JESSIE LEE eases us into the beginning of the week with her brand new soft pop ballad titled ‘Reflect’. Greeted with magical strings and harmonies, ‘Reflect’ is all about trying to process what’s happening internally while going through difficult times.
The latest offering is designed to release any life’s troubles, encouraging all of us to transport to a happy place.
“For me that means being submerged in nature, ” says Jessie of her single. “A safe space to be reflecting on my thoughts and feelings. Whether that’s through journaling, meditation or anything you do to ease your mind, I hope it inspires you to reflect.”
So have a listen to ‘Reflect’ and delve deep into your thoughts…
Introducing East Vancouver’s musician Russell Gendron into the blog’s interview hot seat. He’s the frontman and songwriter for indie folk band BILL JR. JR. whose third album, ‘Homebody’ was released back in January. So I spoke to Gendron about the eight-track project and whether the pandemic impacted the production of the album.
NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. How is 2021 treating you so far?
BJ: My pleasure. 2021 has been great thus far. I’ve definitely had to adjust some plans and be at peace with the uncertainty around me but all in all, I’m good.
NLM: You released your album HOMEBODY back in January. What is the public perception on the singles so far?
BJ: It’s been going well thanks. The press’ thoughtful reviews we’ve received for Homebody has been fun to watch roll in and I’ve been packaging up vinyl to post every other week since the album’s release. It sure would have been nice to play some shows however.
NLM:What inspired you to produce the album?
BJ: The idea to make the album was borne from a collaboration at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity during an artist residency. I had a bunch of finished and unfinished songs about Vancouver and the idea of “home” and I joined forces with Dan Nettles and Daniel McNamara in order to bring them to life.
NLM: What is/are your favourite single(s) from the album and why?
BJ: I like “Run Home” because it’s fun to play live and it goes on for a long time.
NLM: So how would you describe the album’s sound to potential fans?
BJ: Hmmmm, pleasant, expansive, emotional and pulsing.
NLM: If you had to feature one mainstream artist on the album, who would it be and why?
BJ: Is Sufjan Stevens available??? His voice is magical and devastating and I’d love to hear it blended into this record.
NLM: Did the Covid pandemic present any drawbacks in the production of your album?
BJ: Covid disrupted the tour we had planned so that was tough to let go of. At this point, I don’t think that this album will be what we all feel like playing by the time shows are happening again. Is what it is, we pivoted and I’m happy with how it went despite the challenges.
NLM: Do you have other project(s) for 2021?
I’ve been tucking myself away in a little cabin this spring to give myself space to write songs. I’m not sure what that will end up looking like but I’m enjoying the process.
NLM: How can potential fans find you?
BJ: Bandcamp is a great place to listen to and support our music. Otherwise, we’re all over the internet in all the usual places.
NLM: Finally, any special shoutouts to those involved in the production?
Before closing the door to his The Room EP, Edmonton hip-hop artist K-RIZ unveiled a new video for the potently blended jazz-rap track, ‘A Place Where Love Is.’ Elevated by the swinging coos of Calgary soul singer Yolanda Sargeant (of Sargeant X Comrade), the song is a declaration for choosing to love in a time of fear.
The video stars K-Riz, Yolanda Sargeant and fellow Alberta rapper Lyrique, and serves as a hopeful antidote to the bleakness of the past year. Filmed from Calgary’s Sunnyside neighbourhood and the city’s iconic Peace Bridge, the black and white video is punctuated by meaningful symbols. “Imagine life where colour doesn’t matter/Imagine peace where murder doesn’t happen…Under God’s blue sky, we all bleed the same you and I,” K-Riz spits, illuminating the possibility of a better world.
“This is the message that I wanted to close The Room out on,” said K-Riz. “I think this is a message that people need to hear right now—and over and over again. It’s time for people to open their hearts to peace and love.”
The Room EP was written by K-Riz while recovering from injuries sustained in a June 2020 car accident. The title signifies the room in which the album was conceived and the mental space and time he was given to reflect and create. The five-track collection is laced with smooth R&B grooves, jazz flourishes, lyrical atonements, and a near-death clarity, tracing the wrongs of past relationships (‘What a Shame’), faith (‘God First’), and a profound sense of gratitude for life (“A Place Where Love Is” feat. Yolanda Sargeant).
In the time since the EP’s release, K-Riz has been hailed by Complex for “quietly establishing himself as one of Alberta’s deftest lyricists; was named as a Black Canadian artist you need to know by Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe of CBC’s The Block; and was listed among the Canadian artists you need to hear by Exclaim in January of 2021. The EP follows his debut full-length album, Fresh Air (2016), which garnered the rapper a spot on Hip Hop Canada’s list of the Top 40 Canadian Hip Hop MCs.
The Room EP is now available on all streaming platforms. You can also look for K-Riz’s sophomore full-length, Peace & Love, set for release this summer. For now, check out the video for ‘Where Love Is’…
When you hear JESSIE LEE‘s single, ‘Body Sings,’ you’ll immediately get the butterfly feeling in your tummy, the exactly same exacting feeling when you clap your eyes on the one for the very first time.
Produced Daniel Espina, ‘Body Sings’ boasts an infectious groovy bass line that’s so colourful and light, designed to emit love and encourage the vibrations we give off in that pure state of love embracing a real connection – whether that be with someone else or just yourself.
In this current climate, I think we all could use a little bit of high vibes right now…press play and get lost in this uplifting tune…
The first release from her forthcoming EP, ‘Desperate Times’, Emerging Canadian singer-songwriter MIGHOLE releases ‘Don’t Call Me’, where she expresses the universal sentiment of reaching your breaking point that often leaves one jaded and weary of love.
Speaking of the single, Mighole says: “Writing ‘Don’t Call Me’ came from a place of being fed up. There are so many people that come in and out of our lives, and sometimes these people hinder our stability and sense of self. This song was my way of saying “enough!” I will no longer let these people take parts of myself. It’s me realizing that my energy is sacred and will not be disturbed. It’s the final “Fuck You” but say it politely. “Don’t Call Me.”
Watch the video for ‘Don’t Call Me’, produced by Dean Vision and LateNightDrive.