husband and producer Daniel Ledwell, keyboardist for the JUNO nominated indie rock band, In-Flight Safety.
“Collaborative work can make you grow as an artist. It offers up new and different ways of working and creating,” she muses.
“It’s always exciting.”
Before her music career took off, Grant studied painting and visual art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. And though her musical world is busy, with touring and recording new songs, she makes time to continue making visual art, including artwork for her albums.
“I think it’s really important to make time for it,” she insists.
The worlds of visual and aural art making co-exist for Grant – “I see patterns and pictures in my head when I sing. When I think about songwriting, I think visually,” she says.
“I want to have art in my life. When I’m using all of my resources, making music and making art, I’m creating better art.”
Jenn Grant will perform at JunoFest in Ottawa at Maverick’s on March 30, 2012.
About Lindsay Zier-Vogel
Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been working for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to interviewing the famed American choreographer Bill T. Jones and Canadian prima ballerina Karen Kain, Lindsay’s highlights include criss-crossing Canada on four SYTYCDC audition tours and covering the Juno Awards. Follow her on Twitter!