After hearing her mesmerizing set, it’s no wonder that Australian singer-songwriter Jordan Léser has been making huge waves back home. In our recent interview, AMBY sat down with her in Guelph to chat about her single, “Prisoner of Pride”, career highlights, inspirations and, of course, poutine.
AMBY: Thanks for chatting Jordan.
Jordan Léser: Thank you for chatting to me.
AMBY: Just so we know exactly who we’re talking to, I’ve read that your last name is pronounced ‘Lazer”.
Jordan Léser: Did you see that? That’s good, not many people know that.
AMBY: It’s such a badass last name!
Jordan Léser: Apparently [laughs] I’ve been told by various sources that I should change it to L-A-Z, or L-A-S, but it’s a heritage thing, and I think it’s also a Major Lazer thing. He came out at a time that those suggestions were being made, which didn’t feel right.
AMBY: So you’re here all the way from Australia, is this your first time coming to Canada?
Jordan Léser: I actually did an exchange here when I was 15, so this is my second, but it’s my first time in this part of Canada.
AMBY: Where were you for the exchange?
Jordan Léser: I spent time in Vancouver and Whistler. I’ve loved Canadians ever since, but I think Australians and Canadians just have a connection.
AMBY: This being your second time around, do you have any must-see’s , must-try’s or must do again’s? Did you fall in love with poutine when you were here the first time?
Jordan Léser: Uh, what’s poutine? You have to forgive me. Is it a food?
AMBY: French fries, cheese curds, gravy; it sounds disgusting , but you’ll fall in love with it.
Jordan Léser: That probably won’t be good for my cold and flu recovery, but I’ll make a note of it for when I’m done all of my shows.
AMBY: I read that you started writing music at the age of 13, being a singer-songwriter, which comes first for you, the music or the lyrics?
Jordan Léser: I like that question. Well, I’m obsessed with melody, so I think melody informs the lyrics. But in saying that, it needs to sound like the two were never separated. So I think it’s melody and then lyrics.
AMBY: Your music is almost haunting and so captivating, where do you draw influence?
Jordan Léser: I just love good songs- I know that probably sounds really pretentious- I listen to everything. In terms of key inspirational figures, probably Kate Bush, Lorena McKenna, Massive Attack, I love The National, Leonard Cohen, Paul Kelly, a lot of people.
AMBY: You released your debut album in 2013, what can you tell me about that whole experience?
Jordan Léser: That was my EP, so it was 4 songs. I always find releasing songs a nerve-wracking, exciting experience. Everything was new then, so hopefully it has informed what I will or won’t do the next song cycle. I learned a lot from that period.
AMBY: Was there a highlight from working on that EP?
Jordan Léser: I recorded a lot of songs with Jim Moginie and Rob Hirst of Midnight Oil and we did about 11 songs over 3 or 4 years. They really mentored me and produced me and were like my spirit guides through that whole process.
AMBY: Were you a big fan of Midnight Oil already?
Jordan Léser: Well yea. I think it just comes with the territory of being Australian. But also, Rob who is the drummer of Midnight Oil, was an old family friend of ours, I’m really close with his daughter, so there were a lot of connections there.
AMBY: You’re enjoying some success back home with your single on Triple J, “Prisoner of Pride”. Is this track part of a larger project and can your fans expect new music anytime soon?
Jordan Léser: I just released that song in and of itself. I think I was trying to explore more cinematic sound with it and give people and myself a taste of what I wanted to do next. That was sort of its own song story book and the next one will hopefully be new and different.
AMBY: With the digital era, it feels like we’re moving more into a ‘singles’ world anyway.
Jordan Léser: Everyone is snooping iTunes for a song here and a song there, and I find myself doing it too. You have to consciously listen to a whole album from start to finish, so I guess it’s just indicative of what everyone’s doing now.
AMBY: Coming off of that success, does the idea of playing to crowds who maybe might not know you yet, does that excite you?
Jordan Léser: I play to a lot of crowds that don’t know me actually. That’s kind of more what I know because I had some wonderful support tours in Australia last year so there were a lot of shows where I was showing up completely unknown and playing to strangers. I get nervous for every show, but I find it much less daunting playing to people I don’t know. I think it’s maybe the lack of pressure or something.
AMBY: You played your first show in Toronto at the Rivoli, how are you finding the Canadian crowds so far, as opposed to the Aussie crowds?
Jordan Léser: I don’t have much to go off of yet, so I don’t want to make sweeping statements, because I don’t feel like that first night was enough to judge. But, Canadians in general are so friendly and open and warm and I think Australians and Canadians have that in common, so I think we both have great audiences.
AMBY: Lastly here, not that Australian Tourism needs much help, but what would be your top reason for a Canadian to visit Australia?
Jordan Léser: I grew up in Byron Bay, which is a little town on the East Coast of Australia, and that to me is one of my favourite spots in world. I mean, obviously we’ve got beautiful beaches and that’s most peoples’ highlight, along with the weather, but I mean I sound like a tourist board representative giving you the most cliche answer, but to be honest, that’s what people would love about our country.
AMBY: Well, thank you very much.
Jordan Léser: Thank you for chatting to me.
Thank you Jordan Léser, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Shannon Bryan |