Jessy Lanza Careless Whispers

Jessy Lanza Careless Whispers
Photo: Tim Saccenti
"I got my watch and my diamond; I don't care about the time," coos an uncharacteristically boastful Jessy Lanza over the smooth album cut, "Fuck Diamond." Inspired by a line from Wiz Khalifa's "Black & Yellow" she decided to base her song around the rapper's usual call for carefree living.

"Some of the best lyrics are the ones that kind of seem a bit careless. Not that they're meaningless but they're a careless statement like for whatever reason the way that it's phrased in the song has value."

The Hamilton-born electro R&B singer's playful approach can be found throughout her debut album Pull My Hair Back. The album drips in a layer of lean electronic dance synths while pulling on the sound of early '90s R&B.

"When, I was growing up I always liked [R&B]. I was eight or something and that movie Poetic Justice came out and Janet Jackson had like a really big song ["Again"] and it was super cheesy, but I really enjoyed it."

The daughter of two musicians, Lanza's love for music brought her to Concordia University where she studied jazz performance and piano before chasing a masters degree in musicology at McGill that wouldn't materialize.

"I realized if you're going to do a masters in something, you better be about that… my mind wasn't fully into it and I never had time to write music so I just dropped out."

Through a mutual friend, she was introduced to Jeremy Greenspan, of the electronic outfit Junior Boys. Impressed by her talents, Greenspan recruited her as a back-up vocalist and became her mentor. Eventually, the two would collaboratively produce Pull My Hair Back.

Sonically, Pull My Hair evokes a rhythmic yet cool technical precision, as Lanza leaves sensual near-whispers over each song. From the infectious "Kathy Lee" that almost sounds like an ode to the ill begotten snap-yo-fingers era to the warbling synths on the sensual "Against the Wall," each song is unique and reaches out to the listener, showcasing Lanza's ability to give a touch of clarity to a bit of clutter.

"If you learn the chords to [Michael Jackson's] 'Thriller' it will blow your fucking mind how simple it is, one of the greatest songs ever written is like three of the easiest chords in the world," she says "But it's how its arranged that makes it amazing."