DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Jenny Lascelles | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the amazing bands and artists that we have right here in the north east. This time Jenny Lascelles talks about the twinkly launch of her album and her love of a certain red-haired songstress.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

Hiya! My name is Jenny Lascelles, I’m from Fenham in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Daydreamer, book lover, optimist, makes a good curry.

What inspired you to first start making music?

Well, my family aren’t really musical so I suppose a lot of it stemmed from curiosity! I tried out a few instruments when I was younger and eventually settled on piano, singing and a little guitar. The piano and singing were mostly classical, taught separately and aimed towards exams. Although I can now appreciate the music and skills that I learnt, at the time I wasn’t so passionate about it all. It was when I was in my mid-teens (and full of angst of course) that I realised I could sing and play at the same time, so I started practicing covers. My music teachers at school were amazing, and encouraged me to get into composing and song writing, which quickly became a total creative outlet that I couldn’t get enough of.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

TORI AMOS IS GOD. *ahem* But yes, hearing Tori Amos for the first time was a total game changer – here was this woman singing and playing piano in a way I’d never heard before, and her song writing was so thoughtful and honest that it just blew my mind. I saw her live for the first time last year and cried happy tears all the way through because she’s a total boss! I do love a good song writer with a piano – Missy Higgins, Ingrid Michaelson etc, all wonderful.

Overall though, I take influence from a lot of different sorts of music. I went through a ‘symphonic metal’ phase a lot of years ago, but the big beautiful accompaniments and lyrical romanticism stuck with me. My dad loves rock and roll, and bluesy stuff so I’ve listened to a lot of that, and I was trained classically on my instruments but then took a degree in folk and traditional music. I’ll listen to anything that is well written, and take influence from all sorts of music, people and experiences.

How would you describe your sound?

Ah, the dreaded question! My good friend jokes that I have an identity crisis about fitting into a particular genre. I usually go for ‘singer-songwriter’ as that’s it in a nutshell, but it’s such a broad term. How about ‘eclectic, dreamy escapism’?

“My good friend jokes that I have an identity crisis about fitting into a particular genre”

Where do you see yourself fitting into the local music scene?

I’ve played lots of different sorts of places and events. I gig a lot around local acoustic nights, but I’ve also played at rock nights and folk concerts. I have also been lucky to play bigger places such as the Sage and the Cluny 2. I think the handy thing about not belonging to a solid genre is that I can fit into lots of musical settings, so if the piano fits!

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Jenny Lascelles?

Definitely expect fairy lights! At my album launch I covered the room in lights and candles. There was also a lot of body glitter spray involved, and instead of a hand stamp on the door, my gorgeous friend Emily drew stars and flowers on everyone in multi coloured gel pens, it was lovely and everyone got into the twinkly theme!

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

I have a few little gigs coming up here and there across the North East that you can find out about on my website, and I’m really excited to announce that I have a headline gig at the Cluny2 on 14th October. I’m bringing some of my amazingly talented friends to help me out with support and accompaniment (I know the best fiddle player you will ever meet!) and it’s going to be an ace night with some new material and lots of good beer.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as an artist?

Definitely releasing my first album, Fairy Lights. It is the culmination of a couple of years of hard work. What I’ve found over the past few years is that, to get by on the music scene, you have to be business-minded as much as you are musical. I’m really proud that I managed to organise the album and the launch myself, and that the reception has been really positive. It’s still a little surreal, in fact.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

No, I wouldn’t say so. Almost everyone I’ve come across in the local music scene has been friendly and encouraging, I’m so proud to be a part of it, and lucky to know so many talented and positive people who are happy to support other musicians.

What else have you got planned for the future?

Things are going really well, so hopefully more of the same! I’d love to travel and play some gigs further afield, and perhaps to make my band a more permanent fixture – I perform solo most often, but when I get the chance I love playing with them, too. And, hopefully some time, there’ll be album number two…

Keep up to date with Jenny Lascelles’ gig dates and releases on her official website.

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