Laura Jean

Laura Jean

 Reservoir, Victoria, AUS
BandFolkRock

Laura Jean is one of the most respected and unique young songwriters in Australia. A powerful and exotic new voice, she has impressed critics and audiences with her raw performances and beautiful albums.

Biography

Sydney-born, Melbourne-based songwriter Laura Jean first came to national attention in 2006 with the release of her debut album Our Swan Song. Lush and pastoral, adorned with strings, woodwind and Laura’s beautiful modal harmonies, Our Swan Song was a critical and popular favourite, gaining Triple J high rotation and introducing Laura Jean as a powerful, exotic new voice in Australian music.
Our Swan Song also made waves overseas, most notably reaching the ears of Gary Lightbody, leader of Scottish pop stars Snow Patrol, who raved about the album on the BBC and then invited Laura to join his band onstage for two successive Australian tours in 2007. Each night, Laura sang Martha Wainwright’s part of the duet Set The Fire To The Third Bar, and in doing so reached a whole new fanbase.
Laura also found herself asked to support other international bands such as M Ward, Bon Iver, Midlake, Okkervil River and Richard Buckner, as well as homegrown stars of the likes of New Buffalo and Darren Hanlon.
After this kind of reception, Laura Jean felt confident enough to aim for the stars on her next album. An unashamed concept record, Eden Land explores ideas of self-discovery, sexual awakening and loss of innocence through a suite of nine interconnected songs. “On one level it’s a breakup album,” she says. “On another level it’s about leaving a safe situation to experience life. And on another level this album is about becoming aware of my sexuality. And that all ties in with the concept of Eden, someone leaving an idyllic place, kind of pre-awareness, to experience life, which is bound by physicality.” As opposed to Our Swan Song, which was a three year labour of love, Eden Land came effortlessly, the songs written in seemingly direct communication with Laura’s subconscious, and recorded in just five days with Sydney producer Chris Townend (whose credits stretch all the way from The Sleepy Jackson to Natalie Imbruglia) at his BJB Studios.
Additional vocals and overdubs were completed back in Melbourne with Simon Grounds, producer of Our Swan Song, at Bakehouse Studios. But compared to her debut, Eden Land was born almost fully-formed. “It came together very naturally,” says Laura. “It’s very hard to explain, but it was just there.”
Unlike the arm-long list of musicians on her debut, Laura assembled a core band for Eden Land, featuring Biddy Connor (viola), Jen Sholakis (drums, percussion), Geoff Dunbar (bass) and Martin Mackerras (clarinet). The Eden Land Choir, whose massed vocals grace tracks like Yellow Moon and Love Is Going To Lead Us, is made up of Laura and her bandmembers, plus guests such as Paddy Mann (Grand Salvo), Oliver Mann, blues performer Liz Stringer and Lehmann Smith (Kes Band).
Singularly assured and strikingly beautiful, Eden Land is a powerful, ambitious record, suffused with an otherworldly atmosphere which struck even Laura as she was writing it. “I realised that I was speaking about a reality that wasn’t necessarily earthly, but could be from a parallel place,” she says. “I decided about halfway through that I could hear a land called Eden Land.”

Discography

2011 (september release): A fool who'll LP (Chapter)
2010: Jenny Hval/Laura Jean split single (self dist.)
2009: 2009 New Songs Tour EP (self dist.)
2008: Eden Land LP (Scotland Yard/Cooperative Music)
2006: Our Swan Song LP (Unstable Ape Records)
2005: I'm a Rabbit, I'm a Fox EP (Unstable Ape)
2004: The Hunter's Ode EP (self dist.)