Interview: Singer Laura Jansen Gives us ‘Bells.’

by Daniel Haim

In-trenched in the current singer-songwriter circle, Laura Jansen shines above the rest with her hypnotically angelic voice. Currently wrapping up her stint on the Hotel Café tour with Priscilla Ahn, Ingrid Michaelson and Meiko, she took time from her hectic schedule to speak to us about her music and life on the road. Just a year after moving to Los Angeles to jump-start her music career, Laura recorded her debut EP, the five-song Trauma. Frequent appearances around L.A. earned her a growing fan base that stretched across North America.

Daniel: When did u first realize you could sing?

Laura: I think it’s more a case of realizing that you have no other choice than to do this crazy thing called music. I’ve always been musical; playing classical piano from an early age and singing harmonies with my mother in the car. The moment I realized I needed to write songs happened somewhere when I was living in Nashville… I had finally lived, loved and suffered enough to have something I wanted to share. I needed to connect with other people’s similar experiences and my medium just happens to be music! If you’re lucky, you get that reflected back to you and that keeps you going in a career choice that is anything but easy.

Daniel: What influences you to write music & who are you major influences?

Laura: My influences range from waking up in the morning with a cloud over my head to watching someone completely inspiring perform. Books, movies, love, heartbreak, puppies, the news, photographs, the cities I visit… All of it sticks with me and comes back when I sit behind my piano.

My biggest influences would be: Hafiz and Rumi (sufi poets), Joni Mitchell, Queen, Wayne Dyer, my mom, Beethoven, my ex boyfriends, And every single CD I own…

Daniel: The Hotel Café has been a breeding ground for alot of the current crop of Singer/Songwriters lately. How did you get involved with the Hotel Cafe?

Laura: Ahhh the Hotel Café… I knew about this venue long before I ever moved to Los Angeles..I guess it took about a year before I was ready to play there..they have a pretty high standard of players and I wanted to be able to play there more than just once. The guys who own that place are huge advocates of music and have given me a place I feel safe in.. Its become my living room in a city that can be pretty intimidating. Where else can I hang with good friends and at the same time be hanging with people that make me weak in the knees with their talent? Any night of the week is a surprise they’ve been kind enough to invite me on the Hotel Cafe Tour and I’m actually writing you from my blackberry in a dressing room in Dallas. Sitting across from me is Priscilla Ahn ( my hero!) . Meiko is pouring me a shot and Ingrid Michaelson is playing on stage right now… I mean come on…how lucky can one girl get?!

Daniel: What keeps you motivated to make music?

Laura: What keeps me motivated? A combination of pure, unadulterated stubbornness and faith…I’m not worried about life after music either. The world is way too interesting to not have tons of plans…and I do (*Jansen winks*)