Photo Credit: Gerard Devine Photography
On November 2, Toronto, ON-based jazz vocalist Simone Morris released her long-awaited, all-original debut album Settling Up with a release concert that took place on November 8 at The Jazz Bistro.
If you’ve never heard her music, take a moment to check out “Baby This Works” below, and find out more about Simone in our Five Questions With segment.
Care to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi! I’m a jazz singer, songwriter, and musician based in Toronto. A musician all my life, I’ve come back to music in the last 10 years with sharp focus and determination, after marriage and children. I realized I needed to get back to the business of being me, balancing what I love to do with responsibilities to who I love. A long-time partnership with guitarist, co-writer, and musical director Mike Freedman has led to the all-original debut album Settling Up, officially released on November 2, 2018.
Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.
Rooted in jazz, the album weaves a musical path that nonetheless conveys diverse musical experience and background. It’s an eclectic mix, blending soulfulness and subtlety. Some tunes are jazzier than others: for example, “Baby This Works,” a sassy swing number about a woman in love who sees only what she wants to see; and “Don’t Come Crying To Me,” a soft, gentle bossa nova about the end of a love affair. However, early standouts like “Will To Fight” have inspired comments like, “Joni Mitchell meets Bruce Hornsby.” Great! Using my own life experiences to connect in a personal way, the music is meant to be an intimate conversation that reveals my take on life and love. I almost called the album Not Small Talk. I’m a communicator, and for me, connection is like breathing. It’s essential. Music has always been a powerful way to connect with people.
Lyrically, I try to artfully lure a listener into the “meat” of the story with subtle twists that have you think a minute, in the way that you would take an extra moment to ponder a cool painting or photograph. I think it’s all the years as a parent that has brought the storytelling out in me. I feel I have more to say now than ever. The songs are reflective, intimate, honest, vulnerable, humorous, and at times, personal. They often address life’s imperfections, and the need to accept it all. As a reformed perfectionist, this is huge. 🙂 We then create musical soundscapes that reflect the lyrics.
Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?
I’m setting up touring for 2019. Of course, it’s a little more challenging to play live dates and tour when you have children, but somehow I make it work. I look forward to reaching audiences outside of Ontario next year. My live performances are all about creating an intimate vibe. Groove, rhythm, and space combine to create a mellow environment, yet have you transfixed and transformed by the music onstage. No matter how many musicians join me on a given date, it’s always warm and welcoming. That’s the feeling.
If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?
That is such a tough question! They’re all near and dear to my heart. Making decisions easily is an enviable trait. “Take Us Home,” the last song on the album, perhaps has the deepest personal meaning for me, and for Mike, since we’re both parents. But for sheer entertainment value, I would say “Baby This Works” and “Java Man” might be tied for the win!
Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?
All-Time Favourite Canadian Artists:
Favourite Jazz Artists (who happen to be playing on my album):
Other favourite multi-genre artists doing exciting work here and abroad:
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.