Toronto-based band The Jessica Stuart Few are heading west to promote their latest single and terrific new CD which is set for a fall release.
The band performs Aug. 4 at the One Eleven Grill.
After several tours promoting their 2010’s Kid Dream, The Jessica Stuart Few have seamlessly emerged as one of Toronto’s hottest new bands on the indie-folk scene. Their new CD, Two Sides to Every Story, features their signature indie-folk/jazz style while tapping into a plethora of fresh new sounds fueled by the irresistibly catchy first single Don’t Ya.
“We have real ‘live energy’ about us,” explains Stuart during a chat from Toronto. “When it came to this record, we definitely brought that kind of energy with us. And it was really a dream session. I wanted our exciting musical vibe to be captured.
“I’m really, really pleased with how this new record is sounding. I’m really excited about it.”
Stuart was born into a musical family, so it was pretty much a given that it would be a huge part of her life.
“My mother is a fantastic musician and ethno-musicologist, so I’ve been always exposed to a lot of music from classical, choral to musical theatre to west coast native music and Jewish music. So I had a broad musical background.”
She also started violin lessons at age three, piano at age five and it wasn’t long before her lovely vocal talents began to surface as well. She also had a knack for performing early on as well; her mom would have Stuart and her sister do song and dance numbers to entertain guests.
In her high school years in Vancouver, she also discovered a love for writing music. But in spite of such an abundantly musical upbringing, she opted to study linguistics at university. Her parents, while of course supportive of her musical interests, had encouraged her to have a career to fall back on – just in case.
Music was still a part of her life though, and in 2007 she relocated to Toronto to delve into the city’s lively music scene. She formed a band that same year with bassist Dan Fortin and percussionist Tony Nesbitt-Larking. Their first CD, the aforementioned Kid Dream, The Jessica Stuart Few, was released in 2010.
Taking her music to a broader audience was a natural path to take.
“I was predisposed to it, but the thing that is different is that when you are writing music, it’s very personal and it’s your message. It’s revealing of you and your innermost thoughts. That’s a whole other level, so I had to get used to that.”
Since forming, The Jessica Stuart Few has spent a lot of time on the road, with around 100 shows in the past year alone including performances at NXNE, TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Vancouver Chutzpah! Festival, and the Brampton Indie Arts Festival while earning invites to showcase at Canadian Music Week and Pennsylvania’s Millennium Music Conference in 2012.
Adding to the fabulously original and international, exotic sensibilities of her music is that she is also adept on the Koto (a 13-string traditional Japanese floor harp).
Meanwhile, Stuart is enjoying every aspect of her chosen career. Taking her music on the road raises that level of excitement to even newer heights. From seeing her musical expressions explode into vibrant works of colour during the recording process to connecting with audiences, she doesn’t have a single regret for choosing to follow her heart even if it meant leaving behind a more comfortable, conventional lifestyle.
“The highs are way higher than in any other job I’ve ever worked in,” she says with a laugh. “Yes, the lows are also lower. But when you are at a low, you have to remember that there will be those ‘highs’ again.”