Snippets of life, shards of love, ribbons of everyday impressions tied in unusual knots, that's what you find in the drawers of Genevieve Jaide's lyrics. Her songwriting style uses rhythms that are slight or even just implied, the melodies are airy and fresh, and it's all a sheet on which the words are the written.
"The lyrics come first for me," said Jaide, a rare condition among modern singer-songwriters. Most will tell you they shoehorn the lyrics into musical boxes they built in advance. No so for this contemporary urban poet wielding a guitar. The songs come out as messages from her subconscious, leaking out on the notebook pages through her literacy, punching through her youthful intellect like bruised truth.
"I write exactly what I'm feeling and I almost never go back and make changes later. It goes onto the page, I'll re-write and think things through, but it's usually done that day, in that sitting," she said. "The music comes afterward. I'll start strumming something as I look over the words and vocalize what I've written, and the words take the music where it wants it all to go."
The result is a sense of conviction in every stanza, an assurance in every chorus. The listener could simply drift off into escapism, listening to her folk-pop tunes, but you can also sit upright at attention and mull over the meaning of it all. An afternoon could easily be lost cycling through her brand new EP. Each time the phone rings or the dog needs let out you hrumph and hit the pause button in a grump over the interruption.
This is Jaide's debut set of recordings. The seven-song package is entitled For Him and it has the peppy power of wondering who "him" is, to which she coyly smiles and murmers "wouldn't you like to know."
There's a telltale first-time-effort sense of youthful freshness to these songs, but a veteran's confidence. The producers on the project, Nick Tindale (also her drummer) and Rick Irvine of Cheslatta Records obviously felt they could let her run free in the studio, but had a professional sense of how to tastefully complement her crisp, clean vocals. The overall product harkens back to the breakout folk-pop '90s heyday. Jaide is too young to shoplift those sounds, so she naturally arrived somehow at musical destinations like Lisa Loeb, Patty Smyth, The Sundays, Natalie Imbruglia, Dayna Manning, or more locally Yael Wand. Jaide would be embraced as their little sister now breaking into her own.
"This was an interesting process for me. I'd never recorded before except in school, and never my own material," said the former student of Selkirk College's renowned music program. "I write on the acoustic guitar so when you add the other instruments, it changes the nature of the songs. When you're in the studio trying to capture what you have in your head, you have to stand up strong for your vision of the song, but you also have to admit when something unexpected and wonderful comes out of a musician's performance and changes what you had in mind. You have to have a give and take relationship with your own music."
The process was infused with talent from Tindale (a veteran percussionist/instrumentalist of many local bands), Chris Dibbens (of prog-rock band Crones) on bass, and Drew Gray (of Acid & Oil) on lead guitar.
On Friday, she will reveal the package to the world in the medium to which she is most accustomed: live performance. She is set to perform the entire EP in its order, with the live help of Tindale, Aidan Galletti-Viscount (of Subtotal) on bass an Rob Bacon (of The Burden) on lead guitar since her studio players were reluctantly unable to attend that night.
Starting the evening off will be Grace Hoksbergen as introductory act, she being one of Jaide's vocal students. Then comes middle act Brock Paciejewski who was once in a duo with Jaide they called Daisy & The Fisherman.
The show is also the launch of the physical EP discs and the day download sales go active for the For Him songs.
It takes place at the Omineca Arts Centre (at 3rd Ave. and George Street, beside Groop Gallery and Ridge Side Art).
"It's a new venue for music, so I'm really proud to get to play there," she said. "It's an art gallery as well, and Audrey McKinnon from CBC is the feature artist the night I perform, I love her work, so that feels really cool for me to be in there with my music when her artwork is all around me."
Tickets to the Genevieve Jaide concert are $10 at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m.