Faith Healer’s recent release, Cosmic Troubles, orbits a dark galaxy of ‘60s psychedelic indie-pop that never travels too far from the light. From playing in The Tee-Tahs to Punk Explosion, Faith Healer – a.k.a. Jessica Jalbert – steps out with sun-kissed harmonies and echoing fuzz on her sophomore solo effort. Georgie caught up with her to talk about becoming Faith Healer, the spirit of collaboration, and why boxing is not in her future.
G—Your second album, Cosmic Troubles (Mint Records), was released under the name Faith Healer, while your first album, Brother Loyola (2011) was released under your actual name. Why did you adopt an alias for the second album?
Jessica Jalbert—I was running into some challenges when I was using my own name. There are a lot of preconceived ideas about what singer/songwriters performing under their own name might sound like and I didn’t want to feel restricted to that. It’s not just going to be me sitting on a stage with an acoustic guitar, quietly whispering into the microphone. This is a rock band.
G—By taking on this new name, have you developed a stage persona as Faith Healer?
When I started writing and performing music, I was alone. I wasn’t writing large arrangements; I was writing things that I could play by myself on stage. Slowly, over the years, I assembled a band and started writing for a band rather than just writing for myself. This album is me becoming Faith Healer instead of Jessica Jalbert, the solo artist.
JJ—I don’t have a fake persona or anything like that when I’m up on stage. The idea to represent myself as a band and not as a person is indicative of how my music has progressed. When I started writing and performing music, I was alone. I wasn’t writing large arrangements; I was writing things that I could play by myself on stage. Slowly, over the years, I assembled a band and started writing for a band rather than just writing for myself. This album is me becoming Faith Healer instead of Jessica Jalbert, the solo artist.
G—Can you tell me more about the cover of Cosmic Troubles?
JJ—Sure, it’s just a really ugly picture of my teeth.
G—That’s an interesting juxtaposition with your music. Why did you decide to go with that for the album cover?
JJ—It manifests from the idea of having a lot of people watch me while I perform. The thought of that kind of stresses me out, so I wanted to lighten the pressure by not having everything be so focused on me. I’ve always been really insecure about my teeth so I thought I would put them out there for the whole world to see, and then that way it would just be a funny joke.
G—Renny Wilson collaborated with you on Cosmic Troubles, as well as on your first album. Why do the two of you work so well together?
JJ—We’ve been friends for a long time and we have operated in the same kind of circles. We both appreciate each other musically, so I think it works well because we don’t have clashing personalities. I would like to have him involved in any musical project I’m working on because I trust his instincts and he’s just a good guy to work with.
G—You have collaborated with so many local artists. What do you think it is about the Edmonton music scene, or Edmonton, that nurtures collaboration?
JJ—I wonder if it’s the kind of place we are – geographically, and in terms of world city importance. There’s not a lot of bravado in the arts scene in Alberta. It’s not like Montreal, where there’s a reputation of being an artistic central hub in the country. It’s a weird kind of humility. Edmonton doesn’t have a “we’re too big for our britches” kind of mentality, so there’s going to be a lot of collaboration because there’s not a lot of competition. For me, having a lot of people support one another and encourage each other just engenders a lot more positive creation.
G—Last question: if you were a boxer, what would your entrance music be?
JJ—It would be a major bummer song like “Heroin” by The Velvet Underground.
I’m not very aggressive, so I think I would be the worst boxer of all time. I can’t imagine what my entrance would be like. I would probably slink into the ring.
When asked to describe herself in three words, Nina Nesbitt didn’t hesitate. “Introverted, creative, and driven”. While you wouldn’t guess the former from her edgy, empowering tracks—her latest single “Loyal To Me” is a girl-power anthem, rallying women to ditch their unfaithful partners—the latter two can’t be questioned. In the six years since she was discovered in an unplanned encounter with Ed Sheeran, Nesbitt has released three EPs and one full length album; toured with Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and U.K rapper Example; and carved her way into the alt-pop scene with a harmonious blend of groove and grit. Earlier this year, the Edinborough-native was one of three emerging female artists chosen to partake in Spotify’s “Louder Together” initiative, recording the first collaborative Spotify single (“Psychopath”) with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence, and showcasing her signature style of thoughtful messages pulsating atop hook-driven melodies. With her sophomore album ready to drop, Georgie spoke with Nesbitt about her experience being thrust into the spotlight and maintaining her creative independence throughout it all. G—You’ve been touring a lot this year, specifically in North America. How have your North American audiences been receiving your shows? Is it different than performing for UK audiences?
Named for the Toronto area they grew up in, The Beaches are a far cry from a placid day on the lake. Led by singer/bassist Jordan Miller—with her sister and guitarist Kylie Miller, guitarist/keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—the Canadian four-piece burst out of Toronto with their 2018 debut, Late Show, and have since built up an aura of dissident swagger. Taking home this year’s Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the all-fem rock quartet is bringing grunge, gloss, and 70s glamour to a predominantly male genre. Georgie caught up with Leandra to talk about the band’s latest music video, taking charge of their music, and three simple ways to keep women in the industry. G—Did you grow up together in Toronto? LE—Yeah, I met the girls in high school. Jordan and Kylie are sisters, so they’ve known each other a bit longer, but they grew up with Eliza in Toronto’s Beaches area. G—What kind of music were you listening to at that time? LE—We grew up listening to all of the music our parents listened to. That definitely influenced us while writing our debut album since we drew from a lot of the 70’s music that our
Tyler Shaw is going through a renaissance. After exploding onto the scene and the charts in 2012 with his hit single “Kiss Goodnight” and a wildly successful debut album that followed, it’s hard to imagine what the Canadian pop singer could possibly need to reinvent. But after two years of writing and exploring, Shaw has taken the reigns on developing a new album and a new sound that’s better in tune with his growth as an artist. Just before the release of his new single “With You”, Georgie caught up with Shaw over the phone to talk about his upcoming album, mental health, and the feelings he’s harnessed into a musical renewal. G— What were some of the biggest differences for you between making the upcoming album and making Yesterday? TS—Yesterday was more so “I’m a new artist, I don’t really know what I want to do. This sounds cool on my voice, so does this.” With this album on the other hand, I know what I want. I know what melodies I want to go to and what I want to talk about. [Yesterday] came out in 2015, and ever since then, I mean, you go through life experiences