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Jessy Lanza

Jessy Lanza

photo by Alex Welsh
photo by Alex Welsh

Producer, singer, songwriter; there’s not a whole lot that Jessy Lanza cannot do. Throughout her still-new career, she has demonstrated her abilities on all fronts by creating music that flexes and bends genres on a whim. Her focus is production, with heavy electronic dance roots garnished by powerful, yet ethereal, vocals reminiscent of FKA Twigs or Grimes. Her love of R&B music comes through strong in both her production and voice.

Lanza’s 2013 debut, Pull My Hair Back, was released to near universal critical acclaim, and the world warmed up to her flavor of synth-pop. It was no fluke; Lanza was on her way to a master’s degree in musicology at McGill University in Montreal before leaving the program to pursue her own artistic endeavors. Pull My Hair Back was the culmination of a musical partnership between Lanza and friend Jeremy Greenspan of the group Junior Boys. The two grew up in Hamilton, Ontario and share a love of R&B music. Lanza attributes Greenspan’s background in pop music as an influence in sound and style on Pull My Hair Back.

The two came together again for Lanza’s 2016 release, Oh No. While both are considered co-producers of the record, Lanza explained in an interview with BRBR that the creative process between her and Greenspan is primarily each of them, separate, producing tracks and then coming together for tweaks and finishing touches. Lanza doesn’t like to call herself a singer, and ranks production as her chief skill. I disagree, I think the strength of the records come from the collision of these two worlds; gaudy, sometimes poppy production with unmistakeable, dreamy vocals.

It’s impressive to me that a career as brief as Lanza’s has resulted in two universally lauded albums and a currently ongoing world tour that lands her in Portland’s own Doug Fir Lounge on June 23. With her remarkable talent and quickly expanding fan base, the future is going to belong to Lanza, and we’ll just occupy some space in it. »

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– Tyler Sanford