Janeen Leah - Right In Front Of Me
by Morley Seaver
The beauty of the Internet is that in terms of exposure, it creates a level playing field for established artists and newcomers alike. I was perusing MySpace back in 2005 when I came across a voice and song that took my breath away. It was the newly-released debut record from Janeen Leah.
Janeen's record was comprised of a dozen or so songs that were not cookie cutter little shapes baked from the same batch. Each little morsel had its own special flavor and many highlights were found within.
Balancing work and a personal life is always a challenge and Janeen has spent the last eight years raising a young family. The good news for her fan base is that she has a new record out, the six-song EP Right In Front of Me.
Janeen has two main weapons in her arsenal. The first is her very compelling voice which is like melted caramel and chocolate. She doesn't just reach the notes, she bathes them in a gooey richness. Janeen has the ability to draw you closer to the speakers so you really concentrate on her words. In addition, she can also exude a sultry vocal coating that enables you to get lost in the moment.
The second weapon is her strong songs. Not one to just put out something for the sake of filling a mandate, her songs leave an impression that she carefully gave her all to each track.
This EP continues in the fashion of her debut. All of the six songs have their own little corner of the record and stand out from one another. The opening track "Like a Fool" has a casual gait that is easy on the ears and ushers you gently into the record.
"Fly" is a breezy song that is punctuated by a charming falsetto that Janeen throws into songs occasionally. The next two tracks are no stranger to anyone who follows Janeen on Facebook as she unveiled them at least a year ago. The first track is "Life Eternal" which is one of the two strongest songs. This song is like a cousin to "Fallen", the fantastic song from Janeen's debut. Powered by some crunchy guitars on the chorus and snake-charmer rhythm for the verses (think Alannah Myles' "Black Velvet"), the music almost seems at odds with the lyrics.
The dreamy "Rainy Day" starts off with a sweet Janeen vocal and an irresistible melody. Like a lot of rainy days, there is a bit of thunder involved and surprisingly there is a brief raucous moment that turns it from a good song into a really interesting one. Next up is the folky "Show Me the Door", which is a perfect campfire song with its relaxed atmosphere.
The biggest surprise is the final song, the dance-y "Let This Love Die" with a bouncy melody augmented by some energetic guitars. Your foot starts tapping from the first note and the rest of your body follows suit when the catchy chorus hits. This is definitely my favorite track on the record.
Right in Front of Me is a welcome return for Janeen and hopefully we don't have to wait another eight years for the next one.
Janeen Leah Review
For fans of Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos and Norah Jones, Janeen Leah is known for captivating audiences with her powerful, soulful voice and raw emotion, just like the three mentioned female vocalists and powerhouse musicians. Recently releasing her third album, Janeen Leah is on her way to carrying the torch for today’s industry of female singers.
Janeen released her self-produced debut album, titled “Time is Never Wasted,” in November of 2005, and it immediately received glowing reviews and was picked as ‘Best Album of The Year’ by Morley Seaver at antimusic.com. In August of 2009, Janeen flew to Bombay, India to record a collaborated album with Bollywood musician, Tushar Parte at Tushar’s request. The album is titled “Some Rhyme Some Reason” and was released on February 13, 2013 through CD Baby. Then, in 2010, Janeen signed with indie label f. Boo! Music in Los Angeles with producer Keven Brennan. In July 2011, the first single with the label, titled “Life Eternal,” was released. An EP release with f. Boo! titled “Right In Front Of Me” was released January 1, 2013 through CD Baby and will be available through iTunes as well. Along with the three records already under her belt, Janeen Leah is storming the San Francisco live music scene with her dynamic performances and her pure, sweet, melodic vocals that soar over a perfect blend of instruments. Each song that she performs live always leaves her audience wanting more.
The Los Angeles singer-songwriter’s most recent EP "Right In Front Of Me" is simply excellent and shows off several different musical styles of the pop/rock genre. It is haunting, melodic rock at its finest. Janeen's voice purrs and soars throughout this whole record; sultry and come-hither one moment, soft and reassuring the next. The instruments are used nicely to punch up the material at just the right spots but they don’t get in the way of the vocals. There is sparseness to the song construction that lets all the instruments breathe and put the emphasis on Janeen's wonderful voice. Produced by Keven Brennan, it features Janeen Leah on vocals, background vocals, and acoustic guitar; Nate Wood (Kneebody) on drums, bass, electric guitar, and synths; Keven Brennan on bass, electric and acoustic guitar, sax, bass clarinet, and synths; and Robin Brennan on background vocals.
For more information on Janeen Leah, to hear her music, watch her videos, or to find out about her latest news and upcoming show dates, check her out on her personal website at www.janeenleah.com, or find her on MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.
Janeen Leah former Colorado native has given the very best in the debut album “Time Is Never Wasted” Her heartfelt lyrics, complimented by that gorgeous voice places her in my top picks.
Janeen’s music has the ability to move you with each song… with that smooth voice. Janeen has a way of relaxing you at the same time you don’t want to miss one note or lyric! I have posted here 2 of my favorites here for you to listen to… and it was a hard choice to just pick 2 here… The songwriting here is superb! Great talent … can’t wait to see what is coming next ...
I was hesitant to review another singer/songwriter with a guitar slung over his shoulder, feeling that my draw to that type of artist was getting a bit excessive. But this guitar slinger is a she, not a he, and her music deserves to be talked about. Janeen Leah has done a remarkable job in this debute CD offering, "Time is Never Wasted".
Janeen has a voice that makes me think of ripples on a pond; you see its center, but you watch with your musical ear as it gently and easily spreads wider and wider. She has great control, there are beautiful innovative riffs, both vocal and instrumental, and Janeen is just a darn good performer. To accent her vocal attributes are her talents as a song writer. There is nothing garden variety about her lyrics; they make you pause and they make you think.Just consider the titles of her tracks: Wine of Consciousness, The Sea You've Cried, You wasted a Good One, Captured in My Own Mind, and the CD title, Time is Never Wasted.Those I most enjoyed were Fallen, Wine of Consciousness (which is a bonus track), Captured in My Own Mind, and Time is Never Wasted.
This artist has paid her dues in developing her career. In Colorado, (Denver's her hometown), she cultivated her self-taught musical skills and began to exhibit them in local venues. Her bio informs us that at 18 she went to Hollywood and the Musicians Institute to hon those skills, and it was there she recorded her first recording, an EP entitled "Melting in Hazel." It has been straight ahead from there. Janeen is currently touring, she is getting airplay on Internet, Satellite, and traditional radio, and media coverage including recent mention or reviews in Music Connection and Entertainment World. Make an effort to see her if she is performing anywhere near you! Do also add this winner to your collection real soon. It is on the JL Pixie Records label and the executive producer is Janeen Leah herself!
Oh my, this young lady has quite possibly one of the most beautiful voices I’ve heard in a while. Her blissful and utterly relaxing voice will have you at ease, even when the music tempo is slightly up beat. Prime example, “I Can Not Ignore” she shows her vocal range yet lets the music float along beautifully. A nice bass heavy, light guitar and drum playing “Captured In My Own Mind” will capture you and have you hooked. The lyrics are spectacular and once again her voice is simply divine.
Getting a little wild and funky she drops a definite change of pace on you with “I Know”. The music arrangement is dark, yet appealing. One of the absolute best tracks on the album comes with the fun and lofty “The Feeling”. The lyrics are filled with emotion and the music is simply perfect. The chorus will have you singing along in no time, and this song is destined to make an appearance on a TV show somewhere. For doing it on her own, no label support, no promotions people, this woman is well on her way!
The Players: Janeen Leah, guitar and vocals; Michael Burke, lead guitar; Aaron Gutierrez, drums; Vivi Rama, bass; Keven Brennan, saxophone.
Material: Janeen Leah’s music has the feel of classic rock with a 60’s flair that impacts at an intersection where Janis Joplin meets Grace Slick, with a touch of Melissa Etheridge. This young singer/ songwriter is multi-dimensional and her material defies identification, as she moves deftly from rock to smooth jazz. Slightly reminiscent of Pauline Wilson of Seawind fame, Leah’s songs ”Melt Into You” and “Erased” are radio-ready and probably best suited for light-rock stations like The Wave (94.7 FM).
Musicianship: Leah’s backing band exhibits excellent chemistry, especially when she plays with lead guitarist Michael Burke. Burke’s sound is heavily influenced by 60’s rock and is a perfect fit for Leah’s subdued playing style. Substitute bassist Rama is more than up to the challenge, and she and drummer Gutierrez lay down a solid foundation that feels like they have been playing together for a long time. Brennan’s sax adds an extra di-mension to the music, but was especially effective on “Erased.”
Performance: Trying to work within the sound restrictions of the tiny Kibitz venue, Leah revealed herself as a constrained rocker who was capable of belting out when she needed to. Like movements in a well orchestrated symphony, the set flowed from one groove to the next. Leah’s pure, sweet, melodic vocals soared over a perfect blend of instruments as she performed each song, leaving the audience wanting more.
Summary: A worthy effort with a wide appeal, Janeen Leah’s music is ready for the marketplace. Building her sound upon that of Joplin, Etheridge and Slick, Leah could carry the torch for a new generation for female singers. Especially so among those leading ladies who are not afraid to return to the roots of rock and plant their own seed of music for future generations to enjoy.
Janeen Leah- "Time is Never Wasted" album review- May 2006 A soulful Los Angeles songstress, Janeen Leah has certainly begun the definition of her breezy, spirited brand of music with her latest release, Time is Never Wasted.
Quietly commencing the album with a peaceful acoustic guitar, Janeen eases her way into a heartfelt track. When she unleashes her vocal power, the soothing rock accompaniment crescendos to become an excellent complement. An inviting commencement to the album, “I Can Not Ignore” provokes the listener’s thoughts as to what further musical delights Janeen holds up her sleeve.
Janeen’s freedom in lyrical expression is evident—“The Feeling” is a most sincere testament of love. She displays thoughtful voice modulation as her full volume is only released when emotion is maximized, and her softer notes afford an appropriate sensitive touch to the track.
The third song reflects the same quality of musicianship; however, the album takes a turn into somber heartbreak, depicted in “Erased” and its succeeding tune. “Captured in my Own Mind” starts to become redundant in the sense that the listener has come to expect the light vocals expressed in the first four tracks. A transitional number, it warmly welcomes the following track. Relaxed and refreshingly jazzy, the sixth tune on the album is reminiscent of Sade’s sleek musical style. Janeen’s superb vocals are showcased once again with class and certain impression.
The next noteworthy track gracing Time is Never Wasted is the album gem “Strange Days”, with its rock essence that at some points even resembles Incubus. Janeen’s confident attitude really sparkles! Her songstress talent is so evident and she learns to unleash it, in comparison with the other shy tracks. Its succeeding song follows in this addictive rock groove, increasing the album’s creative dimension.
The title track is one of peaceful, sultry jazz that features the most instrumentation on the disc. The added saxophones, piano, and strings add sleek elegance and wonderfully complement Janeen’s serenade. The song transitions to “Fallen”, a catchy incorporation of all of the album’s elements. Time is Never Wasted concludes with a bonus track, the beginning of which is surrounded by mystery and myth. The song is the disc’s zenith of creativity, finalizing the album with dreamlike punctuation.
Album Review - Time Is Never Wasted - Janeen Leah Genre: Acoustic Pop/Rock - Jazz Review by: Jere Fritsche shipwreckislandstudios.com
Quotes: 'The level of professionalism on this album is set by genuine talent there are no over exaggerated performances or glitzy dynamics, its top rate musicianship first and foremost and that is what music lovers value most... An artist who can hold her own and Janeen Leah does it like no other....' - Jere
1. I Can Not Ignore - Now this is the way to start off an album as I Can Not Ignore at first listen sounds like a simple acoustic driven pop/rocker with unbelievable harmony vocals in control but then the song takes on a whole different form blending in darker tones and some heavy electric riffs which give it a blast of pure attitude. What stood out the most for me on this song is just the vocal presence of Janeen Leah as she definitely is a gifted vocalist holding a very commanding presence in her delivery while at the same time keeping her performance at a very natural and passionate flow throughout the whole track.
2. The Feeling - The album takes on even more of a pop influence with a upbeat number that is very easy on the ears featuring more dominance with the acoustic guitar. The chorus is the core ingredient that gives the song an almost instant flavor and zing in its style and while it does feel a bit tedious its always been a cunningly written chorus providing a solid musical foundation which in turn helps give an album such as this a dynamic arrangement from beginning to end.
3. I Melt into You - It amazes me how a release such as this is put out independently with the simplicity behind the music helping the overall ambiance of this disc. I Melt into You is built upon the same design that The Feeling is with a catchy pop influence being the compelling force behind it, however I think this one is fairly better and could be prospective radio single. Compared to the previous track its not as instantly likeable yet its more grittier and down to earth and really shows maturity from an exceptional songwriter such as Leah.
4. Erased - To some extent this is a departure for the album as Janeen takes things down a notch relying mostly on that sultry voice of hers to work its magic. Erased taps into the blues producing an additional dimension to an already creatively diverse CD. Quite possibly the best singing on the entire album its the repeat factor that will get listeners into the sheer virtuosity of this song and in my opinion you will not able to take in all the emotion in just one listen.
5. Captured in My Own Mind - The upbeat pop/rocker comes back around more effective then before as no doubt in my mind that if given the chance this would be a threat on hit radio airwaves. Unquestionably my personal favorite on this disc every song up to this point has had unique and dynamic choruses to aid in giving the album a compelling diversity this one is no exception to the rule as Leah gives the main chorus an added oomph with her best vocal delivery thus far.
6. Our Love Grows Stronger - No surprise move here another twist comes into play and this time around with Janeen exploring a soulful jazz feel. At first listen it was somewhat of a change in pace yet ends up being one of those guilty pleasures which will draw you in on the simple feel good vibe conveyed. I dare anyone who is a music lover to get this release and take a listen to this song and tell me its not that good, it simply can't be said against something this moving.
7. You Wasted a Good One - Picks up on the darker tones set by I Can Not Ignore except Janeen and company go into full on rock mode delivering a new aspect in this album's perception with the lyrics being remarkably angrier in demeanor once again showing variation and an intricacy that honestly very few singer/songwriters can achieve on a debut album.
8. The Sea You've Cried - Nearly every musical style has been covered so far pop/rock/jazz/blues and now we can add a dash of folk to the list. Just like before new techniques are brought into the fold with the emphasis here being massive harmony vocals and while the whole album has been littered with harmonies this is a full on assault with Leah reaching back with all her might belting out lyrics smoothly and proficiently.
9. Strange Days - As the album reaches its final stages the material returns to the simple concoction of humble pop bliss and the now reoccurring dark nature which Janeen sounds her finest on. I really enjoy the combination of the two as its what makes this album sound more consistent, its those two elements battling for supremacy with the lighter pop influence pulling you in as the dark instrumentation offers a more lasting impression.
10. I Know - Features more aggression in its delivery and for the first time the pop sensibility that has been the domineering force is now sitting on the backburner. Even though the guitars have been an intricate detail throughout this CD it seems they have more substance here complimenting Janeen's unrefined vocals flawlessly.
11. Time is Never Wasted - The title track is one more expressive jazz piece incorporating a piano to form a surreal marvel of balladry and pure allure. A prime example of tugging at the heartstrings and making the listener undergo every emotion articulated in the lyrics Time is Never Wasted exploits great sorrow and sadness with inspirational meaning.
12. Fallen - Its rather odd that I've yet to hear any low-quality compositions on this entire disc and I'm not complaining as its easier to review a release such as this. There have been several contenders for hit singles already and Fallen can now be added to that list as well, it works on the same formula as others with a memorable chorus, a nice even flow from start to finish, and a great structure. About the only low point for Fallen is not getting the acknowledgement it so rightfully deserves yet on the other hand I feel it might be too good for radio mainstream.
13. Wine of Consciousness (Bonus Track) - Everything draws to a close in the mentality where variation has assisted in keeping the CD appealing to all music lovers with an ear for consistency, changing styles, and numerous musical techniques. Honestly I didn't really get into this track as much as the previous twelve, I'm not saying its terrible it just in my view doesn't convey the passion that the rest of the album has.
The Rundown: Ah, the power of the internet... Without a doubt the elite promotional tool out there today I mean forget about television, radio, or the current standard of the industry if you are a opened minded music lover who values quality and you have a computer with a internetconnection the world can be your oyster. Over the last few years its been intriguing watching the contemporary music environment dissolve into a cesspool of so called artistry which to this very day is still being thrown every which way. Its to a certain extent where true variation and quality are rarely found with the masses are force fed everything from all genres choking it down with barely enough room to breathe let alone make a decision on what to like. For myself I've had to take several steps backwards over the last few years to find my bearings while not conforming to mainstream just because someone tells me to like a certain artist as they're the current flavor of the month. I tend to think that for those of us who explore the deepest sanctums of music reformulating ours tastes, its like a child learning to walk at first its unstable discovering your settings but once you have it down your hunger to explore intensifies.
The indie scene has been a realm I've been exploring for several months now and I'm sure some might ask: Why devote time looking for artists in the independent territory? And my answer is simply: Why not? Logically this is where the future of the industry is with artists putting out the music they want and not being conformed to sound a certain way or having to bend over backwards for labels to get their way. I'd like to think the only downside is not every indie artist out there will have the experience to pull off a stellar album but thanks to the power of the internet I've managed to stumble across some that show the world that they have what it takes to make it and are not afraid to take the proper risks to make a name for themselves.
Out of the numerous up and coming artists I've listened to over the past few months Janeen Leah has caught my attention as one of the most gifted singer/songwriters to come into the independent scene. Her serene voice mixed with the ability to compose sophisticated pop tunes, that convey every emotion from zealous rockers to heartfelt love songs, is what makes Janeen's debut Time Is Never Wasted an album that will make you appreciate what good music is truly about.
+'s (Positives) + Raw production - This album has some of the most flawless production I've ever heard in an independent release. The vocal mixes are clean and crisp but not to overpowering and the guitars are natural and don't sound distorted which is a rarity now of days. + Music that anyone can get into - Janeen has made sure to cover all the bases here whether your looking for a bit of rock or have a knack for soulful blues with a dash of jazz this release features a wide variety of material.
-'s (Negatives) - Near perfect in every way except... - The last song Wine Of Consciousness although a cool bonus in my opinion took away from the album. As a bonus its a nice addition but I just didn't feel it fit the mood of other songs.
Overall: Every so often its nice to escape your conventional standard of listening to music and take chances to see what else is out there. While exploring my new home away from home myspace.com I've been fortunate to stumble upon many up and coming artists with a great sound but recently one caught my ear and I haven't been able to stop listening to her as she processes an incredible talent as a lyricist and the ability to hold listeners in the palm of her hand with gripping vocals that will undeniably help open many doors for her. The artist I'm speaking about is Janeen Leah and while you may ask who she is it hasn't taken long for word of mouth to catch on with many making comparisons to artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos and Norah Jones. Although being compared to three huge musicians is a bold statement and will get you some recognition trying to live up to one, let alone three, who have defined a genre is near impossible. Making such statements and comparisons can be very risky because a majority of the time people will say you can't compare an up and coming artists to those who set the bar. I mean sure there will be a whole slue of those who will imitate the trendsetters and state being influenced by them but there is a fine line between sounding like a particular artist and having a distinctive sound to call your own. Luckily Janeen doesn't allow herself to come off sounding exactly like Sarah, Tori, or Norah. At times she does drop in some hints towards them but for the most part Janeen has a sound that is more live and organic that expresses a consistent raw attitude throughout the entire disc.
Like many she conveys her thoughts and feelings extremely well and while all artists can harness their emotions through song Janeen has several aces up her sleeve that make her stand out more then the average musician. The first is she doesn't throw everything out there at once timing is everything and she makes the listener adjust to every song with diversity, not all songs will be instant for every set of ears yet that is what makes things work so well the flow of the material will jump from one extreme to another and back down again.
Second, she knows exactly how to build on a song as key ingredients such as well thought-out lyrics, melody, and a unrelenting drive factor in at all the right intervals not being overdone or forced upon listeners in rapid succession like the traditional methods of catchy songwriting. Lastly the level of professionalism on this album is set by genuine talent there are no over exaggerated performances or glitzy dynamics, its top rate musicianship first and foremost and that is what music lovers value most... An artist who can hold her own and Janeen Leah does it like no other.
Time Is Never Wasted truly fits this album as Janeen has wasted little time making a name for herself, if this is only the beginning of things to come then I personally can't wait to see her grow and mature even more. One thing is certain if your looking for an album to get you away from the headache of conventional trends then do yourself a favor and pick up this release it offers a bit more substance from a beautifully gifted artist who isn't afraid to put all her heart and soul into her music.
The rating for Janeen Leah's Time Is Never Wasted breaks down as such: 1 Points = Transitions / Order -- 1 Point = Fun Factor -- 1 Point = Instruments / Vocal Sound -- 1 Point = Writing / Lyrics -- 0.95 Points = Overall Design / Feel Overall Total: 4.95/5
Favorite songs: Captured in My Own Mind, Fallen, I Know, I Can Not Ignore, and Our Love Grows Stronger.
It's strange where you'll find some things. I accidentally discovered Janeen Leah on the Internet and it was a very fortuitous meeting for me because I found probably the best record released this year.
Janeen's material is of the adult-oriented rock variety but there is so much more on here. I could gush on and on about this record all day. First of all, Janeen is a twenty-something singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. Her voice is a warm, expressive pool of aural comfort. If there was ever a voice built for headphones, this is it. You know how some singers, even if you like them, you get a bit tired of their voice after awhile? Well, I'll tell you, I could listen to Janeen all day long. And I do...come to think of it.
There are thirteen cuts on this record and not a bad song among the crowd. The set starts off with "I Can Not Ignore," an awesome song that begins with just Janeen and her acoustic guitar. She runs a couple of verses and then bang...the band comes in and just elevates the song to double-awesome status. She sounds great purring and she sounds great letting it rip and that's what she does in this song...both that is. This track alone is worth the price of admission.
Fortunately, she proves she's not a one-hot wonder as there is more...lots more of great stuff here. She kicks up the energy for the next cut "The Feeling." Really nice subdued guitar run in here by husband Michael that just augments things as does the sax.
The moody "I Melt into You" is like gooey chocolate, all smooth and satisfying. Things turn all bluesy for "Erased," an exquisite love-gone-wrong that exudes emotion. The guitars are beefed up for "Captured in My Own Mind," including a tasty solo by Michael. "Our Love Grows Stronger" is completely surprising for the jazzy turn that it takes and it is just excellent. Awesome chorus on this one.
"You Wasted a Good One" follows and it's a solid mid-tempo song, highlighted by the verses towards the end where Janeen really rips into the vocal. "The Sea You've Cried" switches the motion of things, slowing down to a gentle sleepwalk. Another great chorus on this song that was an experiment of sorts. This was written by Janeen in LA and it was mixed in New Zealand by musician Peter Kearns.
Continuing the streak of great songs is "Strange Days"...great song...great vocal (I know, can I say great any more?). The rhythm-heavy "I Know" brings out the grit in Janeen. The title cut is a ballad-y bit of excellence that oozes feeling.
The absolute jewel of the record is "Fallen," where a sultry and slinky Janeen purrs through the first few verses before the band slams in. This is a fantastic cut.
The closer is the "bonus" track, which is another experiment of sorts. Janeen collaborated with Tushar Parte an East Indian musician who wanted to work with her. She recorded the vocals in LA over the tracks he had sent to her. He then produced the track in India.
I guess you can tell by this review that I like this record and that is something you can take to the bank. If you like anything by the other female singer-songwriters out there today, you will LOVE this record. I guarantee it. Check out the interview on Janeen Leah by Morley Seaver at http://www.nowontour.com/news/interviews/00085.php
"Your music and involvement is all too brilliant in a world of try-too-hard talent. It seems to come easy for you. If this was Wayne's World I would bow with a "We're not worthy!".
I've been listening to your songs all night while writing a song to work your vocals into and I must say I'm not easily intimidated but feel such a high expectation level for your song in particular. Your voice is so beautiful, brilliant and confident. I feel very honored to have you involved."
(involvement referring to the 'Apples of Eve' compilation album)