I want to share some of the kind things some folks have been saying, but I need to say, first, that "Potter & Clay" is the record that it is because of a whole team of creative and gifted people - I can't believe I got to work with such great people, not the least of whom was Murray Pulver, who treated my songs so, so well. While I wrote the songs, cast my vision and offered opinions and feedback, the sonic landscape of the album is really because of him. My fellow recording artists who are reading this will know just how important a solid artist/producer relationship is, and all that a producer can bring to a project. I also have to give a shout out to John Bailey, who mixed the record, and Jordan Jackiew, who mastered it. I am so grateful!
Anyway, here are some kind words:
By the time the first chorus of the opening song played I said to myself ‘Oh my - this is seriously good!’ Jaylene’s voice is mature and smooth with a hint of crackle that conveys the emotion and struggle of life. The album has just the right amount of push and pull with tempo shifts, mood changes with solid musicianship warming the centre and serving these 12 stellar songs. ‘Let The Silence Speak’ moved me to tears, a heartfelt song of comfort that God knows everything we need even when we can’t pray. And when we’re ready to sing, the title song ‘Potter & Clay’ is a perfect sing-along for the community of faith everywhere.(Brian Doerksen - Abbotsford, BC)
I want to commend Jaylene Johnson’s new project, Potter & Clay, to you. Jaylene is a veteran musician and songwriter with several album projects to her credit already, but I think this particular project will be a defining moment in her career. Sonically it’s gorgeous, the performance and production elegant, and the songwriting exquisite. It is a moving piece of work that deserves a wide hearing. (Steve Bell - Winnipeg, MB)
Every single note and every single word in this cd is magnificent! Love the songs, love the singing, love the production- and love the John Bailey mixes. Kudos to Jaylene and her creative team- this is a stunning album- some of her best work!(Amy Sky - Toronto, ON)
So, when can you hear it?
August - I'll be releasing a single (Find Us) to Christian radio in Canada...Stingray has already been in touch, and will be adding it to "The Light" (Yay!) Thursday, September 29th - St. Margaret's Anglican Church has graciously offered to host a CD release concert...a number of the musicians who played on the record will be there...I'm thrilled! I'll soon have an events page going, and there will be the chance to purchase tickets online too. Friday, October 7th - The official release of "Potter & Clay" in Christian retail stores and online (iTunes, my website, Amazon...)
May 22, 2016
Dear Beautiful People,
It’s been nearly two months since my last update, but I feel I have the most adorable, cuddly, sweet, beloved (and time-consuming!) excuse in the world, now 11 pounds and 22 inches long!
Macey was born March 26th, and Scott and I have been enjoying her so much. We can’t get over how quickly she changes. It is a marvel to watch her, and a privilege to take care of her, however tiring! We are truly, truly blessed, and so grateful to God for her…We made a decision to not go public with photos at this time, but I think I’ll be hard pressed to not share how awesome she is whenever I can! (BPS – bragging parent syndrome?!)
The musical “baby” is also progressing – now in the mixing stage. As I recently wrote to my backers, it’s no small undertaking to do a project like “Potter & Clay”, and I am so grateful for the support from so many of you! It’s taken longer than I had hoped, but I can’t wait to share what we’ve been up to, and, at the risk of sounding a bit high-falootin’, I believe it will be worth the wait!
Thank you to those of you who contacted me about concerts. I am slowly coming out of the fog of the initial weeks with a newborn, and getting a plan formulated. Scott, Macey and I will be packing up a vehicle and headed for Western Canada this October and into early November. We also hope to tour in Southern Ontario in early February. Feel free to keep ideas coming!
In case we won’t be able to connect at a live show, David C. Cook has come aboard to distribute the new record at Christian retailers in Canada and on Amazon, and I’ll be selling them through my website, (physical and digital copies). Signpost Music will also have physical copies available through their website.
As an independent artist, getting the music “out there” will involve some pretty grassroots means, but I am trusting that the music will find its way to where it’s supposed to be…It might sound strange to say this, but I believe that this album was meant to be, and my constant prayer is that it will reach people who will identify with my story and find hope and comfort in the songs. I’m really thankful to have people like you in my corner, who help spread the word and who send such encouraging emails from time to time…It means a lot.
So, bye for now, and I hope to see you soon. Thank you for following my story…Take good care of each other and God bless you! Enjoy the warmer weather…
March 24th, 2016
Whoa...Has it been THAT long since an update? I am so sorry! Hey listen, I just sent out a newsletter...have you signed up to receive it? You can do it on this page! Record updates, thoughts from me...
I'd love to include you.
In the meantime, Happy Easter, and God bless you!
Jaylene xo February 8th, 2016
Hello Beautiful People!
I thought I'd send an update your way and say hello...It's been a couple of weeks now since the "marathon" crowdfunding campaign, concert and tidying some things up with a couple of jobs as well...(On Mat leave, I can't be earning any income, day-job, music...nada. Hence the big push that came pre-January 25th).I'm happy to be on Maternity Leave just now, and able to focus on fewer things, getting ready for the "Arrival" most of all. I look forward to the time down the line, when my main job will be getting music into people's ears and music players...It's been a while since I've had that privilege. For now, I have to admit that juggling less is feeling pretty good.
I've included this photo of my husband Scott and me, as a way of acknowledging him. When I look back at the past several years and all we've been through, I feel so grateful for the grace of God in my life, and for the journey we've been on as a couple. I can tell you that Scott's support of me as an artist is a tremendous gift to my life. People who are married to artists will understand that it comes with its challenges! I'll never forget having a bit of a meltdown a few years back...I was rehearsing and nothing seemed to be going right. I blubbered out an apology to Scott for getting so emotional, and he responded with a big hug and a "That's okay, Honey, you're an artiste!" (I don't know if it's the memory of his use of the French term for artist or the sound of his Scottish accent that makes me smile more) In any case, he's married to a bit of a "kook" (haha) but his support allows me to create and to be taking this massive album-recording leap of faith, all while growing/having a baby. (Whew) I am truly blessed.
I wanted to share with you that the recording of the audience singing (at the concert) will turn up on "Potter & Clay"! I'm so excited about this. This project is the sum of many "parts", and the answer to many prayers. Hearing the audience singing "Pray, Pray Again" is so special and significant for me because it symbolizes community and collaboration - two things that all independent artists need from their families, friends and fans, now more than ever if they want to record. It will always be on the album as a reminder of all of you who've encouraged and supported this. Thank you so much.
Finally, I wanted to encourage you and share some feedback regarding "Let the Silence Speak", a song that so many of you have helped make happen for the coming album through your crowdfunding support. I've had a few people mention that the song meant a lot to them when they heard it at the concert. One person emailed me and has allowed me to share her message:
"I was at your concert at St. Benedict's last weekend. In a funny kind of way I was thrilled to hear the song that you wrote about infertility. When I was married, I went through extensive treatment that did not work out. My marriage ended as a result and I often thought through my difficult time of grieving that it would be amazing if there were a song that captured the feelings of not being able to have a family. I have a friend that is a singer songwriter and I often dreamt of hiring him to write something but never had the courage to ask him. Your words and voice were perfect. Five years have passed since my experience. Your words profoundly spoke to me. Thank you for that."
I was so humbled by this, and felt so honoured that she would gift me with her story, a tough story. I pass it on here, to encourage us all that our shared experiences can bring hope, healing and comfort to others. That is my ardent prayer for this project. Many of you have also shared your stories and experiences with me, and it has meant so much that you would trust me in this way.
Thanks again for all of the support, and for reading this...I hope it finds you well.
Please stay in touch!
PS - The goal is to have advanced copies sent to the pre-buyers in May or June, and the commercial release will be planned for sometime in the fall. There's a lot to do, and a wee one to welcome, but I am confident it can all be done... xo January 20th, 2016
Wonderful article written by Erin Lebar in the Winnipeg Free Press:
“Potter & Clay” FIVE DAY CONTEST: Ok…So, some really neat things have been happening, including being contacted by a friend in PEI, whose sweetheart (Crystal Stevens) was very moved by the story of this project and who happens to be a potter. She has offered a generous “prize” for a wee contest: two original mugs and two cereal bowls ($100 value) from http://redrockspottery.ca/ to be mailed to the winner this Spring! Here’s how to enter (3 ways!):
1) Become a backer of the “Potter & Clay” project (all current backers receive one entry automatically) either by donating on thegofundme.com/jaylenejohnson page, via PayPal using the DONATE button at my 'store' at www.jaylenejohnson.com, or via cheque/cash.
2) Share my crowdfunding campaign to your social media circles (eg. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and tag me (or private message me) so that I know you have and can enter you (very important!). You can do this once per day (Wed-Sun) for a total of 5 entries. The winner will be drawn sometime next week, once the crowdfunding campaign has closed.
3) Share my crowdfunding campaign with your network via email, and BCC me to let me know you have!
The contest will close with the closing of the campaign on Sunday evening, January 24th. The contest is open to ALL!
THANK YOU CRYSTAL STEVENS!!!
*it is very important to tag me or to message me when you share, so that I know to enter you! Good luck! :)
January 18th, 2016
Hello Beautiful People!
I wanted to share some highlights from the past couple of weeks:
- My executive producer, Steve Bell, came by the studio to play guitar for one of my songs. He is so good, and such an encouraging, awesome person... - We've had Marc Arnould in to play, as well as Mike Penner, with some other fantastic players still to come. It's been an honour to have such talented musical "guests"... - Shaw TV turned our livingroom into a TV studio this morning, and will air a song and interview with Tracy Koga from Wednesday to Saturday (on Shaw's "Go! Winnipeg) - Jayme Giesbrecht aired a radio interview on CFAM 950 - Erin Labar of the Winnipeg Free Press has graciously given this project and upcoming concert some coverage in the local paper for Tuesday, January 19th - Over 60 people have become "backers" of "Potter & Clay" and the feedback has been so encouraging! Thank you!
The crowdfunding campaign via www.gofundme.com/jaylenejohnson will end Sunday evening (January 24th), but there is still time to back this project and receive one of the many "perks", such as an advance copy of the album. I've also been sending a bonus "perk" via email to people who've joined the effort. :)
It might sound strange to read this, but I see this as a collaborative effort...THANK YOU for helping make music happen. Your support is making a world of difference, and my prayer is that this music will make a difference for many people as well.
Tickets for the concert on Saturday will be available at the door, or can be purchased in advance at my website (CLICK HERE). I am looking forward to playing these songs live...Davis Plett will help back me on guitar, and Kimberly Oost (singer with Don Amero) will sing some backing vocals as well. I hope to see fellow Winnipeggers there...the weather is supposed to warm up by then too!
"Potter & Clay" Acoustic Album Preview and Fundraising Concert Saturday, January 23rd 7:30PM (7PM doors) saint benedict's table (gathers at All Saint's Church) 175 Colony St Tickets $15 at the door, or online at www.jaylenejohnson.com Free for children 12 and under Parking behind Great West Life
Firstly, MAJOR THANKS and hugs and high fives to all of you who have become backers of "Potter & Clay"...I am so excited to share these songs with you! Stay tuned for a bonus "perk" headed to your inboxes very soon...(yay!)
But, on to other news...I flubbed. It's been happening a lot lately - missing details, spacing out. Apparently this is called "Baby Brain", meaning that my former struggles in this area of my brain have now increased by up to 8%. (Really, who studies these things?)
...I posted all over social media that tickets for the January 23rd concert were available online via my website, but didn't realize that the date of the event (on my site) was set to a past date. It's all been fixed now, so if buying a ticket online tickles your fancy, it's an option for you! (sigh)
This whole project is such a leap of faith...What is it that compels us independent artists to keep taking the risks? Some might look again to brain composition (!) and, for me, this may be partly true! But I feel that this is my seed to sow, come what may, and when I close my eyes sometimes, I dream of someone listening to this music, when it's finally "out there", and remembering they are not alone - they are Divinely imagined and fiercely loved. If only that message would fully drench all of us, through and through...spacey brains 'n all. Yet, even as I type this, I am profoundly aware of how each person who connects with, encourages and supports an artist is also a seed sower - or ground-waterer or weed-whacker..."We" can all co-create something rich and lasting...This is community, and it's humbling and beautiful.
So, if you'd still like to be a weed-whacker backer of the "Potter & Clay" project:
- You can prepurchase the album or donate for other perks at www.gofundme.com/jaylenejohnson until end-of-day January 24th. - PayPal donation via the "store" at my website...these contributions get added to the campaign as an "offline donation", and still receive the same perks. They also save me a 7.9% fee... - Also, a few days ago, Incarnation Ministries connected with me about patronage...if you live in Canada and are interested in making a contribution that would receive a tax receipt, contact me directly (email@example.com)
Some of you have been asking how else you can help...a big help is spreading the word...sharing posts, bringing or inviting people to the concert (if you live in/close to Winnipeg). Truly, the mere fact that you buy (or pre-buy) the music is not something to be taken for granted these days, and it is so appreciated.
Also, the next couple of weeks are something of a marathon, so if you are praying people, please consider (when you chat inward and upward):
- the crowdfunding campaign: that the word of this campaign will reach everyone who would be interested in pre-purchasing a record and/or supporting it for other "perks" (sometimes social media sites algorithms prevent followers from seeing posts...so I have been posting an annoying-lot lately!)
- For physical and mental health in the juggle of being an expectant mom + plus recording "artist", rehearsal organizer, promoter, publicist, accountant/bookkeeper, manager, volunteer coordinator, fundraiser, ticket distributor (and every other role an independent artist carries), and finishing up a lot of details with my day job(s), as my maternity leave will start January 25th. This is not a complaint...it's all really good stuff, but even a lot of good stuff can be a tad overwhelming...All of you fellow jugglers-of-life reading this will understand. :)
Take care of one another...and email me to say hi if you have a minute...
PS-I am actually really thrilled to have "Baby Brain"... :)
(photo credit: Pamela Penner Photography)
Hello Beautiful People!
I thought I'd sneak in one final update before Christmas...including another homemade video with some snippets from the studio this week. It was a lot of fun, working with some very talented folk. I feel so blessed and fortunate to get to be doing this album, and with the help of many of you!
Tickets for my show in Winnipeg on January 23rd are also on sale at my website: www.jaylenejohnson.com . I'll be playing through acoustic versions of songs from the record, accompanied by Davis Plett on guitar...This will be a really good chance to hear the songs in simple form, and the stories that inspired them. Come! :)
Now, to pause from all of the business-y (but good) stuff...
For years, for me, Christmas was the thing. The tree went up early, I was passionate about presents - I didn't even mind weeks of retail Christmas carols. Then, I started attending a church where Advent is the thing: slow down; anticipate; hope; remember those in dark places; wait, watch, pray, prepare...I missed singing Christmas carols in church as soon as December hit, frankly, and wondered if this delayed gratification wasn't some form of Anglican torture. ;-)
Over the years, however, the Advent season has crept into my heart as an increasingly needed part of my spiritual walk. In short, Advent has made Christmas more meaningful and more worthy of feasting...in its time and place. Our tree still went up a couple of weekends ago, and it's not as though I now have a bah-humbug attitude when it comes to carols and cards and parties. I suppose it's just that there have been some pretty dark seasons in my life over the years, and, in this context, Advent has begun to make much more sense. Now, coming through some of it, especially with a welcomed wee one of our own on the way and a good-sized camel-load of new music, the hope that is Christmas - faith in Christ and all He meant and means for the world - makes more sense too.
Ironically, I have been insanely busy through this "slowing down" time - as have we all, I'm sure. At the back of my mind though, is this awareness of hardship, mine and others' - emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, vocational, relational - all the stuff that a Saviour was sent to redeem. I hope it makes me more compassionate...I'm working on that. It definitely makes me even more excited to celebrate Christmas Day and all that baby represents for the world. Words like "peace", "Emmanuel", "Saviour" are far more profound.
So, this Christmas Eve and as dawn comes with "Le reveillon" my prayer is that all that Christmas is meant to be will sink deep into our hearts, and send us into 2016 with a sense of newness, peace, wonder and deep awareness of how greatly loved we are. No more waiting and watching in darkness without hope...
Merry Christmas, everyone...Be well.
PS-A great resource for some exploring re: Advent can be found here, at poet and theologian Malcom Guite's website: https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/blog/ ...I also wrote a couple of songs for the season, inspired by a couple of Malcolm's sonnets... You can hear a rough recording of one of them at www.stbenedictstable.ca. It was sung during communion last Sunday, which you'll hear with the floor creaks and the voice of Rev. Jamie Howison in the background....
December 10th, 2015
My GoFundMe campaign launched in the middle of the night...I'm excited and nervous (mostly excited!). You can read more and support the project here:
Jaylene xo ***I have been getting ready for a crowdfunding campaign for my album project, to be recorded at Signpost Music with producer, Murray Pulver, and Executive Producer, Steve Bell. This is really exciting for me, as it's been a long time since I released a full-length record. If you know that you will at least support the record by pre-buying a digital or physical copy, can you let me know? There will be other levels of support and other perks too...
This will really help me to set realistic targets for my campaign. You can email me and let me know if you're "yay or nay", at
In the meantime, you can check out this interview that tells a bit of the story of the journey I've been on to get here...Oh, and stream one of the songs we've already recorded too (for a limited time only...)
Snow has finally landed here in Winnipeg, and as much as I struggle with the cold, I must admit tthat it looks quite beautiful just now.
I wanted to send a quick update…As happens sometimes in post-production, scenes are cut from films, and the Christmas song I mentioned in my last newsletter ended up on the cutting room floor of the William Shatner Christmas movie…However, it was picked up for “Once Upon a Holiday” on the Hallmark channel, airing November 25th at 8/7 central. It’s a song called “This is Christmas”, cowritten by me, Arun Chaturvedi, and the artists: The Willows. Kudos to the music supervisor who worked hard to land us the placement...
Also, this Saturday, November 28th at 7PM, I’ll be leading music for an event called: Songs and Stillness for Advent at 175 Colony St in Winnipeg (All Saints Anglican Church). It’s designed to bring peace, calm and reflection to kick off Advent, and prepare us for a very busy few weeks before the holidays. Joining me is Larry Campbell (bass), Davis Plett (guitar) and Michael Penner (violin). We’ll play a couple of traditional songs, but the rest are ones I’ve written, including two drawn from the wonderful poetry of English poet, Malcolm Guite. December 20th, I’ll be leading music for liturgy, same place, same time…Finally, there is a tentative date for a concert to showcase new songs from the coming record - January 23rd in Winnipeg (to be confirmed).
Some crowd-funding incentive ideas have come in...Thanks! I hope to have more information about this very soon, as I am shooting to have the bulk of my album fundraising done by January 24th…More soon, and keep the ideas coming...
In the meantime, I wanted to let those of you who have been so supportive of what I do have a chance to listen to a demo of an a cappella song to be re-recorded and lengthened for the record. You may have already listened to a “live off the floor” version of this one, but I love what producer Murray Pulver added with some harmonies here…”I Won’t Be Frightened Anymore”. I’ll leave it posted for a bit yet…I can’t wait to share more recorded music with you!
Last, but not least, thanks so much to those of you who showed support for Shoal Lake 40’s “Freedom Road”. You can read about the progress of this project here:
Well, I haven't written since the summer…and what a time it's been!
The last time I wrote, I mentioned that I made a decision to rent a cabin to do some soul-searching and some solo writing. My goal was to write a song every day, but since my husband would be joining me for the second week, I aimed for two songs a day during the first week.
Now, anyone who has an arts practice knows that this kind of a goal is simply not possible without putting away self-criticism. So, I decided that whatever songs came, came. I had some ideas I had never finished, and new ideas came as I read, walked, played. I wrote two songs a day for a week.
Before there is any thought that I have some kind of killer work ethic, let me be honest and say that I learned I can waste vast amounts of time even with absolutely nothing to do but stare at moth cocoons and wildflowers. I also learned that I loathe moth cocoons as much as the actual moths, that mosquito-netting to keep the spiders at bay during the night is valuable but does not make for the most relaxing night's sleep, and that I really am a city girl through and through…One week in the wild would have been quite enough, though I am grateful for the time.
So, now I have songs…over thirty songs to whittle down into an album. My heart is leading me to share the ones that are prayers, even some laments. Maybe my words can give voice to other peoples' experiences and longings too…That's my desire. I'm blessed that Signpost Music has offered their studio, and that I've had the chance to work with Juno Award-winning producer, Murray Pulver. We've recorded a couple of songs so far, and I hope to record an entire album at some point in the new year. I'm excited to share - nervous, but excited.
One thing on the horizon is fundraising for a new album. Even with a place to record, there are a lot of costs associated with making a record: production, musicians, engineering, mixing, mastering, album art, manufacturing, marketing…Steve Bell has kindly offered that those who'd like to contribute can do so through his connection with Incarnation Ministries and receive a tax receipt. I'll have more info on that in due time.
I've also thought about launching a crowd-funding campaign to raise some of the funds. As supporters of me and my music, I'd love to hear your ideas for "rewards". What kinds of things would you be interested in having from me, other than the music itself? Ideas welcome!
Finally, I want to ask something that I've never asked for before (at least, not via my newsletter). Would you sign a petition?
Concerned citizens are looking for 10,000 signatures by Friday October 30th, in support of building "Freedom Road" for Shoal Lake 40 First Nations. For those who don't live in Manitoba, Winnipeg, where I live, gets its clean water supply from Shoal Lake. This is because of an aqueduct built about 100 years ago, forcibly displacing the people of the Shoal Lake 40 Community. What began as a peninsula, where they live, has become an island. This means they can only access the main highway (and, thus, important services) by boat, or by crossing the ice during the winter. This can be treacherous, and nine lives have been lost doing so. Additionally, this very community that supplies our water lives with a boil water advisory, and has for nearly two decades - a gross injustice. Without a road, they have not been able to build and maintain a proper water treatment facility.
City of Winnipeg counsellors are set to visit Shoal Lake 40 on Friday, October 30th (tomorrow!), and have indicated that a vast demonstration of public support would go a long way toward getting a bridge and road for Shoal Lake written into this year's budget. Therefore, time is of the essence! We are looking for signatures from inside and outside of the province (and even outside of Canada!), from anyone whose heart could be so moved as to say that all people deserve clean drinking water, and that the people of Shoal Lake 40 deserve justice after all that has been taken from them. You can sign here:
Thank you so much for your love and support, and for taking the time to read this long newsletter. Oh, and send your crowd-funding rewards wishes!
PS - A Christmas song I cowrote will be in a Hallmark Christmas movie this year! Listen for "This is Christmas", performed by the Willows, in "Just in Time for Christmas", starring William Shatner. I also have a few cowrites on an upcoming release by Luke McMaster. I'll share links when I can…
October 23rd, 2015 (time sensitive)
As most of my friends know, I support Shoal Lake 40 and the construction of "Freedom Road", which would give them year-round access to the Transcanada Hwy, and therefore access to services and contact with the rest of Canada. They have lived in isolation ever since a decision was made about 100 years ago to build an aqueduct that would supply clean drinking water to the City of Winnipeg. One of the cruel results of this was that now they themselves cannot access clean drinking water, and have been under a boil water advisory for nearly two decades. A road would allow a proper water treatment plant to be built, and in a more cost efficient way.
As my friend Steve Bell put it to me one day, any time something is "taken" from someone else, there is usually some kind of 'exchange'. This is not the same as "giving" where that exchange may simply involve the "good feeling" someone gets from the act…Not relevant here. Much was taken from the people of Shoal Lake 40, and what has been the fair exchange? Winnipeg is the clear winner, and we profit every time we turn on our tap. Tragically, nine lives have been lost while crossing the water, trying to connect to services or to "get home". The value of these lives cannot be replaced by the construction of this road, but should certainly be enough to warrant our support of it. We must not close our eyes.
My plea to you today is to sign this petition. The City is currently in budget talks. They have said they will pay for a third of the cost of the road (with the province and the federal gov't to make up the rest) This will not happen unless it is officially penned into a budget line.
On a strictly humanitarian note, it is the right thing to do. Canadian communities should not be living with years of boil water advisories, and we all agree that clean water is a basic human right. In fact, we pull out our wallets to support the digging of wells overseas…So, can we support our own citizens here? There are many things that demand our time, attention and money. Let this be one that stands out as absolutely necessary, to "right a wrong" and bring justice to this community.
I'm humbly asking: Please sign. Thank you!
Click on the image below...
September 30th, 2015
Hi there and thanks for stopping by!
Dates are being tossed around for some time in the studio to record a couple of songs with Murray Pulver. He's an acclaimed and fantastic producer, and I can't wait to see what we come up with. Just being in a studio again feels amazing...It's been such a journey.
I keep writing new songs for liturgy at saint benedict's table. They record the services, so if you'd like to check them out, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. Bear in mind these aren't pro recordings by any means.
Happy Wednesday everyone...
Jaylene x September 23rd, 2015
I am very excited about my one-on-one mentoring session for Songwriters Association of Canada tomorrow morning. I truly love songwriting and helping other people grow in their craft. It's a privilege!
I'll have more album news coming very soon!
JJ xo July 27th, 2015
Hello Beautiful People!
There has been a change of plans..
I had really looked forward to spending a couple of weeks in Nashville this summer. I love it there and have written some great songs there too. But I needed to cancel, and my path this summer has me closer to home.
I am happy to say that I'll be taking some time for a writer's retreat - solo! No technology available either. I've been working on songs for a new record. To be honest, I have enough songs for a few records, but what I am soul-searching for is my voice as an artist. If I am going to invest in a new project this next year (and ask other people to invest) I really need to know what I want to say and how I want to say it. I've spent the past several years setting that part of me aside for various reasons, and focusing on others and what they needed to say through their music.
I plan to record a project that reflects my faith, perhaps more overtly and profoundly than ever. The time I spent in the music industry left me feeling desolate in many ways. While I cherish the relationships I formed with some amazing people (and always will), I'm still sorting through my experience and how it's impacted me, both negatively and positively. Somehow, in all of it, I sometimes felt very lost, and the physical loss of my voice didn't help.
I want to create authentic, beautiful, truthful songs that come alongside people in their journeys; their questions, their joys and sorrows, the events of their lives. Really, isn't that the goal of all songwriters on different levels? Still, more than ever, if I am investing and reinvesting in this expensive and often heart-breaking landscape of music, I want, more than ever, for it to be meaningful and purposeful, and count for something.
I've really loved co-writing for and with people, and hope that continues for the rest of my life (here's a link to a recent cowrite with Chris Burke-Gaffney and Lanie McAuley). But I know to the core of my being that it's time for me to write for me. My deep desire is that I can give you all something worth listening to, and perhaps find a voice for you as well.
So, that's the goal...amidst day-jobs and self-doubt and physical challenges, it's still the goal. There's a small miracle in that. Or maybe a huge one...to keep hoping, dreaming and risking...no small thing.
I hope the same for all of you...courage to be truthful, faith to believe that you are never forgotten, wisdom to navigate challenges and tough decisions, joy in sharing your gifts and abundance...You are wonderful human beings, and I'm so blessed you still read my newsletter. ;-)
I look forward to sharing more of my songs with you! For now, here's a very rough recording of a song I introduced at a service at saint benedict's table not too long ago - it's inspired by old-school gospel music, and features Larry Campbell, Bel Derksen and Judith Newsom with a very spontaneous, back-porch style vocal arrangement.
I'm also happy to share that "You're the Reason Why" made it to the semi-final round in the International Songwriting Competition in a new category for me, AAA. The competition has thousands of entries from all over the world, and it's always an honour to be short-listed.
I'm also thrilled to have a cowrite on the recent EP release of Taylor Watson. Taylor's an amazing songwriter and singer, and it happens to be her birthday, today.(Happy Birthday, Taylor!) The song is called "Mine", and it already had traction as a single by Jody Direen in New Zealand, debuting in the Top 10 for iTunes there.
I'm planning to spend a good chunk of my summer in Nashville, looking for songs for a new record...More on this as it unfolds.
I hope this finds you well and happy...thanks for stopping by...
Jaylene xo _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
March 27th, 2015
Happy Spring! Though as I type, it is still the season of Lent, for those of us in that way-of-life...But Easter is on the horizon, as is my birthday...So, it's my favorite time of year!
I had blogged that I was taking on the Songwriter's Association of Canada challenge...I realized during week one that it wasn't what I was looking for and needing as a writer right now, however wonderful it was! What I am seeking right now is spiritual and artistic renewal.
I've also been busy doing some cowriting with Luke McMaster and Arun Chaturvedi. Luke is a phenomal artist/writer, and Arun is a great producer/writer. I love what they are doing with the songs we've created. Here's a link to a song Arun and I wrote and recorded a while back, You're the Reason Why, ...Let me know what you think! I also had the chance to write with Chris Burke-Gaffney and an up-and-coming FANTASTIC talent, Lanie Mcauley. I will share these songs as soon as I can.
My February 27th show went really well. Thanks to all who came out to hear us. I can't tell you how happy I feel singing again. I've almost forgotten how hard it was to not have proper use of my voice...Almost. :) The challenging thing for the show was narrowing down a set list. As a writer, I write across such a broad spectrum of genres...As an artist, what is my message? The two links I'm posting today are so different and demonstrate this dilemma well.
I can say that what has been really close to my heart these days has been writing songs for my church congregation. I wrote some for Advent, and now a couple for Lent. Here's a very raw recording of one called "Let Me Find Mercy":
I am blessed to have a church that is so open to original music, and that allows for a lyric that doesn't wrap up in a neat little gospel package all of the time, but allows for some of the angst we can experience as people of faith.
Anyway, as always, I so appreciate hearing from you and what's going on in your worlds. Thank you for continuing to be with me on this journey.
February 12th, 2015
Valentine's Day is approaching...I'm keenly aware that it's not a fun weekend for people whose hearts are aching. Here's a song that I hope will encourage you. I wrote it a long time ago for a friend who felt so alone and disconnected, she couldn't even connect to her own emotions and let herself cry. Peace be with us all.
February 11, 2015
I'm happy to start posting some lyric videos for you...Here's one of a song that was featured on "Pretty Little Liars":
Less than three weeks until showtime! I'm looking forward to hitting the stage again...
But, admittedly, I've been in a sort of rut creatively. So, rather than make excuses, I decided to join the Songwriters Association of Canada's Songwriting Challenge for 2015. Real challenges. A real pitch to an artist. A real butt-kicking! More on it here...
Part of the challenge involves regular blog posting (I usually start off with the intent of regularity, but now I'll have very helpful deadlines!) So stay tuned for more posts in the Songwriting section of my site.
Hope you're well. Better than well...
December 12th, 2014
With everything that’s gone on with my voice the past couple of years, 2014 kind of snuck up on me – it’s been 10 years since the release of Finding Beautiful, a record that meant a great deal to me. It’s also been 10 years to the day that I had a car accident that changed my life.
After a very full year of touring and promotion from Campbell River, BC to the Maritimes by car, I played my last gig of the year in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It was December 11th, 2004. The next morning I was eager to get home.
It had snowed the night before, but my hosts and I checked and the TransCanada Highway was still open. I remember thinking that if I could just make it to Kenora, I’d get home – no problem. I could go slowly.
Later that morning, I realized that going slowly meant having countless transport trucks kissing my bumper before they passed me. They had somewhere to be as well, apparently.
If you’ve ever driven the TransCanada Highway in North-Western Ontario, you’ll know that there are two lanes through much of it, and no significant shoulder. So, when my car hit an ice patch near Upsala, I was bound to hit something.
I remember seeing white (probably the airbag) and I have a picture of a semi-truck in my memory, but I don’t remember impact. I was later told that I hit a transport truck head-on. My Honda Element, packed full of gear, instruments, merch, furniture, Christmas presents, was “soup”. I remember coming to and trying to drive her – Blue Ellie – then tasting blood and bits of glass. I pulled my mirror down and saw some blood and started screaming, “Jesus, Jesus!” I thought of my loved ones.
Almost immediately there was a man at my window. He called himself “Willie”. I call him an angel. He put a coat over me, helped find my glasses, held my hand firmly and kept me as calm as possible. He stayed until an ambulance was able to get to me. Others tried to gather what they could of my strewn belongings. They had to pry the doors to get me out of the car, and they put me on a backboard.
When I was in the ambulance, a paramedic named Kyle (another angel) took down my information. Upon hearing my name, he told me he knew my music because he was a volunteer DJ at the Christian radio station in Thunder Bay that played my singles. He also told me that he hadn’t planned on working that morning, but had switched shifts with someone at the last minute. I don’t remember how we got on the subject, but I told him that my favourite song (at the time) had been playing at the time of the accident - Jars of Clay, “Faith Enough”.
They were short-staffed at the hospital, and, for a Sunday morning, there seemed to be a lot of emergencies. After a few hours I was able to be detached from the backboard, and someone helped me to cut my clothes off and pick glass out of my skin. My hosts, a lovely pastor and his wife, were there for me, and took me back to their home. I walked out with them while the nurses murmured to each other “Isn’t she the one that hit the transport truck?”
The connections that happened that day were nothing short of Divine. The owners of the radio station attended the church where I had been singing – they were friends and had, in fact, made the connection for me to sing there in the first place. Kyle found out the address of my hosts, perhaps through them. On his break, he drove the hour and a half back to Upsala to try to rescue my things from “scavengers” (there are so many accidents on this highway that some people “scavenge” regularly, picking up scattered belongings) Later that day, he returned my guitars, my keyboard, my merch, my luggage and a whole host of other things. He told me he even tried to get my Jars of Clay CD out of the player, and brought me one of Blue Ellie’s air vents – as a momento of the car I would never again see. He then told me that he would go back for the rest later and make sure that it all arrived in Winnipeg. As it turned out, he was getting married just outside of Winnipeg not even a week later, and was happy to drive my things home to me.
My hosts were so kind, making sure I got on the plane the next day, their church paying to send anything they could via Greyhound. I will never forget their grace and hospitality. It was so clear that Kyle had been ‘placed’ in that ambulance for me as well. What were the odds that he would be marrying someone 700 kms away and so close to my home within the week AND be so eager to help me? Amazing.
I further saw God’s hand in the fact that I had both a doctor’s appointment and dentist appointment scheduled for a couple of days after I got back. Both would have required a long wait to see them had those appointments not been scheduled, and the insurance headaches to come required accurate and immediate medical reports.
Really, there were a lot of miracles involved, but I struggled at the time. If God could make sure I had Kyle in the ambulance, and medical appointments scheduled, why didn’t He prevent the accident in the first place?
I don’t know.
People asked me what I learned from the accident – a near death experience…What was my epiphany? I reeled at the question. The year that followed included excruciating back pain and body spasms that made me very angry with God that He hadn’t taken my life in the wreck. And just a few weeks after my accident, the sister of a peer of mine was killed in a crash on the same stretch of road. None of it made sense to me. And where I should have felt grateful for my life, I just wished I was with Jesus in Heaven many, many moments.
Blue Ellie after the accident...
What I had to come to peace with is that perhaps sometimes there are no reasons why. I learned that anything can happen to any of us, but that “everything happens for a reason” might not be true. Sometimes things just happen – no rational explanation, no great epiphanies – just pain and grief. I learned that we need to call things as they are sometimes in order to move past them. I am still learning this. So, I don’t believe God made it happen, or even let it happen. It just happened.
But I also believe that He had me in mind in bringing such gracious community around me – to care for me, to calm me down, to pray for me and encourage me. He knew what I would need, and provided it. It may seem at odds with my previous statement, but I am okay to live with the seeming contradiction. In my view, the pain was neither prevented nor allowed, but through it I experienced His faithfulness, and that of community when I needed it, and I am grateful.
It took about a year and a half to feel “normal” again – no spasms or severe back pain. I'm still nervous to drive winter roads. Also, a deviated septum caused by the airbag to my face led ultimately to the surgery in 2012 that injured my vocal chord and left me with vocal issues for the past couple of years…But that story has been told a lot of late.
I suppose I wanted to tell this particular story again because 10 years seems to be something of a milestone. And God brought me through it. My back is healed, and I’m singing again. I can tell you without reservation that there have been times over the past decade that I’ve doubted I could sing again, let alone perform. But I have and I am. God was gracious with my anger, and faithful when I was faithless. Maybe one day I will have a life-changing epiphany about it all, but for now this is enough.
I have a lot to be thankful for. December 6th, 2014
I love this time of year, even though it's cold and dark and a bit chaotic. It's the music...I love the music. Granted, I think Christmas and holiday music should be legally banned until December 1st (or at least until after Remembrance Day - Nov 11) but I love the carols, and am even learning to appreciate the season of Advent...waiting and watching and anticipating Christmas. In fact, our church doesn't do any carols until Christmas Eve...But that's a discussion for another post...
I have to admit to riding a bit of a high today after my show last night. So many great people came together to make it a wonderful night, and my voice held up better than I expected, no doubt due in large part to all of the prayers that have gone up for me. Here's a video that gives a little glimpse into the evening...You can't see Davis Plett or Mike Penner, but they sure did a lot to make me sound good! :)
I have many blessings to count, but tonight, more than anything else, I find myself wanting to reach out to all of you with gratitude for staying with me, particularly through these past couple of years with my vocal woes. I'm happy to say that I'm feeling hopeful; getting reacquainted with my voice, singing more and more, and finding myself singing spontaneously around the house again - a very good thing! Thank you for all of your prayers and kind words. I appreciate you!
I've booked a show - my first in 18 months. I'm nervous, but excited too! I'll be teaming up with a gifted guitar player by the name of Davis Plett, and a talented violin player, Mike Penner. So, if you're in Winnipeg on November 22nd, plan to come out to hear me SING! I've decided to do songs from my catalogue that people haven't heard yet but that I love, as well as a few of my co-writes that other artists have recorded. I'll likely throw in a few of my favourites to play and sing as well, to celebrate the fact that I can play and sing at all. :) More show details will follow soon…
I recently had the great honour of attending the CD release of Janelle Nadeau, a lovely harpist, singer and songwriter. She is on a mission to transform the way we view the harp with performances where she plays and sings original songs. We met a few years ago, and recently teamed up to cowrite the bulk of her new album. I'm so very pleased for her to finally have her own release! (She tours with a fantastic group called Winterharp as well)
BreakOut West happened in Winnipeg this year. I attended; went to see other artists/bands until the wee hours, worked at home until 5 or 6 in the morning, caught a few hours of sleep then did it all again…As exhausting as it may sound, I was energized. Being in that environment, with my peers, people I haven't seen in way too long, getting inspired by all of the talent, learning new things about the music industry - It felt great! I plan to blog about it soon…Music conferences can be a fantastic experience. I'm thankful I was able to attend this year.
There is more good news on the songwriting front…I am sorry to be vague, but I'll have more to announce next month. In the meantime, I hope you feel blessed, cherished and surrounded by joy this thanksgiving and as we head into the Fall.
Jaylene xo September 20, 2014
Quick update re: vocal recovery...
My surgery appears to have been successful. I still have a scar on my left vocal chord, but the surgeon was able to loosen it a bit. Now it's up to me to take care of my voice and try to strengthen it again. What a long journey this has been...
I've set a date for a tentative show on Nov 23rd. It'll be a small, intimate venue; more news on that later. I want to try to sing songs that I've cowritten that no one has had the chance to hear yet. Some of them are being recorded by the people I worked with, and some await opportunities in my catalogue. I love them all.
I've been so hesitant to book anything substantial until I knew what my voice would do...It feel like I may be able to start dreaming again...
I am writing this having just had surgery on my voice this morning. A wonderful surgeon put me under to deal with a hairline scar that has been hindering my left vocal chord ever since an intubation in 2012. I have had so many ups and downs with all of it...But God's blessings are always right on time...
I just found out this evening that my song "Angels" is being featured on So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 tonight, and that they even post a link to iTunes of the song on their website as well.
I wrote this song about the passing of my grandmother, meanwhile my other grandma is in hospital passing away as I write this...
Thank you Bridget Whitman for choosing the song and dancing so beautifully...You have been part of a bigger plan tonight, and I am overwhelmed.
Peace to you all, and keep believing God cherishes your dreams.
Jaylene xo May 22, 2014
Sharing a post from my Facebook wall tonight...
"So...It's been a while since I gave an update on my voice. For the past while I've been talking and even doing some singing. I've felt that my voice is different. It fatigues. I feels tight. I have less fluidity and control. After a second opinion in Toronto, it was discovered that there is a long, rare-type of scar on my left vocal chord. The doctor there has offered to put me under and take a further look, at which point she would decide (while I'm "under") if she would do anything to alter the scar or simply inject my chord with a steroid. I feel confident in her ability (she comes highly recommended) but, clearly, there are risks with any surgery, and recovery would mean more weeks of not talking/interacting at all, followed by extensive vocal recovery training. It's been a year and a half of putting my singing/music life on hold...what are another few months? I also spoke with a voice coach who feels that with training I could bring a lot of endurance, flexibility and resonance back without surgery. So, a big decision. I wish there were easy answers. And thank you to everyone who has taken an interest, offered encouragement and been so supportive. I really appreciate it. (PS-Prayers still welcome)"
April 2nd, 2014
Well, another birthday has passed; more traveling; the Junos...It's been a busy time!
I wanted to throw it out there: posted a song I wrote called "Come Lord" to Canadian Christian radio via DMDS. It's been a while since I've done anythign like that. 'm hopeful it will get listened to and picked up...If you like what I do, call your local Christian radio station and request it...
I am very excited to announce that the song "Mine", written by me, Taylor Watson and Jay Tooke, has made it to the finals in the International Songwriting Competition this year. There were nearly 19,000 entries - It's an honour to be recognized. March 1, 2014
I've always loved March 1. It's a month from my birthday, and it usually signifies that Spring is around the corner. Today, however, it feels like -50C with the windchill. (not kidding, it's for real) I feel very, very blessed to have a roof over my head, even if the ice and snow has caused the garage roof to collapse. We're still more fortunate than most.
I've had some very encouraging meetings lately. In my favourite meeting, I was able to hang out with John Mays. What an encouraging man (look for him at http://www.centricitymusic.com/staff/) I've met John several times, and this time, he took a couple of hours with me to talk about music, songwriting, walking with Jesus, life…I left his office feeling like no matter what happens with my music, there is a purpose for my life and the talents I've been given.
John mentioned some thoughts on the parable of the talents. Three servants are given talents (money) to care for from their master. Two invest their talents, each with a different return. The other hides his away, playing it "safe". When the master comes back, the two that invested, even though they had different levels of success with their investments, were given the same reward…"Well done!" The one who hid his away was chastised.
The best part? I had just had that parable come to my own mind the night before…Coincidence? I don't think so. I've thought about how blocked I've felt with my music and what steps to take in the current music climate. Whatever they are, I need to be willing to invest my talent somewhere…We all do, whatever "talent" we're given. My conversation with John affirmed this.
I was also blown away by the hospitality of friends of mine in Nashville. To have them open their homes and hearts to me was very humbling. I feel so grateful.
To boot, I got to write with some fantastic people, and come up with some songs that are still bouncing around in my head.
That's a short update, but a needed one…Thanks for stopping by…
February 15, 2014
I listened to some great music today...It got me excited about music. That might sound strange, but sometimes working in and around it all the time, I forget to be a listener, an appreciator...Today I got to sit with some great friends and just check out some tunes...It was fantastic.
I love spending time in Nashville because there are so many creative people here, and no one looks at you funny if you tell them you're a songwriter! lol
Anyway, pull out a favorite record, put your feet up and listen...Good stuff.
Jaylene February 13th, 2014
Happy early Valentine's Day!
I've been in Nashville a week no, and for the most part it's been as good as I know it can be. What makes the trip for me, to anywhere, really, are the people. I have some amazing friends here, and have met a few new amazing people.
One thing I've noticed is that the "artists" and the songwriters who seem the happiest here are the ones who are inclusive. They share information, connections, ideas. They build a community of people around them characterized by mutual appreciation, encouragement and collaboration. It's beautiful to watch. It contrasts starkly with artists I know who are, frankly, a bit self-absorbed. (They don't mean to be, but they get so stuck in their own heads and so into their own thing and what they're about that they show no appreciation for anyone else, even if they might feel it) I don't think you can do great things in a vacuum. Wanna make great art? Write a great song? Be a great person. Notice people. Include them and help them feel valued. I so want to get better and better at this.
I'm very grateful to the people who've let me in; who've taken the time to listen to my songs; who encourage me as an artist and as a person. I'm working on being the same way, and kind of thinking it might be time to let go of some of the people who only take (energy, encouragement, advice, contacts) and never give back.
Deep thoughts for the news page, but, there you have it.
I hope this finds you well, and thanks for stopping by!
February 6th, 2014
Getting very excited about a trip to Nashville next week. I'll be traveling with a Manitoba alternative acoustic artist named Jordan St-Cyr. He's working on songs for a new record, and I can't wait to see what we come up with in collaboration with some Nashville writers. There's just something about that city too. It's a very creative place, so there's a neat energy there. Plus, when I tell people I'm a songwriter, they don't look at me strange (that look that says: wow, haven't you grown up and gotten a real job?) Instead they say, "Oh yeah! What are you working on?" It's very validating to be there for a bit, and I recommend it to songwriters, even if you can't get a whole lot set up at first - just go and soak it in.
I've been working on material with Keith and Renee for their respective solo projects as well as their duo. What fine people! We always have a good time. I also just wrote a tune with Don Amero - look for a new record from him this year too. He's got some neat stuff going on. There's also a harpist that I do some work with, Janelle Nadeau. She is pretty unique because she's working on material she can sing with her harp. I haven't heard of anyone doing that in Adult Acoustic Alternative music before. It will be neat to see where that takes her.
As for me, I've been plugging away at life, perhaps a little too content with helping other people with their own projects. It really is fulfilling though, to help artists find what they want to say and to be able to shape meaning from lyric ideas and offer them back on melodies and...sigh...I just love writing songs.
Hope you're doing great and thanks for stopping by!
xo January 26th, 2014
Just finished a busy but fantastic weekend that included the January Music Meeting, put on by our provincial music association, Manitoba Music. I learned a lot and am excited to start implementing some changes. For one thing, I'll be taking down my "MySpace" and "Reverb Nation" pages, and sticking to managing my Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Soundcloud pages, in addition to my website. To be honest, I relieved to be able to focus on a handful of relevant sites, instead of trying to manage more than I can time and energy-wise!
I've also added a songwriting tab. I plan to add more content to this section in the coming weeks, including lyrics to songs I've cowritten, and maybe even some songwriting tips for people just starting out or who want to "pick my brain" about songwriting.
Speaking of cowriting, I wanted to share this video that includes a clip from a song I cowrote with a lovely harpist, Janelle Nadeau. I've always loved this song and it's exciting for me to hear a produced version of it!
Hope you're doing great!
January 5th, 2014
Happy New Year everyone!
Last night I had the good fortune of playing a couple of songs at a Keith Macpherson House Concert. Not only was it great to be singing again, it was amazing to hear songs I've co-written come alive in Keith's set. I can't tell you how gratifying it is for me as a songwriter to know that the artists I work with are loving the songs and making them their own. I'll keep you posted on all of this, but it looks like Keith 9for his solo project) and Keith and Renee will be cutting several of my songs. (Yay!)
Also coming up us a release by Leanne Pearson, a local country artist, who is using two of the songs we cowrote together with Tyler Del Pino. I feel really blessed. :)
Just for kicks, I thought I'd post this video of me + band live at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg...Enjoy!
It is too cold for words. Every Winter I wonder why I live here in this awful, awful climate. But live here, I do, and I am distracting myself with some music!
Tonight I'm playing at saint benedict's table - an Advent Vespers service (basically evening prayer service during the Advent season, with music) Most of the songs are originals I've created with this season in mind. The service is open to anyone who needs a break from the cold, and the crazy Christmas lead-up...I'll be playing again for the church service on December 15th. Both events start at 7PM, and the church meets at All Saint's Anglican (corner of Broadway and Osborne)
Kyle Rudge interviewed me for CHVN the other day...Check it out HERE. :)
Thanks for stopping by...
October 18, 2013
I cowrote a worship song with a Manitoba artist named Jordan St-Cyr last night. It's been such a long time since I wrote songs oriented for the church. It's not that I have purposely tried not to, but my focus has been elsewhere. It felt really good to express faith in music. I used to do that more. Jordan's got great chops too, so it's always a good time to write with him. I was also able to connect with Murray Pulver, Keith Macpherson and Renee Lamoureux, rounding out what's been a great few weeks at home. Don Amero released a single we wrote together as well, called "I Don't Want To Let You Go". It feels so good when an artist likes the work you've done enough to champion it themselves. It means I'm doing my job as a songwriter. When it comes to my own expression, I'm feeling a call - maybe more of a challenge- to dig deeper and see what comes out. I find myself playing my songs from "Finding Beautiful" a lot more lately. They come from a very crucial time in my life as an artist. So many of those songs were written after a lot of reflection and honest journalling. That time in my life, to explore my inner world, to get inspired, to be "spoken to" and then be able to create something people came to value - that time was a gift in my life. So much has happened since then, but I feel I may have leaned a little bit outside of what originally inspired me. Who knows if this is making sense? Just know that I am not taking whatever is meant for me in the time to come lightly. In the meantime, I sure do love writing songs - any kind of song, really. I'm so grateful when I get the opportunity to collaborate.
October 10th, 2013
It's been a long time since I gave any kind of update as to my voice. What a challenging year it's been! There was a point when I wondered if I would ever be singing again. In essence, my left vocal chord doesn't quite zip up as perfectly as it did pre-surgery, leaving me with hoarseness and some erratic things to deal with vocally. I have gravel in my speaking voice, and I wonder if this is permanent. Singing-wise, my lower register is not what it was in that I don't have the same facility through my range that I had pre-surgery. I feel frustrated that this may just be something I have to manage from now on, but I have been singing more (and back into some normal routines) and am even scheduled to preach again. I just have to be careful to not strain my voice or let too much stress take its toll. The chords are otherwise healed - so I can hopefully be strengthening what's there, building endurance, and working with what I've got to work with. The joy will be that moment when I can open my mouth to sing and not have to be thinking about this anymore...Thanks for all of your prayers and well-wishes over the past months, and for understanding when I haven't been as engaging.
I just returned from three and a half weeks away; Los Angeles, Nashville and Illinois. I had the chance to reconnect with songwriting colleagues, so some networking, writing - and reconnect with myself as a writer, which felt great. So far my voice is working, but it still fatigues often. There are more tests to be done, and I am hopeful that it will return to full strength.
I was able to cowrite some songs I absolutely love. Now comes the task of finding homes for the songs, deciding what to demo, and deciding if there are any that I would want to record and promote myself.
There are a couple of neat events to note: One is a three song gig in support of The Citizen's for Justice booklaunch event on September 26th at Sam's Place at 7PM. I'm happy to lend a hand, and to ease my way back into singing publically.
Also, in November, I'm conducting a songwriting workshop in Nova Scotia. Friends in an Acadian Village called West Pubnico have invited me to come out and help develop the songwriting community out there. I'm looking forward to the trip. If you or anyone you know would be interested, message me for details. To register, click the link at the top of the page.
ALSO, I'm helping facilitate a songwriting workshop on September 27th in Winnipeg...See the EVENTS link for details...
Finally, I am super excited that Don Amero has started promoting a song we co-wrote together called "I Don't Wanna Let You Go"...Check out the "Loft Session" produced by Manitoba Music of Don performing the song...http://youtu.be/VdKholf1dRc
I hope all is well for you...Thanks for stopping by...
I've been spending some time in LA, getting reaquainted with friends, colleagues and this sunny city. I'm definitely starting to feel a major urge to write and release more songs of my own...For some reason this is scary - but exciting as well.
August 10th, 2013
Thank you to everyone who has been praying and sending me encouragements these past months. I've been working with a speech therapist, but mostly just trying to take it easier on myself...It's been a crazy couple of years in my life, and losing my voice on top of everything became an opportunity to really take a step (or several!) back. It can be so tempting to want to keep running on ahead, but running where?
Slowly but surely my voice is recovering. I was able to sing a bit in studio with Steve Bell a couple of weeks ago. We pulled off a recording in one take, which was such a blessing because I didn't have to strain or overuse my voice. I am looking forward to sharing the song with everyone. It's more spiritual than any I've released in recent years.
I do speak, but have to constantly bear in mind my technique and my projection. Rooms with a lot of noise and background noise make this very trying! I have to be mindful of taking lots of breaks as well. Continued prayer is appreciated - for wisdom and healing.
I love to sing, and this experience has solidified that more than ever. I miss it so much. I hope that the future holds many opportunities to do so.
In the meantime...I am heading to LA and then to Nashville to try to reconnect with some people there and do some writing as well. I'm also going to be part of WritersConnect and BlueBird North for Culture Days at the end of September. Also, I am hoping to try singing a bit for a fundraiser on September 26th. None of these events are full/lengthy shows, but should be a good guage as to where I'm at. I look forward to the day when I can trust my voice to a full concert again.
The beginning of November will likely find me in Nova Scotia, leading a workshop and connecting with artists there.
I'll try to remember to update my events list. I apologize for my clear lack of website updating! It is an area I'm always seeking to improve... You can find me on Facebook and Twitter too...
Jaylene UPDATE - May 17th, 2013
Hello to the kind folks who stop by to see how I'm doing and what I'm up to. I'm still not singing, but longing to. My life is long drawn out periods of silence, interspersed with trips to the doctor, a naturopath and, these days, a little bit of talking in a very gentle voice, usually uncomfortably. There is yet to be a proper disgnosis here in Winnipeg (apparently the machine that was supposed to have a good look is broken) So, I wait. And I hope. I haven't ruled out a trip out of province (or country), but in order to have support from the government for that, I need to have pursued all avenues here - and avenues move slowly in Canadian health care, unless it's a life or death matter.
I've started a blog. I hesitate to link it to my music page, but if you'd like to read it, you can by clicking HERE.
Thanks for still caring. I hope to sing for you again one day soon. I appreciate your prayers. xo
PS-I did manage to co-write leaning heavily on technology like "google docs"...Will keep you posted on those songs!
I had a request for "Boomerang" today, so I've uploaded a basic mp3 for download for .99...Just click the "STORE" tab above. I had forgotten all about this song. It was written in 2007 with Arun Chaturvedi and ended up as the music in a dinner scene for "Lipstick Jungle". Jonathan Alexiuk is featured on the piano. UPDATE - April 14th, 2013
I tried speaking the other day and had a lot of pain during and afterward, and difficulty swallowing. I used to be like a little bird around my house - literally chirping, singing, humming, sighing - vocalizing. The impact on my spirit not making 'music', even just the every day, doing-the-dishes kind, is pretty significant. I need to figure out some next steps, maybe a visit to a US clinic - but if anyone knows of a place in Canada, that would be appreciated. Thanks for all of the kind words of support over the past months. I appreciate it a lot.
Last fall, I had surgery to help my breathing through my nose. The intubation did not go easy on my vocal chords. Since then, my speaking voice is hoarse, and my singing weak, erratic and a real struggle. I've tried to keep up with my normal routines as much as possible, but have realized that I need to take a more extreme approach in my care, to try to give my voice a chance to come back. I've cleared my schedule for the month of March, and will be focusing on trying to get better so that I can be singing again soon. My deep apologies to the Tiger Hills Arts Association for needing to reschedule the March 16th show. I look forward to working with you on a concert in the future. Be well, everyone.
Here's a lovely recommendation given to me by my friend and talented colleague, Kris Bergsnes in Nashville: "Jaylene is full of spirit and talent. A true observer of life and her songs make you want to hear them again. A pleasure to work with!"
A video and documentary for the song Hope, produced by Anglican Video to promote the Anglican Church of Canada's Marks of Mission will be released on January 13th. The song was recorded in Vancouver and features the wonderful talent of many fine Canadians (and co-writer, Jim Kimball) For track notes, and to download a quality .wavfile, click HERE.
We Grieve With You Jaylene Johnson Dedicated to all of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting on December 14, 2012
Every present left unopened Photos never to be taken Hugs that can no more be given
We grieve with you
No college robes, no convocation Nor any milestone's celebration No sufficient consolation
We grieve with you
The violence of the violent The frailty of the innocent Unthinkable evil, unthinkable end
We grieve with you
Hearts weighed down with 'should have beens' And all the pain of senseless sins May grace guide to where hope begins
We grieve with you Huge thanks to Henry Van Den Hoogen for adding "It Won't Be Christmas 'til You're Home" to FOUR Galaxie playlists this season, including Holiday Favorites, Contemporary Holiday, Holiday Hits US (Dec 1st) and Pop AC (Dec 1st)
Above is a goodie from my archives. I played this gig a couple of years ago now, and only JUST watched the video! Anyway, it will give you a sense of what I do live, and I really love this song...Winter Wish. Performing with me are Jane and Lionel Martens. xx
Hey everyone...I am super excited to be launching a workshop series for songwriters, Saturdays
in Winnipeg for four weeks, starting November 10th. There are still a few spots if you'd like to register
Here's another show - and another amazing cause. My only Winnipeg show for months. xo
March 24th, 2012
Hello Beautiful People!
I wanted to send a quick update as it's been a while. There are some cool things at work around these parts…Things that make me go "Yay!" and want to share with all of the lovely folk who support my artistic muses…You!
I'm really honoured this year! A song I wrote with Jim Kimball (tours with Reba McEntire…doh!) won a songwriting competition to help support the Marks of Mission for the Anglican Church. I leave for Vancouver today to record the song, complete with Jim's amazing guitar playing, a CHOIR (very excited about this) and a whole bunch of talented people in Vancouver and from Toronto who'll be giving their time, including Randy Murray (Bachman Turner Overdrive) Tony Marriott, who engineered the latest album for "Said the Whale", David Sinclair (toured with Sarah McLachlan) Randall Stoll (crazy credits!!) and Peter Allen, a superb composer, pianist and arranger. I'm a lucky ducky to be sure…I can hardly believe it, in fact. The recording and some interviews will be put into a documentary too…But the best part is that I'll have a new song to share with you. It's called "Hope"…More on that in the weeks to come...
I'm also in the finals in the "Country" category for the third year running in the International Songwriting Competition with a song I wrote with The Keats. Some of you voted for me last year in the "People's Voice" aspect of the competition (thank you!) I am not very good at staying on top of asking people to vote, but if you want to, you still can. Follow the People's Voice link at http://www.songwritingcompetition.com. It will take you to a "Facebook" page to "like", then voila! Okay, it's a bit complicated (sigh) but if you are keen, you can vote every day until March 31. Otherwise, some folks in the Country music biz will be listening to the songs in my category and deciding on a winner…Wouldn't it be funny if I won? Maybe this is it folks, the "hit" I've been wishing for…You just never know! You can listen to my attempts at country stylings on the demo that's posted at the website. Let me know what you think. (You can also hear it on the 'radio' at www.manitobamusic.com)
I've been writing some spiritual songs lately…I'll be launching them Easter Eve at a wee gathering, in the hopes that my attempt to write things other people can easily sing works. I get excited about new callouses on my guitar-playing fingers…Surely it means I'm getting better? Anyway, I hope I can share these with you soon too.
For you Winnipeggers, I'll be playing a set to help raise awareness and funds for "Free the Children" at the Park Theatre on Sunday, April 29th at 7PM. Also playing that night will be Sean Quigley, who did that AWESOME version of "Little Drummer Boy" this past Christmas season. Tickets are just $15…all for a good cause. I'm happy to be playing with some friends Jane and Lionel Martens that night too…We go back a few years now, and it's fun to play music with them.
Finally, on the radio front, there have been a couple of neat things…Galaxie is now spinning "Just Be" on their Pop Adult playlist…Yay! Also, the River in Red Deer picked up the single (Thanks Daryl)
Really special for me also was an email I received this past week from Scott Fitzsimmons at Rock 98 Five in Yorkton, who told me that my song "Angels" made #8 on their recent "Top Ten Songs to Make You Cry" list…One of my favourite songwriters, Nicole Nordeman, was #10. I have to say that when I am sitting in my livingroom and in an artistic funk, I will think of this and smile knowing that I made some people cry…enough to make the top ten. (insert "humour" emoticon here!) In all seriousness, I appreciated the encouragement. I wrote "Angels" in memory of my Grandma Alice, who was one of the most talented and quirky women I've ever known.
I guess that's all for now, and reading back, it's enough. Thanks for reading and thanks for caring. Be kind to yourselves.
Hey all...I sent "Just Be" out to some radio people this past week, and found out today that on Feb 12th, "Just Be" is getting added to Pop Adult 105 - Galaxie/Stingray - Thanks Henry! :) www.galaxie.ca/en_CA/channels/Greatest+Hits
January 28th at 7:30
59 Deering Close
This is a house concert, open to all. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat. (or shoot me an email and I'll let him know you're planning to come)
I'll play two sets that evening with refreshments in between. If you've never been to a house concert, this would be a great introduction to one. The Smolik's have hosted several to date…I am really looking forward to playing.
Also…some cool news...
I found out recently that a song I wrote with Jim Kimball (Nashville, TN) has won a national songwriting contest with the Anglican Church of Canada. It's a song called "Hope". The prize is a recording of the song, which will be used to promote the "Marks of Mission". If you want to read about it, here's a link: http://news.anglican.ca/news/stories/2458
I thought I'd share a copy of the lyrics (see below) as well.
Happy New Year! There is much for which to be thankful, and many good things to enjoy.
Hope is not a warrantee
It isn’t buy one get one free
No lifetime guarantee that everything works out
Hope is not our fingers crossed
It isn’t pulling petals off
He loves me or he loves me not
That isn’t hope
That isn’t hope
Hope is a boat that holds you when you’re too far from the shore
Hope’s a little bird that flies on in the middle of a storm
It’s the song inside a heart that won’t give up
Don’t understand the mystery
It's way beyond what I can see
The grace that’s been afforded me
Throughout my life
When I’ve exhausted every choice
Hope has been this tiny voice
That makes its way through all the noise and says hold on
Hope is a boat that holds you when you’re too far from the shore
Hope’s a little bird that flies on in the middle of a storm
It’s the song inside a heart that won’t give up
December 18th, 2011
Well, the Amero Little Christmas show at the Ellice Theatre in Winnipeg is now done...Despite sketchy sound (we lost our lead acoustics, and an otherwise healthy monitor became unusable) AND despite sickness in ourselves, partners...Seriously folks, it was a MAD week for both Don and I...WE DID IT! This was mostly because of a lot of support and help, from the wondeful community of saint benedict's table , to publicity and radio plugs, to fans and friends spreading the word and selling tickets, to people decorating, a donation by Benoit of Pizza Hotline for a band meal, a STELLAR band (sooooo good!) special guests James Struthers and Cassidy Mann...A PACKED THEATRE...It was excellent. I am so very grateful.
I literally had to pray a singing voice into existence that night (comepletely gone the next day, and just coming back today) I could barely speak, but by the grace of God had melodies coming out of me on stage. To use Don Amero's words: A Christmas Miracle.
Very happy. Thanks everyone. xo
November 10th, 2011
To commemorate Remembrance Day : Free download of Won't Sleep Tonight in honour of the men and women who
serve or have served and the families who love them. Look for it in the tracklisting of the album "Wish". Available for
no charge until Nov 13th.
October 26th, 2011
Hello beautiful people!
What a time in the Yukon…A PACKED weekend to be sure. I wanted to send a wee note to fill you in on how everything went in Whitehorse at BreakOut West.
First of all, the BreakOut West team is deserving of a big round of applause. They organize a great conference. There was a good mix of panels, showcases, and chances to network. THANK YOU!
I played on Friday night at The Old Firehall, which is a favourite venue with a lot of locals. I had a great crowd out, including some folks in the industry who had not heard me play before (or in a very long time) Ariel Posen played guitar for my set, and we both felt really, really good about it.
That first night (Friday), 2000 wristbands were sold in Whitehorse, which has a population of 25,000…Amazing! People were so excited to hear the 50 showcasing bands, and venues were packed! I caught a bit of Ariane Lemire (one to watch) The Sojourners (who took home the prize in my category) Fish and Bird (indy folk pop) Shuyler Jansen (playing with Foam Lake…ALL great musicians!) Jordan Cook (WOW! What a showman and guitar player!!!) Sasquatch Prom Date (rock-a-billy)
Saturday night I followed a great set by Oh My Darling at the Association Francaise Yukonaise…Practiced my French! Sweet hospitality at this venue, and the best part for me was seeing familiar faces in the crowd, some from the night prior, and some from a way back when in Winnipeg (Ken and Brenna!) Later I caught Kat Danser (folk/blues) Don Amero (Yay!) Pacifika (latin rock)
Sunday, however, was a highlight as it was the SOCAN "Songs and Stories" event. Aaron Pritchett, Leela Gilday, Sarah MacDougall and DEL BARBER (I have a songwriting crush on Del…and what a showman!) As a writer, I like hearing the songs in such simple form, as well as the stories that inspired them.
I didn't "win"…I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to. But if I was going to lose to anyone, it should have been the Sojouners…Besides, they actually sing gospel music. It WAS an honour to be nominated, and that opened doors for me to be there in the first place…So thank you to the WCMA jury in my category for getting me there.
My biggest thanks, however, goes out to ALL of the artists and their families/loved ones for all of the hard work, sacrifices and heart put into creating awesome music and live shows. I am in awe of so many of you, honoured to be among you, and grateful that you do what you do…Here's to our grant applications coming through and living in a country that supports our efforts. :)
Blessings to everyone. May we be well, happy and fulfilled.
I just wanted to keep you in the loop and let you know what's going on of late.
This past weekend, I had a fantastic showcase at PW Enns Concert Hall in Winkler. It was put on by the Manitoba Arts Council, and delegates were there from all over Manitoba, looking for artists to present in 2012/2013. I am really hopeful that some good opportunities will come from that.
Today, I make my way to Whitehorse for the BreakOut West Festival. This will be a lot of fun, but also a good opportunity to connect with industry. I really want to keep putting great music out, so say some prayers for me that I'll meet people who can help me do that! I have a showcase on Friday night at "The Old Firehall" and on Saturday night at L'AFY…Both are from 9PM-9:45PM.
The other day I went into the studio to track a demo for a country song called "Git On Track" and it sounds terrific! I cowrote it with the Keats in Nashville (it was a funny, end of the day session) based on a chorus idea that had been swimming in my head. The entire premise of the song is to help the guys out in their romantic communication with their respective "ladies" Hope I can share it with you soon. :)
I've also done some work with Lloyd Peterson lately. He's the guy who really encouraged my songwriting way back when…So grateful for that!
At the end of September, I hosted a workshop for Culture Days Manitoba, Songwriters Association of Canada and Manitoba Music. It was a mentorship event, open to the public, who came to watch collaboration/mentorship between songwriters. We capped it all off with a performance at "The Forks" in Winnipeg the next day, and it was terrific to share the stage with the emerging writers and the talented Chris Burke-Gaffney and Keith MacPherson.
I've also been asked to do sit on some panels and do some speaking lately. A while ago I had said I'd love to do more of that…Said it to no one in particular - just placed it on a list on my fridge. This fall, these opportunities have started to come my way in greater measure. I'm not sure how that works, but I'm thrilled!
Show-wise, you can hear me in a couple of ways soon…
November 5th - House Concert in Winnipeg ($15 suggested donation with some refreshments served) with special guest Margaret Howison (an insightful, emerging artist)
If you would like to come, there are still some seats left…Let me know!
November 30th - for the 'nightowls' in Winnipeg, I'll be playing at Shannon's Pub for the first time. The first of two sets starts at 10PM…It'll be a good chance for me to play through quite a bit of my catalogue, and maybe even try out a new song or two. I'd really like to play for people, so chug back some coffee and come on out! :)
I'm also looking at doing a trip to Toronto mid-November and may be able to swing a small gig somewhere there…I'll keep you posted!
For now, thanks for following me and reading these things. It makes me feel like it means something. (Hope so!) I am wanting a team to help navigate next steps…I'll put that on my fridge!
Hi everyone! I've been having a fun and busy fall, between workshops, shows, and getting ready to showcase at Manitoba Contact and BreakOut West.
My album "Happiness" is up for a Western Canadian Music Award on October 23rd...To celebrate, I thought it would be a good track to give away as the Manitoba Music download of the week.If you don't have it yet, check it out!
That's all for now. Take care!
PS-Check my "shows" section for new live dates and showcase times/locations.
October 1st, 2011
I'm headed down to the Forks this afternoon to perform with other mentors/participants of WritersConnect: A Guided Introduction to Cowriting. It was a workshop put on yesterday by Manitoba Music, Songwriters Association of Canada and Culture Days Manitoba. The performance today is from 4-6PM under the canopy...It's part of varied Culture Days festivities...You should come out! Nuit Blanche to follow, with tons of free stuff. :)
Hey there...I am currently working on a grant report for my summer tour (I avoid paperwork and then feel the weight of looming deadlines) and then I am going to apply for another one. Artists in Canada are so lucky to be able to apply for these things. Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for me...
Also, I have a show that has just come up. SATISFIED: COFFEE HOUSE at the University of Manitoba (Concourse Lounge @ University College) 7:30-9:30 ...Free (I think) I don't have tons of info, but I will be there, guitar, keyboard and a show ready to go...Two sets...Come down...
I am in Milwaukee with Eagle and Hawk, then headed to Toronto to cowrite. Life is good. Indian Summer is a great festival, part of Milwaukee's Summerfest series. I've met a lot of interesting people too. Tonight, I had the privilege of hanging out with some marines. What great guys. Please remember to pray for men and women in the service, not only the ones deployed, but the ones who are home, many of whom are dealing with things we can't even imagine. They deserve to be remembered. Thanks for reading...
September 2nd, 2011
Home and getting organized. Anyone know anyone who LOVES administration? It would be so nice to have someone on board to help me in this area! :)
The homecoming show was wonderful. I had such a great time. Thanks to everyone who came out... xo
Also, CBC posted a blog and one of my vlogs...So nice of them. View it here: CBC-ManitobaScene
Take care everyone. J
August 24th, 2011
Sooooo excited to see my friend Danielle in a few hours! Also, new Vlog...It got cut off, but most of it is there. lol Gotta run!
Ack! Is it really already August 17th? In a nutshell...Did some great writing with Laurell, connected with Try Samson and Mike james of HipJoint (cool guys!) took some personal time, played a few shows in the Victoria area...show with Laurell tonight in Yaletown...And a new Vlog...
ALSO, I just heard from the fab Hill Kourkourtis that she will be cutting a song we wrote together a while back...Sweet! Her new record will be released next year.
July 24th, 2011
Jaylene Tours West - Vlog-1
July 18th, 2011
Jaylene Tours West…Wanna come?
2. Good News
3. The Tour
4. The Itinerary
5. Parting Thoughts
Hello one and all. I hope this finds you well and enjoying your summer! I am happily preparing for tour, which is a ton of work, but definitely trying to find time to breath in the summer warmth (and cannonball into a pool once in a while!) amidst the pre-trip busy-ness. I wanted to share some fun news before leaving, and suggest some ways you might come on tour with me, in a manner of speaking...
2. Good News
"Happiness" has been nominated for a 2011 Western Canadian Music Award! Yay! I've been asked to showcase at the event, which takes place in the Yukon in October. I'm looking for ways to make it happen.
This record was launched on David C Cook (Distributor) last August, and some tracks have been getting good airplay on CCM radio (thanks CHVN!!!) The nomination is in the Contemporary Christian/Gospel category, which is an honour for me. My faith journey is woven into my songs in such subtle ways - the good, the bad and the ugly of it…and a whole lot of grace. I haven't glossed over any of the rougher points of my life on the album, but, as hinted in the title, there is meaning and hope to be found in the music. It means something to me that the jury saw fit to include this project amongst the nominees. Voting has started, but you need to be a member of one of a music association to vote. Visit http://breakoutwest.ca/ for details...
Also…"The Great Unknown", a collaboration I did with Eagle and Hawk last year, is nominated for a couple of Aboriginal People's Choice awards. You can vote for us in the "Single of the Year" category, at www.aboriginalpeopleschoice.com…This is the same project that was nominated for a Juno this past Spring. I've been playing keys with the band and will join them at the Capital Ex Fair in Edmonton at the end of the month, as well as in Lockport, MB on August 21st. We played in Rama, ON in June and had an amazing time. I performed "Butterfly Girl" for a crowd of around 1200 people, and Buffy Handel danced to it…I was really moved. Check out some of the video footage at the Eagle and Hawk YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/user/ehrsp08?blend=2&ob=5
Finally, there will also be some releases in the next year that will feature some of my co-written songs: Amy Sky, James Struthers and The Keats are due to launch new projects…These are all amazing artists and it will be exciting to see where things go for them…Stay tuned!
3. The Tour
Jaylene Tours West…It can't be stated more simply, nor more aptly, than that! JJ tunes abound all the way to Vancouver Island and back to Winnipeg. I'm playing traditional and non-traditional venues alike, and spending a lot of time in the car! I'm excited to share the stage with some other great artists too…Google "Keith and Renee", "Laurell", "Daryl Wilson" and "Amy Bishop"…Looking forward to joining them for some of the shows.
Here are some ways YOU can join ME on tour:
a) Pray! Touring in Canada is a massive undertaking physically, emotionally and financially. Pray for safety (those of you who have followed me since Finding Beautiful will understand my anxiety in this are) and that people will turn out to shows. Pray also that Scott (my fabulous road manager, partner and all 'round good egg) and I will stay healthy. My heart is to give every person who comes out the very best of myself, and that everyone will leave each show uplifted, encouraged and with music in hand…
b) Promote! Spread the word…If you know people in the places where I am heading, please "radio ahead" and encourage them to come check me out…Drop me a line to let me know who to look out for!
Also, perhaps you would like a jpg poster…You could print one out to post at your work, church, community centre etc… The posters print out on 8.5 x 14 paper.
c) Peep! Follow me online, and share the links…I'm going to TRY my BEST to be faithful with updates and Vlogs (via my website and/or YouTube site) Tweet me!
Jul 26th - Red Deer (House Concert at the Hay's; contact The Hays for details)
Jul 30th - Calgary (The Ironwood Stage and Grill - with Keith and Renee)
Aug 1st - Three Hills (Three Hills Arts Academy - with Daryl Wilson - 201 5 Avenue North)
Aug 3rd - Enderby (Lorenzo's Cafe)
Aug 12th - Nanaimo (The Red Willow Coffee House@Hope Lutheran Church - 2174 Departure Rd)
Aug 15th - Peddar Bay (Pearson College Reunion appearance)
Aug 16th - Victoria (Music Moka House on Hillside)
Aug 17th - Vancouver (The Raw Canvas - with Laurell)
Aug 18th - Vernon (House Concert at the Oldfield's)
Aug 20th - Nanton (The Auditorium Hotel - 2011 20 Avenue)
Aug 22nd - Calgary (The Ironwood Stage and Grill - with Amy Bishop)
Aug 23rd - Edmonton (The Druid Irish Pub)
Aug 25th - Wadena (Shadow House Concert)
Aug 26th - Brandon (The Lady of the Lake)
Aug 31st - Winnipeg Homecoming Show (The Park Theatre)
5. Parting Thoughts
I am blessed and lucky to have life in me, and to get to do what I do…But it is meaningless and purposeless if I don't have love in my heart. Too often the music business has caused me so much stress…To the point where I have become someone other than myself, and not at all an artist of whom I would want any part. But I learn as I go. I'm learning that to lose "love" for "business" is not something I am prepared to do. I'm not just writing of love in the relational sense, but love as it pertains to the art itself. I love to sing. I love to play. I love to write songs, and I love connecting with an audience. Once the car is packed and we start our journey westward, the joy will be in the playing and in the meeting of people and sharing of stories. This is what I love, and what I love has been the impetus to endure the stress in the first place. If ever I were to lose my love for what I do, I would grieve it profoundly.
Here's the thing…Whether it's me or someone else that you care for who adds something in the art realm to your quality of life…We need you. Art on a shelf stagnates…It needs relationship…It comes alive through the sharing of it; in conversation, and even, sometimes, in controversy; in jostling us out of numbness and into consciousness. This is how it breathes and, I believe, how it carries itself forward for generations to come. Your support and sharing of art is essential to its survival, and your role in it as consumers of it no less important than the role of the creators themselves.
I just found out that "Happiness" has been nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award in the Contemporary Christian/Gospel category! The event takes place in the Yukon this Fall, and I am hoping to raise the funds to go. :)
The Ontario gigs were wonderful...Thanks again to all who came out to show support. The tour is pretty much in place too, with a couple of dates pending. I can't wait to see old friends and make new ones (cheesy, but true)
I'm heading out to Rama in Ontario today, playing a gig with Eagle and Hawk. I am super excited to be part of the latest E&H installment...I'll even have the chance to play one of my own tunes (Superhero) at the gig tomorrow night!
Then, June 22 (Wed night) I'll be playing at the Free Times Cafe in Toronto (9:30PM set/$6 door) 320 College Street...Spread the word!
Fun! Fun! Fun!
June 9th, 2011
1- Jaylene Tours West!
To say I am excited would be an understatement.
I think it's because I finally made a decision to tour again, after "hemming and hawing" and worrying about all kinds of things that aren't healthy for a person's brain…Why do we let ourselves get to that point? I've been like a silverfish, spinning around on the carpet with Fear's shadow encroaching and ready to smite me. Ack!
But no more. I am dawning a red cape and flying West this August (driving actually, in Trixie, a hard-working Toyota). This with renewed trust that I am in the Creator's care. Besides, dates are falling into place…AND I'll have my handsome honey (Scott from Scotland...He gets a dollar every time I say that) as a road manager and lead navigator, heading to beautiful BC…Did I mention excited?! My gypsy soul is having a Revival.
I've posted confirmed dates at the bottom of this newsletter and will keep my website current. I really hope to see you. Thanks also to those of you who have offered a place to stay…It is much appreciated.
Kicking off summer for me is a solo show in Toronto at The Free Times Cafe (320 College St) at 9:30PM on Wednesday, June 22nd…I will be endeavouring to start on time, since it's a week night, and for many of you the day job calls early. It's a mere $6, and the only TO show I'll play this summer. Can you make it?
3 - Dates So Far
June 22 - TORONTO - Free Times Cafe
July 30 - CALGARY - The Ironwood Stage and Grill (with Keith and Renee) Also playing here on August 22nd
Aug 1 - THREE HILLS - The Arts Academy (with special guest, Daryl Wilson)
Aug 3 - ENDERBY - Lorenzo's Cafe
Aug 12 - NANAIMO - Red Willow Coffee House (with Charlie Fox)
Aug 16 - VICTORIA - Moka House
Aug 17- VANCOUVER - The Raw Canvas (with Laurell) * late show, post DJ event
Aug 18 - VERNON - House Concert (love these)
AUG 20 - NANTON - The Auditorium Hotel
AUG 22 - CALGARY - The Ironwood Stage and Grill
AUG 23 - EDMONTON - The Druid
AUG 26 - BRANDON - Lady of the Lake
Please spread the word…It's YOU that makes or breaks the tour for those of us who venture out. I can't wait!
4 - More Merch!
There is now more merch available at www.jaylenejohnson.com. Click on STORE to check out Happiness Reminder Bands, buttons, zipper pulls, totes and t-shirts…
5 - That's All For Now!
God bless and keep you! Thanks for your support, your prayers, your posts, likes and tweets…Peanut M&Ms…
Exes and Ohs,
6 - PS
Check out what my friend Alana Levandoski is doing this summer at http://inquestofmusic.com...Pretty neat!
June 6th, 2011
Looking forward to playing at Riverwood tomorrow night...Hope to see some old friends.
May 18th, 2011
I wanted to pass along a link with the news of the International Songwriting Competition. Click here to open a new window and visit Manitoba Music, where the results made headlines today. I did not win, but your votes still counted to me. Thanks for all of the support you've shown! I think entering contests is still a great thing to do, and I'll go for it again.
I'm trying to book my tour West for August...If you or people you know live in Saskatchewan, Alberta or BC (including Vancouver Island), I could use the support. Maybe you could help to promote, or even stage a House Concert. There are a lot of great artists on the road, and I am happy to be among them this summer. That said, it also means there are a lot of us vying for a handful of venues. If you can help in any way, I will be eternally grateful! I expect to start the tour late July, and be on the Island by the 5th or 6th.
I have some gigs coming up with Eagle and Hawk this June. We're going to be working up some new, dynamic sounds. I've also added some 'live' videos at my YouTube site, if you'd like to take a gander (click it! click it!) ...Also, let me know if there are any particular songs you'd like me to record an acoustic version of for my YouTube site.
In todays music world, the support of fans, friends, family, has become even more important than ever. Having people engage with my music is what enables me to keep writing it. Please don't ever discount the value of attending a show, requesting a song at radio, passing along a link, or posting one to your social networks...or even giving a bowl of porridge to an artist...Strange but true! We create because we must...I do anyway. I hope that what I do adds quality to people's lives. In turn, you add quality to mine with your financial and other support.
PS-My honey is busy working on the store component of my website...There should be more items soon!
...Still no results from the ISC, but it should be soon.
I am heading West this summer (August), and hoping to connect with my friends and fans in Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC. Please contact me if you would like to host a house concert (10 person minimum) or know of a cool venue that is friendly to touring artists like me. I'm starting to book now!
April 11, 2011
Thanks for the votes everyone! I still haven't heard what the results are, but I'll let you know as soon as I know.
There are so many great songs, but my fingers are crossed. :)
I had a fabulous writing trip. I'm especially excited to have written with Laurell. She's just lovely and super talented. You'll be hearing more from here...And hopefully our tunes!
I have had a blast playing keys for Eagle and Hawk and hanging with them at Juno festivities...We didn't win, but it IS an honour to be nominated, and the Gala Dinner was lovely!
March 17th, 2011
I am a lucky bird, getting to escape the tail end of winter in Winnipeg for the gorgeous spring air in Tennessee. On the calendar are sessions with some wonderful writers…Wendy Wills, Patricia Conroy, Michelle Wright, Jeremy Cotrell and Jason Gantt…I'll also be working with up 'n' coming Canadian Country darlings Heather Longstaffe (who just won a stellar national songwriting award in Canada) and "The Keats" whose song "Give Me A Ring" which I cowrite with them and Chris Burke Gaffney is up for an Eastern Canadian Music Award for Single of the Year.
Speaking of "Keats" songs, check out "Handsome" in the country category for the International Songwriting Competition. I have to admit feeling a wee bit proud to have written it, and I'm asking for your vote! People have the chance to vote for the song until March 31st…Your support is really appreciated. Go to:
There's a link saying "here" under the "YOU BE THE JUDGE HEADING". Your email address will be requested, and you'll have to look for an email in your inbox with a link to be able to vote. I suppose you can vote with as many email addresses as you have.
Finally, I'll be playing with Eagle and Hawk at The Rivoli in Toronto on Thursday, March 24th. Our set is at 11PM, but there are tons of great acts that night. The cover is only $10 at the door. Come say hi and see me rip up the keyboard on some sweet rock tunes. I'll also be celebrating with Eagle and Hawk at the Juno Gala Dinner…We're nominated for "The Great Unknown" (I cowrote and sang the title track, and did some back ups on "What if We Could" which is #1 on the NCI charts across Canada!) Fingers crossed for the win!
I'll finish up in Toronto with some further courting: Zoe Sky Jordan, Christopher Ward and JC Smith.
Have I mentioned how lucky I feel?
Thank you all for the interest you have taken in me and my career…I love doing this with you in my life. I've been keeping more up to date with my blog, so check it out sometime.
Love and blessings,
March 8th, 2011
For immediate release: Jaylene Johnson is a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition for the second year in a row.
Jaylene Johnson's song "Handsome" is a finalist in the 2010 International Songwriting Competition "Country" category.
Her song "Joy" is also a semi-finalist. Last year, two of Johnson's works were in the finals.
"'Handsome' just kind of poured out of me" says Jaylene, "Then CBG (Chris Burke-Gaffney) and The Keats (the artists)
put their magic on it and voila! I'm really excited."
This was one of the ISC's most competitive yet, with over 15,000 entries from 115 countries.
Judges include celebs like Peter Gabriel, Tom Waits and Robbie Williams. People can vote on their favorite songs until March 31st,
and see the complete list of finalists at www.songwritingcompetition.com. The winners will be announced in late April or early May,
once the final judging process is complete.
For Jaylene Johnson, this recognition comes on the heels of a 2011 Eastern Canadian Music Awards nomination for Single of the Year
(Cowriter for 'Give Me a Ring'- The Keats) and a Juno nomination as a contributor for "The Great Unknown" by Eagle and Hawk.
An artist as well as a songwriter, her songs have also recently been heard on Degrassi: The Next Generation, and the new teen hit series,
Pretty Little Liars.
I co-wrote with Chris Burke-Gaffney this weekend and a new country sensation, MacKenzie Porter (Black Boots)...We pulled out two songs in one session, which rocks. Also, check out today's blog...Not the most peppy of words today...But honest nonetheless.
March 1st, 2011
New blog posted...Just click here!
February 27th, 2011
My first album, "Not Forgotten" is now available for download...See the STORE link for details!
February 25th, 2011
Amy Sky is headed to Nashville to record, and this will include three of my cowrites! Yay! She is so talented,
and I can't wait to hear what she does with the songs!
I'll be heading to Nashville myself soon to cowrite with some AMAZING people, including my darling friends
The Keats who have cut a couple of our tunes (Give Me A Ring, which is up for an ECMA for Single of the Year;
Handsome; Wildcard) I'll then head to Toronto with Eagle and Hawk for the Junos, and do some writing with JC Smith (Ole)
and Zoe Sky Jordan...Should be fun!
February 22, 2011
I wrote a song with Alana Levandoski today. I even like just listening to her sing on the worktape of it...Pretty, pretty, pretty...
She has a show tonight at Times Changed in Winnipeg...You should go! :)
I'm also looking forward to a writing trip in March...Stay tuned for tunes!
February 15th, 2011
First of all, thank you to those of you who read my newsletters and care about what's going on in my career. I appreciate you!
This one will be fairly short...
4.Plans and challenges
5.Two different kinds of 'gigs'
Lately I've had the opportunity to write with two terrific young artists. Janelle Nadeau is a classically trained harpist
who is finding her voice and discovering an easy-listening, pop-ethereal style through cowriting. It's been a pleasure
to create songs that sound great with the harp, and that suit her style and personality. She's hoping to do a record this year.
The other artist is Tara Macri. She's a Canadian, living in LA and working toward a record this year. We write via "Skype",
which is a new experience for me...Technology today is amazing! One of the songs we recently cowrote has reached the
ears of Carly Simon's collaborator, Peter Calo, who responded with "Holy ****, it's amazing!" so perhaps we're on the right track.
So much of this process is writing songs that the artists can deliver authentically and passionately, and I enjoy that challenge a lot.
I've been writing more on my own as well. Lately, what's pouring out of me are songs that hearken back to my "gospel" or more
spiritual roots. I'm exploring music that might work in a "worship" context, without sounding contrived or generic...This is
challenging when the language of my faith seems limited and narrow. It's a conversation I have often with artists who create in
the context of (or deliberately for) their faith communities. Someone who navigates this well, in my opinion, is Steve Bell, who is
touring a new work called "Kindness" this month.
2. Juno Awards
I am pleased to announce that a project I was a part of has been nominated for a Juno Award! "The Great Unknown", by Winnipeg
rock band, "Eagle and Hawk" has been nominated for Aboriginal Album of the year. I had the privilege of penning the title track with
Vince Fontaine and Chris Burke-Gaffney, as well as appearing as a guest vocalist under the pseudonym "White Dove". So, good luck
and congrats to "Eagle and Hawk", and thanks for letting me create with you! (Let's do it again!)
3. New Partnerships
I am just in the process of handing over a good chunk of my back catalogue, and new recordings to Passion Core Agency. This
wonderful group of people have a great vision for their company and I feel very excited about what the future can hold. They will
be pitching my music to film and television, and I look forward to sending them many new works!
I've also started working with Lloyd Peterson again. Lloyd is an award-winning Winnipeg producer and terrific artist and musician.
We've begun laying down some tracks and he'll be mentoring me in demoing my material on my own as well. Lloyd is the person
who encouraged me to write more songs. This was over a decade ago, and I have never looked back.
4. Plans and Challenges
Speaking of Lloyd...
Ì've decided to release my first album, "Not Forgotten" which he produced at Private Ear Recording. It's an eleven track, acoustic
pop record...My first offering in the music industry. They have a "spiritual" bent, and are, admittedly, raw - I was at the beginning of
my writing career. Still, there are some very special moments for me on the record, and it captured "me" at that stage of my career.
It features some fantastic musicians, and one of the songs from the album (Daughter) received an international songwriting award
from the Gospel Music Association at Estes Park, Colorado. This was very encouraging for me as a fledgling songwriter, and prompted
me to stay the course. Stay tuned for a release date...(I'll make it available at my website, as well as at CD Baby and with their respective
partners, including iTunes)
One of the challenges I am currently facing is loss of revenue from illegal downloads. Trying to manage it is like trying to stop dozens of
holes in a water-bucket with only ten fingers...It's just not possible. As an indy, I'm going to be shooting for more basic recordings to try to
keep my costs down...This way it won't sting as much when I see all of my songs posted for free downloads all over the internet (without my permission)
Like all of my contemporaries in the industry, this is the new reality, and we're all trying to learn strategies to cope. All this to say a huge THANK YOU
to those of you who still buy music, and who have supported my work financially over the years. There are too many wonderful artists who are
out-and-out quitting because they just can't continue in this new climate. Every time you give your support, you are helping them to keep creating
something the impacts our world on a constant basis...What a horrible world we would live in without art, beauty, recorded music to enjoy etc...
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Also, "Wish" is a wee offering that's available at www.jaylenejohnson.com...check it out and add it to the "check out" if you like it. It features
8 pared down tracks along the theme of "wishing", and includes "Closer to You" as heard on "Pretty Little Liars" this past summer.
5. Two different kinds of 'gigs'
I'm feeling excited about a couple of events coming up for me...The first is February 22nd for an Arts and Cultural Industries Music Mentorship
program. I'll get the chance to answer questions from a group of fifteen up and coming talents in the industry. Derek Kun (Guy Smiley, Burnthe8Track)
is mentoring this group...Should be fun! The second is an event in May where I'll have the chance to sing for and speak to a group of teen mom's at
a weekend retreat. I was born to young parents and know something of the challenges they face...I'm looking forward to entertaining and encouraging
them! If you know of any other groups that are looking for speakers, please pass my name to them. It's something I'm hoping to do more.
Well, that's all for now...I hope this finds you well and happy. Drop me a line!
With my love and gratitude.
Forgive how tired I look in the Won't Sleep Tonight video! I was! But I thought it was important to put this up, and because it can be awkward to
hear myself so stripped down, I thought I should do it fast before I changed my mind! The song (Won't Sleep Tonight) is posted in honor of
Remembrance Day, and also all of the men and women who are separated from loved ones because of their service to their country. It's not a political
statement, but rather an acknowledgment that for every serviceman or woman who gets to come home, another one stays or leaves their homes to take
his or her place. Some won't get to come home at all. We remember.
Did some recording with Arun Chatruvedi...Just bare-bones, intimate stuff...Can't wait to share it!
Played the open mic at Rogues Bar in Guildford, England tonight...Great people and a really cool place. Test-drove two new songs, one of which I
just wrote the other day (July 25th) Felt good. :)
My song "No Matter How Hard We Try" was used on Pretty Little Liars, episode 105...Yay!
Check it out on the store page... :)