The zestfully serene Ontario-based Songwriter Heather Janssen's first single since last year's debut 'Fear Of Falling' EP doesn't waver far off course from the trajectory that any music her voice accompanies produces naturally—upwards.
"Keeping Secrets" blends together pop with some sort of suave-mastery that you usually blossoms amongst the sweet afterglow of confident vocalists' cantor or as typically inherited as a veteran illustrator to his preferred color palate.
Within this embodiment of production quality, shots of profoundly vibey electric guitar saturate the mix as Heather Janssen's swooning takes on a scat, synergizing amongst the guitar's orchestrations and resonating within the sharp contours of this track's chorus.
"Keeping secrets, oh keeping secrets, sweet Jesus, I can't go breaking his heart," Heather Janssen purrs in the palpable spaces between "Keeping Secrets." Here, her sensuality has a knee-buckling vibe: The chorus reveals that she's still wrapped around someone else's fingertips—in more ways than one.
A feathering of staccato-like notes on the accompanying piano pairs seamlessly with a smoldering bass groove undertowing downwind. Heather Janssen's lyrics befall little details meticulous enough to become laborious; instead, her intimate and upfront vocals shimmer with enough sensation to simply overwhelm our spirits. What's transmitted is that she has every fiber of confidence in her own aesthetics and tone.
Like finding refuge from a storm under the shelter of a tree, Heather Janssen's "Keeping Secrets" comes out unscathed, rooted underneath the songstress and her sensuous vocal performance—allowing the music scene another glimpse into the magnetic songwriting world of a promising young artist.
Hello Heather, it's wonderful to have you with us at BuzzMusic. What were the most distinguishable challenges you've encountered when tasked with writing a single versus an extended play featuring four or five songs?
For me, the challenge is never with writing the songs - there’s a constant stream of ideas flowing in my head and onto paper. What’s been challenging is that I write in a variety of genres - pop, hip hop-r&b, country, folk - and so the challenge is figuring out how to release the songs and get them out in a thought out way. Maybe that’s doing a single, maybe that’s grouping three or four songs of a similar style into an EP. At the end of the day, I don’t want to confine myself to one genre or sound, so I’m working out what that looks like.
Where do you think the influences responsible for developing the affluence you have with singing and songwriting come from generally?
My family has always been extremely musical. My grandparents, my parents - their musicality trickled down to all us kids. My mom was a piano teacher, so naturally, my siblings and I were taught piano at a young age. My Dad would play guitar at our cottage, around the campfire, at church, and one day I decided to teach myself. The writing was just always there, it was a need and a desire, from a young age. I think a lot of my influence just comes from a passion for art, really. Creating something out of nothing. When I sing a melody or write a lyric, I almost picture it in color and lines and movement, as if I’m painting it on canvas. It becomes a puzzle to me, of where to put this word, and where it needs to lift, and finding out what splash of color it’s still missing. In the end, you’ve got something you can hang on the wall, and let it make you feel something. Art really is always the influence. There’s a number of amazing musicians and poets I look up to that have done an incredible job turning a simple string of lines and melody into something you want to be painted across your entire living room wall.
Is artistic expression something that you need to fuel with practice every day, or has it all developed into second nature for you?
I think artistic expression is ever-changing. It’s taken time, experience, different places, and people, and growing into my own skin to figure out what I want my artistic expression to be. It’s never really been the same thing for too long, and even now, as I think that I’m just beginning to figure it out, it’ll change. All throughout that time of exploring though, I was constantly pushing myself in my songwriting, or in my singing, learning new chords, or even learning how to paint. Anything to make me a better songwriter and creator. My writing turned into a craft rather than a hobby because I was doing it day in and day out. I could hardly listen to a song on the radio without mentally noting everything they were doing, the way it was produced, or how the structure was arranged. I think in that sense, I was practicing every day, which yes, fuelled my artistic expression. But it’s definitely ever-changing. Your artistry is a reflection of who you are, and you’re never the same person for too long. People, places, moments change you, and the way you make art. The need to make that art though will forever be simply part of me.
Have there been any notable collaborations or records released recently that have inspired some creative visions for your own musical endeavors in the remainder of 2020?
Despite the chaos of things, I’ve had some amazing moments in 2020. One of my newest single’s Dancing When I Die got a lovely response, which has been extremely encouraging. It’s a song that has a special place in my heart, and so to have people from across the world connect to it in their own unique way has been extremely special to me. To be honest, there’s been quite a lot of time lately to reflect, and that downtime has really inspired the vision for the rest of the singles coming out 2020. I’ve done a lot of self-reflecting, and in a way, it’s allowed me to come into my skin a little more. I’m excited to be releasing these next couple of songs, and that’s a relieving feeling to be releasing something that just feels right.
What has been keeping you inspired this year? What can we expect to see next from you?
I’ve been diving back into a lot of jazz and classical piano actually, and exploring new artists in these genres has been so inspiring. Just hearing different chord progressions, how things move and change, how words are sung differently has allowed me to challenge myself and switch things up. I’m also a huge fan of DIY projects, canvas art, and cooking haha. So if I’m not writing, then I’m creating something one way or another, and that keeps a constant stream of inspiration flowing. There’s a lot of new music that’s coming from this time of reflection and growth, which means a number of releases coming next. I can’t wait to share, and I truly hope that it finds a home with whoever hears it!