MP3 Jessica Labus - Mirrors
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10 MP3 Songs in this album (39:26) !
Related styles: FOLK: Folk-Rock, POP: Pop/Rock
People who are interested in Alanis Morissette Jewel Michelle Branch should consider this download.
In a musical landscape thatâs grown exponentially hostile to artists of substance, Jessica Labus is the newest singer/songwriter to join a fray of musicians with a love of art, a folk-pop spirit, and an honest, no-nonsense disposition. All of these qualities converge on her striking debut, the entirely self-penned Mirrors, an opus of storytelling that reveals a reality about the human conditionâit could be her own, a past loverâs, a family memberâs, even that of someone she just met. Labus canât help it. Sheâs too honest to sugarcoat things, too forthright to lace her artistry with softballs or pat answers. She likes to call it as she sees it. âThings stand out to different people,â Labus, 23, says. âWhen you experience something thatâs really true and real and honest, whether itâs visual act or musical, it just attracts the soul.â The songs on Mirrors attract the soul. The product of a tunesmith wise beyond her years, each composition is a look into Labusâ almost analytical way of communicating truth, warts and allâtruth that hurts, truth that sets people free. Born in Florida but raised in the New York towns of Niagara Falls and Grand Island, Labus didnât let her small-town upbringing stop her. Sheâs been singing since she was 3, taught herself to yodel at age 11, learned to play guitar and played in a country band at 14, and used every chance she got to absorb the sights and sounds of music, developing a passion for musical theatre at an early age through classics like Annie and Chicago. âI went to 10 different schools,â Labus says of her youth. âEvery time Iâd go to a different school Iâd sing for everybody. Thatâs how I made friends.â For their part, her parents tried the best they could to guide their daughterâs creative spirit, but deep down, Labus knew that singing in her schoolâs choir could only take her so far. She needed an action plan quick. As soon as she was old enough to drive and after a brief respite in Connecticut and Rhode Island, Labus packed her bags and moved to New York City. There, the aspiring artist earned money by playing music in the subway and later attended the prestigious American Musical & Dramatic Academy, where she studied musical theater. The academic footing opened the door for Labus to try her hand at a series of dramatic opportunities, including appearing in commercials, getting a taste of off-Broadway, and even landing a role in a small independent film. All along, though, Labus wanted more. Discontent with trying to fit into someone elseâs script, she resolved to write her own by becoming a singer/songwriter. Inspired by the women that graced the stage of the iconic Lilith Fair tour in the 1990sâthe likes of Ani DiFranco, Alanis Morissette, Sarah McLachlan, and Joan Osborne, among othersâshe picked up the guitar and started writing songs. She never looked back. Her very first song, the arresting âBryanâs Song,â would become a harbinger for her unapologetic, tell-all songwriting style. Such transparency has already propelled Labus to play at some of the most venerable venues in New York City, including The Bitter End, Kennyâs Castaways, Arleneâs Grocery, and The National Underground. As for âBryanâs Song,â the tune is a cornerstone of the 10-song Mirrorsâa brutally honest dialog where the singer has a one-on-one with her brother about some of the demons that are plaguing his life. âWhen I showed him the song, he was kind of like, âOhâ¦ââ Labus says. âHe didnât love it. People never seem to love the songs I write about them. They like other songs, but they never really like the songs about them.â A similar sense of honesty runs through the title track, a song Labus says was informed by an affair her best friend had with a married teacher while in acting school. The song builds from tender acoustic verses to an explosive folk-rock refrain, calling to mind the best of Jewelâs career-defining Pieces of You album. If Beyoncéâs âIrreplaceableâ had a singer/songwriter companion, it would be the breakup paean âWho?,â a song with a playful bass-and-guitar shuffle and a driving rhythm that stands in stark contrast to Labusâ vivid description of a former relationship gone south. âThatâs a funny song about getting out of a horrible relationship,â Labus says. âI wrote it to embarrass the person.â Elsewhere, in songs like âWith or Without Meâ and âAnything from You,â Labus once again picks up the theme of relationship, this time laying out in the open the flurry of emotions brought on by the absence of a former romantic interest. âThe time we spent in love is never wasted, never wasted, no / We give and we get and then we have to let it go / Sometimes we have to let it go,â sings Labus in the sunny âTime Spent,â a song where Labus concedes to a past lover that the lessons learned arenât to be lamented, but cherished. The biggest lesson of them all is chronicled in the show-stopping closer, âWatching Over Me,â a peaceful ode Labus wrote for her late grandmother, whom she eulogized when she sang âAmazing Graceâ at her funeral. âShe was a humble, strong lady,â Labus recalls. âShe taught me how to give and how to let go.â This ability to move beyond past circumstances lies at the crux of the nearly autobiographical Mirrors. After all, thatâs exactly what mirrors are for: they exist not to make one bitter, but better. âI want people to analyze themselves more,â Labus says. âRelationships are a way to see yourself. Itâs good to know that someone else has gone through the same things that youâve gone through.â She continues, âYou have to grow up the hard way. You have to go through life and learn your lessons. Thatâs my advice. Thereâs no escaping it.â
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