Armed with stark instrumentation, a soulful voice, and lyrics taken from that mysterious middle ground where heart, mind, and soul intersect, Laura Aidenblaise is a unique talent with much to offer the world of music.
Although neither of Laura's parents were musicians, her father was a dub reggae producer in the '70s, while her mother spent a brief period during the late '60s and early '70s as an illustrator and painter; given such backgrounds, you can certainly understand why she feels quite comfortable declaring, "The creative spirit is still in my blood."
While Raffi may have been the musical order of the day during Laura's earliest childhood years, her musical influences were across the board from the very beginning. She still remembers the first time she heard Patsy Cline's greatest hits ("I was in my mom's car during a long drive, falling asleep as I listened to the music"), and, at the age of six, she began trying to emulate the way Joey McIntyre's voice sounded on those early New Kids on the Block albums. From there, however, she moved on to her mother's collection of Ella Fitzgerald albums. "I was really influenced by show tunes," she says. "I wanted so badly to go perform on Broadway that I began teaching myself show tunes on the piano."
Laura was an '80s child, arriving into "The 'Me' Generation," where the power of MTV found pop singles overwhelming genres like disco and classic rock; as a result, it was the more popular musical artists of her childhood, singers like Mariah Carey and Madonna, who first began to power her creative spirit.
"I remember the first time I heard 'La Isla Bonita,' by Madonna," Laura says. "I was sitting on a park swing, and it came floating out the window from someone's apartment, and that did it: I went and recorded my first cover of it on an old tape deck. I was only five years old! But being the only child of a lively mother who sings all the time leaves you both driven with imagination and free to explore…and I was taught an appreciation for music early in life. These pop singers struck me not so much with what they were saying – I had lots to say myself from the get go! – but because of their rhythms and the internal beats they expressed. Over the years, I've been able to take pieces from all of these different genres and create my own sound."
Though more or less a self-taught guitarist ("My uncle gave me a vintage guitar and showed me my first three chords"), Laura actually played clarinet in high school, taking inspiration from the Acker Bilk records in her mother's collection, but she concedes that she never focused that hard on great instrumental playing. Indeed, Laura's most valuable instrument may well be her voice; she received formal voice training from ages 12 – 16, which resulted in performances at several music recitals…not to mention the singing of a few Sarah McLachlan numbers at her high school talent show!
While Laura's vocals are filled with tremendous emotion, a considerable degree of that power comes from the lyrics she sings; it should come as no surprise, then, that the songwriting process is a crucial one for Laura. "Words may sit for a long time," she explains, "but if I feel they want to be heard, I work with melodies and fuse them to create a skeleton of a song. I try to write in vivid pictures, with socio-political or spiritual messages behind them, as opposed to writing exactly what I mean; I've always felt that the finding of meaning is the audience's task."
When she enters the studio, Laura moves into a more collaborative frame of mind. "My writing and arrangement process tends to be pretty personal," she admits, "but I mostly hear rhythms and melodies. A song always has room to grow with whoever the producer or the players on the session may be; they often bring new inspiration to a song, which in turn inspires me to recreate it accordingly on my end. As long as the words and their meaning don't disappear, I'm open to abstracting the songs I write."
The result of Laura's most recent time in the studio – the Get Thee to the World EP – is scheduled for release in August. That studio focus, however, has resulted in a lessening of her live schedule. "I play irregularly because I've been focusing on the recording aspect of my career right now," she admits, "but I have played regularly in the past, even hosting some open mike nights in a Toronto café called Café May, where I'd play my material and sign up poets to read and jam." Laura has appeared at many other venues within Toronto as well, including The Reverb, The Horseshoe Tavern, and The Camren House; in addition, she has also been a performer at the annual Honey Jam, at the Phoenix Concert Theater.
Laura's career goals as a musician and songwriter are simple and straightforward: to tour on both a small and large scale, to play with artists she respects and admires, to have the world hear her words, and to be able to make music a full-time thing. First and foremost, however….yes, even before the music…Laura Aidanblaise is a spiritual person: part feminist, part love child, part medium.
"I've come to understand how unseen things can really impact me," she explains, "and that's where my writing is inspired. I may have tuned into the unspoken and blatant repression and oppression from society, having been raised the way I was: as a multiracial child with a very strong unwed mother. I may have intuited a world consciousness or tapped into our mother earth and the 'otherworld' and was witness to some wild experiences. I may have tapped into the power that music had to heal me when I needed healing."
Behold the healing power of music.
Behold the music of Laura Aidanblaise.
Laura's songs can be heard currently on various U.S and Canadian all female compilation cd's including Violet Femmes by RPW Records Canada, and Women on Fire compilation by Warrior Girl Music, L.A. due to be released in 2008.
Self Titled EP- 2004
Get thee to the World EP to release Summer 2007
http://www.myspace.com/lauraaidanblaise AND www.aidanblase.com