Listen to Tash Lorayne below
On June 17, Toronto musician Tash Lorayne celebrated the release of her debut LP Light that Lives at Lula Lounge. Getting to this moment in her life was a journey, to say the least, having spent the past decade as a backup vocalist.
“I love backing my girls, but the last ten years was a lot of just showing up for gigs and not really getting the experience of being on stage and having a message and exchanging the energy that’s enforced… you’re not really invested in it,” said Lorayne in a phone interview with Raz Mataz.
The singer describes the past decade, backing such artists as Divine Brown and Ammoye, as a sort of training to be comfortable in a position where she is the centre of attention. That ease and commandeering of the stage more than showed through during her performance at Lula Lounge, as she grooved and swayed to her music, eating up every minute of the well-deserved spotlight.
Light that Lives mixes elements of reggae, jazz and soul – what Lorayne calls spirit music, the type of music that makes you feel good and is overall her “own type of thing.” Like all artists, Lorayne strives to be distinct, but unlike many up-and-coming artists still trying to find their own identity, everything about her truly does ooze with distinctiveness.
Light that Lives is “a labour of love,” as described by folk musician and singer-songwriter Stephen Weiman, who wrote most of the music on the album. The two personalities could not be any more opposite. One is a soulful, folk artist who is nearly 25 years older than the equally soulful Lorayne, whose music evokes that old time type of jazz with her own contemporary twist. It is that difference in their backgrounds that led to the distinct sound of her debut album.
“Stephen Weiman mostly writes folk music and what happens is I’ll take his lyrics and kind of give it my own melodic interpretation,” said Lorayne. “We are completely different people… his input and my input put together, neither of us saw [this album] coming, but it works.”
Some of the highlights of Light that Lives include ‘My Pain for You,’ a song expressing deep heartache with a reggae tinge. Lorayne described the song at Lula Lounge as one of her favourites and one that “adds a little ‘flava’.” The singer also jazzes it up with the very sultry ‘Lover’s Cry’ and ‘Love at 2 am’.
Slowing things down is the emotional and melancholic ballad, ‘Kurlina’. Weiman described the song as expressing the helplessness we all feel, inspired from when he was in Saint Lucia and saw a girl being ostracized. Lorayne really brings out that raw emotion and shows some vulnerability during her performance of the song.
Each track on Light That Lives all add a different layer to the album, while still maintaining that soulful vibe, tapping into the listeners’ spirit, as Lorayne would call it. Her music is definitely something that needs to be experienced live and she can next be seen at the TD Jazz Fest on June 27 at the Shangri-La Hotel.
Check out her website at www.tashlorayne.com.