Jessica Heine
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Jessica Heine

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 1999 | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 1999
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

Dec
14
Jessica Heine @ Christmas Party

Alberta, Canada

Alberta, Canada

Sep
21
Jessica Heine @ House Concert

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Aug
09
Jessica Heine @ Edmonton Folk Music Festival

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Aug
05
Jessica Heine @ The Canmore Folk Festival

Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Aug
04
Jessica Heine @ The Canmore Folk Festival

Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Canmore, Alberta, Canada

Music

Press


"Tunesmith Jessica Heine blends artificial sweeteners, humour and sadness with love and loss"

You have probably never heard someone singing a song called Aspartame, but then, Jessica Heine is not your average tunesmith.
In fact, the notoriously off-tasting artificial sweetener turns out to be a metaphor for the aftertaste of a past relationship, as in, “my old love was just aspartame, words like sugar, the whole thing fake.” That tune Aspartame is another example of the clever wordplay and charming delivery from Heine’s fresh folk-pop release Goodbye Party, just out on the new locally-based label Fallen Tree Records.

“Songwriting isn’t laborious or painful,” she explains. “If someone gave me the parameters of a song that they needed I would feel comfortable sitting down to write it. But the exercise of doing it is like doing a really fun Sudoku puzzle. If you have a certain thing you want to say it’s a matter of taking time to fit those pieces in. I tinker at it, and leave it and come back to it, or sometimes it comes out all at once like it’s been percolating in the back of my head.”

Heine (pronounced Hi-na) has been “tinkering” with music in some form for most of her life but Goodbye Party is her first album in almost a decade, an installment of new and old original tunes that reflect an extended period of change. While most tracks are essentially love songs written in the first person, Heine’s mature sense of craft takes the set well beyond the predictable.

Born in Pincher Creek and raised in Edson, Heine recalls singing from the time she was able to talk, thanks in part to her father’s job as a minister, choirs, and her family’s a capella singing group. Following early piano lessons she switched to guitar at 16, but classical voice training was the real focus of Heine’s music studies, and after moving to Edmonton in 1999 she wound up graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music and vocal arts from the University of Alberta.

That long-term focus on classical vocalizing is not immediately apparent in Heine’s voice on her own material. Her folk career really started at open mic events during her university years and she has an endearing, bright sound, but from the start she chose to set a different path vocally.

“I love classical singing in its own context but I learned to separate those two styles.”

She’s been writing songs since high school. As influences go, there was the stuff she heard growing up, The Beatles and The Beach Boys, Christian music, singers like Sarah McLachlan, Sarah Harmer, and later on Joni Mitchell. But in the end she was more drawn to dissecting song poets like Paul Simon, Tom Petty and Tracy Chapman for clues on how to get better.

Singer-songwriter Jessica Heine is part of a label launch by Fallen Tree Records at Empress Ale House Thursday. Supplied
Early recordings paved pathway

Heine made her first recording, Either Way, in 2006, managed to get a spot at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival that same year, and made a her first stab at touring, traveling to Britain and working as a volunteer in Central America. She put out her second album, Songteller Storywriter, in 2009.

Her new title song Goodbye Party came from travels in El Salvador, but it helped encapsulate the themes of love and loss, and transitions like divorce and death that thread through the album.
“I liked the idea of of a goodbye celebration but also the sadness mixed with that celebration. In another sense it’s about getting something beautiful out of something that wasn’t necessarily beautiful.”

She says the songs fall somewhere in between fiction and non-fiction but “they feel very real” and expressing them was therapeutic. Heine can’t quite explain the recurring seafaring references that crop up in her songs.

“I’ve never been sailing but I think the metaphor of water, or sinking or swimming, speaks to me.”

She had planned to record again sooner but personal and professional demands intervened, including two years living in Yellowknife, establishing connections in the music scene there. Heine feels she’s gained a lot of helpful musical knowledge and experience in the meantime while she worked her way into a day job as a project manager for an engineering firm.

“You’re always getting better, and those first two recording experiences taught me a lot about what I liked and didn’t like. With this new record I was really going for it, trying to make something that represents who I am and what I want to say. I was a lot more picky and took my time to work with people who felt the same way I did.”

One of them was Peter Stone of 100 Mile House, who produced the album and contributed a bit of guitar. Heine coaxed people she knew from gigging to join her sessions at The Audio Department, including keyboardist Brennan Cameron, guitarist Chris Tabbert, bassist Keith Rempel, drummer Matt Grier, and several backing singers. She’s hoping the long-awaited set will help expand her audience, which is bound to happen this summer after appearances at the Edmonton, Canmore and Jasper folk festivals.

Fallen Tree launch

Jessica Heine marks the release of Goodbye Party in performance 8 p.m. Thursday at Empress Ale House (9912-82 Ave.). It’s a dual-launch event of new vinyl releases from Fallen Tree Records. The award-winning husband-wife act known as 100 Mile House also mark the availability of their fourth release — Hiraeth — on vinyl, now re-issued through the label. Tickets are $12, available in advance online through Fallen Tree Records or the artists’ websites.

It’s always exciting to hear about the launch of a new independent label, and Fallen Tree Records promises an intriguing mix of “folk, Americana, alternative electronic and beyond,” with other new releases by Toronto’s Jon Brooks and Vancouver’s Logan & Nathan. The label is founded by Peter Chapman, who enjoyed a long experience as a publicity assistant at Stony Plain Records. Good luck folks. - Edmonton Journal


"Further Endorsements"

Jessica has played the Blue Chair Café on many occasions, in a singer/songwriter circle, as a guest singer for a roots band, and as a solo artist. Now, It’s easy to steal the show as a solo artist, but every time Jessica strums a chord and launches into a song, all the heads in the room turn toward the stage. Her eyes sparkle with sincerety as she looks straight at you sitting in the audience. Her smile is genuine, so you immediately like her. But when she starts to sing, you know you are in love.
Harold Wollin – Owner Blue Chair Café

To spend an evening at a Jessica Heine concert is like having a warm blanket tucked lovingly around your heart. That's because Jessica writes and sings from her own heart of hearts. Her songs take you by the hand and lead you on a journey through her life as she shares her observations of this crazy ol' world. Her melodies move effortlessly from soul moving serenades to foot stompin' ditty's. Her astonishingly beautiful voice harbors a powerful range that can sweetly sweep you away or miraculously move you to tears.
It's impossible to leave a Jessica Heine concert feeling unmoved or unchanged. The genuine warmth of her broad smile, unique talent and authentic goodness will stay with you long after closing time.
Rhea March - Rhea March Music

Whenever I listen to Jessica, live or recorded, I feel grounded and put to flight at the same time. The honest expression of her lyrics, the soulful strength of her voice, and her beautiful presence always pull me forward to listen more closely.
Roy Berkenbosch
Vice President for Student Life and Campus Ministry
Director - Micah Center
The King's University College

- na


"Regarding Edmonton Folk Festival"

...Jessica Heine... – who had very little profile in the city on Thursday at 5:59 p.m. –departed Gallagher Park with thousands of devoted new fans. - Edmonton Journal


"Jess Great"

"The first time I heard Jessica play was at a talent show where I had the task of helping to choose a winner. Jessica came on about eighth in the line-up. As soon as she began to sing her authentic presence and vibrant voice stood out so significantly above the previous performers that it made it easy to place her on the top of the list. After winning the talent show for the Jasper Heritage Folk Festival in 2001, Jessica returned as a paid performer in 2003, bringing with her a growing band of followers. Keep an eye on this rising star and, if you get the chance, catch her live and witness her honest and engaging presence."
- Tim Pare -Artistic Director, Jasper Heritage Folk Festival 2000-2005.


"Music"

It’s pretty easy to pick up a guitar and figure out how to play a song. It’s not even all that difficult to string a few chords together and write something of your own. What really sets a songwriter apart from the casual picker is life experience. That’s an area that Jessica Heine excels in...—EDEN MUNRO
- Vue Weekly


"Homegrown Artist impresses"

Musician Jessica Heine made a triumphant return to Edson, making her CD release party on June 25 a memorable moment...Many of the selections on Heine’s album are heartfelt ballads, delivered in a soulful, impassioned style, but her encore song, Tracy Chapman’s Give Me One Reason, showed she can belt them out with the best of them.

Ed Moore
Leader staff
Tuesday July 04, 2006 - Edson Leader


"Music"

It’s pretty easy to pick up a guitar and figure out how to play a song. It’s not even all that difficult to string a few chords together and write something of your own. What really sets a songwriter apart from the casual picker is life experience. That’s an area that Jessica Heine excels in...—EDEN MUNRO
- Vue Weekly


"NEW SOUNDS: JESSICA HEINE"

Local songstress Jessica Heine opens her new record up with a song that is a soft and gentle folk tune at its heart, dressed up with just the right amount of decorations—nothing too extravagant, it's a steady drum beat with an occasional tap on a cymbal, a bass that sings quietly behind Heine's lovely voice and an electric guitar that sticks with a minimum of notes to get its point across. The approach remains the same throughout the album—play no more than the song calls for—but the sound does not, touching on a dirty blues riff in "Ladies of the Bible," cabaret stylings in "Juliet and the Knife Thrower" and an escalating junkyard rattle on "That's All."

(4 out of 5 stars)

Eden Munro / eden@vueweekly.com
- Vue Weekly


"NEW SOUNDS: JESSICA HEINE"

Local songstress Jessica Heine opens her new record up with a song that is a soft and gentle folk tune at its heart, dressed up with just the right amount of decorations—nothing too extravagant, it's a steady drum beat with an occasional tap on a cymbal, a bass that sings quietly behind Heine's lovely voice and an electric guitar that sticks with a minimum of notes to get its point across. The approach remains the same throughout the album—play no more than the song calls for—but the sound does not, touching on a dirty blues riff in "Ladies of the Bible," cabaret stylings in "Juliet and the Knife Thrower" and an escalating junkyard rattle on "That's All."

(4 out of 5 stars)

Eden Munro / eden@vueweekly.com
- Vue Weekly


"Jessica Heine: The Story So Far"

LOCAL SONGSTRESS KEEPS THE FOLK TRADITION ALIVE

Storytelling is a way of connecting with people. It is the way we start understanding ourselves and the world around us.
The trajectory for many storytellers is to start writing about themselves, their experiences, and then move on to topics outside of themselves. It is a natural progression.

That's how it was for Edmonton-based folk singer Jessica Heine.

"Once I started to notice it, I just kind of embraced it, and I've been writing more intentionally that way now," she says. "But I think that it was just coming from a place where I was writing all songs about me and all very personal-based, and I think after a while it gets to be all the same and I wanted to do some different stuff.

"I got to a point where I was in a really good place and I wasn't really sad anymore," she adds. "A lot of songs you write, they're kind of depressing and you're just writing ... a lot of people say that it is therapy for them, and I was in a really good place and I didn't have anything really sad to write about."

The progression, of course, has opened up a whole new world of inspiration, as is evidenced by Heine's second album, Songteller Storywriter released in June, with songs like "Juliet & the Knife Thrower" or "Ladies of the Bible."

"When I started performing live, I realized how much I enjoyed telling the stories to people and how much people really enjoyed hearing the story behind a song or hearing that there is some story element to it," she explains. "Historically speaking, that's what folk singing has been—storytelling and historically true stories, as well as just taking things from your culture or other cultures and expressing them."

These days, Heine is digging into old stories, from Greek mythology to Russian folklore, and re-imagining them in song. She has also been back in the studio with Terry Tran, who she co-produced her last album with. Although the pair have recorded some demos, there are no plans on releasing another album any time soon.

"We've got a couple of different things on the go. I really like blues music, and so we were talking about exploring something with a little bit more blues influence, and he's really interested in electronica right now, so maybe combining the two," she says. "So that's something that we've been playing with a bit. And what else? We've been talking about doing more EPs and maybe shorter records—a couple of those —something that would be like different themes and then creating a whole album out of four EPs."

Whatever comes out of the pair's studio experiments, if Songteller Storywriter is any indication, there will be more moments of organic perfection.
"I really think that there's a reason people love live recordings, like to see live music," Heine says. "Today it is so easy to Pro Tool and fix everything and you can auto-tune somebody who can't sing at all and make them sound like they're really good, and I like the idea of creating something that you could re-create live, without all of the bells and whistles." (Vue Weekly)

- Carolyn Nikodym


"Performing Songwriter Magazine"

Either Way is the debut recording from Canadian artist Jessica Heine, but the music on this 12-song collection is put together with a confidence and skill that most artists take most of their career to develop.

“Sweet Song” kicks things off with Heine’s recipe for getting over a break-up. “I’m gonna write down math equations, problems I could never hope to solve,” she sings in her breathy soprano. “Dragonslayer” features delicate acoustic guitar work while Heine promises to “Climb over mountains, swim through the sea / Crawl through the desert upon bended knee” for her lover. “Funny How the Days Go By” will enthrall with its chugging rhythm, while the gorgeous title track has a cascading melody that will stay with you long after the song fades.

Are you a fan of poetic lyrics? Beautiful melodies? Either way, you’ll love Either Way.

(May 2007)
- Mare Wakefield


"Performing Songwriter Magazine"

Either Way is the debut recording from Canadian artist Jessica Heine, but the music on this 12-song collection is put together with a confidence and skill that most artists take most of their career to develop.

“Sweet Song” kicks things off with Heine’s recipe for getting over a break-up. “I’m gonna write down math equations, problems I could never hope to solve,” she sings in her breathy soprano. “Dragonslayer” features delicate acoustic guitar work while Heine promises to “Climb over mountains, swim through the sea / Crawl through the desert upon bended knee” for her lover. “Funny How the Days Go By” will enthrall with its chugging rhythm, while the gorgeous title track has a cascading melody that will stay with you long after the song fades.

Are you a fan of poetic lyrics? Beautiful melodies? Either way, you’ll love Either Way.

(May 2007)
- Mare Wakefield


Discography

Either Way 2006
Songteller Storywriter 2009
Goodbye Party 2018

Photos

Bio

Singer/songwriter Jessica Heine's dynamic voice shakes rooms – she’s a classically trained vocal performer. But her passion is the power of song, shared through the folk tradition.On her third album Goodbye Party her power is tampered by loss. With new fragility, she opens up about her painful divorce, the untimely death of her nephew and the loss of her grandmother.Heine's voice may not quake the room on Goodbye Party, but your soul is shaken by the songs and the buds of new lifeshooting through the ashes, knowing that they, like her music, will bloom beautifully.Goodbye Party is produced by Peter Stone of the CFMA-nominated folk-duo 100 mile house. Jessica Heine performed this summer at the Edmonton and Canmore Folk Music Festivals, and completed a tour on Vancouver Island in September.
"Clever wordplay and charming delivery" ~ Edmonton Journal

"Warm and stirring, she is able to project vulnerability as well as strength through her vocals." ~ Bob Mersereau