This June, singer Tash Lorayne will release her debut album, Light that Lives. In many respects it’s a fortuitous title: the once background vocalist is stepping into the spotlight for the first time. And when I meet the gorgeous singer on a rainy afternoon, she admits that the outstanding Oscar winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom mirrors her current journey, both the thrilling and daunting sides of it.
“What I loved about the movie is that I didn’t feel like I was alone. I was like, ‘Wow, a lot of the singers that are backing other artists feel the exact same way I do,’” she explains. “They have the desire and the voices.”
For the past 10 years Lorayne’s been building her chops singing for artists such as Ammoye and Exco Levi, and admits that though the desire to take the lead was always there, it has taken a while to tap into a sound that would propel her forward.
“It’s a little freeing at this point in life to say, ‘Yeah, I have something I want to say too,’” she shares with a bright smile. “And, honestly, I don’t think I was ready 10 years ago. I didn’t realize that the reason behind my fear was that I didn’t exactly believe in what I was doing or how I was sounding. There was work I needed to do on myself first: emotionally, spiritually, and vocally. I believe I met Stephen [Weiman] at the right time and he had the right sound for me.”
In a serendipitous twist, Loryane met musician/singer-songwriter Stephen Weiman shortly after deciding that she was going to commit to music full-time — come hell or high water.
“We just got to talking about music here and there, and he told me that he writes. And, you know, when people say, ‘I write songs,’ it’s like, ‘Yeah. OK. Good for you.’ But Stephen played me his songs and they were amazing.” Their musical connection was instant: his words spoke to her. And her voice awoke his lyrics in a way that amazed him. “It became the best song-writing partnership,” she continues. “He had the melody and the lyrics, and he’d bring it to me and it would do something to me internally. I would feel like this is meant for me to sing it. We weren’t really planning on the album in the beginning, we were just making music.”
Weiman, who joins in on our chat, agrees that the music connection felt destined. “I had all these songs and I put them away,” he explains. “So when I met Tash, I thought, imagine if some of these songs would come to life with her voice. Amazing! Those songs became the basis of our partnership.”
A year into their singer/songwriter duo collaboration, the pair decided that an album was waiting to come to life. During an intense first-time recording experience that both call “Music University,” Light that Lives was tracked and recorded in 7 days. The LP sees Lorayne’s sultry vocals on reggae tinged tracks like, “My Pain for You,” the jazzy, ‘Love at 2am,” and sensual, “Serendipity.” It’s a mature, genre mixing sound that Lorayne feels is much needed in contemporary music.
“Not to diminish what anyone else is doing, but I think that the music that’s being put in the forefront, isn’t the music that’s good for us or inspiring,” asserts Lorayne. “It’s a funky beat, but I think that the Jill Scott’s and Erykah Badu’s — the neo soul girls and the adult contemporary girls — they’re not getting the notoriety that they should. They should be front and center.”
For Loryane, whose influences also include Jessie J, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Black Eyed Peas, and Pharrell Williams, Light that Lives is just the beginning of a musical exploration that will eventually see her tapping more into her soul side. “I want to get closer to the sound that I love,” she says when asked what’s next. “Just hard hitting bass, stuff that’s more representative of the madness that’s going on in my head, Because I’m a little crazy,” she concludes with a laugh.
As the pair prepare for their forthcoming album launch party at the LuLu Lounge (as well as a spot at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival), Lorayne can’t help but envision what her sound will evolve into now that it’s been unleashed. “I want this to be almost like a new genre,” she shares thoughtfully. “Like if there’s soul music, I want to make spirit music, music for your spirit.”
© Journalist/Author Chaka V. and the Winehouse Mag, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material on this blog/website, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Chaka V. and the Winehouse Mag with appropriate, visible, and specific direction to the original content and site.