Jani Lauzon, Blue Voice, New Voice RA Records P.O. Box 72087 1652 Dartmouth Ave.

Toronto, Ontario M4J 5C1

Jani Lauzon is an Cree-Ojibway Metis artist with a passion for the blues.

When I first came across this phenomenal voice it was an unplanned experience at a blues bar here in Montreal. I was enjoying an unexpected find when I heard her say, “Meegwitch,” at the end of a song. I turned to my non-native

companions and said, “Did you catch that?” They didn’t know what I was talking about but knew I was excited.

It’s always exciting to meet a native artist of this caliber. I was thunderstruck by Lauzon and her band when I walked in off the street. Listening to her further, to borrow a favorite Hydro-Quebec term, only enhanced this feeling that night. Here

is someone who’s got it together in a big way.

Lauzen has been singing since she was 18. Her start was in a blues band and you can feel her musical influences. The names say it all: Janis Joplin, Buffy Ste-Marie, Billy Holiday and Tina Turner. Her work with other artists include Jeff Healey, Morgan Davis, Chuck Johnson and the beat goes on.

Jani Lauzon has come out with her first album, Blue Voice, New Voice, which was launched mid-September. After listening to this great album I felt it was time to give Lauzon a call. It took me a couple of days to reach this exquisite blues singer. Both of us were playing phone tag for a while, but the wait was worth it.

I asked Lauzon what she felt her album was all about. She replied,

“I feel that the album bridges my aboriginal ancestry with a love for rhythm. It’s about celebrating the sounds of women’s voices coming together.”

Her album is on her own independent label RA Records.

I asked about the work involved in both being an artist and executive producer of an album. “It’s been an incredible amount of work but it’s clarified where I want to go with my music. I had to do this to know because my music is going to grow. The work made me appreiciate those who have helped me do this. This has made me stronger both as a person and as an artist,” she said.

Lauzon’s advice to new performers: “I’m a firm believer in extensive training. That’s why my advice to you is to look at what you’re doing and know that you’ll be training for that next performance for

the rest of your life. It has been the same whether it’s music or theater for me. I feel that the way I’ve lived is by honouring the gifts that the Creator has given me by feeding it so it can grow as I grow. That leads to inner strength in music, film or theater,” she said.

“I feel the gifts are working with us. You can’t think of these things just in a way that you or somebody else can exploit