If an artist needs a sign that they’re succeeding in the music biz, living out of a suitcase at their mom’s place is as good an indication as any.
While Halifax songstress Jenn Grant would rather be holed up in her own apartment — she’s currently searching for new digs — finding shelter at her parents’ house was her only option after a year of steady touring.
“I need to find an apartment for tomorrow,” says Grant, on the phone just minutes before yet another housing-related appointment. “I was on the road and didn’t find a place to live, but I’m getting tired of my suitcase.”
While she’s adamant about renting a new home, now’s probably the worst time to move. Her new album — the delicate, guitar-driven folk rock Echoes — is sure to impress her fans enough that they’ll want to see her as much as possible in 2009.
And when she does hit the road, don’t expect any rock star shenanigans from this soft spoken chanteuse. “I enjoy a few drinks, but I have to keep it normal,” she says. “This is work. If you want touring to be your life you can’t become an alcoholic.”
She’s also an avid yoga buff, working out every day, including when she’s on tour. “When you sing you have to keep yourself strong in the stomach,” she explains. “It’s awkward to exercise with other people in a hotel room, so I often find myself in stairwells.”
Her focused work ethic is one reason Grant has done so well for herself, despite jumping onto Canada’s music scene in 2006. Her debut full-length, Orchestra for the Moon, hasn’t just won praise from music critics — she also took home CBC’s Galaxie Rising Star award last year.
Although Echoes sounds similar to her last disc, it’s much less Feist-y and a little more lo-fi than Orchestra. Part of that has to do with where and how she recorded it. The East Coast songwriter spent about three weeks at an isolated Ontario farm, and recorded all her songs live, meaning everyone played together rather than one instrument at a time.
However, working that way meant Grant was singing over and over again, until every instrument was perfect. It was too much for her vocal chords to handle. “I had to take a week off in the middle because my voice got so tired from singing eight hours a day,” she says. “So I went to the ocean in P.E.I. and didn’t talk for several days.”
Luckily, she’s back in fine form and ready to tour again. Now, if only she could find someplace to live.
Jenn Grant plays
Toronto: The Mod Club Theatre on Feb. 12