Covenant Awards - GMA Canada
Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton
40th Annual Covenant Awards
“What happens when a pro songwriter converges at the point of faith, suffering and truth-telling? Potter & Clay is what happens. Jaylene has heartbreakingly and beautifully outdone herself at the meeting place of craftsmanship and the human journey. ”
Covenant Awards - GMA Canada
Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton
40th Annual Covenant Awards
April 18, 2018
Just announced...Cool to get this news today! This song speaks to my life right now more than ever.
I want to let my light shine, even through brokenness, stalled dreams, and doubt. God is still good,
and good to me, and I’m grateful. Big thanks to the fantastic folks at The international Songwriting
Competition for their hard work year after year, to the judges who gave my song a listen (and liked it!),
and to my friend Steve Bell and the lovely team at Signpost Music, my wonderful producer Murray Pulver
and all of the talented people who made “This Little Light” come alive with their singing, playing, mixing,
mastering...and to Manitoba Film & Music, FACTOR and wonderful supporters (not the least of which is my
Scott) for giving the song a chance to be heard...I’m a blessed gal to have worked with you all, and it’s really
neat to have this honour. Congrats to all of the nominees and fellow winners...keep creating, please.
Well, some exciting things...Off to the GMA/Covenant Awards this month, with 6 nominations for "Potter & Clay" and me...I'll also be sitting on a couple of panels, talking about songwriting...Should be a blast.
I also had the chance to sit and chat recently, with Drew Brown and James Kurtis. The have a podcast called "Between the Grooves". I've done interviews before, but I'm particularly pleased with this one. It was just...fun. And funny. And informative too. Kudos to them for having me.
My singing voice is still out of commission. I'm trying to not be desperately sad, but I admit to tears when I think about it too much. I need to give it a bit more time, I think, and prayer.
Take good care of one another...
September 5, 2017
Ack! How did this happen? The past months have been a blur...We now have a precious new daughter, Merryn Elora Grace, born July 17. Summer was a whirlwind of getting to know her, and having help from visiting nans, nanas, papas and friends...It's been fun, exhausting, unbelievable. I mean, we were told we'd never have ANY kids! Now we have two girls under 16 months. We still haven't quite picked out jaws up off of the floor.
Coming soon will be an announcement re: a Spotify release. I'm also supporting a wonderful Winnipeg organization called Inner City Youth Alive on Oct 20...consider coming to their banquet and lending a financial hand (they are truly AMAZING!). I've not been songwriting (miss it) though ideas have been percolating. The next NEW thing you'll hear from me will be a Christmas single.
Also, sign up for my newsletter (It's usually delivered once a month, unless there's something extra special to share in between) for more news, contests and content.
Be well, and God bless you!
May 17, 2017
Well, it has been an exciting morning...I found out that "Fallin'" has placed 2nd in the Christian category of the International Songwriting Competition! I have been a finalist for many year, so to place, out of 16,000 entries, is an amazing honour. The song was also given an honorable mention in the "Unpublished" category. I'm especially thrilled for my friend Matt Epp, though, who won the GRAND PRIZE this year...Absolutely amazing, and his song "The Sound" is spectacular. Congrats to him and his collaborator Faouzia too!
April 25, 2017
I'm so grateful I had the chance to share my story with CHVN. We are in middle of Infertility Awareness Week, and I know there are families in the middle
of a whole lot of pain. To hear the interview, click HERE.
Oh, and I'm kind of thrilled to be nominated for a 2017 WCMA Award for Spiritual Artist of the Year! :)
i am very grateful for the chance to Jen on 100 Huntley Street this week!
January 16th, 2017
Very excited about the upcoming Covenant Awards...I get to perform "Lord of All" at the Awards dinner with Steve Bell. If you are in Edmonton,
there are still tickets available:
GMA CANADA & THE WORLD VISION ARTIST COLLECTIVE PRESENT the 38th Annual Covenant Awards - January 26th
The premiere annual awards show honouring outstanding achievements in Canadian Christian Music. Featuring various performances from select 2017 Covenant Award Nominees.
I'm also playing a FREE CONCERT on January 28th, at Trinity Christian Reformed Church...Click the image below to reserve your free ticket...
January 9th, 2017
For anyone journeying through the desert right now, be it a desert of snow, or a desert of sand; of sorrow, of frustration, of hopeless, or even just of waiting...
December 6, 2016
Feeling a bit melancholy of late...maybe it's the colder weather, or perhaps the admin work that I've been trying to make
sense of since coming home from tour. Or, maybe it's that coming home was so bittersweet. We work hard as independent
artists, wearing all of the hats - the live shows are the icing on the cake, and so much fun. So, my spirit should pick up a bit
this week, as I get the chance to play some shows with Steve Bell as his opening act this week (Dec 9-11 in Regina, Saskatoon
and Edmonton). Do pray for us as we'll be driving on winter roads with our precious wee cargo! xo
PS - Robert White was kind enough to give "Potter & Clay" a great review...Read by clicking HERE! :)
November 6, 2016
Well, we are headed East after quite a fun tour. The greatest mishaps (thus far, and I do pray there won't be
any more!) have been someone backing into our rental van in a parking lot, a wrong turn out of Lethbridge that
made a two hour journey a four hour one, a punctured tire, and locking keys in the van! Not too shabby...
It's been interesting...I feel that I did what I could do to promote shows. I did notice that, with all of the options in people's
lives, it's a blessing to get people out to concerts. Of course, I wish there had been more people in the pews, but those
who were there were engaged, warm, supportive - sang along, laughed at my cheesy jokes and bought CDs! What more
can I ask for, really?
I met some amazing volunteers and promotors, and we had THE BEST hosts and hostesses, who fed us like we were
long lost family. Our wee daughter was treated like a little princess, and has invites to come back!
I always feel a bit sad heading home. The truth is, I love being on the road. This time, I feel like a lot came together
for me, in that I felt I was walking in obedience to a call to share the story of what God's been doing in my life. I'm so grateful
for that opportunity. I hope to have many more!
I also found out today, that I am connected to seven Covenant Award nominations! This is really a big honour. Hopefully
it will help the music reach more ears in the end...
I have also learned that I am not great with consistent tour vlogs. I managed half a dozen, then just plain forgot! Oops. So
sorry to any of you who were following them!
It wasn't too long ago that I was "stuck" on my couch. I really didn't know how to move forward, felt directionless.
My voice was shot. I'd blasted through some pretty serious personal failures. I wondered what was to become of
my life. I also became profoundly aware that people around me suffered in greater measure than I did. Who was
I to complain at all? I would read the news and feel the weight of it all...terrorist acts, drought in Africa, millions of
homeless, refugees, women going missing in my hometown...It was so overwhelming. I felt like, even though I believe
God sees and knows all, my concerns were so minor comparatively. It's the first time in my life I wondered about
God's goodness and faithfulness to one individual - me, amidst so much universal pain. I can tell you, on the other side
of that valley, that somehow, God reached out to me, as an individual. There was a fun thing - winning a Steve Bell
house concert even though I was one of thousands of entries, and some other things I won't get into. But, coolest of all
(for me), is seeing in my daughter some very specific details that I absolutely love...that seem to be God whispering to me
that I'm seen and known. We all are, even when we find it hardest to believe. Seen. Known. Loved. "Find Us" touches
on this a bit, and is a welcome break from more melancholy offerings on "Potter & Clay". I hope you like it too, and that
you will sense the Great Love finding you exactly where you are just now...(please excuse the pop-up ad for my Christmas
song..can't figure out how to get rid of it)
August 13, 2016
I just sent out a new newsletter...Have you signed up yet? :)
July 21, 2016
Here's an interview with Robert White of "Arts Connection" in Waterloo, ON, highlighting some of the new songs from
"Potter & Clay", available October 7th.
Some kind words for "Potter & Clay"
March 24th, 2016
Whoa...Has it been THAT long since an update? I am so sorry! Hey listen, I just sent out a newsletter...have you signed
up to receive it? You can do it on this page! Record updates, thoughts from me...
I'd love to include you.
In the meantime, Happy Easter, and God bless you!
February 8th, 2016
Hello Beautiful People!
I thought I'd send an update your way and say hello...It's been a couple of weeks now since the "marathon" crowdfunding campaign, concert and tidying some things up with a couple of jobs as well...(On Mat leave, I can't be earning any income, day-job, music...nada. Hence the big push that came pre-January 25th).I'm happy to be on Maternity Leave just now, and able to focus on fewer things, getting ready for the "Arrival" most of all. I look forward to the time down the line, when my main job will be getting music into people's ears and music players...It's been a while since I've had that privilege. For now, I have to admit that juggling less is feeling pretty good.
I've included this photo of my husband Scott and me, as a way of acknowledging him. When I look back at the past several years and all we've been through, I feel so grateful for the grace of God in my life, and for the journey we've been on as a couple. I can tell you that Scott's support of me as an artist is a tremendous gift to my life. People who are married to artists will understand that it comes with its challenges! I'll never forget having a bit of a meltdown a few years back...I was rehearsing and nothing seemed to be going right. I blubbered out an apology to Scott for getting so emotional, and he responded with a big hug and a "That's okay, Honey, you're an artiste!" (I don't know if it's the memory of his use of the French term for artist or the sound of his Scottish accent that makes me smile more) In any case, he's married to a bit of a "kook" (haha) but his support allows me to create and to be taking this massive album-recording leap of faith, all while growing/having a baby. (Whew) I am truly blessed.
I wanted to share with you that the recording of the audience singing (at the concert) will turn up on "Potter & Clay"! I'm so excited about this. This project is the sum of many "parts", and the answer to many prayers. Hearing the audience singing "Pray, Pray Again" is so special and significant for me because it symbolizes community and collaboration - two things that all independent artists need from their families, friends and fans, now more than ever if they want to record. It will always be on the album as a reminder of all of you who've encouraged and supported this. Thank you so much.
Finally, I wanted to encourage you and share some feedback regarding "Let the Silence Speak", a song that so many of you have helped make happen for the coming album through your crowdfunding support. I've had a few people mention that the song meant a lot to them when they heard it at the concert. One person emailed me and has allowed me to share her message:
"I was at your concert at St. Benedict's last weekend. In a funny kind of way I was thrilled to hear the song that you wrote about infertility. When I was married, I went through extensive treatment that did not work out. My marriage ended as a result and I often thought through my difficult time of grieving that it would be amazing if there were a song that captured the feelings of not being able to have a family. I have a friend that is a singer songwriter and I often dreamt of hiring him to write something but never had the courage to ask him. Your words and voice were perfect. Five years have passed since my experience. Your words profoundly spoke to me. Thank you for that."
I was so humbled by this, and felt so honoured that she would gift me with her story, a tough story. I pass it on here, to encourage us all that our shared experiences can bring hope, healing and comfort to others. That is my ardent prayer for this project. Many of you have also shared your stories and experiences with me, and it has meant so much that you would trust me in this way.
Thanks again for all of the support, and for reading this...I hope it finds you well.
Please stay in touch!
PS - The goal is to have advanced copies sent to the pre-buyers in May or June, and the commercial release will be planned for sometime in the fall. There's a lot to do, and a wee one to welcome, but I am confident it can all be done... xo
January 20th, 2016
Wonderful article written by Erin Lebar in the Winnipeg Free Press:
...and a wonderful interview with Jayme Giesbrecht on CFAM:
“Potter & Clay” FIVE DAY CONTEST: Ok…So, some really neat things have been happening, including being contacted
by a friend in PEI, whose sweetheart (Crystal Stevens) was very moved by the story of this project and who happens to
be a potter. She has offered a generous “prize” for a wee contest: two original mugs and two cereal bowls ($100 value)
from http://redrockspottery.ca/ to be mailed to the winner this Spring! Here’s how to enter (3 ways!):
1) Become a backer of the “Potter & Clay” project (all current backers receive one entry automatically) either by donating
on thegofundme.com/jaylenejohnson page, via PayPal using the DONATE button at my 'store' at www.jaylenejohnson.com,
or via cheque/cash.
2) Share my crowdfunding campaign to your social media circles (eg. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and tag me (or private
message me) so that I know you have and can enter you (very important!). You can do this once per day (Wed-Sun) for a
total of 5 entries. The winner will be drawn sometime next week, once the crowdfunding campaign has closed.
3) Share my crowdfunding campaign with your network via email, and BCC me to let me know you have!
The contest will close with the closing of the campaign on Sunday evening, January 24th. The contest is open to ALL!
THANK YOU CRYSTAL STEVENS!!!
*it is very important to tag me or to message me when you share, so that I know to enter you! Good luck! :)
January 18th, 2016
Hello Beautiful People!
I wanted to share some highlights from the past couple of weeks:
- My executive producer, Steve Bell, came by the studio to play guitar for one of my songs. He is so good, and such
an encouraging, awesome person...
- We've had Marc Arnould in to play, as well as Mike Penner, with some other fantastic players still to come. It's been an
honour to have such talented musical "guests"...
- Shaw TV turned our livingroom into a TV studio this morning, and will air a song and interview with Tracy Koga from
Wednesday to Saturday (on Shaw's "Go! Winnipeg)
- Jayme Giesbrecht aired a radio interview on CFAM 950
- Erin Labar of the Winnipeg Free Press has graciously given this project and upcoming concert some coverage in the local
paper for Tuesday, January 19th
- Over 60 people have become "backers" of "Potter & Clay" and the feedback has been so encouraging! Thank you!
The crowdfunding campaign via www.gofundme.com/
time to back this project and receive one of the many "perks", such as an advance copy of the album. I've also been sending a
bonus "perk" via email to people who've joined the effort. :)
You can also contribute via PayPal, using a "Donate" button at my website...This option involves no extra fees (GoFundMe takes
7.9%). Some people have sent cheques as well.
It might sound strange to read this, but I see this as a collaborative effort...THANK YOU for helping make music happen. Your
support is making a world of difference, and my prayer is that this music will make a difference for many people as well.
Tickets for the concert on Saturday will be available at the door, or can be purchased in advance at my website (CLICK HERE). I
am looking forward to playing these songs live...Davis Plett will help back me on guitar, and Kimberly Oost (singer with Don Amero)
will sing some backing vocals as well. I hope to see fellow Winnipeggers there...the weather is supposed to warm up by then too!
"Potter & Clay" Acoustic Album Preview and Fundraising Concert
Saturday, January 23rd
7:30PM (7PM doors)
saint benedict's table (gathers at All Saint's Church)
175 Colony St
Tickets $15 at the door, or online at www.jaylenejohnson.com
Free for children 12 and under
Parking behind Great West Life
THANK YOU for caring about this. :)
Be well, and take good care of one another...
PS-If you haven't had the chance yet, please check out the already recoded title track and an interview Kyle Rudge was kind enough
to do with me at https://soundcloud.com/
January 10th, 2016
Happy New Year!
Firstly, MAJOR THANKS and hugs and high fives to all of you who have become backers of "Potter & Clay"...I am so excited to share
these songs with you! Stay tuned for a bonus "perk" headed to your inboxes very soon...(yay!)
But, on to other news...I flubbed. It's been happening a lot lately - missing details, spacing out. Apparently this is called "Baby Brain",
meaning that my former struggles in this area of my brain have now increased by up to 8%. (Really, who studies these things?)
...I posted all over social media that tickets for the January 23rd concert were available online via my website, but didn't realize that the
date of the event (on my site) was set to a past date. It's all been fixed now, so if buying a ticket online tickles your fancy, it's an option
for you! (sigh)
This whole project is such a leap of faith...What is it that compels us independent artists to keep taking the risks? Some might look
again to brain composition (!) and, for me, this may be partly true! But I feel that this is my seed to sow, come what may, and when I close
my eyes sometimes, I dream of someone listening to this music, when it's finally "out there", and remembering they are not alone - they
are Divinely imagined and fiercely loved. If only that message would fully drench all of us, through and through...spacey brains 'n all. Yet,
even as I type this, I am profoundly aware of how each person who connects with, encourages and supports an artist is also a seed sower - or
ground-waterer or weed-whacker..."We" can all co-create something rich and lasting...This is community, and it's humbling and beautiful.
So, if you'd still like to be a weed-whacker backer of the "Potter & Clay" project:
- You can prepurchase the album or donate for other perks at www.gofundme.com/jaylenejohnson until end-of-day January 24th.
- PayPal donation via the "store" at my website...these contributions get added to the campaign as an "offline donation", and still receive
the same perks. They also save me a 7.9% fee...
- Also, a few days ago, Incarnation Ministries connected with me about patronage...if you live in Canada and are interested in making a
contribution that would receive a tax receipt, contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some of you have been asking how else you can help...a big help is spreading the word...sharing posts, bringing or inviting people to the
concert (if you live in/close to Winnipeg). Truly, the mere fact that you buy (or pre-buy) the music is not something to be taken for granted
these days, and it is so appreciated.
Also, the next couple of weeks are something of a marathon, so if you are praying people, please consider (when you chat inward and upward):
- the crowdfunding campaign: that the word of this campaign will reach everyone who would be interested in pre-purchasing a record and/or
supporting it for other "perks" (sometimes social media sites algorithms prevent followers from seeing posts...so I have been posting an
- that word of the January 23rd concert will also reach everyone who would come... (details on my events page)
- For physical and mental health in the juggle of being an expectant mom + plus recording "artist", rehearsal organizer, promoter, publicist, accountant/bookkeeper, manager, volunteer coordinator, fundraiser, ticket distributor (and every other role an independent artist carries), and
finishing up a lot of details with my day job(s), as my maternity leave will start January 25th. This is not a complaint...it's all really good stuff, but
even a lot of good stuff can be a tad overwhelming...All of you fellow jugglers-of-life reading this will understand. :)
Take care of one another...and email me to say hi if you have a minute...
PS-I am actually really thrilled to have "Baby Brain"... :)
(photo credit: Pamela Penner Photography)
Hello Beautiful People!
I thought I'd sneak in one final update before Christmas...including
another homemade video with some snippets from the studio this week.
It was a lot of fun, working with some very talented folk. I feel so blessed
and fortunate to get to be doing this album, and with the help of many of you!
Have a look here: Studio Snippets - Video Update 2 - Potter & Clay
Tickets for my show in Winnipeg on January 23rd are also on sale at my
website: www.jaylenejohnson.com . I'll be playing through acoustic versions
of songs from the record, accompanied by Davis Plett on guitar...This will
be a really good chance to hear the songs in simple form, and the stories that inspired them. Come! :)
Now, to pause from all of the business-y (but good) stuff...
For years, for me, Christmas was the thing. The tree went up early, I was passionate about presents - I didn't even mind weeks of
retail Christmas carols. Then, I started attending a church where Advent is the thing: slow down; anticipate; hope; remember those
in dark places; wait, watch, pray, prepare...I missed singing Christmas carols in church as soon as December hit, frankly, and
wondered if this delayed gratification wasn't some form of Anglican torture. ;-)
Over the years, however, the Advent season has crept into my heart as an increasingly needed part of my spiritual walk. In short,
Advent has made Christmas more meaningful and more worthy of feasting...in its time and place. Our tree still went up a couple of
weekends ago, and it's not as though I now have a bah-humbug attitude when it comes to carols and cards and parties. I suppose
it's just that there have been some pretty dark seasons in my life over the years, and, in this context, Advent has begun to make much
more sense. Now, coming through some of it, especially with a welcomed wee one of our own on the way and a good-sized camel-load
of new music, the hope that is Christmas - faith in Christ and all He meant and means for the world - makes more sense too.
Ironically, I have been insanely busy through this "slowing down" time - as have we all, I'm sure. At the back of my mind though, is this
awareness of hardship, mine and others' - emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, vocational, relational - all the stuff that a Saviour was
sent to redeem. I hope it makes me more compassionate...I'm working on that. It definitely makes me even more excited to celebrate
Christmas Day and all that baby represents for the world. Words like "peace", "Emmanuel", "Saviour" are far more profound.
So, this Christmas Eve and as dawn comes with "Le reveillon" my prayer is that all that Christmas is meant to be will sink deep into our
hearts, and send us into 2016 with a sense of newness, peace, wonder and deep awareness of how greatly loved we are. No more waiting
and watching in darkness without hope...
Merry Christmas, everyone...Be well.
PS-A great resource for some exploring re: Advent can be found here, at poet and theologian Malcom Guite's website:
https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/blog/ ...I also wrote a couple of songs for the season, inspired by a couple of Malcolm's sonnets...
You can hear a rough recording of one of them at www.stbenedictstable.ca. It was sung during communion last Sunday, which you'll
hear with the floor creaks and the voice of Rev. Jamie Howison in the background....
December 10th, 2015
My GoFundMe campaign launched in the middle of the night...I'm excited and nervous (mostly excited!).
You can read more and support the project here:
Watch for updates from me! Thanks so much!
***I have been getting ready for a crowdfunding campaign for my album project, to be recorded at Signpost Music with producer,
Murray Pulver, and Executive Producer, Steve Bell. This is really exciting for me, as it's been a long time since I released a
full-length record. If you know that you will at least support the record by pre-buying a digital or physical copy, can you let me know?
There will be other levels of support and other perks too...
This will really help me to set realistic targets for my campaign. You can email me and let me know if you're "yay or nay", at
In the meantime, you can check out this interview that tells a bit of the story of the journey I've been on to get here...Oh, and stream one of the songs we've already recorded too (for a limited time only...)
You can also view a wee video I made about the whole thing if you like! :)
Jaylene's YouTube Album Announcement
November 23rd, 2015
Dear Beautiful People,
Snow has finally landed here in Winnipeg, and as much as I struggle with the cold, I must admit tthat it looks quite beautiful
I wanted to send a quick update…As happens sometimes in post-production, scenes are cut from films, and the Christmas
song I mentioned in my last newsletter ended up on the cutting room floor of the William Shatner Christmas movie…However,
it was picked up for “Once Upon a Holiday” on the Hallmark channel, airing November 25th at 8/7 central. It’s a song called
“This is Christmas”, cowritten by me, Arun Chaturvedi, and the artists: The Willows. Kudos to the music supervisor who worked
hard to land us the placement...
Also, this Saturday, November 28th at 7PM, I’ll be leading music for an event called: Songs and Stillness for Advent at 175 Colony
St in Winnipeg (All Saints Anglican Church). It’s designed to bring peace, calm and reflection to kick off Advent, and prepare us for
a very busy few weeks before the holidays. Joining me is Larry Campbell (bass), Davis Plett (guitar) and Michael Penner (violin).
We’ll play a couple of traditional songs, but the rest are ones I’ve written, including two drawn from the wonderful poetry of English
poet, Malcolm Guite. December 20th, I’ll be leading music for liturgy, same place, same time…Finally, there is a tentative date for
a concert to showcase new songs from the coming record - January 23rd in Winnipeg (to be confirmed).
Some crowd-funding incentive ideas have come in...Thanks! I hope to have more information about this very soon, as I am shooting
to have the bulk of my album fundraising done by January 24th…More soon, and keep the ideas coming...
In the meantime, I wanted to let those of you who have been so supportive of what I do have a chance to listen to a demo of an
a cappella song to be re-recorded and lengthened for the record. You may have already listened to a “live off the floor” version of
this one, but I love what producer Murray Pulver added with some harmonies here…”I Won’t Be Frightened Anymore”. I’ll leave it
posted for a bit yet…I can’t wait to share more recorded music with you!
Last, but not least, thanks so much to those of you who showed support for Shoal Lake 40’s “Freedom Road”. You can read about
the progress of this project here:
Be well, and take good care of one another…
A copy of my newsletter...TIME SENSITIVE!
Thursday, October 29th, 2015
Hello Beautiful People!
Well, I haven't written since the summer…and what a time it's been!
The last time I wrote, I mentioned that I made a decision to rent a cabin to do some soul-searching and
some solo writing. My goal was to write a song every day, but since my husband would be joining me for the
second week, I aimed for two songs a day during the first week.
Now, anyone who has an arts practice knows that this kind of a goal is simply not possible without putting away
self-criticism. So, I decided that whatever songs came, came. I had some ideas I had never finished, and new ideas
came as I read, walked, played. I wrote two songs a day for a week.
Before there is any thought that I have some kind of killer work ethic, let me be honest and say that I learned I can
waste vast amounts of time even with absolutely nothing to do but stare at moth cocoons and wildflowers. I also learned
that I loathe moth cocoons as much as the actual moths, that mosquito-netting to keep the spiders at bay during the night
is valuable but does not make for the most relaxing night's sleep, and that I really am a city girl through and through…One
week in the wild would have been quite enough, though I am grateful for the time.
So, now I have songs…over thirty songs to whittle down into an album. My heart is leading me to share
the ones that are prayers, even some laments. Maybe my words can give voice to other peoples' experiences and longings
too…That's my desire. I'm blessed that Signpost Music has offered their studio, and that I've had the chance to work with
Juno Award-winning producer, Murray Pulver. We've recorded a couple of songs so far, and I hope to record an entire album
at some point in the new year. I'm excited to share - nervous, but excited.
One thing on the horizon is fundraising for a new album. Even with a place to record, there are a lot of costs associated with
making a record: production, musicians, engineering, mixing, mastering, album art, manufacturing, marketing…Steve Bell has
kindly offered that those who'd like to contribute can do so through his connection with Incarnation Ministries and receive a
tax receipt. I'll have more info on that in due time.
I've also thought about launching a crowd-funding campaign to raise some of the funds. As supporters of me and my music,
I'd love to hear your ideas for "rewards". What kinds of things would you be interested in having from me, other than the music
itself? Ideas welcome!
Finally, I want to ask something that I've never asked for before (at least, not via my newsletter). Would you sign a petition?
Concerned citizens are looking for 10,000 signatures by Friday October 30th, in support of building "Freedom Road" for Shoal
Lake 40 First Nations. For those who don't live in Manitoba, Winnipeg, where I live, gets its clean water supply from Shoal Lake.
This is because of an aqueduct built about 100 years ago, forcibly displacing the people of the Shoal Lake 40 Community. What
began as a peninsula, where they live, has become an island. This means they can only access the main highway (and, thus,
important services) by boat, or by crossing the ice during the winter. This can be treacherous, and nine lives have been lost
doing so. Additionally, this very community that supplies our water lives with a boil water advisory, and has for nearly two
decades - a gross injustice. Without a road, they have not been able to build and maintain a proper water treatment facility.
City of Winnipeg counsellors are set to visit Shoal Lake 40 on Friday, October 30th (tomorrow!), and have indicated that a vast
demonstration of public support would go a long way toward getting a bridge and road for Shoal Lake written into this year's budget.
Therefore, time is of the essence! We are looking for signatures from inside and outside of the province (and even outside of
Canada!), from anyone whose heart could be so moved as to say that all people deserve clean drinking water, and that the people
of Shoal Lake 40 deserve justice after all that has been taken from them. You can sign here:
Thank you so much for your love and support, and for taking the time to read this long newsletter. Oh, and send your crowd-funding
PS - A Christmas song I cowrote will be in a Hallmark Christmas movie this year! Listen for "This is Christmas", performed by the
Willows, in "Just in Time for Christmas", starring William Shatner. I also have a few cowrites on an upcoming release by Luke
McMaster. I'll share links when I can…
October 23rd, 2015 (time sensitive)
As most of my friends know, I support Shoal Lake 40 and the construction of "Freedom Road",
which would give them year-round access to the Transcanada Hwy, and therefore access to services
and contact with the rest of Canada. They have lived in isolation ever since a decision was made
about 100 years ago to build an aqueduct that would supply clean drinking water to the City of
Winnipeg. One of the cruel results of this was that now they themselves cannot access clean drinking
water, and have been under a boil water advisory for nearly two decades. A road would allow a proper
water treatment plant to be built, and in a more cost efficient way.
As my friend Steve Bell put it to me one day, any time something is "taken" from someone else, there
is usually some kind of 'exchange'. This is not the same as "giving" where that exchange may simply
involve the "good feeling" someone gets from the act…Not relevant here. Much was taken from the
people of Shoal Lake 40, and what has been the fair exchange? Winnipeg is the clear winner, and we
profit every time we turn on our tap. Tragically, nine lives have been lost while crossing the water,
trying to connect to services or to "get home". The value of these lives cannot be replaced by the
construction of this road, but should certainly be enough to warrant our support of it. We must not
close our eyes.
My plea to you today is to sign this petition. The City is currently in budget talks. They have said
they will pay for a third of the cost of the road (with the province and the federal gov't to make up
the rest) This will not happen unless it is officially penned into a budget line.
On a strictly humanitarian note, it is the right thing to do. Canadian communities should not be
living with years of boil water advisories, and we all agree that clean water is a basic human right.
In fact, we pull out our wallets to support the digging of wells overseas…So, can we support our
own citizens here? There are many things that demand our time, attention and money. Let this be
one that stands out as absolutely necessary, to "right a wrong" and bring justice to this community.
September 30th, 2015
Hi there and thanks for stopping by!
Dates are being tossed around for some time in the studio to record a couple of songs with Murray Pulver.
He's an acclaimed and fantastic producer, and I can't wait to see what we come up with. Just being in a studio
again feels amazing...It's been such a journey.
I keep writing new songs for liturgy at saint benedict's table. They record the services, so if you'd like to check
them out, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. Bear in mind these aren't pro recordings by any means.
Happy Wednesday everyone...
September 23rd, 2015
I am very excited about my one-on-one mentoring session for Songwriters Association of Canada tomorrow morning.
I truly love songwriting and helping other people grow in their craft. It's a privilege!
I'll have more album news coming very soon!
July 27th, 2015
Hello Beautiful People!
There has been a change of plans..
I had really looked forward to spending a couple of weeks in Nashville this summer. I love it there and have written
some great songs there too. But I needed to cancel, and my path this summer has me closer to home.
I am happy to say that I'll be taking some time for a writer's retreat - solo! No technology available either. I've been
working on songs for a new record. To be honest, I have enough songs for a few records, but what I am soul-searching
for is my voice as an artist. If I am going to invest in a new project this next year (and ask other people to invest) I really
need to know what I want to say and how I want to say it. I've spent the past several years setting that part of me aside
for various reasons, and focusing on others and what they needed to say through their music.
I plan to record a project that reflects my faith, perhaps more overtly and profoundly than ever. The time I spent in the music
industry left me feeling desolate in many ways. While I cherish the relationships I formed with some amazing people (and
always will), I'm still sorting through my experience and how it's impacted me, both negatively and positively. Somehow, in
all of it, I sometimes felt very lost, and the physical loss of my voice didn't help.
I want to create authentic, beautiful, truthful songs that come alongside people in their journeys; their questions, their joys
and sorrows, the events of their lives. Really, isn't that the goal of all songwriters on different levels? Still, more than
ever, if I am investing and reinvesting in this expensive and often heart-breaking landscape of music, I want, more than ever,
for it to be meaningful and purposeful, and count for something.
I've really loved co-writing for and with people, and hope that continues for the rest of my life (here's a link to a recent cowrite
with Chris Burke-Gaffney and Lanie McAuley). But I know to the core of my being that it's time for me to write for me.
My deep desire is that I can give you all something worth listening to, and perhaps find a voice for you as well.
So, that's the goal...amidst day-jobs and self-doubt and physical challenges, it's still the goal. There's a small miracle in that.
Or maybe a huge one...to keep hoping, dreaming and risking...no small thing.
I hope the same for all of you...courage to be truthful, faith to believe that you are never forgotten, wisdom to navigate challenges
and tough decisions, joy in sharing your gifts and abundance...You are wonderful human beings, and I'm so blessed you still read
my newsletter. ;-)
I look forward to sharing more of my songs with you! For now, here's a very rough recording of a song I introduced at a service
at saint benedict's table not too long ago - it's inspired by old-school gospel music, and features Larry Campbell, Bel Derksen and
Judith Newsom with a very spontaneous, back-porch style vocal arrangement.
Thanks for sharing your love with me!
May 13th, 2015
New blog post here!
I'm also happy to share that "You're the Reason Why" made it to the semi-final round in the International Songwriting Competition
in a new category for me, AAA. The competition has thousands of entries from all over the world, and it's always an honour to be
I'm also thrilled to have a cowrite on the recent EP release of Taylor Watson. Taylor's an amazing songwriter and singer, and it
happens to be her birthday, today.(Happy Birthday, Taylor!) The song is called "Mine", and it already had traction as a single by
Jody Direen in New Zealand, debuting in the Top 10 for iTunes there.
I'm planning to spend a good chunk of my summer in Nashville, looking for songs for a new record...More on this as it unfolds.
I hope this finds you well and happy...thanks for stopping by...
March 27th, 2015
Happy Spring! Though as I type, it is still the season of Lent, for those of us in that way-of-life...But Easter is on the horizon,
as is my birthday...So, it's my favorite time of year!
I had blogged that I was taking on the Songwriter's Association of Canada challenge...I realized during week one that it
wasn't what I was looking for and needing as a writer right now, however wonderful it was! What I am seeking right now is spiritual
and artistic renewal.
I've also been busy doing some cowriting with Luke McMaster and Arun Chaturvedi. Luke is a phenomal artist/writer, and Arun is a
great producer/writer. I love what they are doing with the songs we've created. Here's a link to a song Arun and I wrote and recorded
a while back, You're the Reason Why, ...Let me know what you think! I also had the chance to write with Chris Burke-Gaffney
and an up-and-coming FANTASTIC talent, Lanie Mcauley. I will share these songs as soon as I can.
My February 27th show went really well. Thanks to all who came out to hear us. I can't tell you how happy I feel singing again. I've
almost forgotten how hard it was to not have proper use of my voice...Almost. :) The challenging thing for the show was narrowing
down a set list. As a writer, I write across such a broad spectrum of genres...As an artist, what is my message? The two links I'm
posting today are so different and demonstrate this dilemma well.
I can say that what has been really close to my heart these days has been writing songs for my church congregation. I wrote some
for Advent, and now a couple for Lent. Here's a very raw recording of one called "Let Me Find Mercy":
I am blessed to have a church that is so open to original music, and that allows for a lyric that doesn't wrap up in a neat little gospel
package all of the time, but allows for some of the angst we can experience as people of faith.
Anyway, as always, I so appreciate hearing from you and what's going on in your worlds. Thank you for continuing
to be with me on this journey.
February 12th, 2015
Valentine's Day is approaching...I'm keenly aware that it's not a fun weekend for people whose hearts are aching. Here's a song
that I hope will encourage you. I wrote it a long time ago for a friend who felt so alone and disconnected, she couldn't even connect
to her own emotions and let herself cry. Peace be with us all.
February 11, 2015
I'm happy to start posting some lyric videos for you...Here's one of a song that was featured on "Pretty Little Liars":
February 9, 2015
Less than three weeks until showtime! I'm looking forward to hitting the stage again...
But, admittedly, I've been in a sort of rut creatively. So, rather than make excuses, I decided to join the Songwriters
Association of Canada's Songwriting Challenge for 2015. Real challenges. A real pitch to an artist. A real butt-kicking!
More on it here...
Part of the challenge involves regular blog posting (I usually start off with the intent of regularity, but now I'll have very
helpful deadlines!) So stay tuned for more posts in the Songwriting section of my site.
Hope you're well. Better than well...
December 12th, 2014
With everything that’s gone on with my voice the past couple of years, 2014 kind of snuck up on me – it’s been
10 years since the release of Finding Beautiful, a record that meant a great deal to me. It’s also been 10 years to
the day that I had a car accident that changed my life.
After a very full year of touring and promotion from Campbell River, BC to the Maritimes by car, I played my last gig
of the year in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It was December 11th, 2004. The next morning I was eager to get home.
It had snowed the night before, but my hosts and I checked and the TransCanada Highway was still open. I remember
thinking that if I could just make it to Kenora, I’d get home – no problem. I could go slowly.
Later that morning, I realized that going slowly meant having countless transport trucks kissing my bumper before they
passed me. They had somewhere to be as well, apparently.
If you’ve ever driven the TransCanada Highway in North-Western Ontario, you’ll know that there are two lanes through
much of it, and no significant shoulder. So, when my car hit an ice patch near Upsala, I was bound to hit something.
I remember seeing white (probably the airbag) and I have a picture of a semi-truck in my memory, but I don’t remember
impact. I was later told that I hit a transport truck head-on. My Honda Element, packed full of gear, instruments, merch,
furniture, Christmas presents, was “soup”. I remember coming to and trying to drive her – Blue Ellie – then tasting blood
and bits of glass. I pulled my mirror down and saw some blood and started screaming, “Jesus, Jesus!” I thought of my
Almost immediately there was a man at my window. He called himself “Willie”. I call him an angel. He put a coat over me,
helped find my glasses, held my hand firmly and kept me as calm as possible. He stayed until an ambulance was able to
get to me. Others tried to gather what they could of my strewn belongings. They had to pry the doors to get me out of the car,
and they put me on a backboard.
When I was in the ambulance, a paramedic named Kyle (another angel) took down my information. Upon hearing my name,
he told me he knew my music because he was a volunteer DJ at the Christian radio station in Thunder Bay that played my
singles. He also told me that he hadn’t planned on working that morning, but had switched shifts with someone at the last minute.
I don’t remember how we got on the subject, but I told him that my favourite song (at the time) had been playing at the time of the
accident - Jars of Clay, “Faith Enough”.
They were short-staffed at the hospital, and, for a Sunday morning, there seemed to be a lot of emergencies. After a few hours
I was able to be detached from the backboard, and someone helped me to cut my clothes off and pick glass out of my skin.
My hosts, a lovely pastor and his wife, were there for me, and took me back to their home. I walked out with them while the nurses
murmured to each other “Isn’t she the one that hit the transport truck?”
The connections that happened that day were nothing short of Divine. The owners of the radio station attended the church where
I had been singing – they were friends and had, in fact, made the connection for me to sing there in the first place. Kyle found out
the address of my hosts, perhaps through them. On his break, he drove the hour and a half back to Upsala to try to rescue my
things from “scavengers” (there are so many accidents on this highway that some people “scavenge” regularly, picking up scattered
belongings) Later that day, he returned my guitars, my keyboard, my merch, my luggage and a whole host of other things. He
told me he even tried to get my Jars of Clay CD out of the player, and brought me one of Blue Ellie’s air vents – as a momento of
the car I would never again see. He then told me that he would go back for the rest later and make sure that it all arrived in Winnipeg.
As it turned out, he was getting married just outside of Winnipeg not even a week later, and was happy to drive my things home to me.
My hosts were so kind, making sure I got on the plane the next day, their church paying to send anything they could via Greyhound.
I will never forget their grace and hospitality. It was so clear that Kyle had been ‘placed’ in that ambulance for me as well. What were
the odds that he would be marrying someone 700 kms away and so close to my home within the week AND be so eager to help
I further saw God’s hand in the fact that I had both a doctor’s appointment and dentist appointment scheduled for a couple of days
after I got back. Both would have required a long wait to see them had those appointments not been scheduled, and the insurance
headaches to come required accurate and immediate medical reports.
Really, there were a lot of miracles involved, but I struggled at the time. If God could make sure I had Kyle in the ambulance, and
medical appointments scheduled, why didn’t He prevent the accident in the first place?
I don’t know.
People asked me what I learned from the accident – a near death experience…What was my epiphany? I reeled at the question.
The year that followed included excruciating back pain and body spasms that made me very angry with God that He hadn’t taken my
life in the wreck. And just a few weeks after my accident, the sister of a peer of mine was killed in a crash on the same stretch of road.
None of it made sense to me. And where I should have felt grateful for my life, I just wished I was with Jesus in Heaven many, many
What I had to come to peace with is that perhaps sometimes there are
no reasons why. I learned that anything can happen to any of us,
but that “everything happens for a reason” might not be true. Sometimes
things just happen – no rational explanation, no great epiphanies
– just pain and grief. I learned that we need to call things as they are
sometimes in order to move past them. I am still learning this. So,
I don’t believe God made it happen, or even let it happen. It just happened.
But I also believe that He had me in mind in bringing such gracious community
around me – to care for me, to calm me down, to pray for me and encourage
me. He knew what I would need, and provided it. It may seem at odds with
my previous statement, but I am okay to live with the seeming contradiction.
In my view, the pain was neither prevented nor allowed, but through it I experienced
His faithfulness, and that of community when I needed it, and I am grateful.
It took about a year and a half to feel “normal” again – no spasms or severe back
pain. I'm still nervous to drive winter roads. Also, a deviated septum caused by the
airbag to my face led ultimately to the surgery in 2012 that injured my vocal chord and left
me with vocal issues for the past couple of years…But that story has been told a lot of late.
I suppose I wanted to tell this particular story again because 10 years seems to be something of a milestone. And God brought me
through it. My back is healed, and I’m singing again. I can tell you without reservation that there have been times over the past decade
that I’ve doubted I could sing again, let alone perform. But I have and I am. God was gracious with my anger, and faithful when I was
faithless. Maybe one day I will have a life-changing epiphany about it all, but for now this is enough.
I have a lot to be thankful for.
December 6th, 2014
I love this time of year, even though it's cold and dark and a bit chaotic. It's the music...I love the music. Granted, I think
Christmas and holiday music should be legally banned until December 1st (or at least until after Remembrance Day - Nov 11)
but I love the carols, and am even learning to appreciate the season of Advent...waiting and watching and anticipating
Christmas. In fact, our church doesn't do any carols until Christmas Eve...But that's a discussion for another post...
Check out three of my Christmas/Holiday tunes at www.manitobamusic.com along with many other great Manitoba musicians.
Also, if you are looking to come to my show on February 27th, you can already buy tickets at
November 23, 2014
I have to admit to riding a bit of a high today after my show last night. So many great people came together to make it a
wonderful night, and my voice held up better than I expected, no doubt due in large part to all of the prayers that have gone
up for me. Here's a video that gives a little glimpse into the evening...You can't see Davis Plett or Mike Penner, but they sure
did a lot to make me sound good! :)
November 15th, 2014
The Purple Room show for November 22nd has SOLD OUT! Tickets for the February 27th show are now on sale at www.jaylenejohnsonlivefeb27.eventbrite.ca.
November 11th, 2014
To all of those who serve and have served Canada and its allies, thank you for your service. We will remember you.
On another note, tickets for the November 22 show are all spoken for, but there will be another show February 27th, 2015...I hope to see you then!
Finally, kudos to Danielle DaSilva for the great article: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/souwester/A-new-voice-282165891.html
October 17th, 2014
Tickets are available online for the November 22nd show at https://jaylenejohnsonlive.eventbrite.ca
October 15th, 2014
16 tunes have been pulled from the catalogue for the November 22 show, including cowrites with Josh Schroeder, JJ Heller,
Sierra D Noble, Keith Macpherson and Renee Lamoureux, Alana Levandoski, Janelle Nadeau, Jim Kimball, Jim Reilley,
Nicole Scott, Arun Chaturvedi, Jason Gantt, Patricia Conroy, Jillia Jackson and Amber Eskola Williams...It'll be strange,
challenging and wonderful to put my own take on these! #Jaylenefinallydoesashow #Nov22 #ThePurpleRoomatFrame
This is a really risky move...new band...new tunes (sort of) I've never sung/played (most of) them live before...Eeek! What am I doing?
October 13, 2014
Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!
I have many blessings to count, but tonight, more than anything else, I find myself wanting to reach out to all of you with
gratitude for staying with me, particularly through these past couple of years with my vocal woes. I'm happy to say that I'm
feeling hopeful; getting reacquainted with my voice, singing more and more, and finding myself singing spontaneously
around the house again - a very good thing! Thank you for all of your prayers and kind words. I appreciate you!
I've booked a show - my first in 18 months. I'm nervous, but excited too! I'll be teaming up with a gifted guitar player by the
name of Davis Plett, and a talented violin player, Mike Penner. So, if you're in Winnipeg on November 22nd, plan to
come out to hear me SING! I've decided to do songs from my catalogue that people haven't heard yet but that I love, as
well as a few of my co-writes that other artists have recorded. I'll likely throw in a few of my favourites to play and sing as
well, to celebrate the fact that I can play and sing at all. :) More show details will follow soon…
I recently had the great honour of attending the CD release of Janelle Nadeau, a lovely harpist, singer and songwriter. She
is on a mission to transform the way we view the harp with performances where she plays and sings original songs. We met
a few years ago, and recently teamed up to cowrite the bulk of her new album. I'm so very pleased for her to finally have her
own release! (She tours with a fantastic group called Winterharp as well)
BreakOut West happened in Winnipeg this year. I attended; went to see other artists/bands until the wee hours, worked at
home until 5 or 6 in the morning, caught a few hours of sleep then did it all again…As exhausting as it may sound, I was
energized. Being in that environment, with my peers, people I haven't seen in way too long, getting inspired by all of the talent,
learning new things about the music industry - It felt great! I plan to blog about it soon…Music conferences can be a fantastic
experience. I'm thankful I was able to attend this year.
There is more good news on the songwriting front…I am sorry to be vague, but I'll have more to announce next month. In the
meantime, I hope you feel blessed, cherished and surrounded by joy this thanksgiving and as we head into the Fall.
September 20, 2014
Quick update re: vocal recovery...
My surgery appears to have been successful. I still have a scar on my left vocal chord, but the surgeon was able to loosen it a bit.
Now it's up to me to take care of my voice and try to strengthen it again. What a long journey this has been...
I've set a date for a tentative show on Nov 23rd. It'll be a small, intimate venue; more news on that later. I want to try to sing songs
that I've cowritten that no one has had the chance to hear yet. Some of them are being recorded by the people I worked with, and
some await opportunities in my catalogue. I love them all.
I've been so hesitant to book anything substantial until I knew what my voice would do...It feel like I may be able to start dreaming
June 25, 2014...Angels...
I am writing this having just had surgery on my voice this morning. A wonderful surgeon put me under to deal with a hairline
scar that has been hindering my left vocal chord ever since an intubation in 2012. I have had so many ups and downs with all
of it...But God's blessings are always right on time...
I just found out this evening that my song "Angels" is being featured on So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 tonight, and
that they even post a link to iTunes of the song on their website as well.
I wrote this song about the passing of my grandmother,
meanwhile my other grandma is in hospital passing away as I write this...
Thank you Bridget Whitman for choosing the song and dancing so beautifully...You have been part of a bigger plan tonight, and I am overwhelmed.
Peace to you all, and keep believing God cherishes your dreams.
May 22, 2014
Sharing a post from my Facebook wall tonight...
"So...It's been a while since I gave an update on my voice. For the past while I've been talking and even doing some
singing. I've felt that my voice is different. It fatigues. I feels tight. I have less fluidity and control. After a second opinion
in Toronto, it was discovered that there is a long, rare-type of scar on my left vocal chord. The doctor there has offered
to put me under and take a further look, at which point she would decide (while I'm "under") if she would do anything
to alter the scar or simply inject my chord with a steroid. I feel confident in her ability (she comes highly recommended)
but, clearly, there are risks with any surgery, and recovery would mean more weeks of not talking/interacting at all,
followed by extensive vocal recovery training. It's been a year and a half of putting my singing/music life on hold...what
are another few months? I also spoke with a voice coach who feels that with training I could bring a lot of endurance,
flexibility and resonance back without surgery. So, a big decision. I wish there were easy answers. And thank you to
everyone who has taken an interest, offered encouragement and been so supportive. I really appreciate it. (PS-Prayers
April 2nd, 2014
Well, another birthday has passed; more traveling; the Junos...It's been a busy time!
I wanted to throw it out there: posted a song I wrote called "Come Lord" to Canadian Christian radio via DMDS.
It's been a while since I've done anythign like that. 'm hopeful it will get listened to and picked up...If you like what I do,
call your local Christian radio station and request it...
March 7th, 2014
I am very excited to announce that the song "Mine", written by me, Taylor Watson and Jay Tooke, has made it to the finals in the International Songwriting Competition this year. There were nearly 19,000 entries - It's an honour to be recognized.
March 1, 2014
I've always loved March 1. It's a month from my birthday, and it usually signifies that Spring is around the corner.
Today, however, it feels like -50C with the windchill. (not kidding, it's for real) I feel very, very blessed to have a
roof over my head, even if the ice and snow has caused the garage roof to collapse. We're still more fortunate than most.
I've had some very encouraging meetings lately. In my favourite meeting, I was able to hang out with John Mays. What
an encouraging man (look for him at http://www.centricitymusic.com/staff/) I've met John several times, and this time,
he took a couple of hours with me to talk about music, songwriting, walking with Jesus, life…I left his office feeling like
no matter what happens with my music, there is a purpose for my life and the talents I've been given.
John mentioned some thoughts on the parable of the talents. Three servants are given talents (money) to care for from
their master. Two invest their talents, each with a different return. The other hides his away, playing it "safe". When the
master comes back, the two that invested, even though they had different levels of success with their investments, were
given the same reward…"Well done!" The one who hid his away was chastised.
The best part? I had just had that parable come to my own mind the night before…Coincidence? I don't think so. I've
thought about how blocked I've felt with my music and what steps to take in the current music climate. Whatever they
are, I need to be willing to invest my talent somewhere…We all do, whatever "talent" we're given. My conversation with
John affirmed this.
I was also blown away by the hospitality of friends of mine in Nashville. To have them open their homes and hearts to
me was very humbling. I feel so grateful.
To boot, I got to write with some fantastic people, and come up with some songs that are still bouncing around in my head.
That's a short update, but a needed one…Thanks for stopping by…
February 15, 2014
I listened to some great music today...It got me excited about music. That might sound strange, but sometimes working in and around it all the time, I forget to be a listener, an appreciator...Today I got to sit with some great friends and just check out some tunes...It was fantastic.
I love spending time in Nashville because there are so many creative people here, and no one looks at you funny if you tell them you're a songwriter! lol
Anyway, pull out a favorite record, put your feet up and listen...Good stuff.
February 13th, 2014
Happy early Valentine's Day!
I've been in Nashville a week no, and for the most part it's been as good as I know it can be. What makes the trip for me, to anywhere, really, are the people. I have some amazing friends here, and have met a few new amazing people.
One thing I've noticed is that the "artists" and the songwriters who seem the happiest here are the ones who are inclusive. They share information, connections, ideas. They build a community of people around them characterized by mutual appreciation, encouragement and collaboration. It's beautiful to watch. It contrasts starkly with artists I know who are, frankly, a bit self-absorbed. (They don't mean to be, but they get so stuck in their own heads and so into their own thing and what they're about that they show no appreciation for anyone else, even if they might feel it) I don't think you can do great things in a vacuum. Wanna make great art? Write a great song? Be a great person. Notice people. Include them and help them feel valued. I so want to get better and better at this.
I'm very grateful to the people who've let me in; who've taken the time to listen to my songs; who encourage me as an artist and as a person. I'm working on being the same way, and kind of thinking it might be time to let go of some of the people who only take (energy, encouragement, advice, contacts) and never give back.
Deep thoughts for the news page, but, there you have it.
I hope this finds you well, and thanks for stopping by!
February 6th, 2014
Getting very excited about a trip to Nashville next week. I'll be traveling with a Manitoba alternative acoustic artist named Jordan St-Cyr. He's working on songs for a new record, and I can't wait to see what we come up with in collaboration with some Nashville writers. There's just something about that city too. It's a very creative place, so there's a neat energy there. Plus, when I tell people I'm a songwriter, they don't look at me strange (that look that says: wow, haven't you grown up and gotten a real job?) Instead they say, "Oh yeah! What are you working on?" It's very validating to be there for a bit, and I recommend it to songwriters, even if you can't get a whole lot set up at first - just go and soak it in.
I've been working on material with Keith and Renee for their respective solo projects as well as their duo. What fine people! We always have a good time. I also just wrote a tune with Don Amero - look for a new record from him this year too. He's got some neat stuff going on. There's also a harpist that I do some work with, Janelle Nadeau. She is pretty unique because she's working on material she can sing with her harp. I haven't heard of anyone doing that in Adult Acoustic Alternative music before. It will be neat to see where that takes her.
As for me, I've been plugging away at life, perhaps a little too content with helping other people with their own projects. It really is fulfilling though, to help artists find what they want to say and to be able to shape meaning from lyric ideas and offer them back on melodies and...sigh...I just love writing songs.
Hope you're doing great and thanks for stopping by!
January 26th, 2014
Just finished a busy but fantastic weekend that included the January Music Meeting, put on by our provincial music association, Manitoba Music. I learned a lot and am excited to start implementing some changes. For one thing, I'll be taking down my "MySpace" and "Reverb Nation" pages, and sticking to managing my Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Soundcloud pages, in addition to my website. To be honest, I relieved to be able to focus on a handful of relevant sites, instead of trying to manage more than I can time and energy-wise!
I've also added a songwriting tab. I plan to add more content to this section in the coming weeks, including lyrics to songs I've cowritten, and maybe even some songwriting tips for people just starting out or who want to "pick my brain" about songwriting.
Speaking of cowriting, I wanted to share this video that includes a clip from a song I cowrote with a lovely harpist, Janelle Nadeau. I've always loved this song and it's exciting for me to hear a produced version of it!
Hope you're doing great!
January 5th, 2014
Happy New Year everyone!
Last night I had the good fortune of playing a couple of songs at a Keith Macpherson House Concert. Not only was it great to be singing again, it was amazing to hear songs I've co-written come alive in Keith's set. I can't tell you how gratifying it is for me as a songwriter to know that the artists I work with are loving the songs and making them their own. I'll keep you posted on all of this, but it looks like Keith 9for his solo project) and Keith and Renee will be cutting several of my songs. (Yay!)
Also coming up us a release by Leanne Pearson, a local country artist, who is using two of the songs we cowrote together with Tyler Del Pino. I feel really blessed. :)
Just for kicks, I thought I'd post this video of me + band live at the Park Theatre in Winnipeg...Enjoy!
Special thanks to CBC SCENE for featuring "Come Lord"...Get it on iTunes HERE!
Here's a lyric video of "It Won't Be Christmas Til You're Home" (J. Johnson/R. Everett) Feel free to share!
December 7th, 2013
It is too cold for words. Every Winter I wonder why I live here in this awful, awful climate. But live here, I do, and I
am distracting myself with some music!
Tonight I'm playing at saint benedict's table - an Advent Vespers service (basically evening prayer service during
the Advent season, with music) Most of the songs are originals I've created with this season in mind. The service
is open to anyone who needs a break from the cold, and the crazy Christmas lead-up...I'll be playing again for the
church service on December 15th. Both events start at 7PM, and the church meets at All Saint's Anglican (corner
of Broadway and Osborne)
Kyle Rudge interviewed me for CHVN the other day...Check it out HERE. :)
Thanks for stopping by...
October 18, 2013
I cowrote a worship song with a Manitoba artist named Jordan St-Cyr last night. It's been such a long time
since I wrote songs oriented for the church. It's not that I have purposely tried not to, but my focus has been
elsewhere. It felt really good to express faith in music. I used to do that more. Jordan's got great chops too, so
it's always a good time to write with him. I was also able to connect with Murray Pulver, Keith Macpherson and
Renee Lamoureux, rounding out what's been a great few weeks at home. Don Amero released a single we
wrote together as well, called "I Don't Want To Let You Go". It feels so good when an artist likes the work you've
done enough to champion it themselves. It means I'm doing my job as a songwriter. When it comes to my own
expression, I'm feeling a call - maybe more of a challenge- to dig deeper and see what comes out. I find myself
playing my songs from "Finding Beautiful" a lot more lately. They come from a very crucial time in my life as an artist.
So many of those songs were written after a lot of reflection and honest journalling. That time in my life, to explore
my inner world, to get inspired, to be "spoken to" and then be able to create something people came to value - that
time was a gift in my life. So much has happened since then, but I feel I may have leaned a little bit outside of what
originally inspired me. Who knows if this is making sense? Just know that I am not taking whatever is meant for me
in the time to come lightly. In the meantime, I sure do love writing songs - any kind of song, really. I'm so grateful
when I get the opportunity to collaborate.
October 10th, 2013
It's been a long time since I gave any kind of update as to my voice. What a challenging year it's been!
There was a point when I wondered if I would ever be singing again. In essence, my left vocal chord doesn't
quite zip up as perfectly as it did pre-surgery, leaving me with hoarseness and some erratic things to deal
with vocally. I have gravel in my speaking voice, and I wonder if this is permanent. Singing-wise, my lower
register is not what it was in that I don't have the same facility through my range that I had pre-surgery. I feel
frustrated that this may just be something I have to manage from now on, but I have been singing more (and
back into some normal routines) and am even scheduled to preach again. I just have to be careful to not strain
my voice or let too much stress take its toll. The chords are otherwise healed - so I can hopefully be strengthening
what's there, building endurance, and working with what I've got to work with. The joy will be that moment when I
can open my mouth to sing and not have to be thinking about this anymore...Thanks for all of your prayers and
well-wishes over the past months, and for understanding when I haven't been as engaging.
September 14th, 2013
Well, there IS a bit of news...
I just returned from three and a half weeks away; Los Angeles, Nashville and Illinois. I had the chance
to reconnect with songwriting colleagues, so some networking, writing - and reconnect with myself as a
writer, which felt great. So far my voice is working, but it still fatigues often. There are more tests to be
done, and I am hopeful that it will return to full strength.
I was able to cowrite some songs I absolutely love. Now comes the task of finding homes for the songs,
deciding what to demo, and deciding if there are any that I would want to record and promote myself.
There are a couple of neat events to note: One is a three song gig in support of The Citizen's for
Justice booklaunch event on September 26th at Sam's Place at 7PM. I'm happy to lend a hand,
and to ease my way back into singing publically.
Also, in November, I'm conducting a songwriting workshop in Nova Scotia. Friends in an Acadian Village
called West Pubnico have invited me to come out and help develop the songwriting community out there.
I'm looking forward to the trip. If you or anyone you know would be interested, message me for details.
To register, click the link at the top of the page.
ALSO, I'm helping facilitate a songwriting workshop on September 27th in Winnipeg...See the EVENTS link for details...
Finally, I am super excited that Don Amero has started promoting a song we co-wrote together called "I Don't Wanna Let You Go"...Check out the "Loft Session" produced by Manitoba Music of Don performing the song...http://youtu.be/VdKholf1dRc
I hope all is well for you...Thanks for stopping by...
August 23, 2013
I've been spending some time in LA, getting reaquainted with friends, colleagues and this sunny city. I'm definitely
starting to feel a major urge to write and release more songs of my own...For some reason this is scary - but
exciting as well.
August 10th, 2013
Thank you to everyone who has been praying and sending me encouragements these past months. I've been working
with a speech therapist, but mostly just trying to take it easier on myself...It's been a crazy couple of years in my life, and
losing my voice on top of everything became an opportunity to really take a step (or several!) back. It can be so tempting
to want to keep running on ahead, but running where?
Slowly but surely my voice is recovering. I was able to sing a bit in studio with Steve Bell a couple of weeks ago. We pulled
off a recording in one take, which was such a blessing because I didn't have to strain or overuse my voice. I am looking
forward to sharing the song with everyone. It's more spiritual than any I've released in recent years.
I do speak, but have to constantly bear in mind my technique and my projection. Rooms with a lot of noise and background
noise make this very trying! I have to be mindful of taking lots of breaks as well. Continued prayer is appreciated - for wisdom
I love to sing, and this experience has solidified that more than ever. I miss it so much.
I hope that the future holds many opportunities to do so.
In the meantime...I am heading to LA and then to Nashville to try to reconnect with some people there and do some writing
as well. I'm also going to be part of WritersConnect and BlueBird North for Culture Days at the end of September. Also, I am
hoping to try singing a bit for a fundraiser on September 26th. None of these events are full/lengthy shows, but should be a
good guage as to where I'm at. I look forward to the day when I can trust my voice to a full concert again.
The beginning of November will likely find me in Nova Scotia, leading a workshop and connecting with artists there.
I'll try to remember to update my events list. I apologize for my clear lack of website updating! It is an area I'm always seeking to
You can find me on Facebook and Twitter too...
UPDATE - May 17th, 2013
Hello to the kind folks who stop by to see how I'm doing and what I'm up to. I'm still not singing, but longing to.
My life is long drawn out periods of silence, interspersed with trips to the doctor, a naturopath and, these days, a
little bit of talking in a very gentle voice, usually uncomfortably. There is yet to be a proper disgnosis here in Winnipeg
(apparently the machine that was supposed to have a good look is broken) So, I wait. And I hope. I haven't ruled out
a trip out of province (or country), but in order to have support from the government for that, I need to have pursued
all avenues here - and avenues move slowly in Canadian health care, unless it's a life or death matter.
I've started a blog. I hesitate to link it to my music page, but if you'd like to read it, you can by clicking HERE.
Thanks for still caring. I hope to sing for you again one day soon. I appreciate your prayers. xo
PS-I did manage to co-write leaning heavily on technology like "google docs"...Will keep you posted on those songs!
I had a request for "Boomerang" today, so I've uploaded a basic mp3 for download for .99...Just click the "STORE"
tab above. I had forgotten all about this song. It was written in 2007 with Arun Chaturvedi and ended up as the
music in a dinner scene for "Lipstick Jungle". Jonathan Alexiuk is featured on the piano.
UPDATE - April 14th, 2013
I tried speaking the other day and had a lot of pain during and afterward, and difficulty swallowing.
I used to be like a little bird around my house - literally chirping, singing, humming, sighing - vocalizing.
The impact on my spirit not making 'music', even just the every day, doing-the-dishes kind, is pretty
significant. I need to figure out some next steps, maybe a visit to a US clinic - but if anyone knows of
a place in Canada, that would be appreciated. Thanks for all of the kind words of support over the
past months. I appreciate it a lot.
A video and documentary for the song Hope, produced by
Anglican Video to promote the Anglican Church of Canada's Marks of Mission
will be released on January 13th. The song was recorded in Vancouver and
features the wonderful talent of many fine Canadians (and co-writer, Jim Kimball)
For track notes, and to download a quality .wavfile, click HERE.
Are you familiar with CBC manitoba's "Scene"? They've been following the story of my vocal troubles and playing my Christmas song. Many thanks to Ismaila Alfa and the CBC Scene team! JJ
Dedicated to all of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting on December 14, 2012
We Grieve With You
Dedicated to all of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting on December 14, 2012
Every present left unopened
Photos never to be taken
Hugs that can no more be given
We grieve with you
No college robes, no convocation
Nor any milestone's celebration
No sufficient consolation
We grieve with you
The violence of the violent
The frailty of the innocent
Unthinkable evil, unthinkable end
We grieve with you
Hearts weighed down with 'should have beens'
And all the pain of senseless sins
May grace guide to where hope begins
We grieve with you
Huge thanks to Henry Van Den Hoogen for adding "It Won't Be Christmas 'til You're Home" to FOUR Galaxie
playlists this season, including Holiday Favorites, Contemporary Holiday, Holiday Hits US (Dec 1st) and Pop AC (Dec 1st)