JACELYN almost became a country music star. A few years ago, she was in Nashville recording her debut country album, and playing on the same bills as Keith Urban and fellow Canadian Johnny Reid. But something felt “off.” “I knew deep down it didn’t feel authentic,” she says. “I realized I didn’t actually know who I was as an artist.”
To find out, the Toronto-based singer-songwriter enrolled in the professional development and mentorship program, Canada’s Music Incubator. It was in working with the incubator’s musicians and songwriters that she discovered her true voice as jazz/soul singer. “I was a bit surprised, because I had this idea that jazz was for old people,” she laughs. “But then I thought, wait a second, some of my favourite singers are jazz, like Amy Winehouse, Adele, Frank Sinatra, and Norah Jones.”
With renewed vigor, JACELYN scrapped the country album and began work on her new project, writing fresh songs while travelling through North America and Europe. Eventually, she landed in New York City, where she enlisted composer and pianist Amina Figarova to co-produce, and Grammy-winning audio engineer Max Ross to record. To fund the album, she launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $60,000.
This fall JACELYN released her debut full-length, Dovetailing, a blend of jazz and soul with surprising hints of hip-hop and bossa nova. Four of the songs were written at Canada’s Music Incubator, including “Fool”, an emotional, acoustic guitar-driven torch song.
Although the pandemic cancelled planned tour dates, JACELYN’s making the most of her time these days. At press time, she was in Costa Rica writing and recording new music, including a holiday album planned for 2021. “I get a lot of inspiration when I’m out here,” says JACELYN. “I feel more free and creative.”