Interview: Jenn Grant at the Hug and Pint

Jenn Grant- credit Daniel Ledwell
Jenn Grant- credit Daniel Ledwell

Canadian folk pop singer-songwriter Jenn Grant arrived in the UK this week to begin her UK tour. She will be bringing a nuanced soulfulness and touches of R&B and rock balladry to The Hug and Pint on Great Western Road on 21st May. Her latest album, Paradise, deals with powerful emotions .

“I wanted to explore new soundscapes,” Grant explains when describing how piano came to be the primary song-writing instrument. Grant created new shapes and colours with an array of new instrumentation and song collaboration with producer Daniel Ledwell. “I thought about my singing much more. I feel like I am a completely different artist from when I began performing. I don’t feel like I really heard my own voice until recently.”

With the international success of her previous album, Compostela, Grant spent three years touring the world and playing to over 300 audiences, both festivals and in concert settings with sold out shows from London to Vancouver.

Finally coming off the road, Grant retreated to the secluded studio by her home in Lake Echo, Nova Scotia.

Paradise’s songs reach out with world-weary awareness, that’s most evident on lead single Galaxies.

Having built up a high profile in her native Canada, she has connected to a wider audience, particularly in the UK, where she has played regularly since she released her first album in 2005.

“It’s always something I’ve wanted to do and it’s been really great over here. With my last record we did quite a bit of touring over here, so we’re happy to be back” Grant told Glasgowist.

In terms of the show she is bringing to Glasgow, she’s taken her performance in a new direction.

“With this album, I was going for a darker sound I think, and we were scoring different types of sounds. It’s fairly different from my last record but I don’t like to create the same album twice. So it’s different but they are all connected, I think, by a thread.”

That thread is strong emotions and soaring vocals. “I always try to connect with strong emotions in my writing, it’s the same for every record, I think.”

Paradise was recorded at home in Novia Scotia, “we needed somewhere quite secluded”, Jenn explains.

“I think it kind of came together, because I had wrote lot of songs, so I kind of had to narrow down, like which songs would fit on this record to press it together.”

“Usually when I start writing I have some idea of the direction or feel of the album, but then I just kind of let my instincts take over. I don’t think about that too much
when I’m writing actually. I just write.”

She brings some other musicians with her on tour this time.

“I’ve got Daniel with me, who’s my husband, who produced this record. He’s playing all kinds of keys and stuff, and Mike Bellier, who played drums on the album and who’s playing with me, and who’s played with me for almost a decade.”

“I think we’re playing a lot of new material, and representing that album well.”

Although she usually writes more when she is at home in Canada, Jenn says she learns a lot about her songs while playing live.

“I think that you learn a lot about your performance, and you try to direct your future writing to hopefully highlight what you think you’re better at, or what you love.”

“So with this album I think I’m performing with a sense of freedom in the performance right now, because I’ve got these guys backing me up so well. For the new songs and most other things I just sing them.”

“I think as I was writing I was kind of thinking about letting my voice kind of be the leader. Like the lead character, I guess.”

Photo_by_Mat_Dunlap_8139

JENN GRANT+ HANNAH GEORGAS + DAVID MACDONALD

THE HUG AND PINT
Sunday 21 May
7.30pm
Tickets: £10

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