No one wants to deal with anxiety but if there is one person who has managed to turn something so unpleasant into a beautiful piece of auditory art, it’s Canadian singer/songwriter Jessy Lanza. Dealing with anxiety was the force behind Lanza’s sophomore album, Oh No, an electric, pop-infused follow up to the R&B heavy Pull My Hair Back. If you haven’t heard of the artist before, all it takes is one listen to single It Means I Love You to get a feel for her invigorating rhythms. Lanza will be playing in LA this Sunday, June 26th at the Echoplex. Get your tickets here and check out our exclusive Q&A with the singer below:
LA CANVAS: Your first album Pull My Hair Back had an R&B sound to it while your latest album, Oh No has more pop references (reminds us of Madonna.) What inspired the shift in your sound?
Jessy Lanza: I can’t say why the sound changed not because I don’t want to but because I really don’t know – to me it still sounds like me and Jeremy, of course because we work on everything together.
LAC: Oh No has a very purposeful and distinct 80’s pop sound that we can’t help but get up and dance to. Who are your greatest inspirations from that era?
JL: Too many to name but to name a few: Haruomi Hosono, Miharu Koshi, Akiko Yano, YMO, Evelyn King, Melba Moore, Patrice Rushen, Keith Sweat, New Edition etc.
LAC: You haven’t featured any artists on either of your albums? Is there a particular reason why?
JL: Lots of people had input on Oh No without actually featuring on the album. Dan Snaith and Morgan Geist gave us lots of input and David Psutka who goes under the name Egptrixx mixed ‘OH NO’ with us and without him we never would have finished it.
LAC: You’ve been very vocal about your anxiousness and it’s effects on your life. How did your battle with anxiety contribute to the making of ‘Oh No’?
JL: Music is how I distract myself from getting too in my head about everything. I think the battle is all about distraction and how good you are at diverting your attention to something else, although that is easier said than done sometimes.
LAC: You’re a big fan of Top 40 music. What’s your favorite Top 40 song right now?
JL: Needed Me by Rihanna.
LAC: If you could describe your album in visual terms, what would it be?
JL: I’m not very good at that so I’ll leave it to someone else.
LAC: Recently you created your own mix for FACT and you included a lot of international music. You’re a huge fan of Japanese pop but are there any other cultural genres you enjoy?
JL: My friend Johnny Dark is into Kwaito and Nigerian house music so he is always sending me artists that he thinks I would like.
LAC: Do you have any tips for people out there who can relate to your fear of toxic air?
JL: Try to relax and buy some more plants.
LAC: Where your travels take you to LA do you have any favorite destinations?
JL: The Museum of Jurassic Technology.
All images by Paley Fairman. Learn more about Jessy Lanza here.